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Dell Scholarship - 10 Tips to Help You Land It

Securing a scholarship is a great way to get some added financial support while signaling your competence and capability - so we’d highly recommend you keep your eyes and open for the right scholarship for yourself. College admissions officers will also respect your initiative and proactiveness. Today’s blog post focuses on one such opportunity - the Dell Scholarship, and 10 tips to help you land it.


What is the Dell Scholarship?

The Dell Scholarship, established by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, is more than just a financial grant. It is a holistic program consisting of monetary assistance, a resource network, personalized mentoring, physical resources, and access to therapy. Aimed at empowering students who have overcome significant obstacles to pursue higher education, the scholarship strives to identify and assist those who are better than their numbers indicate, those who demonstrate a desire to succeed despite personal challenges.


Who is eligible to apply?

While most of the eligibility criteria are fairly broad, there’s a few you need to pay attention to:

  • You must have participated in a Michael & Susan Dell Foundation approved college readiness program in grades 11 and 12.

  • You must be graduating from an accredited high school this academic year.

  • A minimum of a 2.4 GPA is mandated.

  • You must demonstrate a need for financial assistance.

  • You must be eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant in your first year of college.

  • You must be planning to enroll full-time in a bachelor's degree program at an accredited higher education institution in the fall directly after your graduation from high school.


How do you apply and get selected for the Dell Scholarship?

The application itself is quite straightforward:

  1. The application opens on October 1, 2023

  2. You have to submit your application form by December 1, 2023

  3. You’ll be notified if you’re selected as a semifinalist by December 10, 2023

  4. The additional materials required are then due by January 27, 2024. These materials are:

    1. Additional application questions

    2. A FAFSA Submission Summary

    3. High school transcript

    4. A recommendation

  5. You will receive the final decision by March 18, 2024


The Dell Scholarship judges your application not by your grades (beyond the minimum required), but by a combination of the following factors:


  • Grit - Your determination and actions to overcome personal challenges related to your family, school, or community.


  • Potential - Your active pursuit of college readiness programs and demonstration of your motivation.


  • Ambition - Your passion for and pursuit of a college education and a drive to succeed despite personal obstacles.


Is the Dell Scholarship prestigious?

The Dell Scholarship is prestigious, not just in monetary value but in its selectivity and impact. Annually, thousands of students across the U.S. apply, of which only five hundred are chosen. 80% of Dell Scholars graduate in six years, a rate twice the national average. Being a Dell Scholar also means joining a large, rich network of more than 2700 equally motivated alumni. Past scholars have gone on to excel in the STEM fields, liberal arts and more, in reputed institutions like Brown University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the San Jose State University.


7 tips to secure your application

  1. Start early: Begin your application well in advance, and by that we really do mean a couple years. Not only do you need to enroll in the approved college readiness programs, but you also need to have built a profile that Dell would be interested in. If you’ve already attended the approved programs, then you still need to craft your profile accordingly.

  2. Understand the Dell Scholars Criteria: Tailor your application to align with the scholarship's focus on resilience, determination, and positive impact on your community.

  3. Showcase leadership and involvement: Include extracurricular activities, community service, and leadership roles. If you peruse the profiles of past scholars, you will see that many of them were passionate about and worked on things not related to academics. Some were keen on activism regarding healthcare, others took double majors across medicine, and still others interned for business and leadership roles. So find your niche and showcase it!

  4. Seek Guidance from past scholars: The Dell Scholarship has a vast network of alumni. Reach out to previous Dell Scholars for advice on your application. You’ll learn a thing or two about the application, and might secure some valuable connections for your future.

  5. Detail your financial need: Clearly articulate your financial situation and how the scholarship will aid your educational goals.

  6. Get strong recommendations: Choose recommenders who know you well and can speak to your strengths and potential. Reach out to them well in advance of the application and schedule a few meetings with them to carefully hash out their recommendation letter.

  7. Stay organized and determined: Don’t miss your deadlines and documents, but don’t let the process shake your confidence either. You want to give the application with your best foot forward, so keep that chin up.


Final thoughts - should you apply?

Landing the Dell Scholarship can be transformative for your educational prospects. With its comprehensive support system and significant financial aid, it's an opportunity worth pursuing. What makes this scholarship so valuable is that beyond the financial assistance, you get to join a community that supports your academic and personal growth. So, take these tips to heart, give it your best shot, and good luck!


Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you’re keen on pursuing in-depth research across subject areas,  you could also consider applying to one of the Lumiere Research Scholar Programs, selective online high school programs for students I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.


Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.


Image Source: Dell logo

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