How to Apply

The application period is now closed. If you have any questions or concerns about your application, please contact Michelle Jones at mjones@childrensdefense.org.

Eligibility Criteria

To apply to the Beat the Odds scholarship program, at minimum, a student must:

  • Be nominated or seek nomination from a teacher, counselor, caseworker, or another adult who can speak on the student's challenges, victories, academic potential and commitment to social justice
  • Willingness to share your story
  • Be a current high school sophomore who resides in or attends school in the Greater Los Angeles area
  • Demonstrate academic achievement and potential for post-secondary success
  • Have limited family, community support and/or limited income
  • Demonstrate commitment to your community through involvement in social justice issues or volunteer work
  • If selected, must be able to provide a Social Security or Federal Tax Identification number. Undocumented students may apply

Additionally, students must submit a personal statement of no more than 750 typed words that addresses the following:

  • Major obstacles and challenges in your life and how you have or are addressing them
  • Past and current family, financial, educational, and emotional support systems
  • How you have been able to maintain academic success or show marked improvement in academics despite your hardships
  • Your commitment to serving others, for example, involvement in social justice issues, service clubs at school, community-based service, or taking on major home or work responsibilities.

Selection Criteria

CDF Beat the Odds scholarship applications are reviewed by the program's staff and 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. Successful applications will be able to demonstrate:

  • Academic Success - as measured by grade point average (GPA), as well as the undertaking of rigorous/advanced courses such as Honors, IB, AP, and community college classes while considering the setbacks and odds against them.
  • Unmet Support - refers to the lack of resources, both human and material, that youth need for successful transition to adulthood. Including: Family/kinship, financial and community.
  • Overcoming Adversity - refers to facing and overcoming significant obstacles, challenges, and/or setbacks in one's life that would make a successful transition to adulthood more difficult, while remaining focused on goals.
  • Commitment to Others - refers to voluntary activities in one's school, or local community aimed at addressing issues impacting the community, serving and assisting others as well as a regular undertaking of adult duties including: extended or primary care giving for siblings/other relatives; domestic work duties; working outside of the home to contribute financial support for basic needs.

Application Process

The application period for Beat the Odds scholarship programs opens in mid-January and closes in mid April. Final notifications are made in early June after our staff and selection committee have had the opportunity to carefully review each application.