Scholarship Essay Judges Needed

  • Oct 23, 2018
  • Jane Gmur, National Scholarships Assistant Chair

We need a few good readers to judge Mensa Foundation Scholarship Essays. This task is for anyone who notices the misuse of their, there, and they’re and anyone who can pick out a goal statement from support statements, or fluff.

Every year, the Mensa Foundation Scholarship Program awards more than $130,000 to almost 200 students across the nation. Winners are selected based on essays that discuss their career and educational goals. Mensa members score the essays at local, regional, and national levels using criteria defined by the Foundation. Every judge at every level uses the same criteria.

Want to help? Contact us at and mention that you’re interested in being a judge. Teachers and writers most frequently volunteer, but we need judges from myriad backgrounds.

I’m specifically recruiting for the non-participating groups. But, wait — if we’re judging non-participating groups, then aren’t they, in fact, participating? To be considered a participating group in the scholarship program, a Local Group must appoint a Scholarship Chair. These chairs handle all applications for their respective Local Groups. A nonparticipating group is one where the Local Group doesn't appoint a chair. Applicants from those Local Groups can still apply and are pooled with others from non-participating groups. (Only participating groups get local awards.) Judges for non-participating groups are selected from all over the country. You can also judge at the local or regional level.

Judging takes place from Jan. 15 to Feb. 15. Each judge will receive a packet of no more than 50 essays, a scoring sheet, and scoring criteria. You’ll have a few days to return scores for each essay. This all happens via email. Each essay is 550 words or fewer. At least two other judges will be scoring the same packet, which takes the pressure off of each of you.

The scholarship program gives back to all U.S. students; they don’t have to be members to apply for or to win an award. It’s satisfying to learn what students are doing and some essays will bring a chuckle.

I need to hear from you by Jan. 13. Please consider volunteering for this worthwhile program.

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