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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/MECHANICS & USAGE: Interesting, varied, imaginative and age-appropriate vocabulary. 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 (450 word minimum, 500 word maximum)

  1. What do you think is the hardest part of being a kid?  How could you make this difficult part of your life easier?  Share the advice that you would give to a friend going through the same thing.
  2. “The things that make me different are the things that make me me.” – Winnie the Pooh
    Share something that makes you different from other people you know.  How might your difference help you to achieve your goals?

Grades 6-8 (450 word minimum, 500 word maximum)

  1. “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
    Write about a time when you overcame an obstacle and what you learned from the experience.  How did you overcome?  What was the end result?
  2. “Some men see things as they are and say why.  I dream things that never were and ask why not.” – George Bernard Shaw
    How does this quote relate to you and your life?  What are its implications for society?  For the world?

Grades 9-11 (650 word minimum, 750 word maximum)

  1. Discuss an accomplishment, event or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.  What did you learn?  In what ways did you grow?  How can your growth and understanding help you to achieve your future goals?
  2. Think of a time you challenged a belief or idea.  What caused you to act?  Did your actions bring about change, positively or negatively?  Reflect on your actions.