Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Pearson Prize?
The Pearson Prize for Higher Education is an award that supports students who are giving back to their local communities. This year, the Pearson Foundation is awarding Pearson Prize Fellowships to 100 students in recognition of their commitment to local communities.
Most college award programs and scholarships offer support to graduating high school students who have distinguished themselves academically during their high school careers. Yet many students don't discover their direction until well after their college career has begun.
The Pearson Prize recognizes students who have:
- Been attending a two‐ or four‐year school
- Completed at least one year in college
- Demonstrated leadership in community service
What type of person is a good candidate for the Pearson Prize?
We are looking for a complete student - one dedicated to service and to the college community in addition to his or her studies.
Does my high school volunteer work count toward the community service requirement?
In general, high school volunteer work does not count toward the community service requirement. We make a few exceptions. Some students may have started a volunteer engagement in high school and continue to volunteer in college, for instance. We consider all applications on a case-by-case basis.
How are students selected for the Pearson Prize?
There is a four-part selection process:
- First, applicants fill out the general profile information and submit steps 1 through 3 of the application.
- Then, a group of qualified reviewers reads every essay and makes determinations on who will be selected for the second round.
- Next, the selected group of applicants submits video essays.
- Finally, a selection committee reviews the last set of applicants and determines the Pearson Prize recipients.
What are the benefits of being a Pearson Prize National Fellow?
The Pearson Prize offers:
- A scholarship award of $1,000 to 100 finalists
- Guidance and opportunities from the Pearson Foundation and from Pearson, a leader in education
- Collaboration with past and current Prize Fellows, fostering community involvement and social entrepreneurship across the country
Can I defer my acceptance?
No, Pearson Prize recipients may not defer acceptance.
How do I apply for the Pearson Prize?
All applicants must use the online application, completing each of the required steps.
How important is the role of the essays in my application?
Your essays are a critical part of your application and, along with your recommendation, form the principal way that our reviewers understand you and your experience.
How important is the role of the video essay in my application?
Video essays are requested only of Pearson Prize semi-finalists. If you are selected for the subsequent rounds of consideration, you will be asked to create a personal video. This video will be added to your overall application, to be considered equally with the other aspects of your submission. Because students have varying experience with video editing and unequal access to technology, the Pearson Prize selection committee does not evaluate the production quality of the video submissions. The videos are requested simply as a way to get to know applicants better.
Is the Pearson Prize need-based?
No, the Pearson Prize is a merit-based scholarship.
Am I eligible for the Pearson Prize?
Please carefully review the following guidelines to determine your eligibility for the Pearson Prize. You must meet all of the guidelines below in order to successfully apply.
- You have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent.
- You are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
- You have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or above.
- You are currently enrolled and pursuing a degree full-time at an accredited career college, two-year or four-year college, or university. (Graduate students are not eligible to apply.)
- You have at least one full year of college completed AND 30 or more credits accumulated by February 25, 2013. Note: Courses or credits obtained prior to entering college (e.g., Advanced Placement credits) do not count toward this total.
- You will have at least one full year (two semesters) of college remaining after you would be named a Pearson Prize Fellow in Fall 2013 (In other words, you are graduating in or after May 2014), and you are not currently entering/in graduate school. (Note: If you will be graduating from a community college prior to May 2014 but will be immediately transferring to an undergraduate program the following semester, you do meet this requirement).
- You are not related to a Pearson employee.
- You have not previously received a Pearson Prize grant or fellowship.
Am I eligible if I am not a U.S. citizen, or if the degree I am working toward is not from an accredited college or university in the United States?
The Pearson Prize is available only for U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents. In addition, the degree you are working toward must be from an accredited college or university in the United States.
Am I eligible if I have not demonstrated community service and leadership?
Community service and leadership are core components of the Pearson Prize. If you have not demonstrated these qualities, you will be ineligible.
I'm graduating college this academic year; am I eligible for the Pearson Prize?
Students in their final year of college are not eligible to apply, even if continuing on to graduate school. The Pearson Prize is intended to address the needs of emerging leaders at a specific point in their college career.
Are high school seniors eligible to apply?
High school seniors are not eligible to apply, even if they have accumulated college credits equal to one or more years of college coursework. The Pearson Prize is intended to address the needs of emerging leaders at a specific point in their college career.
Can I apply for the Pearson Prize if my family member or I work for a Pearson company?
No, the Pearson Prize is available only to individuals who are not affiliated with Pearson. (There is a Pearson Scholarship Program dedicated to family members of Pearson employees.)
If I received the Pearson Prize last year, am I eligible to apply again this year?
No. To assist as many people as possible, a student is not eligible to receive the Pearson Prize award two years in a row.
What is the deadline for submitting the online application?
The deadline for the 2013 Pearson Prize application is 11:59PM EST on Friday, April 19, 2013.
When is the letter of reference due?
The letter of reference must be submitted via the online reference portal by 11:59 PM EST Tuesday, April 30, 2013.
When will I be notified if I'm a semi-finalist?
Semi-finalists will be notified by June 3, 2013.
I'm a semi-finalist and need to create a video essay. What is the deadline for submitting it?
The deadline to submit a video essay is 11:59pm EST on Friday, June 14, 2013.
When will I be notified if I've won?
Winners of the Pearson Prize will be notified in late July 2013.
Are letters of recommendation required? Can I submit them with my online application?
Yes, the Pearson Prize requires one letter of recommendation to be submitted in support of your application. When you complete the online application process, you will be asked for email contact information for your reference person. Your reference provider will receive an email from the Pearson Foundation with instructions explaining how to log in to the Reference website and submit his or her letter electronically. PLEASE NOTE that the email to your reference person will not be submitted until the evening of the date you submit your full application (Application steps 1 through 3).
Does the letter of recommendation have to be submitted online?
Yes, the Pearson Prize requires reference providers to submit letters of recommendation electronically via the reference portal. We do NOT accept letters via email, fax, mail or the Message Center.
What should I do if my contact listed to provide a reference letter does not receive an email from the Pearson Foundation?
You will be able to submit your reference information and still continue to work on completing the application. Your reference contact will receive the email invitation within one business day after he or she is added to your application.
To help ensure that he or she receives the email, please encourage your contact to add email@example.com to his or her email safe lists so the email does not end up in a spam box.
What should I do if my reference contact forgets his or her password?
Your contact can visit the Reference Portal and use the "Forgot Your Password" function to generate another email invitation. This will enable him or her to log in and add the letter.
Will my reference contact receive any reminders about my letter of recommendation?
Reference contacts who have not responded will receive a weekly email reminding them to visit the Reference Portal and add their letter. Reminder emails are sent weekly on Monday at 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time until the deadline.
Can I update my university/college information?
If your application has not yet been submitted, you can update your college/university information in the online application portal. If the application has been submitted, you should contact us directly and we can update your information. Log in to your online application account and use the Message Center function to contact us. Please be patient: we will respond within one business day of your request.
How can I change a reference?
If your reference person is unable to complete your recommendation, you may contact us through the Message Center and we will assist you. We will need to know the name and email address of the new reference person. Please note that we can only change your reference person once!
How can I get help if I am having difficulty logging in to the online application?
If you are having difficulty logging in to the online application, please fill out the contact form* with the following information:
- Enter your full name.
- Enter the email address that you used for your login.
- Describe the problem you are experiencing.
If you were able to log in but are having problems with your application, please contact us via the Message Center and describe your situation.
*This contact form is ONLY for problems logging in to the application. To contact us regarding other topics, log in to your online application account and use the Message Center function. Please be patient: we will respond within 24 hours of your request.
How do I edit my essays after they have been submitted?
You cannot edit your essays after they have been submitted. At any time prior to submission, however, you can save your application information and return to it later.
How do I know if my application has been received?
Once your application is complete and has been submitted online, you will receive an email notification confirming receipt. If you do not receive this confirmation email, please notify us via the Message Center.
How do I submit a resume?
Resumes are requested only of Pearson Prize semi-finalists and finalists. You are not required to create or upload a resume for the initial application. If you are selected for the subsequent rounds of consideration, you will be asked to submit a resume. You should create your resume in a word-processing program like Microsoft Word, save it to your computer, and then upload the file. The system will accept the following formats: .doc, .rtf, .jpg, and .pdf.
How do I update my reference provider's email or name?
At any time prior to submission, you may edit your reference provider's email and/or name via the online application account. After you have submitted your application, in order to make this change, please log in to your online application account and use the Message Center function to send us this request.
How do I update profile information in my online application?
You can update your profile information at any time during the application process. When you log in to the online application, there will be a link to your profile in the left navigation. All of the information on the My Profile page can be edited.
How do I update the name or email of my financial aid contact?
Financial aid information is requested only of Pearson Prize finalists. If you are a finalist, you will submit this information as part of the final step, award acceptance. As with the college/university information, you should contact us directly if you need to make changes to your financial aid information and we can update your application. Please log in to your online application account and use the Message Center function to send us this request.
How should I communicate with the Pearson Prize team?
Log in to your online application account and use the Message Center function to send us questions. Do not email us via regular email. Please be patient: we will respond within one business day of your request.
Can I fax my transcript, proof of citizenship, and income document?
We do not require any such documents during the initial application process. If you become a semi-finalist, we may request documentation at that time, and will provide instructions to you directly.
Can I mail a copy of my transcripts or letter of recommendation to the Pearson Foundation?
Again, we do not require any such documents during the initial application process. If you become a semi-finalist, we may request documentation at that time, and will provide instructions to you directly.
I submitted my application but I haven't received an email notification. What should I do?
Check your spam folder to make sure that the email is not there. If you have not received a confirmation email, contact us through the Message Center.
When will I know if I've been accepted?
Pearson Prize awardees will receive an email confirming acceptance in late July 2013, and winners will also be announced at www.pearsonfoundation.org.
What if I have other questions?
We are here to help. Get in touch.