To be considered for the Beat the Odds Scholarship award, students must:
- Be a current high school senior who resides in or attends school in the broader Twin Cities Metro area.
- Diversity in geographic representation will be considered.
- Be on track to graduate by June 2021.
- Demonstrate academic achievement and have post-secondary or training goals at a college, university, or other institution of learning, as well as the potential for post-secondary success.
- There is no GPA requirement.
- Faced challenges related to one or more of CDF’s policy priorities:
- Child poverty
- Child health
- Early childhood development
- Child welfare
- Youth justice
- Gun violence
- Have limited family and/or community support and/or limited income:
- Demonstrate commitment to your community and/or social justice.
- Be available for meetings including photoshoots and interviews from November 2021 through April 2022.
Students must be nominated or seek nomination for the Beat the Odds scholarship program from a teacher, counselor, caseworker, or another adult who can speak to your commitment to social justice issues/community, character, academic achievement.
Each application must consist of:
- Completed student application form.
- Personal statement of no more than 750 typed words, that accomplishes the following:
- Describes the major obstacles and challenges in your life and how you have overcome them.
- Describes your past and current family, financial, educational and emotional support systems.
- Describes how you have been able to achieve academic success or show marked improvement in academics despite your hardships.
- Describes your commitment to serving others, for example, involvement in service clubs at school or community organizations or taking on major home and work responsibilities.
Application Tip: Save as a PDF with YOUR NAME in the file title, for example, Jane Doe_Beat the Odds.PDF. Microsoft Word files are also accepted, however, the system cannot accept files submitted as Google Docs.
- Signed media release to ensure applicants are comfortable sharing their story publicly:
- The top five selected honorees will be interviewed and videotaped to create mini-documentaries about each individual’s story to help raise awareness about the challenges many young people face. These mini-documentaries will be aired at the Beat the Odds Awards event in the spring and posted online as part of CDF’s YouTube library.
Application Tip: Applicants must feel comfortable sharing their stories publicly. The Media Release is a part of the online application.
- Completed nominator form:
- A 1-page nomination letter on behalf of the nominee(s). This is sent to the nominator after the student application is received.
Application Tip: The nominator letter should address the following:
- The reasons for nominating the student, including a description of the obstacles this student has overcome;
- The length of time nominator has known the student;
- A description of how the student has demonstrated leadership skills
- A description of any additional personal achievements the student has attained
The Children’s Defense Fund encourages all eligible students to apply to the Beat the Odds Scholarship Program regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, immigration status, citizenship, age, disability, and/or any other characteristic protected by law. All applicants who meet our eligibility criteria and submit a complete application will be considered equally.