The Coolidge Scholarship
Primary Criterion: Academic Excellence
Above all, Coolidge scholars must possess a distinguished academic record. Competitive candidates will have pursued and succeeded in the most rigorous course of study available to them. Awardees will demonstrate an uncommon academic depth and intellectual curiosity. In the case of the Coolidge Scholarship, depth matters as much as breadth. Coolidge winners’ interest in scholarly and intellectual pursuits goes beyond the classroom. Mere credential collection is not a defining trait of a Coolidge Scholar. Jonas Salk, the father of the polio vaccine, provides a good example. Salk so excelled in school that he skipped grades. However, he was also intellectually curious, writing: “As a child I was not interested in science. I was merely interested in things human.”
Secondary Criterion: Interest in Public Policy and Appreciation for Coolidge Values
From his boyhood days in Plymouth Notch through his years in the White House Coolidge studied public policy. This scholarship therefore seeks young citizens who exhibit an interest in policy. Candidates also should demonstrate an awareness of and appreciation for the values President Coolidge championed throughout his life. Some such values include: civility, restraint in government, respect for teachers, thrift, and respect for the presidency. The award is not restricted to candidates planning to pursue degrees in fields such as public policy or government. To the contrary, all academic disciplines are valued by this award. Like the president, Coolidge Scholars will engage in the pressing issues of their time. Like Coolidge, Coolidge Scholars are at all times civil, valuing respectful debate over partisan attack. Candidates will be asked to prepare an 800-word application essay on Coolidge values.
Secondary Criterion: Humility and Service
Humility is a hallmark quality of leaders in the Coolidge tradition. In his autobiography, Coolidge wrote: “It is a great advantage to a President, and a major source of safety to the country, for him to know that he is not a great man.” The Coolidge Scholarship seeks young people who display a sense of service and care for the well-being of others.
Other prizes are awarded to young people for accumulating leadership credentials in high school. This prize focuses rather on high school achievement that gives young people the potential to lead later in life. A young person who tends to work alone, but demonstrates potential to conduct breakthrough research, for example, is a strong candidate. Introverts can win this prize.
The Coolidge Scholarship is non-partisan and is awarded on merit regardless of race, gender, or background.
- 2017-18 Coolidge Scholarship applicants must intend to enroll full-time at an accredited U.S. college or university as an undergraduate for the first time in fall 2019. That is to say, students in their junior year of high school, or the equivalent if home schooled, are eligible to apply. (Students who are currently high school juniors but take some courses at a local college are indeed eligible to apply for the Coolidge Scholarship.)
- 2017-18 Coolidge Scholarship applicants must be citizens or legal permanent residents of the United States of America at the time of application.
- 2017-18 Coolidge Scholarship applicants cannot be the immediate family member of any current employee or trustee of the Coolidge Scholars Program or the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation.
- I’m an international student, am I eligible to apply for the Coolidge Scholarship? The Coolidge Scholarship is only open to U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents. U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents currently attending high school abroad are indeed eligible to apply.
- I currently am a high school junior, but take some courses at a local college, am I still eligible to apply? Yes, indeed! You must simply confirm that you intend to enroll full-time at an accredited U.S. college or university for the first time in fall 2019.
- I am a current high school junior intending to take a gap year after high school, and therefore plan to begin college in fall 2020. Am I eligible? No, only current high school juniors intending to enroll as full-time undergraduates for the first time in fall 2019 are eligible to apply for the 2017-18 scholarship.
- I am a current high school senior, am I eligible to apply? No, only current high school juniors intending to enroll as undergraduates full-time for the first time in fall 2019 are eligible to apply for the 2017-18 scholarship. No exceptions to this rule can be made.
- I am a current high school senior intending to take a gap year before beginning college, am I eligible to apply? No, only current high school juniors are eligible to apply. No exceptions to this rule can be made.
October 2017: Application opens for the 2017-18 Coolidge Scholarship. Note: only current high school juniors (i.e. students who intend to enroll in college full-time for the first time in fall of 2019) are eligible to apply.
Thursday, January 25, 2018, 5:00 PM eastern standard time: Application deadline. (Note: the deadline was previously January 24, 2018 at 5:00 PM EST, but has been extended. The deadline is now Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 5:00 PM EST.) Please note that only applications submitted by the application deadline, with accompanying letters of recommendation, can be considered. Please take special note of the time zone.
Spring 2018: All students will be notified of the final outcome of their application. Applicants who are named finalists will be contacted directly by phone and invited to Finalist Interview Weekend, which takes place in Woodstock, Vermont and historic Plymouth Notch, Vermont. The Coolidge Foundation will cover the travel and lodging costs for finalists and one parent to attend Finalist Weekend.
Summer 2018: Newly selected Coolidge Scholars will spend an orientation week at the Coolidge Foundation in Plymouth Notch, Vermont.