$20,000. That’s how much you could win to help fund the cost of your college education as a recipient of the Coca-Cola Scholarship!

It’s a very generous award. And preparing an application deserves strong consideration for a spot on your scholarship application to-do list! 

To help you get started, this post is going to cover everything you need to know to put together a winning application!

Our goal is to help you maximize your chances of joining the ranks of one of the best scholarship programs out there and get $20,000 closer to paying $0 for college

Let’s start now with a quick overview of the Coca-Cola Scholarship and then work our way down to some application tips and strategies you can use!

What is the Coca-Cola Scholarship? 

Awarded by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, a subsidiary of the Coca-Cola Company, the Coca-Cola Scholarship is an achievement-based scholarship.

It’s awarded annually to 150 graduating high school seniors who, according to the Foundation, have demonstrated “their capacity to lead and serve, as well as their commitment to making a significant impact on their schools and communities.” 

To date, over 6,300 students have benefited from the Coca-Cola Scholarship! 

When and how do you get to use the $20,000 award? As a winner of the scholarship, you get 4-10 years to use the full amount of the award on tuition at an accredited college or university to pay for tuition and other educational expenses like on-campus housing, a new computer, or textbooks. 

And there are some additional perks as well! You’d also become part of the large network of Coca-Cola Scholars and get an invite to the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation’s frequent receptions throughout the country and the Leadership Summit in Atlanta every 5 years. 

The network of Coca-Cola Scholars is made up of many impressive alumni (including the founder of Scholly!) across a range of professions and industries. 

Eligibility Requirements for the Coca-Cola Scholarship

By now, you may be thinking: “This sounds great! I want to apply!” Awesome – let’s just make sure you’re eligible. 

According to the latest requirements, to be eligible to apply for the Coca-Cola Scholarship, you must: 

  • Be a current high school (or home-schooled) student attending a school in the US 
  • Graduate and receive a high school diploma in the same academic year as the scholarship application deadline 
  • Be a U.S. Citizen, U.S. National, U.S. Permanent Resident, Refugee, Asylee, Cuban-Haitain Entrant, or Humanitarian Parolee 
  • Intend to pursue a degree at an accredited U.S. post-secondary institution

You must also not be:

  • The child or grandchild of an employee, officer, or owner of the Coca-Cola bottling companies, the Coca-Cola company, Company divisions or subsidiaries
  • An international student 

How to Apply for the Coca-Cola Scholarship 

You’re in luck. This scholarship doesn’t require application essays or supplementary documents. The only application requirement for the Coca-Cola Scholarship is that you submit a complete application. 

But don’t be fooled! The application itself will still take some work to complete. Here’s an overview of all of the information you’ll be expected to include: 

Contact information 

In addition to your personal contact information, you’ll need to provide your high school’s ACT/SAT code and the emails and telephone numbers of your school counselor and principal.

Your academic record 

In addition to your grades and courses starting from your freshman year, you’ll also need to know your class rank and class size. And if your school has AP, IB, and/or Honors courses, you’ll also need to know how many are offered. 

List of school clubs and organizations 

In this section, you’ll list your involvement and leadership roles in clubs and organizations like: 

  • Student Council
  • Class Officer
  • Academic / Honor Societies
  • School newspaper or School Literary Magazine, School Yearbook
  • Drama, Theater, Dance or Other Performing Arts 
  • Speech, Debate, or Forensics
  • Music (Band, Orchestra, Vocal)
  • Visual arts
  • Athletics
  • Any Other School-Related Clubs, Organizations, or Intramurals

List of school and non-school related awards, honors, special skills, or talents 

In this section, you’ll also have to choose your highest level of accomplishment (local, state, regional, national) for each grade that you received the award or honor. 

List of community service and volunteer activities 

Similar to the section for clubs and organizations, in this section, you’ll list your involvement and leadership roles in unpaid community service activities. You’ll also need to include any awards you’ve received for those activities, the total number of hours you committed to community service during each grade level, and the number of volunteer hours that are mandatory for graduation. 

List of paid work experiences 

For any paid employment, you’ll need to include information on the number of weeks employed, average number of hours worked per week during the school year, and average number of hours worked during the summer. 

And that’s it! 

If you’re reading this while the application is closed but want a preview of the complete application, take a look at the official Coca-Cola Scholarship sample application.

Coca-Cola Scholarship Application Timeline

Alright, if you’re eligible and hoping to make that $20,000 yours, you probably now have questions like: 

  • When does the Coca-Cola Scholarship application open up? 
  • When is the Coca-Cola Scholarship deadline? 
  • When are the Coca-Cola Scholarship winners announced? 

In which case, we got you covered! Let’s look at a timeline — from start to finish — of what you should expect when applying for the Coca-Cola Scholarship. 

August: The Coca-Cola Scholarship application opens

October: The application closes at the end of the month 

November: 2,000 semi-finalists are selected to advance 

December: Semi-finalist submit extra scholarship application materials 

January: Semi-finalists are narrowed down to 250 applications 

February: Remaining semi-finalists participate in regional interviews 

March: 150 Coca-Cola Scholarship winners are announced 

Late March / Early April: Scholarship winners are invited to attend Scholars Weekend in Atlanta 

Tips and Strategies for Winning the Coca-Cola Scholarship

Thousands of students apply for the Coca-Cola Scholarship every year. But only 150 are ultimately chosen. Here’s what you can do to increase your chances at winning the Coca-Cola Scholarship! 

#1 Start preparing the application early 

Given that the application doesn’t require you to write essays or submit supplementary documents, you could probably start and complete it in one afternoon. But should you? Absolutely not! 

If you looked at the sample application (here it is again) then you saw that there’s still quite a bit of information you’ll need to gather. And that will take some time.

Also, since the Coca-Cola scholarship is super competitive, you don’t want to leave important information out or make careless mistakes just because you’re rushing to get it done! 

Our advice: start collecting all the info you’ll need before the application even opens or, at the very least, soon after the application opens. 

#2 Highlight your leadership and involvement in your school community

This one’s important! In fact, it’s what this scholarship is all about. 

As said on their website, the Coca-Cola Foundation exists to improve the world by investing in “exceptional high school students who are dedicated to leadership, service, and action that positively affects others.” 

Make sure to position yourself as one of those exceptional high school students in your application by strategically selecting which clubs, awards, community service, and work experiences on your application. 

What do we mean by that? If you have participated in more activities, volunteer activities, etc. than you can fit on the app, make sure the ones you include are the ones that show in some way your leadership abilities and a commitment to giving back. 

And if you still have a year or two before you’ll apply for the Coca-Cola scholarship, make sure to actively seek out leadership roles and awards in clubs and activities that you both enjoy and make a positive contribution in your community. 

#3 Have someone else review your application before you submit it 

Again, the Coca-Cola Scholarship is very competitive. So, don’t let careless mistakes like typos, spelling mistakes, or grammatical errors be the reason your application goes from a ‘yes’ to a ‘no’!

Have someone like a family member, teacher, or guidance counselor review your application before you press ‘submit’. 

Depending on how well this person knows you, they might also be able to help you make sure you’re not forgetting any important activities, awards or work experiences that deserve a place on your application. 

#4 If you get an interview, practice beforehand 

If you’re lucky enough to be one of the 250 semi-finalists that gets selected for an interview, make sure you practice! 

You may even want to start practicing before you find out if you get an interview or not. Why? Because learning how to interview well isn’t just good for scholarship applications. It’s a skill that will benefit you over and over again in life. 

So, if you start preparing for an interview for the Coca-Cola scholarship and don’t get it, no problem. Your efforts will surely be rewarded with another opportunity down the line. 

What type of questions should you expect? Well, since Coca-Cola Scholars are selected for leadership and service, it’s a good idea to be prepared to answer interview questions like:

  • Tell me about a personal achievement that makes you proud.
  • Who are your role models?
  • What do you plan to study in college and why? 
  • What are your career goals? 
  • Why do you think you deserve this scholarship? 

Where to Find More Scholarships 

The $20,000 Coca-Cola Scholarship is just one of many amazing scholarship opportunities you can win to help pay for college!

If you want to find even more scholarships, be sure to check out Scholly Search, our awesome scholarship database that can help you find all of the scholarships you’re qualified for! You can also check out the rest of our blog where we share tips and strategies on how you can find ways to pay for college and win other scholarships like the Gates Scholarship and the Dell Scholarship.

Good luck!