Triumph Over Adversity The Horatio Alger Scholarship For Resilient Students

Horatio Alger Scholarship Introduction

Horatio Alger Scholarship supports students who have faced and overcome significant adversity in their lives but remain committed to pursuing their academic dreams. With nearly $18 million awarded annually to around 1,900 driven, resilient students, this need-based scholarship helps youth across the United States achieve their goals against the odds.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

To be eligible for the Horatio Alger Scholarship, applicants must demonstrate the following:

Financial Need

Applicants must display critical financial need. The scholarship aims to help students for whom the cost of education would represent a major barrier without this aid.

Perseverance Through Adversity

Candidates must have faced and conquered major challenges, obstacles, and hardships in their lives, whether family crises, health problems, neighborhood or school environment difficulties, or other issues. However, they must now be on a stable path personally and academically.

Integrity and Determination

Applicants need to show their strength of character, responsibility, and grit to confirm that they have the dedication and ethics to make the most of this scholarship opportunity.

How To Apply Horatio Alger Scholarship

Step 1: Determine if you meet the eligibility criteria

Make sure you meet all of the eligibility requirements listed, including being a high school senior or current college student, demonstrating financial need, overcoming adversity, maintaining a 2.5+ GPA, and being a US citizen.

Step 2: Gather supporting documentation

You will need to provide financial information to show your need, so make sure to have your family’s tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, etc. Showing how you have overcome adversity often requires letters of recommendation, so identify teachers, counselors, employers and others who can attest to your integrity and perseverance. Also gather transcripts, test scores, and any other items needed.

Step 3: Start your online application

Go to the Horatio Alger Scholarship website and click on “Start Application”. Create an account to begin your online application. Make sure to note deadlines.

Step 4: Fill out the application completely

Provide all required personal information. Write thoughtful responses to the application essay prompts related to overcoming adversity, your American dream, and more. Take time to make sure your application is complete.

Step 5: Submit supporting documents

The application will provide instructions for submitting tax forms, letters of recommendation, transcripts and other required supporting documents. Send all items by the deadline.

Step 6: Confirm submission

Make sure you receive confirmation that your application and documents have been successfully submitted. You should receive an email confirmation as well.

Step 7: Complete any follow up You may need to schedule an interview or provide any requested clarification or additional documents if asked by the scholarship committee. Respond to all follow up requests promptly.

Step 8: Wait for decision If selected, you will be notified by a letter in the mail. Only 1,900 students receive the scholarship each year, so the process is competitive. If not selected this year, consider reapplying next year.

March-June: Selection and Notification

Scholarship recipients are selected through several rounds of review and are notified between March and June.

August: National Scholars Conference

New National Scholars are invited to attend an all-expenses-paid National Scholars Conference in Washington, D.C. in August.

While challenging, the Horatio Alger Scholarship ultimately aims to empower driven students facing adversity. So for youth aspiring despite the odds, it’s an opportunity to keep fighting for every dream.


Q1. What types of adversity do you consider?

The Horatio Alger Association considers any challenging circumstances that test a student’s grit and perseverance, such as socioeconomic disadvantage, family crises, medical conditions or learning disabilities, dangerous environments, homelessness, and more.

Q2. What majors or programs are eligible?

The scholarship supports students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in any major or field of study at an accredited postsecondary institution full-time.

Q3. What schools can I attend?

You can use the scholarship funding toward tuition, fees, housing, books, supplies, etc. at any accredited nonprofit public or private college or university in the United States.

Q4. Can this scholarship be renewed?

Yes, the scholarship can be renewed on an annual basis for up to four years based on maintaining eligibility. You must submit renewal paperwork each year documenting continued financial need, enrollment status, and meeting the GPA threshold.


The Horatio Alger Scholarship is a highly competitive award that provides essential financial support for eligible students who have endured and overcome major adversity. Administered by the Horatio Alger Association, this merit and need-based scholarship program has helped enable over $18 million in funding annually for close to 1,900 resilient youth facing barriers.

Qualified applicants must demonstrate perseverance, integrity, motivation as well as critical financial need. The application timeline runs from April through October each year for students to submit essays, documents, recommendations, transcripts, and interviews. Competitive selection is based on reviewing candidates’ backstories battling the odds paired with their potential for achievement if given this academic opportunity.

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