The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at ALA, launched in 2012, prepares scholars from disadvantaged backgrounds to create social and economic change by connecting promising young leaders to outstanding
We only receive on average 100 applications per year and hover around a 50% acceptance rate. These numbers may seem off-kilter to highly competitive scholarship programs, but this is completely by design. The program model is anchored in partnerships with local recruitment partners who nominate eligible students to us.
Our recruitment partner base is currently made up of thirteen organizations from around sub-Saharan Africa that range from an after-school enrichment program, to a traditional high school, to an intensive 16-month long gap year. Relying on partners (sometimes referred to as a closed application model) reduces the number of applications a scholarship program receives but can ensure
Over the next two months, we will share our insight into forming deep and meaningful partnerships in recruitment.
Here are three reasons why a partnership model works for our scholarship program:
1) They do the hard work for us: Our recruitment partners often have
Bridge2Rwanda receives on average 1,200 applications per year, and this past year they selected only 2-3% of those applicants. They spend countless hours reading applications, interviewing candidates and selecting a final group; and the final result is a cohort of30-40 that is academically competent, socially aware, and
2) They focus on
Imagine Scholar runs a
3) They have a highly contextual understanding of their student’s backgrounds: Reading an application and meeting a potential scholar for an
The School of St. Jude, a recruitment partner based in Arusha, Tanzania, is a K-12 school; and they frequently send us applicants from students who have been at their school for 13 years. School of St. Jude can speak to the academic ability of the scholars; but perhaps more important to the leadership and growth of the scholar over the years. Did the scholar start off quiet and then blossom in grade 5? Did they have a personal issue that affected one semester in Form 2? We appreciate this background knowledge and during our admissions cycle, we tend to mine information from the recruitment partners on the individual context of applicants, including what teachers say about them, what makes them stand out in the community and any challenges they have incurred. We tend to have very candid relationships with our recruitment partners, to voice out any concerns or ask any questions, to ensure we are selecting the right scholars and we find that this leads to a very healthy, collegial relationship.
Forming deep and meaningful partnerships is mutually beneficial for students, partner organizations and scholarship programs or universities. The program is invested in their growth and development of our partners, and the recruitment partners are equally invested in the development