Application Process
Tell us why you're a DC Student Leader for the chance to win up to $20,000 in scholarship funds to support the next phase of your educational journey.
Overview
For 27 years, the DC Student Leader Awards program has worked to identify and support young leaders as they take the next steps in their educational journeys. Leadership comes in all shapes and sizes, and our application process is designed to be as inclusive as possible. Applicants from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply and share with us how you are making a positive impact in your home, school, and the DC Community.

All of our DC Student Leaders are recognized with scholarship funding, a backpack, and laptop, with scholarship funding broken into the following tiers:

Finalists
Finalists are ranked after a panel interview and will receive scholarship funding in an amount between $5,000-$20,000.

Semi-Finalists
Semi-finalists will all receive $1,000 in scholarship funding.

President's Award
One individual is selected by the President of the Kiwanis Club of Washington, D.C. to receive a $1,000 scholarship. This individual is typically chosen for their outstanding leadership characteristics and specific challenges the applicant has overcome.

All applicants will be notified of their award status and tier placement in late March 2024.
The Application
Biographical Information: Applicants are asked to submit information highlighting their high school experiences and demographic information. This includes:
- Completed FAFSA
- Certified Report Card
- List of all extracurricular activities and community involvement

Essay: Applicants are asked to submit a 500-word essay that captures their leadership journey, community involvement in the District of Columbia, and what makes them a DC Student Leader.

Letters of Recommendation: Applicants must nominate, and successfully procure, two letters of recommendation from teachers, mentors, community leaders, or any other individual that can speak directly to the applicant's leadership skills and school and community involvement.

Finalist Interviews: The top six (6) applicants will be invited to participate in a 30-minute panel interview with DC Student Leader Awards stakeholders and organizers. Interviews are required for finalists and will take place in person in downtown Washington, D.C on Saturday, April 6, 2024. The minimum finalist award amount is $5,000 and maximum award amount is $20,000.

Celebrate: All semi-finalists, finalists, and President's Award recipients will be invited to celebrate their leadership and success with us at our 28th Annual DC Student Leader Awards Ceremony. The ceremony will take place on Thursday, April 25, 2024 at the historic Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in downtown Washington, D.C. Please save the date!
Important Dates
Opening Date: December 1, 2023
Closing Date: March 4, 2024
Award Status Notification: March 25, 2024
Finalist Panel Interviews: April 6, 2024
Student Leader Awards Ceremony: April 25, 2024
Requirements
Online Submission: All applications must be submitted through our DC Student Leaders scholarship portal.

Letters of Recommendation: Applicants must secure two recommendations from individuals who can attest to their leadership and community impact. Applicants will request their Letters of Recommendation through our portal by entering the name and email of the individual submitting their recommendation. The individuals submitting a recommendation on behalf of the applicant will receive an email with a link to login and upload their Letters of Recommendation.

It's crucial to plan and request your recommendations early. Late Letters of Recommendation will not be accepted. Letters of Recommendation must be submitted through our portal and will not be accepted in any other medium.  Late or missing Letters of Recommendation will result in immediate disqualification of the applicant.

Complete Application: Applications must be submitted in full. To review all required materials for submission, please visit the Application Section above. Incomplete applications will be disqualified with no exceptions.

On Time Submission: Applications must be submitted by 11:59pm ET on Monday, March 4, 2024. No late applications will be accepted. Please start your application early, save often, and submit before Monday evening to ensure your application is accepted.