How to apply for our top scholarship

Tips to help you complete the application by May 23
By Lottie Watts
Published May 5, 2022

As you prepare your materials for the 2023 NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship, we have a few resources below to help you with your application (due May 23 by 12 p.m. ET):

Watch examples of personal brand videos
The NRF Foundation’s Annalea Soudry-Maurer produced a video with great tips and tricks you can use today as you create your own personal brand video (don’t miss out on seeing a very special guest star):

For more inspiration, you can search YouTube for “NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship personal brand video” to see submissions from previous participants.

Break the writing prompt into smaller steps

  • Draft some rough notes covering what you already know about corporate social responsibility (CSR). Determine the questions you have, then do some research to get more knowledge and better understand the topic
  • List out a few retailers (if you’re stuck on what type of retailer you want to focus on, you can consider any of these: Furniture and home furnishings; electronics and appliance; building materials, garden equipment and supplies; grocery; health and personal care; clothing and clothing accessories; sporting goods, hobby, musical instruments and books; general merchandise; or direct-to-consumer). Then spend some time looking at the current CSR efforts by the retailers on your short list. From there, determine which ones you see as having the potential to become more socially responsible
  • From there, select one retailer for your proposal (to either expand upon their current CSR efforts or introduce a new strategy)
  • Do additional research and develop your proposal, and using your knowledge, insights and research, outline how you’ll address everything presented in the prompt
  • Write your essay – and then give yourself time to walk away from it
  • Return to read it again so you can revise and proofread. Make sure your essay is no more than three pages (single or double-spaced – your choice) and ensure that it fully and clearly answers the prompt. If you include a works cited page, it’s not counted in your page limit

You can take these steps in a different order (and eliminate or add based on what’s effective for you). It can also be helpful to create a writing checklist or schedule small deadlines along the way to stay on track.  

Get familiar with the CommunityForce application platform

This video walks you through how to submit everything on the CommunityForce platform. It’s a thorough overview that shows you all the steps you’ll need to complete:

Please note that for the 2023 application, you’ll need one letter of recommendation instead of two. Ask a professor (such as your NRF campus advisor) or a supervisor from a job. You can find more guidance on requesting a letter of recommendation here.

See exactly how to submit the letter (you can add it yourself or request to have the writer upload it) at 3:08 of the video above.

You can see more of the requirements for the NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship here. And if you’d prefer to get real-world experience working alongside other students as part of a team, explore the NRF Foundation Student Challenge (due Oct. 9).

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