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Nomination Tips

And Essay Questions

The Carson Scholars Fund believes that schools know their students best. For this reason, we do not mandate a specific nomination process. We encourage all schools to use an open process to determine their nominee – in other words, please consider all possible candidates before making your decision. Remember that you must nominate a new candidate who has not been previously awarded a Carson Scholarship.

It is often helpful to start by identifying all students who meet our GPA requirement of a 3.75 or higher. (We work with thousands of different schools across the country. For this reason, we have developed standardized rules for calculating GPAs that may differ from what your school usually does.) Please review our GPA Calculation Rules and Policies to learn how we calculate GPAs.

Here are two methods that schools often use to nominate students after identifying those with a 3.75 or higher GPA:

  • Form a committee of educators/guidance counselors to select a qualified candidate.
  • Hold an informal essay contest among possible candidates to help narrow the selection field.

It is crucial that participants and their parents/guardians understand that they are not Carson Scholar Award recipients during any school-sponsored applicant selection process prior to submission of this application. Submission of an application is not a guarantee of an award.

Applicants are evaluated on their teacher recommendation, community service and essay. Since the student essay carries the greatest weight in terms of possible points earned, the applicant’s efforts should be concentrated on the essay portion of the application. Here are the categories we use to score the essay:

  • CONTENT: An essay with ample information, including supporting details.
  • ORGANIZATION: An organized essay with a well-developed beginning, middle and end.
  • STYLE: Interesting, varied, imaginative and age-appropriate vocabulary.
  • MECHANICS & USAGE: Correct punctuation, capitalization, spelling and paragraph distinction.
  • FOCUS: Appropriate information to make the reader clearly understand the ideas being presented.

Essay Questions

Applicants can choose one essay question from their grade level.

Grades 4-5 (500 word maximum)

  1. “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go.” – Dr. Seuss
    Share something that you learned from reading. What were you reading and what was the lesson learned?
  2. Who outside of your family has made a difference in your life? Describe the difference they have made in your life and provide examples.

Grades 6-8 (500 word maximum)

  1. Consider a challenge a person might face in their lifetime. Describe that challenge. If you could ask anyone in the world, living or dead, for advice, who would it be and why?
  2. “A person who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
    Reflect on this quote. How has trying something new, or making a mistake led to a period of personal growth? What did you learn from the situation?

Grades 9-11 (750 word maximum)

  1. “All good men and women must take responsibilities to create legacies that will take the next generation to a level that we could only imagine” – Jim Rohn
    Reflect on the legacy you want to create. Describe your legacy. How does it relate to future generations?
  2. What is the difference between freedom and independence? Use specific examples to compare and contrast.