How to Apply

The 2018 Children's Defense Fund Beat the Odds® Scholarship Application Submission Deadline: 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 15, 2018. Apply Online Now.

Eligibility Requirements

For consideration in the CDF Beat the Odds Program, an applicant must:

  • Be a current high school sophomore who attends a public, charter, or alternative school in Washington, DC; Alexandra, Arlington, Fairfax or Loudon Counties or the Cities of Manassas or Falls Church in Virginia; or in Montgomery or Prince George's Counties in Maryland;
  • Have overcome significant adversity such as, but not limited to, poverty, disability, homelessness or abuse;
  • Demonstrate participation in school activities, community organizations, and/or employment;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to their community and/or social justice issues;
  • Have a current G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher;
  • Plan to attend college, university, or vocational school post graduation.

The Children's Defense Fund welcomes students to apply regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, immigration status, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Selection Process

Beat the Odds Program applications are reviewed by CDF staff and a selection committee that reflects the professional and ethnic diversity of our community. We consider each applicant holistically and within the context of their academic achievement, personal circumstances, available support network, and commitment to service.

Applicants for the Beat the Odds program will be evaluated based upon:

  • A completed application form
  • A personal statement, of no more than 750 typed words, that accomplishes the following:
    • Describes the major obstacles and challenges in your life and how you have overcome them;
    • Describes your past and current family, financial, educational, and emotional support systems;
    • Describes how you have been able to achieve academic success or show marked improvement in academics, despite your hardships;
    • Describes your commitment to serving others, for example: involvement in service clubs at school, community-based service, or taking on major home or work responsibilities.
  • An educator recommendation from a teacher who knows the applicant well.
  • A community member recommendation from a mentor, employer or counselor who knows the applicant well.
  • An unofficial high school transcript. If an applicant is selected as a finalist, an official transcript will be required.