How to Apply

Apply now or nominate an outstanding high school student for the 2017 Beat the Odds scholarship program!

Applications must be received or postmarked by 11:59 p.m., Friday, October 14, 2016.

Children's Defense Fund-Minnesota will select 10 finalists in the fall and from that group will choose five honorees. Honorees will be notified in November and will each receive a $5,000 Beat the Odds scholarship.

Apply online

Download the application packet for students and nominators and submit via:



Attn: Emma Chambard 555 Park St. Suite 410 St. Paul, MN 55103

Fax (651) 227-2553

If you have questions about your application, please email or call (651) 855-1181.


For consideration in the Minnesota Beat the Odds scholarship program, an applicant must:

  1. Be a current high school senior in Minneapolis, St. Paul or surrounding area attending a public, charter or alternative high school; 
  2. Be nominated or seek nomination from a teacher, counselor, caseworker, or other adult who can speak to the student’s challenges; 
  3. Have overcome significant adversity such as, but not limited to, poverty, disability, homelessness or abuse; 
  4. Demonstrate participation in school activities, community organizations, employment and/or community service; and 
  5. Graduate by June 2017.

Beat the Odds scholarship applications are reviewed by our staff and a selection committee that reflects the professional and ethnic diversity of our community. We consider each applicant holistically and within the context of their academic achievement, personal circumstances, available support network, and commitment to service.


Winners will be interviewed and videotaped subjects of mini-documentaries to raise awareness about the challenges young people face. These mini-documentaries will be aired at the Beat the Odds Awards Ceremony in March 2017 and posted online as part of CDF's YouTube library. Applicants must feel comfortable sharing their stories publicly.


Applicants for the Beat the Odds scholarship will be evaluated based upon:

  1. An application form, which should tell the applicant's story, and include sufficient details to describe significant hardships/challenges faced, volunteer and service leadership experiences, and academics. 
  2. A recommendation from a teacher, counselor, caseworker, or other adult who can speak to the student’s challenges.

Notifications will be made November 2017.

Recipients will be honored at the March 2017 Beat the Odds Awards Ceremony.


651-855-1181 or