February 25, 2024
dell scholarship

The Dell Scholars Program, created by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, provides a valuable opportunity for driven, low-income, first-generation students to fund their college education. Over the past 16 years, the program has awarded over $80 million in scholarships to 6,000 students, enabling them to not only attend college but graduate and pursue meaningful careers.

Dell Scholars receive a scholarship of up to $20,000 per year to cover tuition, books, and living expenses for up to five years. Just as importantly, scholars gain access to a network of support, including mentoring, internships, and academic assistance throughout college.

By investing in first-generation students with financial need, the Dell Scholars program makes college accessible and sets scholars up for success during school and beyond graduation.

The Dell Scholarship presents an incredible chance for motivated high school students to make college a reality, regardless of their financial background.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the Dell Scholarship, applicants must meet several criteria related to academic performance, financial need, and college readiness. Some of the key eligibility requirements include:

GPA – There is no specific GPA cutoff, but applicants are expected to have at least a 2.4 GPA by graduation. More important than grades is demonstrating motivation and drive.

Income Limits – Applicants must have a household income below $60,000 to qualify based on financial need. Specific income verification is required.

First-Generation Status – Applicants must be on track to be the first in their immediate families to earn a bachelor’s degree to qualify as first-generation college students.

College Readiness Program – Applicants must have participated in and completed an approved college preparation program like AVID, GEAR UP, or Boys & Girls Clubs.

For complete details on eligibility criteria like citizenship status and grade level, visit the Dell Scholars website at https://www.dellscholars.org/scholarship/

Application Components

The Dell Scholarship application process is quite comprehensive, requiring more than just grades and test scores. Applicants must submit the following components:

Essays – There are two required personal statements: 1) Write a letter to your future college roommate describing yourself and your goals, and 2) Describe a life-changing obstacle you overcame. The essays allow the selection committee to evaluate applicants’ skills and motivations beyond academics.

Recommendations – Two recommendations are required, including one from a teacher. Recommenders should address applicants’ drive, character, and potential for college success.

Transcript – Applicants must submit an official high school transcript showing a minimum 2.4 GPA. The transcript verifies grades, coursework, and class rank.

Additional application components include proof of college readiness program participation, the Student Aid Report from the FAFSA, and confirmation of acceptance to an accredited college or university.

Overview of scholarship details

The Dell Scholarship provides an extremely generous amount of financial assistance, aimed to cover the full cost of college attendance for recipients. Scholars are awarded $20,000 per year, for up to five years, totaling up to $100,000 towards their undergraduate education (Scholarship, Dell Scholars Overview).

This flexible funding can be used to pay for tuition, fees, books, supplies, and living expenses. Essentially, the Dell Scholarship is designed to cover all the costs associated with earning a bachelor’s degree, making college truly affordable for recipients.

The scholarship has supported over 6,000 low-income, first generation students’ higher education since it was established in 2004. Each year, approximately 500 students are selected as Dell Scholars from thousands of applicants nationwide (Apply for the $20K Dell Scholars Program).

Selection Criteria

The Dell Scholars selection committee uses a holistic review process to evaluate applicants based on several key criteria:

Academic Achievement – Applicants must have a minimum 2.4 GPA to qualify. Strong grades in core courses and an upward grade trend can demonstrate your academic potential.

Extracurricular Involvement – Extracurriculars, community service, jobs, or family responsibilities all provide insight into your interests, leadership, and commitment. Unique experiences help you stand out.

Financial Need – Applicants must meet income requirements. Further financial hardship due to family situations may be considered. Detail any challenges you’ve overcome.

According to the Dell Scholars website, 500 students are selected annually from approximately 3,000 applications, making the acceptance rate around 16% https://www.dellscholars.org/faq/. Demonstrating strengths in key areas gives you the best chance of securing this competitive scholarship.

Making Your Application Stand Out

With only 500 Dell Scholarships awarded each year out of over 6,000 applications, you need to ensure your application stands out from the crowd. Here are some tips for making your Dell Scholarship application as compelling as possible:

Start preparing early – Begin working on your application 1-2 years in advance so you have plenty of time to strengthen your profile. Enroll in an approved college readiness program, pursue leadership activities, and aim for the best GPA possible (Source).

Craft a memorable short essay – The short essays are a key part of your application, so make sure they are well-written and help the reviewers get to know you. Follow the tips in the Dell Scholarship application handout for structuring a compelling narrative (Source).

Choose recommenders strategically – Ask teachers and mentors who know you well and can speak to your strengths and character. Provide them with background on the scholarship and a summary of your qualities and accomplishments.

Highlight extracurriculars and leadership – Get involved with meaningful activities and take on leadership roles if possible. Discuss the impact you made, not just participation.

Emphasize financial need and obstacles overcome – The Dell Scholarship targets financially disadvantaged students, so be genuine when describing the challenges you’ve faced and your motivation to get an education.

Follow instructions carefully – Read the application requirements closely and follow them to the letter. Submit all required documents and stick to word/page limits.

Additional Supports for Dell Scholars

In addition to the substantial $20,000 scholarship, the Dell Scholars program provides a wide array of supports to help students succeed in college and beyond. These include:

Mentoring – Each Dell Scholar is matched with a trained adult mentor who provides guidance and support throughout the student’s college experience. Mentors help scholars navigate challenges and connect them with resources.

Academic Assistance – Dell Scholars have access to academic advisors, tutors, and other services to help them excel academically.

Financial Guidance – Scholars receive support with financial planning, budgeting, and money management skills.

Conferences – Dell Scholars attend an annual conference where they gain leadership skills, meet fellow scholars, and hear from inspirational speakers. Regional conferences are also held.

Networking Opportunities – The program connects scholars with internships, professional mentors, and career guidance. This allows scholars to build their professional network.

The additional resources provided by the Dell Scholars program are designed to support scholars holistically and set them up for success throughout college and into their careers. These comprehensive supports help maximize the impact of the scholarship.

Maximizing the Scholarship Money

The Dell Scholarship provides a significant amount of funding, but you’ll want to make sure you use the money wisely to cover as much of your college costs as possible. Here are some tips for maximizing your scholarship dollars:

Compare college costs. Make sure to evaluate the full cost of attendance, not just tuition, at the schools you are considering. Understanding the complete costs will help you determine where the scholarship money will go furthest.

Combine with other aid. Look for additional scholarship opportunities to apply for and see if you might qualify for need-based federal and state financial aid by completing the FAFSA. You can accept and combine these funding sources with the Dell Scholarship.According to Mosaiec, combining multiple scholarships and aid can reduce your out-of-pocket costs significantly.

Budget and manage carefully. Create a budget to understand where each dollar of your scholarship money will be going. Make sure to prioritize essentials like tuition, fees, books and supplies before spending on extras. Tracking your spending diligently will help the money go further.


The Dell Scholarship provides exceptional opportunities for low-income, first-generation students to afford and succeed in college. By covering tuition, fees, books, and living expenses, the $20,000 annual award opens doors to higher education that students may have thought were closed. Beyond just money, Dell Scholars gain access to mentoring, conferences, and other supports needed to thrive on campus and graduate. Given the potential life-changing impact, all eligible students should consider applying for this highly competitive scholarship. With diligent preparation of an outstanding application and careful planning to maximize funds, the Dell Scholarship can make college attainable.

Get Application Guidance and Learn More

The Dell Scholars program provides an incredible opportunity for low-income, first-generation students to fund their college education. Don’t miss out by submitting an incomplete or weak application.

Reach out to the Dell Scholars staff for guidance on putting together a standout application. Their contact information can be found at https://www.dellscholars.org/faq/.

You can also learn more about the scholarship requirements, timeline, selection process, and more at the Dell Scholars website: https://www.dellscholars.org/scholarship/.

With proper planning and preparation, you can submit a Dell Scholarship application that effectively conveys your achievements, financial need, and potential to succeed in college. Don’t miss this opportunity to make your college dreams a reality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *