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American Dream Fellowship Competition for 1st Generation Students, Elmhurst University

This blog contains direct quotes from websites as of 2023. Programs and policies do change, at colleges, from time to time, so please check with the colleges directly to receive any updates. These are not, necessarily, the biggest, best, or most popular programs at the college, but they are the ones that just “caught my eye” as unique, special, interesting, or just plain awesome. Enjoy!


[editor’s note: the follow in a quote from the Elmhurst University website in 2023. The exact dates and times change from year to year, so I truncated that information]


From the Elmhurst University website, 2023: “Elmhurst University is committed to helping individuals achieve the American Dream. We are pleased to announce the…American Dream Fellowship Competition, a scholarship competition that supports the enrollment of first-generation college students.


“All first-year admitted students (freshmen) who are first-generation college students* are invited to participate in the competition, which will consist of two rounds:


“Round One: [ed: usually early March]

Make a video (no more than three minutes long) … on the topic: “The American dream is the belief that anyone, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into, can attain their own version of success. What is your version of success?” [editor’s note: The topic could change from year to year. This is just an example]


“Note: All Round One participants are automatically invited to the Round Two competition. We look forward to viewing student videos from all who applied for Round One – and seeing you on campus for Round Two.


“Round Two (In-Person)

[ed: usually early April] Students and their families will be invited to the second round of competition, held on the Elmhurst University campus.


“The on-campus Round Two competition will consist of a group project for students, an opportunity to hear from a first-generation featured speaker, and a chance to meet other participants. Round Two concludes with an awards ceremony hosted by University President Troy D. VanAken, a first-generation college student himself.


“FIRST PLACE: The winner receives a four-year, full-tuition scholarship.

SECOND PLACE: The winner receives a four-year, $10,000 annual stipend.

ALL STUDENTS WHO COMPLETE BOTH ROUNDS OF THE COMPETITION will receive a four-year, $1,000 annual American Dream Fellowship Grant, which can be added to previously awarded merit scholarships and/or grant aid.

[editor’s note: the above amounts can change from year to year, so please check with the admissions office for current figures]


* “First-generation college students” means neither parent nor guardian has earned a bachelor’s degree.


Elmhurst University is one of the featured colleges in my new book (click image for additional information):








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