Coca-Cola Scholarships – A Complete Guide for 2023


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The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation offers over $20 million in scholarships each year to graduating high school seniors demonstrating leadership, academic achievement, and commitment to their communities. Coca-Cola scholarships are prestigious, renewable awards that can make college affordable for exceptional students. This complete guide covers everything you need to know about Coca-Cola scholarships for 2023.

Overview of Coca-Cola Scholarships

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors several scholarship programs:

  • Coca-Cola Scholars Program – 150 four-year, $20,000 scholarships awarded each year to well-rounded leaders who positively impact their schools and communities. This is the foundation’s flagship program.
  • Coca-Cola Academic Team – 50 two-year, $10,000 scholarships to community college students exhibiting academic excellence and intellectual rigor combined with leadership.
  • Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise – 262 students receive $2,500 scholarships as rising sophomores for demonstrating leadership, commitment to service, and academic achievement.
  • Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team – Up to 60 two-year, $2,500 scholarships to community college students showcasing academic achievement, leadership, and engagement in college and community service.

In total, more than 5,250 Coca-Cola scholarships worth over $20 million are awarded annually to exceptional high school and community college students.

Coca-Cola Scholars Program

The Coca-Cola Scholars Program is the foundation’s most prestigious scholarship. It recognizes 150 high school seniors each year for their capacity to lead and serve, and their commitment to making a significant impact on their schools and communities.

Recipients are known as Coca-Cola Scholars and receive $20,000 scholarships that are renewable for up to five years and four years of undergraduate study. With strong scores and grades, Coca-Cola Scholars are typically accepted to top universities and pursue competitive career fields after graduation.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for the Coca-Cola Scholars Program, applicants must:

  • Be current high school seniors attending school in the U.S. (or select DoD schools)
  • Be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, U.S. permanent residents, refugees, asylees, Cuban-Haitian entrants, or humanitarian parolees
  • Anticipate graduating during the current academic year
  • Plan to pursue a degree at an accredited U.S. post-secondary institution
  • Carry a minimum 3.00 GPA at the end of their junior year

Selection Criteria

Coca-Cola Scholars are selected based on their demonstrated leadership, academic achievement, and service to the community throughout high school. Selection considerations include:

  • Leadership – Leadership roles in school, community, work, or extracurricular activities where the applicant has positively influenced others.
  • Service – Meaningful volunteer and community service experiences that benefitted others or brought about positive changes.
  • Academics – An outstanding academic record throughout high school, taking into account available course offerings and educational opportunities.
  • Character – Strong character, integrity, and demonstrated passion that reflects the philosophies of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation.

How to Apply

The Coca-Cola Scholars Program online application opens in August and closes October 31 every year. Applicants create an account on the Coca-Cola Scholars Portal to access and submit the form.

The application requires:

  • Basic Personal Information – Name, contact details, demographic information, education history, and plans to attend a 4-year U.S. college or university.
  • Short Essays – A 450-word essay describing an obstacle or challenge overcome and key learnings. A 300-word essay explaining long-term career aspirations and steps planned to achieve goals.
  • Activities and Awards – Extracurricular activities, community service projects, work experience, and honors/awards received in high school.
  • Letters of Recommendation – Two letters of recommendation submitted directly by references through the online portal. One academic endorsement and one character/community endorsement are required.
  • Transcript – An official high school transcript covering all completed semesters of grades 9-11 submitted directly by the applicant’s school counselor or registrar.
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Applicants are notified if they are named a Coca-Cola Scholar semifinalist in January. Semifinalists complete Phase 2 by providing a school counselor recommendation, headshot, and FAFSA Student Aid Report. Final selection decisions are shared in April.

Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship

The Leaders of Promise Scholarship is a high school program awarding 250 students nationwide with $1,000 scholarships as high school freshmen. In 10th grade, recipients can renew the scholarship for $2,500 by maintaining eligibility criteria.

The program recognizes first-year high school students for their capacity to lead and serve, as demonstrated through academic achievement, leadership potential, and commitment to making a significant impact in their communities.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for the Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship, applicants must:

  • Be current high school freshmen attending school in the U.S. (or select DoD schools)
  • Be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, U.S. permanent residents, refugees, asylees, Cuban-Haitian entrants, or humanitarian parolees
  • Carry a minimum 3.0 GPA

Selection Criteria

Recipients are selected based on:

  • Academics – Strong middle school academic performance and displaying curiosity and diligence.
  • Leadership – Demonstrated leadership through extracurricular activities, sports, clubs, volunteering, or work experience.
  • Service – Commitment to service and making a positive difference in the community.
  • Character – Passion, integrity, and performance that reflects the values of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation.

Application Timeline

  • Phase 1 (August – October) – Online application requiring personal details, short essays, activities/awards, and one letter of recommendation. Applicants are notified of semi-finalist status in November.
  • Phase 2 (November – January) – Semifinalists submit one additional letter of recommendation. 250 recipients are selected and notified in February.
  • Phase 3 (May) – Freshman recipients complete a recipient acceptance form to confirm eligibility and activate their first scholarship payment.
  • Phase 4 (May of 10th grade) – Recipients complete a scholarship renewal application to qualify for the $2,500 sophomore-year scholarship.

Coca-Cola Academic Team Scholarship

The Coca-Cola Academic Team awards 50 two-year, $10,000 scholarships annually to outstanding community college students across the country. It recognizes scholars who demonstrate academic rigor combined with strong leadership, commitment to service, and engagement outside the classroom.

Students selected for the Academic Team are known as Coca-Cola Gold Scholars. The program also recognizes up to 30 Silver and 30 Bronze scholars with smaller scholarship amounts. All recipients gain access to unique networking and skill-building opportunities.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for the Coca-Cola Academic Team, applicants must:

  • Be students currently attending a community college in the U.S. or select U.S. territories.
  • Carry a cumulative 3.5 college GPA.
  • Anticipate receiving an associate degree by the end of the current academic year.
  • Plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree at an accredited four-year U.S. college or university the following year.
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Selection Criteria

Gold scholars exhibit:

  • Outstanding academic rigor, curiosity, and grades in college coursework.
  • Notable leadership, service, and engagement on campus and in their communities.
  • Alignment with Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation ideals of leadership, service, character, and community.

Application Timeline

  • Phase 1 (August – October) – Online application with personal details, short essays, activities/awards, transcripts, and up to 3 letters of recommendation submitted.
  • Phase 2 (November – February) – Regional panels interview 10-15 semifinalists. 50 Gold Scholars, 30 Silver Scholars, and 30 Bronze Scholars are selected and notified by mid-February.
  • Phase 3 (March) – Recipients complete scholarship acceptance paperwork.
  • Phase 4 (May) – Scholars participate in Coca-Cola Academic Retreat for development, networking, and recognition.

Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team

The Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team recognizes up to 50 of the nation’s top two-year college students with a $2,000 scholarship. Students are selected based on academic performance, leadership, and engagement in college and community service.

The program provides annual renewable awards for up to two years of undergraduate study or until a bachelor’s degree is earned, whichever comes first.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team, applicants must:

  • Attend one of the nearly 1,200 member colleges of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).
  • Be nominated by their college president or chief academic officer.
  • Carry a cumulative 3.5 college GPA.
  • Be on track to graduate by the end of the current academic year with an associate degree.
  • Demonstrate leadership experience and commitment to service.

Selection Process

  • Each participating community college campus may nominate up to two candidates who meet eligibility criteria.
  • A selection committee reviews all nominated students and chooses up to 50 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team recipients.
  • Selection is based on academic achievement, leadership, and engagement in college and community service.

Application Timeline

The Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team program timeline is:

  • October – Colleges submit nominations and student application materials.
  • February – Up to 50 recipients are selected and notified.
  • April – Scholars are recognized and celebrated at the AACC Annual Convention.

Tips for Applying

Here are some top tips for applying to Coca-Cola scholarships and preparing a standout application:

  • Start early – Give yourself ample time to compile materials and create a thoughtful, polished application by the deadline.
  • Read instructions carefully – Follow all requirements and word limits to demonstrate attention to detail. Format essays clearly.
  • Showcase involvement – Highlight extracurriculars, volunteer work, and honors that demonstrate your well-rounded interests and commitment to service.
  • Highlight leadership – Share examples of your ability to lead teams, spearhead initiatives, or motivate others to act.
  • Get great recommendations – Ask teachers, counselors, coaches, or community members who know you well for compelling recommendation letters.
  • Convey passion – Let your authentic voice, perspective, and aspirations come through in essays and throughout your application.
  • Proofread thoroughly – Review your full application for any errors before submitting. Ask others to proofread as well.

With preparation and a strong application, you can effectively highlight your talents and potential to compete for these prestigious Coca-Cola scholarships.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for Coca-Cola scholarships?

Coca-Cola scholarships are open to graduating high school seniors, current community college students, and first-year high school students who meet eligibility criteria like GPA, U.S. residency status, and plans to pursue an undergraduate degree.

When should you apply?

Application deadlines vary by program but are typically in October – November for programs awarding scholarships for the following academic year. Apply as early as possible.

What majors or colleges can recipients attend?

Coca-Cola scholarships support all fields of undergraduate study at any accredited college or university within the U.S. There are no restrictions on majors or schools.

How are scholarships paid?

Scholarship funds are sent directly to recipients’ colleges to cover eligible educational expenses like tuition, fees, room, board, and books. Unused funds may be carried over from year to year.

Are scholarships renewable?

Most Coca-Cola scholarships are renewable annually for up to four years of undergraduate study, provided the recipient maintains eligibility criteria. Check specific program details.

Coca-Cola Scholarships Provide Significant College Funding

For exceptional students demonstrating leadership, service, and academic performance, Coca-Cola scholarships are an invaluable opportunity. These prestigious awards provide up to $20,000 in funding that renews annually for four years, making college affordable for deserving scholars nationwide. We hope this complete guide offered helpful insights into these transformative programs!

Tips for Submitting a Strong Application

Applying for competitive Coca-Cola scholarships takes preparation and effort to showcase your talents in the best possible light. Here are some additional tips for submitting an outstanding application:

Start With Self-Reflection

Take time to reflect on your high school or community college journey so far. What moments, activities, relationships, or accomplishments made you most proud? What key skills have you gained? How have you made a difference on campus or in your community? Use these insights to illustrate your strengths.

Choose Recommenders Strategically

Ask teachers, counselors, coaches, bosses, or community members who know you well and can speak to your abilities meaningfully. Share your background on the scholarship so they can emphasize your relevant qualifications. Provide recommenders plenty of time to craft a compelling letter.

Outline Essays Thoughtfully

Brainstorm meaningful ideas for short essay responses before writing drafts. Create an outline mapping out key points and examples you want to highlight in each essay. Ask others to read your drafts to confirm the essays effectively convey your personal qualities, passions, and goals.

Perfect Your Application

Save enough time to review and polish all components of your application before submitting it. Double-check for any errors or typos. Ensure formatting and grammar are flawless throughout. Show your attention to detail and commitment to excellence.


With a passion for your aspirations, commitment to service, and demonstrated excellence in and out of the classroom, you can become a competitive applicant for these selective scholarships. Pursuing prestigious Coca-Cola scholarships can make your biggest dreams for college and your future career possible. for more information, please visit their Official Website 

Hello, my name is Joseph Samaritan and I am a blogger who writes about various topics of interest, I have a passion for learning and sharing knowledge through my blog, I welcome feedback and comments on my posts and I look forward to engaging with you, thank you for visiting my blog and I hope you enjoy reading it.


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