The application for the Cameron Impact Scholarship (run by the Bryan Cameron Education Foundation) opened for the high school class of 2023 on Feb 1. It’s a four-year full-ride awarded to “10-15 exceptional high school students” each year. I’m opening this thread for applying juniors like me to discuss the scholarship – and maybe for past applicants/winners to offer advice?
How important, or critical, is community service / volunteer for this scholarship? What type of work were done by previous winners?
You can find information about previous recipients on scholars tab on the website. I believe once you start the application, there is more information about what the previous recipients did.
I made an applicant account and don’t see any additional information about past winners. I could’ve sworn there was a bio for each scholar when I looked with no account several months ago… I’ve heard that Cameron Impact Scholars tend to have extremely impressive community service achievements, though, which isn’t a surprise considering that 10 or 15 are selected from a pool of 3,000.
I’d imagine things on the scale of high-level and ongoing volunteer work, fundraising large amounts of money, beginning or substantially contributing to some sort of effort/initiative with impact at or beyond the community level, et cetera. The eligibility statement just says applicants must “Show proven excellence in extracurricular activities, be motivated leaders with a strong work ethic, [and] demonstrate active participation in community service and/or civic minded arenas” in addition to the other more quantitative criteria.
Interesting. They must have taken the bios down. Even the press release points to the page without bios.
From what I remember, these kids made a significant impact in their community. They weren’t passive participants but were movers and shakers. They identified a problem and they figured out a way to solved it. Their impact was significant.
I know the Class of 2022 Recipients were just posted but the bios were taken out. Were any of you able to find outside information on the recipients’ ECs?
Wayback Machine to the rescue – I found an archived version of the page for the Class of 2021, with bios included.
I wonder if they took the bios down because they don’t want people to self-select (self-deselect, rather) and not even apply because of how impressive past winners have been. That might suggest that they’re looking for more variety, which wouldn’t be a surprise given the clear equity-and-inclusion emphasis on the website. In any case, I figure my chance of succeeding if I apply is much better than my chance if I don’t, in which case I obviously won’t be selected. I’d give that same advice to anyone reading this: why not give it a try and see what happens?
Good luck to everyone applying to this, I applied last year in the early round but was rejected. Thought I had comparable stats to those who had received it based on the bios. I know some people who had CRAZY profiles (legit nonprofits/educational initiatives adopted in several schools across the country, ivy-level awards and extracurriculars, leadership on the national level, etc) and they were flat out rejected. I looked at the Class of 2022 bios before they took them down, and it seems like there is a wide variety of people picked. Obviously you cannot tell everything from what you just see online, but there were a couple people that had normal extracurriculars and then one somewhat impactful passion project. Nothing insane, and if they posted a chance me on here for an ivy league school I can almost guarantee they would have been told no chance.
I think what they are looking for is passion, and they can tell that some of the extracurriculars are engineered/insincere. The passion projects I saw, the winners had personal connections in some way and it seemed a lot more genuine and humble…if that makes sense.
I would also suggest taking a ton of time on your essays and doing the regular round (do they still have 2 rounds? Last year there was early and then regular) if your essays aren’t up to par. I don’t think it really makes that much of a difference applying early vs not in terms of selection. From writing a ton of college essays this cycle, my writing has improved dramatically. I went back and looked at my Cameron essays and they were alright, but nothing special by any means. A lot of my current college essays are a lot better and actually reflect my personality! If I had to do it all over again I would have applied regular. It also gives you more time for achievements/awards…I had a national award I received in July and they never got a chance to see it because they sent out the finalist/rejection emails the last week of June!
I do think there is some merit to the community service idea––that they try and pick people that have done a lot of community service. Some of the winners in their bios seemed to have passion projects/initiatives that were more service oriented, which goes in line with what I said earlier about being genuine. The ones with the people I know who applied just seemed like they were trying to quantify everything too much, and their nonprofits/initiatives were not really “helping” other people. They were impactful in a way, but not from a service perspective if that makes sense.
Just my two cents.
I spoke to one of the 2022 winners and they mentioned that some of this year’s Scholars had a lot more ECs/awards than their bios might suggest, since they were told to shorten their personal descriptions (ostensibly to avoid scaring off potential applicants). They also said that the majority of the 2022 recipients had already been early admitted to top institutions like Harvard, Stanford, etc. (it is almost astonishing how predictive this scholarship is for HYPSM admissions) so there is no doubt that they are all supremely qualified. Of course, even though some of the recipients are especially impressive, I’m sure a few distinguished themselves mainly via essays/LORs or the finalist interview. I scanned the list of finalists as well, and as everyone on this thread has mentioned there are some RSI kids and Harvard/Stanford early admits I recognized on there who did not end up being picked for the scholarship. I think what they look for is one massive passion project corroborated by recommenders, and the winners generally seemed to have published research, media recognition, and/or national/international awards. None of them are really underwhelming by any means if you Google their names and look more closely at what they’ve done. Of course I don’t know too much about this process or the exact criteria but you should make sure your essays reflect your personality well and that you think carefully about who you request your LORs from!
Also one more thing I do want to add: stats really don’t matter too much for this scholarship. Though you may definitely be ruled out if your numbers are questionably low, a 4.0 and 1600 won’t get you very far, it seems (and I see multiple people on the list of unsuccessful finalists who I know have perfect grades/scores). You probably need a 3.9+ UW and 1500+ to be competitive and the rest boils down to your ECs, personal qualities, and essays. The entire focus of the scholarship is impact, so your academic performance only serves to shield you from immediate disqualification. They also try to pick a few winners from underrepresented regions so you may get a slight boost if you live in a state without too many applicants. None of this is confirmed as I’m not on the selection committee but based on my observations it seems to hold up.
I have a child who is a past winner. I think what you are saying is spot on and excellent advice.
It looks like a fabulous opportunity - not just financially but from a support network as well.
I just submitted my application and am crossing my fingers!!
For anyone following along, the Early Application deadline is in just over a month – May 20 at noon PT! Still working on my application. I need to start asking for letters of rec if I’m gonna make the early deadline…
Now just under two weeks until the early deadline! Anyone else aiming to get their app in by then?
I submitted mine! good luck!!