About the Scholarship

At GoodCall, we try to help people make smarter decisions by giving them access to important data. We want to know about a great decision you've made in your life. Write an essay between 400 and 500 words detailing one of the most important decisions you've made in your life. What information did you rely on? What decision did you make? How did you know it was the right choice?

Use the form below to enter this contest by June 30, 2017. We will award $2,500 to the writer of the best essay, as decided upon by our panel of judges.

Who's Eligible?

School Year: High School Senior
Current Undergrad
Current Graduate Students
Major: All
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Ethnicity: All
Gender: All

Previous Winners

Summer 2017 Essay Contest Winner: Emily Thompson

School: Pacific University of Oregon

About: Family comes first. Emily wrote to tell us how a decision she made as a high school student not only helped her sister but shaped her career path.

"Going into my sophomore year of high school I was faced with a decision that ended up changing not only my life but my entire family’s as well.

My older sister was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and had been battling this disease for months. She had gone through three rounds of chemotherapy and nothing was working. Her doctors decided that the only thing that would save her life was a bone marrow transplant.

My entire family got tested and the doctors searched through the worldwide registry of donors. My twin brother and I were both found to be perfect matches for my sister! Unfortunately, due to some of my brother’s own health complications, he was deemed to be an unviable donor. That left me, 15 years old, being asked to give up my entire sports season and being asked to make literally a life or death decision. Do I put myself at risk, go through a painful surgery that would cause me to be bed ridden for at least a week or do I not and risk losing my sister for good?

The choice was obvious to me. No matter how many times people asked me if I was sure, I knew that I had to do whatever I could to help my sister fight for her life. In comparison, what I was doing was nowhere near the hardships she was going through. So while my sister started radiation treatment that caused her to be even more sick, I went under the knife. A year after my surgery and her transplant, her blood type officially changed from O+ to be B+ (my blood type) to mean that the transplant was successful! She was finally in remission!

It has now been almost 5 years since the day of her transplant and the day I became a bone marrow donor and I am happy to say that she has been cancer-free ever since! This experience not only shaped who I have been but also who I want to be. I am now majoring in Psychology in hopes of pursuing a career in Child Life Specialty to work with kids and their families who are going through similar situations as me and my family!”

Summer 2017 GoodCall Scholarship Winner

Winter 2016 Essay Contest Winner: Ellen Walker

School: Wichita State University

About: Sometimes, we all need to take care of ourselves. Ellen Walker wrote to us to explain how she came to this conclusion and how it will help her become better at her job of advocating for the health of others.

"I am a student in social work, passionate about mental health and special needs advocacy, and looking forward to a bright career. Last year, I was offered a position working with children with special needs. It would polish off a resume of volunteer experience with a job that promised a future and a chance for long-term employment. I was thrilled to be offered the job and immediately accepted. My personal life had been a little rocky recently, but all of those troubles faded as I went through training. But as soon as I began the actual work, things resurfaced.

My family suffered a great loss two years ago when my grandfather committed suicide. It was a shock, and something we will never forget. Mental illness had been a part of my family for years, but until that day, I hadn't realized how much it mattered. Mental illness is a real struggle with real consequences. Since that loss, I have discovered this truth, both in myself and in those whom I love most. I have struggled with depression and have been fortunate enough to have others share their own struggles with me. I knew it was affecting me, and I was doing everything in my power to continue living a healthy life that would one day lead me to advocate for others who shared similar or greater struggles. That is why my new work position seemed like the perfect fit - until it wasn't.

I realized very quickly that the children I spent time with at work hit a nerve. They were wonderful and talented, full of goodness and life. They also struggled to communicate when they were suffering, could not or did not know how to ask for help, and often seemed afraid or nervous about things that occurred in daily life. These children reminded me of myself, in a way almost too much to bear. This added stress was too much, and I knew that it would be a disservice to both myself and to these beautiful children to keep my job.

I needed to be healthy in order to serve well, so I quit this job which offered so much of a future, and I searched for a low-stress job that would pay the bills while I continued to receive the help that I needed and to work through my illness. To make this decision, I used the knowledge that in order to fully give, we must be able to receive. It was my time to receive help so that I can give fully in the future. I had to get healthy so that in the future I may advocate for the health of those on the margins of society; and when I think about this outcome, there is no doubt in my mind that I made the right choice."

Winter 2016 GoodCall Scholarship Winner

Summer 2016 Essay Contest Winner: Oluwatosin Olawepo

School: University of Houston

About: In life sometimes we are faced with the decision to be brave or to run from a perilous situation. Oluwatosin Olawepo wrote to us about a time when she had to think quickly to save someone’s life even though it meant possible danger for her. Her decision to be brave in the face of danger is an inspiration to us and those who know her story.

Summer 2016 GoodCall Scholarship Winner

Winter 2015 Essay Contest Winner: Jennifer Schwartz

School: Lakeland College

About: It can be hard to speak up for what you believe in — especially when you feel like you're doing it alone. But Jennifer Schwartz, a sophomore at Lakeland College in Wisconsin, reminded us that it's always worth it to stand up for what you think is right. Her best decision story also proves that when you do the right thing, you might be able to help people in ways you never imagined.

Jennifer writes:

One time in study hall, I was sitting quietly, doing my homework, when I heard it.

"How can being transgender and coming out be considered brave?!"

Three freshman boys were discussing Caitlin Jenner winning the Arthur Ashe courage award. I sat quietly, letting them stew in their own ignorance, until the discussion got very hateful. I couldn't take it any longer. I got up and walked over to the boys.

"It can be scary to be who you are", I said. "Imagine if you wanted to be someone else, but couldn't, because everyone else around you is judging you.”

One boy began to argue with me, saying that she should not have won. So I sat down right between them and we looked up some information. I had them look up suicide statistics on transgender teens. I read some blog posts of the hate that some teens face. I told them to open their minds. In the end, the whole class was listening. Including one boy, who later messaged me on Facebook and told me he thought he was all alone. He is transgender and thought no one actually cared about him.

I was scared to stand up for what I believed in, but in the end, doing so saved a life. That is a time I felt I did the right thing. It was scary and intimidating, but in the end, it was worth it.

Winter 2015 GoodCall Scholarship Winner

Summer 2015 Essay Contest Winner: Tjah'Mari DuCloux

School: Riverside City College

About: Tjah'Mari (TJ) has done more than most 15 year-olds. Earlier this summer, he graduated - not just from high school, but from community college, too, with associate's degrees in Math and Science, Social and Behavioral Studies, and Humanities, Philosophy and Art. TJ, who lives in California, will go back to school this fall to get his bachelor's degree, possibly in Mechanical Engineering or Psychobiology.

As for his future goals? TJ plans to give back to his community by becoming a teacher at the high school he attended. From his application essay:

"My goal is to be a high school teacher. I want to make a difference in the education of Black students. Less than 1% of all teachers are Black men. This percentage is not high enough. Studies show that students learn best from people who look like them. I specifically want to be a math teacher. I can be most impactful in this field. Math is where Black students are most unsuccessful. In the state of California, 44% of all high school teachers are nonwhite, and of that 5.2% are Black math teachers. Black teachers are essentially an endangered occupation. This is unconditionally unacceptable. My decision in the past will hopefully create a positive influence on Black children."

Summer 2015 GoodCall Scholarship Winner

Enter to Win

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Official Rules

Submission Criteria
The subject matter for essay entries must pertain to the following topic:
Please write a 400-500 word essay about a great decision you've made in your life: What information did you rely on? What decision did you make? How did you know it was the right choice?
Essays must be properly submitted no later than June 30, 2017. All essays must be submitted online using the submission form on this page.

Applicant Eligibility All applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents of the United States.

Academic Requirements Academic Requirements All applicants must be either: (1) a high school or home school student who graduated or earned a GED (or will graduate/earn a GED) between August 1, 2016, and June 1, 2017, who will enroll or has enrolled as a freshman at a two-year or four-year college or university in 2017, or (2) a student enrolled during the 2016-2017 academic year on a full-time basis and in good academic standing at an accredited two-year or four-year college or university or in an accredited graduate school program, who will continue such full-time enrollment throughout the entire 2017-2018 academic year.

Description of Funds One (1) applicant (the "recipient") will receive a one-time $2,500 scholarship to be applied to qualified college or graduate school expenses (including tuition, fees, books, and on-campus room and board) for the 2017-2018 academic year. Funds are provided by GoodCall, LLC (the "Company"), and will be made payable within 30 days of notification, directly via mail to the accredited or university last designated by the recipient in connection with his/her submission form.

Recipient Selection and Announcements
After the June 30 deadline, the recipient will be selected by a team of judges following review of all entries received prior to the deadline. Entries are judged on creativity and insight, writing quality, and research quality and veracity. The recipient will be announced on or about 30 days after the scholarship deadline. The winning student will be listed on http://www.goodcall.com/scholarship/ and notified directly by the Company by email at the email address provided by the recipient upon submission of his/her entry. Judges will include the Company's public relations manager and managing editor. If the recipient is disqualified or fails to contact Company within 24 hours of being notified of the results, Company reserves the right to determine an alternate recipient or not to award the scholarship, in its sole discretion.

College/University Approval
Each applicant's designated institution must be accredited and listed on the official website of the U.S. Department of Education (http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/Search.aspx). Applicants attending military academies are ineligible for this scholarship. All school transfers are subject to accreditation approval.

Responsibilities of Applicants/Recipients
By participating in this program, each applicant expressly: (A) releases the Company and its employees and agents from any liability or claim of any kind or nature for any loss, claim, damages, or injury of any kind associated with participation in the program and acceptance, possession or use of any prize; (B) accepts and agrees to be bound by these rules and Company's decisions relating to participation in the program, selection of recipient, and awarding of scholarship, all such decisions being final; and (C) agrees that South Carolina law governs this program without regard to conflicts of law principles, and consents to the jurisdiction and venue of the federal, state, and local courts of Lancaster County, South Carolina, for the resolution of all disputes pertaining to or arising from this program. The recipient must complete an affidavit of eligibility and release (to be signed by his/her parent or legal guardian, if the recipient is a minor), on forms to be provided by the Company. The recipient must be actively enrolled full-time as a freshman, sophomore, junior, senior or grad student in the fall semester of 2017 and for the entire academic year without interruption, barring illness, emergency or military service. It is the recipient’s responsibility to verify receipt of funds with his/her designated institution and notify the Company should the award check not arrive on or about 30 days from the issue date. By entering, each applicant represents that his/her submission is a work of the applicant’s own original authorship, and agrees that the Company will have a perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive, worldwide right and license to use the submission in any manner. The Company reserves the right to disqualify any entry for any reason, including without limitation: materials not suitable for general public viewing; obscene, lewd or offensive materials; the use of third party content or other materials not authored by the applicant; and materials previously published or entered into any other competition. The Company is not responsible for lost, late, damaged or illegible submissions, faulty transmissions, or submissions containing any virus or other system malfunction. Judges’ decisions are final. Any taxes are recipient’s responsibility. Only one entry per person will be accepted.

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Fort Mill, SC 29707