The ACLU National office annually recognizes the efforts of graduating seniors who have demonstrated a strong commitment to civil liberties throughout their high school experience. This year, 15 high school students will each be awarded a $7,000 college scholarship through the program. These scholar-activists will also be invited to participate in the Youth Activist Institute at the National ACLU office in New York City, to be held over several days in the summer of 2010. There, the scholarship recipients will learn more about the work of the ACLU and receive hands-on training on how to be grassroots activists and leaders on their campuses.

To qualify, students must:

  • Have demonstrated a strong commitment to civil liberties through some form of activism
  • Be a high school senior planning on entering an accredited college or university as a full-time, degree-seeking student
  • Have attained a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale at the time of graduation
  • Not be a current ACLU plaintiff or witness in a legal case

Application process:

  • To apply for the scholarship, the student must be nominated by the affiliate, in this case, the ACLU of Southern California. Affiliates can nominate more than one student
  • The first step for the affiliate is conducting a brief interview with the potential applicant to determine if he or she is a qualified candidate. If so, the affiliate sends out the application form.
  • The application form includes: 1,000-word personal statement about your civil liberties activism; a recommendation form to be completed by an adult leader in your school or community that attests to your commitment as an activist and civil libertarian (this reference cannot be a family member); and an endorsement form that will be filled out by the local affiliate to formally nominate you for the scholarship. You will be required to submit your most up-to-date high school transcript to the GPA requirement.

Applicants will be judged on the following standards (in order of importance):

  • The strength and depth of the candidate's contributions to civil liberties
  • Demonstrated leadership
  • The likelihood of the applicant continuing commitment to civil liberties in the future
  • Commitment to academic excellence
  • Demonstrated financial need

Winners will be announced in February 2010.

To schedule an application interview with the ACLU/SC, drop us an email. Deadline to schedule an interview: Nov. 13, 2009. Deadline to return completed applications to the ACLU/SC: Nov. 27, 2009.

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