Mensa Education Foundation Scholarship Essay Contest

U.S. scholarship process

There are two requirements for applicants:

  • Applicants must be enrolled in a degree program in an accredited U.S. institution of higher learning during the academic year following the application date.
  • Applicants must submit an application and essay explaining his or her career, academic and/or vocational goals.

No application forms are available at any other time. Between September and January, interested individuals can visit the scholarship application area of this site to determine eligibility and, if eligible, enter the program.

Applicants have until Jan. 15 to write an essay of not more than 550 words explaining their career, academic and/or vocational goals and how they plan to achieve those goals. For more information, read the scholarship FAQ.

Local judging

American Mensa's local chapters assemble judging teams of at least three members to review the applications. The essays are judged on content and also grammar, organization and craftsmanship. The Local Scholarship Chair refers the best local essays to the Regional Scholarship Chair for review.

Regional judging

At the regional level, the process is repeated. The regional chair arranges for all of the essays referred from local chapters to be judged a second time. Regional judges rank the local winners and nominate the best essays for regional and national awards. These essays are then forwarded to the National Scholarship Chairs.

National judging

Finally, the National Scholarship Chairs conduct additional rounds of judging to select the regional and national winners. Each applicant can receive only one Mensa Foundation scholarship per year; therefore, the winners are chosen beginning at the highest dollar amounts. The next highest scores receive awards of the next lower amounts, and so on until all the winners are chosen based on the judges' scores.

The final list of scholarship winners is presented to the Mensa Foundation Board of Trustees, who certify the winners. Winners are notified by mail and given instructions for claiming their award. They are required to submit proof of registration in a degree program during the following academic year as well as proof of U.S. citizenship. After the verification is received, the checks are written and students receive the funds to help them pursue their education.

The scholarship application process is open Sept. 15 - Jan. 15.
Scholarship winners will be notified by mail and listed online.

The U.S. scholarship program covers all of the country and awards more than $140,000 every year. The Foundation's U.S. scholarship program relies on approximately 450 volunteers around the country with support from the Foundation's office staff.

U.S. applicants need not be Mensa members. However, Mensa members may apply for both these scholarship programs and the additional Mensa Member Award Program.

The Foundation's International Scholarship Program is open to international Mensans (other than American Mensa). One scholarship, which also includes dependents of international Mensa members, is for those attending college in the United States. The other scholarships are for international Mensans attending college other than in the U.S.

The Foundation's college scholarship program bases its awards totally on essays written by the applicants. Consideration is not given to grades, academic program or financial need.

The scholarship application process is open Sept. 15 - Jan. 15.
Scholarship winners will be notified by mail and listed online.

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