The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation Global Scholarship Program

Welcome to our in-depth guide on the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation Global Scholarship program. We’ll provide an overview of this prestigious opportunity, including eligibility requirements, application steps, selection criteria, and what it means to be a Dell Scholar. 


The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation was established in 1999 by technology industry pioneers Michael and Susan Dell. The foundation’s mission is to improve the lives of children living in urban poverty around the world. To achieve this, they support education initiatives and youth development programs that create positive change.

One of the foundation’s flagship efforts is the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation Global Scholarship program. This initiative aims to provide exceptional university students from underserved communities access to world-class educational experiences. By selecting high-achieving individuals and fully funding their university degrees, the program empowers youth to lift themselves and others out of poverty through education.

To date, over 1,000 students from 50 countries have benefited from Dell Scholarship support. Scholars have gone on toimpactful careers in fields like healthcare, technology, education, public policy, and more. The reach and impact of Dell Scholars continue to grow each year as new cohorts are selected.

In this post, we’ll explore everything you need to know about applying for and receiving a Dell Scholarship. Our goal is to provide a thorough, easy-to-understand guide to help exceptional students from underserved areas determine if this opportunity could be right for them.

Eligibility Requirements for the Dell Foundation Global Scholarship

Let’s start by outlining the basic eligibility criteria for the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation Global Scholarship program:

  • Citizenship: Applicants must be citizens and residents of an eligible developing country in Africa, Asia, Latin America, or the Caribbean. A full list of eligible countries can be found on the foundation’s website.
  • Financial need: Applicants must demonstrate significant financial need and come from modest economic backgrounds. The goal is to support students who would otherwise be unable to access higher education opportunities abroad without assistance.
  • Academic achievement: Applicants must have outstanding academic records, as evidenced by transcripts and references. A minimum GPA of 3.5/4.0 is typically required, though this can vary slightly by region and university standards.
  • Leadership potential: Selection committees seek to identify applicants who demonstrate leadership skills, initiative, community engagement, and a commitment to creating positive change.
  • University eligibility: Scholarship supports are provided for accredited undergraduate and graduate programs at partner universities worldwide. A full list of currently eligible degree programs and partner institutions can be found online.

Those are the primary eligibility filters, but unique achievements, experiences, passions, and career goals are also considered during the rigorous selection process. Let’s dive deeper into how to prepare a winning application.

The Application Process

Applying for a Michael and Susan Dell Foundation Global Scholarship is competitive, so focusing on your application is important. Here are the key steps:

1. research eligible programs and universities – Find degree programs and schools that align with your interests and qualifications. Have solid target options in mind.

2. complete the online application form – Provide all required information accurately and concisely. Be sure to proofread for errors.

3. submit transcript(s) – Your academic performance is critically evaluated, so submit official transcripts from all secondary and post-secondary institutions attended.

4. request letters of recommendation – Choose recommenders who can speak to your qualifications, character, and leadership experience. Provide advance notice.

5. write compelling essays – Thoughtfully answer all essay prompts to communicate your aspirations, skills, and fit for the program Vision. Show passion.

6. submit required supporting documents – Include ID pages of passport, income verification for parent(s), and any other specified items.

7. prepare for interviews (semifinalists only) – If invited, interviews assess communication skills and fit. Practice responses to sample questions.

The application windows typically run from July to September annually, with results notified the following spring. It is advisable to submit well ahead of deadlines to allow time for recommendations. Working with a mentor can also strengthen the application process.

Selection Criteria

Next, let’s examine the core factors evaluated during the selective Dell Scholarship review process:

  • Academic excellence – Demonstrated top performance in school with consistently strong grades.
  • Leadership potential – Participation and initiative shown through activities, work experience, and community involvement.
  • Overcoming adversity – Perseverance, resilience, and motivation in the face of socioeconomic challenges.
  • Vision and purpose – Well-articulated passions, career aspirations, and desire to create a positive impact.
  • Integrity and character – References and essays communicate high ethics, positivity, and respect for others.
  • Cultural exposure – Experiences studying, living, or traveling internationally add diverse perspectives.
  • Innovation and creativity – Fresh ideas, problem-solving approach, and engagement beyond the classroom.

Standing out across all these qualities while also excelling in interviews sets top applicants apart. Feedback from past recipients shows transparent, values-driven selection is a hallmark of the Dell Scholarship process.

Benefits and Expectations

For students who overcome the intensely competitive selection, the rewards of becoming a Michael and Susan Dell Foundation Scholar are immense. Here is an overview of the full package:

  • Full funding – All tuition, fees, living expenses, and travel costs are covered for an approved degree program.
  • Laptop & supplies – Dell laptop and academic materials provided to support studies.
  • Career guidance – Alumni network, advising, and access to paid internships provide career-launching.
  • Conferences – Attend annual Scholars Conferences for skills development and connections.
  • Mentorship – Senior Scholars serve as peer mentors; program staff advisors are available full-time.

Naturally, being selected conveys great responsibility. Scholars commit to maintaining excellent grades, pursuing community service, participating in networking events, and ultimately giving back through careers that uplift others. Personal and professional growth are emphasized throughout the journey.

Paths of Dell Scholars

The positive ripple effects of Dell Scholarship alumni achievements to date are immense. A few highlights of what past recipients have accomplished:

  • Launched sustainable agriculture ventures providing income to thousands of farmers in Africa and Asia.
  • Developed diagnostic techniques detecting diseases earlier to save many lives as medical researchers and doctors.
  • Founded education technology companies making learning accessible to underprivileged youth worldwide.
  • Authored legislation and advised political leaders on policies lifting communities out of poverty.
  • Started non-profits working to end malnutrition, help child refugees, and empower girls’ education.
  • Risen to executive roles at major multinational corporations applying business expertise for social good.

Wherever their paths may lead, Dell Scholars carry the mission of creating opportunities for all. The positive impact of this program grows exponentially with each new cohort selected.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation Global Scholarship program:

What degree levels are supported?

The Dell Scholarship provides funding for bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD/doctoral degree programs. Typically around 60% of awards support undergraduate studies, while the remainder assist with graduate-level education. Both STEM and non-STEM fields are eligible.

Are there any citizenship or residency restrictions?

Applicants must be citizens and permanent residents of eligible developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, or the Caribbean. Unfortunately, citizens of developed economies like the United States, Canada, or Western Europe are not eligible. The focus is on empowering youth from underserved areas.

How long does the scholarship last?

Scholarship duration depends on the approved degree program. Awards are granted one academic year at a time and typically last up to 4 years for a bachelor’s degree, two years for a master’s, or up to 5 years for a PhD program. Support continues contingent on maintaining satisfactory academic standing each year.

Can the scholarship be deferred?

Yes, deferrals of up to one year are allowed under certain circumstances, like national service obligations. Scholars must submit deferment requests in advance for the program to consider. Support is not guaranteed to be held if deferred, so this option should only be exercised when absolutely necessary.

Are there networking opportunities?

Absolutely. Dell Scholars Connect events, annual conferences, and mentorship from senior alumni provide invaluable professional and personal development support. The aim is to foster a strong global community of change agents who uplift one another. Networking opens doors for career advice, internships, collaboration, and life-long friendships.

How competitive is acceptance?

Very competitive – acceptance rates are typically below 5%. Each year thousands of exceptional candidates apply, making it an exceptionally selective program. Strong academics, leadership experience, and articulating a vision for creating positive change are minimum requirements, so applicants must demonstrate excellence across the board to be chosen.

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