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SLFCU Scholarship Competition Process

For 27 years, SLFCU has supported student members with annual essay scholarship competitions. In 2021, we awarded a total of $10,000 among five students, with a top prize of $4,000. SLFCU strives to remain transparent and open with members about our Scholarship Competition processes and how the winners are selected.


All applications are captured via Submittable, a third-party vendor that supplies the online platform we use to collect essays and supporting documentation, complete judging rounds, and stores both student and judge applications during the competition.

Note: Children of employees or members of SLFCU's Board of Directors are not eligible to participate in the SLFCU Scholarship Competition.


Judging is composed of three rounds:

Round 1 
The first round of judging is an initial review of the scholarship applications. A team of SLFCU employees screens all of the submissions to ensure applications meet all required qualifications. All personally identifiable information is removed from essay files, and a unique submission number is assigned to each applicant. This ensures the anonymity of each applicant and impartiality throughout the remainder of the judging process. 

Applicants who are disqualified or who do not advance to the next round will be sent an email by SLFCU. This email does not state the reason why an applicant did not move forward. If the applicant would like more details about their disqualification, they can reach out to SLFCU for information.

Round 2 
In this round of judging, essays which made it through the first round are scored through Submittable. Judges consist of members and employee volunteers who are at least 18 years of age and are not related to any of the applicants. If a judge is related to an applicant, they are not eligible to participate as a judge for the competition. SLFCU has roughly 18-25 volunteer judges each year.

Essays are divided evenly among all judges. Judges score each essay from 1 to 10 among four different categories: 

  • How well the essay addresses the topic 
  • Writing mechanics: spelling, grammar, punctuation, format, etc. 
  • Thought organization, clarity, and logical flow 
  • Originality 

Scores are collected in Submittable and totaled. The top 15 essays with the highest scores proceed to round 3 of judging.

Round 3 
In the final round, all remaining essays are reviewed by all judges via Submittable. Judges will review each of the 15 essays, and assign a ranking of 1-10 among the same four categories described in Round 2. 

Scores are collected in Submittable and totaled to determine a final score. The nine applicants with the highest final scores are deemed the winners and receive awards based on their ranking. In the case of a tie, both applicants will receive the full prize amount.  

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