The Dell Scholars Program was founded by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. It aims to provide funding to support the educational needs of students who have overcome challenges in pursuit of achieving a college degree. As such, the scholarship places greater emphasis on ambition, grit, determination, and potential than it does on previous academic performance (i.e., test scores or GPA). In addition to providing up to $20,000 in scholarship funding, students are supported by receiving educational tools, such as laptops, and information on handling stress and lifestyle changes.
In order to be considered for this scholarship, students must demonstrate financial need and hold at least a 2.4 grade point average. Furthermore, students must be graduating from high school and plan to enroll in a B.A. program on a full-time basis. Students must intend to enroll in an accredited program immediately following their high school graduation. Additionally, only students who are eligible to receive a federal Pell grant and who are attending an approved Michael & Susan Dell Foundation college readiness program (i.e., KIPP Academy or Upward Bound) can apply. A full list of eligible college readiness programs can be found here.
When applying, all applicants must show how they have overcome obstacles while pursuing their goals. As such, all applications will be evaluated based on the applicants’ need for financial help, determination to succeed, ability to convey struggles they have overcome, describe their goals and plans, and demonstrate how they applied motivation in order to succeed in coursework that was rigorous.
In order to apply to be a Dell Scholar, students must complete an online application. Students will be asked about activities, home life, any work experience, and future plans on the application form. Some other information, such as overcoming hardships, will also be asked during the application process. After the initial round of applications are reviewed, a subgroup of semifinalists is chosen. If the student progresses to the semifinalist round, he or she will be asked to provide additional information. This includes a complete Student Aid Report, an official copy of all high school transcripts, and a letter of recommendation that will be submitted online. After all semifinalist applications are submitted, they are reviewed prior to making any funding decisions by a committee.
The application for the Dell Scholarship opens on November 1st and all applications must be received prior to the January 15th deadline. About two weeks after that, all applicants who have made the semifinalist cut will be announced. All Semifinalists will have slightly more than a month to complete their application materials, which must be turned in by March 10th. All finalists are announced on April 10th. More information on the application process and timeline can be found at this website. There is no application fee, so all students who are eligible to apply are encouraged to do so.
The scholarship can be used to cover the cost of student fees, room and board, books, and tuition. In some cases, the awards may be used to study abroad. Additional information is available here.