There are two requirements for applicants:
- The applicant must be enrolled in a degree program in an accredited U.S. institution of higher learning during the academic year following the application date.
- The applicant must submit an application and essay explaining his or her career, academic and/or vocational goals.
The scholarship application process opens Sept. 15 and closes Jan. 15. No application forms are available at any other time. Between September and January, interested individuals can visit the scholarship application area of this site to determine eligibility and, if eligible, enter the program.
Applicants have until Jan. 15 to write an essay of not more than 550 words explaining their career, academic and/or vocational goals and how they plan to achieve those goals. For more information, read the scholarship FAQ.
American Mensa's local chapters assemble judging teams of at least three members to review the applications. The essays are judged on content and also grammar, organization and craftsmanship. The Local Scholarship Chair refers the best local essays to the Regional Scholarship Chair for review.
At the regional level, the process is repeated. The regional chair arranges for all of the essays referred from local chapters to be judged a second time. Regional judges rank the local winners and nominate the best essays for regional and national awards. These essays are then forwarded to the National Scholarship Chairs.
Finally, the National Scholarship Chairs conduct additional rounds of judging to select the regional and national winners. Each applicant can receive only one Mensa Foundation scholarship per year; therefore, the winners are chosen beginning at the highest dollar amounts. The next highest scores receive awards of the next lower amounts, and so on until all the winners are chosen based on the judges' scores.
The final list of scholarship winners is presented to the Mensa Foundation Board of Trustees, who certify the winners. Winners are notified by mail and given instructions for claiming their award. They are required to submit proof of registration in a degree program during the following academic year as well as proof of U.S. citizenship. After the verification is received, the checks are written and students receive the funds to help them pursue their education.