Scholarship Spotlight on Coca-Cola Scholars
The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation also sponsors the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team and the Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise through Phi Theta Kappa to support students at community colleges.
About the Organization
Founded in 1986, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation operates on behalf of the Coca-Cola System. Coca-Cola was created in 1886 by pharmacist Dr. John Pemberton. During that first year, nine Coca-Cola drinks were sold per day. Now, an estimated 1.9 billion drinks are sold per day. Fun fact: “Coca-Cola” is the second most widely understood term in the world, second only to “okay.”
The foundation provides scholarship programs and enrichment opportunities for those with a thirst for knowledge and who want to make a difference in the world. The foundation supports more than 1,400 college students each year with annual scholarships totaling $3.4 million.
Applicants must be current high school or home-schooled seniors attending school in the United States. They must have a 3.0 GPA at the end of their junior year. They must plan to pursue a degree at an accredited post-secondary institution in the United States.
Applicants must complete an online application consisting of five parts: biographical information, school activities, community activities, academic information, and employment information. From the entire applicant pool, about 2,000 applicants are selected as Semifinalists. These students will then compete in a secondary application that includes essays, official transcripts, and two letters of recommendation. Of the Semifinalists, 250 are chosen as Finalists and will advance to the final interview phase, which takes place in Atlanta. Of the finalists, 150 students are designated as Coca-Cola Scholars and will receive scholarships of $20,000 each.
Annual Application Window
Applications are accepted beginning in August of the applicants’ senior year in high school. The annual deadline is October 31.
Tips on How to Win
This application process does take a significant amount of time to complete, so start working on your application as soon as you can. Spread your work out over the course of a few days so you won’t get bogged down and can put forth your best work. The online application process makes it easy for you to continuously review and make changes to your application until you’ve made it perfect.
The foundation receives applications from millions of students across the country, so it’s even more important to take plenty of time to focus not only on the content of your application, but the quality. Coca-Cola Scholars is one of the most selective scholarship programs, with less than 0.2% of applicants winning scholarships.
Before you begin, remember that the foundation’s mission is to help those with a thirst for knowledge and who want to make a difference in the world. Keep this in mind as you craft your answers to the application questions. How do you fit into that mission? Be sure that your application clearly expresses your desire for a college education and how you plan to make a difference as a result of it.