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. If you could be any superhero who would you be and why?  Discuss three of his/her admirable qualities and why those qualities are important to you and how they might help you in the future.
  2. If you could add one class to every elementary school schedule in the U.S., what would it be and why do you feel that it is an important class?  How might that class help you in your future?

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

  1. If you could be any superhero who would you be and why?  Discuss three of his/her admirable qualities, why those qualities are important to you and how they might help you in the future.
  2. “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” – Dr. Seuss.
    What is something that sets you apart from others?  How can you use it to benefit the world?

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

  1. If you could be any superhero who would you be and why?  Discuss three of his/her admirable qualities and why those qualities are important to you.  How might these qualities help you to achieve your future goals?
  2. What is an educated person responsible for in his/her life?  In what ways should he/she use that knowledge to impact society?
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