The series “Funding Your Future” has been put in place in order to connect talented rising high school seniors with large, fall deadline scholarships that they might otherwise miss. This multi-week article series will highlight a multitude of different scholarships. This week, the Elks Most Valuable Student Scholarship is being showcased. Throughout the article, you will find out about eligibility and application requirements. Near the end, there will even be a student perspective from John Le, an Elks Most Valuable Student scholarship semi-finalist winner. Hopefully, this article can shed light on the process for future applicants!

THE AWARD: The Elks Most Valuable Student scholarship gives away grants ranging from “$1000 per year to $12,500 per year” (Elks). In addition to this, finalists can receive awards of up to “$50,000” and an “all expenses paid leadership weekend” (Elks). In addition to the actual Elks Most Valuable Student scholarships, this application also typically puts you in the running for your local, district, and state lodge grants–although you should always check with these lodges to make sure that this is the case.

THE ELIGIBILITY: In order to apply for the Elks Most Valuable Student scholarship, there are several requirements. These eligibility requirements include being a “current high school senior,” and being a citizen of “the United States” (Elks). You DO NOT need to be related to an Elks member to apply for the Most Valuable Student scholarship. However, if you are a relative, it may be worth considering also applying to the Elks Legacy scholarship in order to maximize your chances of receiving any grant. According to Elks, there are four aspects to the selection criteria: ”leadership,” “academic achievements and records,” “community involvement,” and “financial need.” However, it is important to note that there are NO INCOME REQUIREMENTS for the scholarship, and you can apply no matter how much money your family makes. 

THE APPLICATION: The application consists of basic information, financial information, activity descriptions, and a comprehensive essay about one of your activities/extracurriculars. This essay is your chance to shine and show your dedication to the activities that you take part in, so make sure to make it count! 

THE PROCESS: This year’s MVS scholarship opens on August 5th, 2020 and will be due on November 15th, 2020. From there, your application must move up through local, district, and state lodges in order to reach semi-finalist status. Then, they will be considered for the larger Most Valuable Student Scholarships. However, any student can earn money from any level from local to state lodges as well. For example, you may be able to earn a grant from your local lodge, as well as a grant from your state lodge, and then still move on to semi-finalist status. Once you get to nationals, you will be required to submit another application to be considered for the top 20 finalists. After that, 20 finalists will be chosen and sent to the leadership weekend. From those finalists, the 1st-4th place winners will be chosen. Two first place winners will be gifted $50,000, two second place winners will be gifted $40,000 and two third place winners will be gifted $30,000. “The remaining 14 finalists will receive awards of $20,000” (Elks). 480 runner-ups will be gifted $4,000. 

STUDENT PERSPECTIVE: John Le is from Garden Grove, California, and is a Vietnamese First-Generation student who has taken a part in activities such as Mock Trial and competitive Piano. He is a Questbridge Match Scholar at Colorado College, and is a semi-finalist award winner for the Elks National Scholarship. John will be majoring in International Political Economy this fall.

John Le’s number one piece of advice is to START EARLY in order to demonstrate your best work. He also places emphasis on the essay, stating that the prompt revolves around “an extracurricular you liked and how it impacted you in the future.” His advice for applicants is to “focus” on the extracurricular that you truly love so that you can demonstrate your commitment and truly show the love for the activity within your essay. He also says that you should try to “show the motos that the Elks have” and in particular, service to others, within your application. This way, you are more likely to be selected as a scholarship recipient because the people reading applications will feel more drawn to your application. 

As an overarching theme, this is not an application that you can take lightly. Although it may seem straight-forward, it is important to start early so that you can create multiple drafts of your essay and continue to edit it to the best of your abilities. As with any scholarship application, try to show the readers who you are and what you love. 

We hope that we could either introduce you to the Elks Most Valuable Student scholarship or clear up any confusion. Like always, we wish you the best of luck on your applications!