The Mensa Education and Research Foundation annually doles out more than $100,000 in scholarships, ranging from $600 to $2,500, to Mensa members and non-members alike.
The requirements are simple: U.S. applicants must be enrolled in a degree program in an accredited U.S. institution of higher learning during the 2019-20 academic year, and they must submit an application and essay of not more than 550 words explaining their career, academic, and/or vocational goals and how they plan to achieve them.
The Foundation begins taking applications on Sept. 15, and the deadline to submit applications is Jan. 15. (This is the only period during the year in which the Foundation accepts scholarship applications.) Additional information, including frequently asked questions, and a scholarship application form can be found at MensaFoundation.org/scholarships.
The Foundation’s college scholarship program bases its awards totally on essays written by the applicants. Consideration is not given to grades, academic program, or financial need.
Scholarship essay judging begins with Local Groups assembling 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. A 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 Chair.
Finally, the National Scholarship Chair conducts 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.
Interested in being a scholarship essay judge?
The Foundation is looking for members who are confident in their knowledge of writing and reading skills. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.