Applying for a PLEN scholarship:

While we do everything we can to provide a scholarship to all applicants, our process is competitive. Follow the steps below to make sure your application is not only completed on time, but also stands out from the crowd!

Please read the step below before submitting you application

What you will need:

1. 1 Letter of Recommendation OR 2 References

  • You will need EITHER one letter of recommendation OR two references. These people should be able to attest to your strong characteristics and deservingness of a PLEN scholarship. Professors, coaches, internship and work-study supervisors, and academic or organization advisors are all great options.
  • Ask them as soon as possible (they’re even busier than you!) Make sure they know about PLEN so that they can personalize your letter/speak to your specific qualifications.
  • If you are submitting a letter of recommendation, send your recommendation letter directly to
  • If you are submitting 2 references, once they agree to be your reference, please send their name, position, email and/or phone, and relationship to you to


  •  If you receive financial aid...
    • You can access your FAFSA account online and download your Student Aid Report. Attach this document to your online application.
    • You can alternatively submit a summary of student aid from your university's financial aid office. This may be available to download from your student account/billing portal. Look for a Student Aid Report, Financial Aid History, or a similar document. You can reach out to your financial aid office or email with any questions.
  • If you do NOT receive any sort of financial aid...
    • You’ll need to contact your financial aid office and ask for a letter stating your need (do this as soon as possible!).  Send them the Proof of Financial Need Form and state in the email why you’re requesting this information from their office. They can send the completed form and a letter attesting to your financial aid status to


  • We don’t expect your resume to be perfect, but we do want to get a sense of who you are, and that includes looking at your resume.
    • A great resume is no more than one page long, easy to read, and includes your name and contact information, and your most relevant work, volunteer, leadership, and academic experience, with short descriptions of what you did in that position.  If you have additional questions about resume writing, visit your university’s career services office and set up an appointment to review your resume

4. 1 of 2 Personal ESSAYS

  • There are two short-answer essays included in the scholarship application.
  • Please choose only ONE of the two following prompts.
    • Essay A: In less than 500 words, answer the following question: How will attending the seminar you indicated above help you achieve your career goals?
      • Like the resume, we don’t expect your career plan to be perfect, but we want to know more about you. When answering this item, address topics such as the career you are interested in pursuing, aspects you would like to learn about policy, and how you can apply seminar knowledge to your coursework. With this question, tell us how you see yourself and your future.
    • Essay B: In less than 500 words, answer the following question: How will you use your PLEN experience to enrich your community or your university campus?
      • Your PLEN experience doesn’t end when you step back onto the plane to go home, it doesn’t end when you graduate college, and it still won’t end even if you never come back to Washington, DC. When you finish a PLEN seminar, you are immediately part of the PLEN Alumni Network and receive exclusive invitations to events and resources. Tell us how you can share this leadership experience with your friends, colleagues, and greater community.

5. SUBMIT the google form!

Read the directions and the questions on the form carefully, and make sure you’re submitting everything correctly. Make sure you submit everything before the deadline! If you cannot find the email received after submitting your form or cannot edit your response, contact

AFTER SUBMITTING: Check your email

  • When you submit your application, you’ll receive an email from within 2 business days confirming your application submission. The scholarship committee will let you know if your application is complete or if you’re missing any materials. All scholarship correspondence will be over email, so make sure you check your inbox regularly!

Why this process?

  • We request a resume because all participants need one prior to the seminar in order to get it reviewed during the resume review session.

  • We request an essay because it shows initiative, exemplifies the potential of students to be able to get the most out of PLEN's seminars, and sets students apart. 

  • Scholarship students need to prepare themselves to attend our educational seminars in order to get the most out of it. Applicants should be thinking about how this experience is going to affect their future decisions and interests.

Scholarship Checklist:

Item:Method of Submission:Completed:
1 Letter of Recommendation OR
2 References
Letter of Recommendation Option: Letter(s) sent to


Reference Option: name, position, email and/or phone, and relationship to you sent to
Yes / No
Proof of Financial NeedGoogle Form / Yes / No
ResumeUpload to Google FormYes / No
Personal EssaysUpload to Google FormYes / No
Google FormFill out all 3 sections and submit the formYes / No

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