Life Lessons Scholarship Guide: Essential Tips for Success

The Life Lessons Scholarship Program is a unique initiative designed to help college students and college-bound high school seniors who have experienced the death of a parent or legal guardian. This scholarship serves as a financial support system for young individuals who face financial challenges in pursuing their education due to the loss of their parent or guardian. Created in 2005 by Life Happens, the program has provided millions of dollars in scholarships to hundreds of deserving students across numerous schools, making a significant impact on their lives.


To successfully apply for the Life Lessons Scholarship, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the eligibility criteria, application process, and submission requirements. Applicants must showcase their personal experiences through a well-written essay or a creative video, demonstrating the financial and emotional hardships they have faced as a result of losing their parent or guardian. A well-prepared submission will increase the chances of receiving the scholarship, and ultimately, help alleviate financial burdens for the applicant’s educational journey.

Key Takeaways

  • The Life Lessons Scholarship Program helps students who have lost a parent or guardian
  • Understanding eligibility, application process, and submission requirements is crucial
  • Well-prepared essays or videos can increase the chances of receiving the scholarship

Understanding the Life Lessons Scholarship

What Is the Life Lessons Scholarship Program?

The Life Lessons Scholarship Program is a financial aid initiative aimed at college students and college-bound high school seniors who have experienced the death of a parent or legal guardian. The program is run by the nonprofit organization Life Happens, and it acknowledges the financial challenges of those who have lost a family breadwinner.

The Importance of Life Insurance

Life insurance is a crucial aspect that can help secure a family’s financial stability in case of unforeseen circumstances. This program emphasizes the importance of life insurance in safeguarding the future of children who may lose a parent or guardian. By providing scholarships to those in need, it mitigates the financial impact of the loss and helps deserving students pursue higher education despite adversity.

History and Mission of the Program

Established by Life Happens, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about the value of life insurance and related products, the program is driven by its mission of supporting the dreams of students who have lost a parent or guardian. It is an effort to highlight the importance of financial planning in ensuring the well-being of families and children. Over the years, the program has supported numerous young people, allowing them to pursue college education and strive for success.

Overview of Scholarship Coverage

The Life Lessons Scholarship caters to various levels of enrollment and residency status for both high school seniors and college students. Scholarships are awarded based on compelling personal essays or videos that convey how the loss of a parent or guardian has impacted their lives and their plans for higher education.

In addition to the normal coverage, the program has also expanded to include COVID-19 Relief Scholarships for students who lost a parent or guardian due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the help of individual donations and corporate sponsorships, the Life Lessons Scholarship Program has made a significant impact on the lives of many students, easing their financial burden and enabling them to continue their educational journeys.

Eligibility and Requirements

Who Can Apply?

The Life Lessons Scholarship Program is designed for young individuals between 17 and 24 years of age who have experienced the death of a parent or legal guardian. These applicants must be attending or planning to attend college, university, or trade school in the US or Puerto Rico. Furthermore, they need to be pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree, and be legal residents of the United States or Puerto Rico.

Required Documentation

To apply for the Life Lessons Scholarship Program, applicants must prepare the following documentation:

  1. Proof of age: A valid ID or birth certificate.
  2. Proof of residency: Valid documentation proving the applicant’s legal residency in the US or Puerto Rico.
  3. Death certificate or other documentation: This is to demonstrate the loss of a parent or legal guardian.
  4. Educational transcripts: These may include college or high school transcripts, as well as proof of enrollment or acceptance in a college, university, or trade school.

Essay and Video Submissions

In addition to the required documentation, the scholarship application process involves submitting both an essay and a video. The 500-word essay should discuss the impact of the loss of a parent or guardian and the life lessons that the applicant has learned from this experience. The 3-minute video should help the selection committee better understand the applicant’s experiences and how they plan to use the scholarship funds to achieve their education goals.

The applicants must ensure that their essay and video submissions adhere to the specified word and time limits and maintain a confident, knowledgeable, neutral, and clear tone. By providing truthful and compelling accounts of their experiences, aspiring scholarship recipients can increase their chances of successfully securing support to further their education.

Application Process

How to Apply for the Scholarship

To apply for the Life Lessons Scholarship, applicants must first complete an online application. The application process typically opens on February 1 each year, giving potential scholarship recipients ample time to gather the necessary materials and information. Applicants should ensure they have a solid understanding of the eligibility criteria and submission guidelines before beginning the application process.

Submission Guidelines

When applying for the Life Lessons Scholarship, applicants are required to submit the following materials:

  • A completed online application form
  • An essay or video that shares their story and illustrates the impact of their parent or guardian’s passing on their life
  • Proof of financial need (if applicable)
  • Transcripts or other educational records
  • A letter of recommendation from a non-family member, such as a teacher, counselor, or mentor

The essay should be no longer than 500 words, and the video should be between 1-3 minutes long. Submissions should be in English and will be judged on their clarity, creativity, and overall impact.

Key Dates and Deadlines

It is essential for applicants to be aware of the key dates and deadlines associated with the Life Lessons Scholarship:

  • February 1: The online application process opens
  • March 1: The application deadline; all submissions must be sent by this date
  • Late April: Scholarship recipients are notified
  • June: Scholarship funds are disbursed to recipients’ schools

Relevant updates and announcements regarding the scholarship program can typically be found on the Life Happens website. By paying close attention to these dates and adhering to the submission guidelines, applicants can increase their chances of being selected as a scholarship recipient and receiving valuable financial assistance for their education.

Writing Your Essay

Essay Topic and Structure

When writing a scholarship essay, choosing an appropriate topic and establishing a good structure are essential. Many scholarship essays require you to answer a specific prompt or focus on a particular area. Opt for a topic that genuinely interests you, as it will showcase your passion and personality. Aim for a concise and coherent structure by dividing your essay into an introduction, body, and conclusion. A common length for a scholarship essay is around 500 words, which allows you to express your ideas without dragging on too long.

  • Introduction: Briefly introduce yourself and your chosen topic. It should grab the reader’s attention and provide an overview of what your essay will discuss.
  • Body: This is the main part of your essay, where you’ll elaborate on your topic. Break it into several paragraphs for easier readability. Each paragraph should focus on a single idea or argument, supported by relevant examples or personal experiences.
  • Conclusion: Summarize the main points made in the body and reiterate the importance of the topic to you. Don’t introduce new ideas in this section—instead, leave the reader with a strong impression of your thoughts.

Expressing Your Story

A strong scholarship essay goes beyond merely answering a prompt—it tells your unique story. When expressing your experiences, maintain a confident, knowledgeable, and clear tone. Write in the third person (he, she, it, they) for a neutral and professional perspective. Sharing personal anecdotes can help you connect with the reader on a deeper level, which may ultimately increase your chances of securing the scholarship.

Keep in mind that a well-crafted scholarship essay should use various formatting techniques like bold, italic, lists, and tables to convey information effectively. Leverage these tools to create emphasis, draw attention to key points, and organize your content.

In conclusion, a successful scholarship essay is well-structured, engaging, and tailored to the specific requirements of the scholarship organization. By carefully selecting a topic, maintaining a clear and confident tone, and creatively expressing your personal story, you will stand out to the selection committee and showcase your suitability for the scholarship.

Creating Your Video

Video Content and Message

It’s essential that your 3-minute video presents a clear and powerful message, demonstrating how you have learned from your life lessons and show personal growth. Remember to keep the focus on your story and maintain a confident, knowledgeable, neutral, and clear tone throughout. You can use storytelling techniques such as including a beginning, middle, and end in your video, as well as incorporating any emotions or challenges that helped shape your life.

When creating your video, you may choose to:

  • Share your personal story and experiences.
  • Weave in your academic, extracurricular, and community achievements.
  • Reflect on how the scholarship will impact your future goals.

Technical Advice for Videos

While creating your video, consider the following tips to ensure high quality and effectiveness:

  1. Lighting: Natural light is usually best, but you can use additional lighting sources if required. Ensure your face is well-lit and avoid shadows.

  2. Audio: Use a microphone if possible, and minimize background noise to ensure your voice is clear and audible.

  3. Video Quality: Record your video using a high-resolution camera or smartphone. Keep the camera steady using a tripod or other stabilizing equipment.

  4. Editing: Use video editing software to fine-tune your video, adjust colors, and add any captions or transitions, if necessary.

  5. Visual Tools: Include appropriate visual tools that can enhance your message, such as props or images.

While the technical aspects of your video are important, remember that the content and message are the focal points. By creating a quality video showcasing your life lessons and growth, you will increase your chances of securing the Life Lessons Scholarship. Good luck!

After Submission


Selection Process

Once the submission period for the Life Lessons Scholarship Program ends, a comprehensive evaluation process begins. The selection committee consists of industry experts and professionals who carefully review each application, assessing the applicants’ personal stories, financial needs, and educational aspirations. Throughout this process, the selection committee evaluates applications based on specific criteria, including but not limited to the impact of a parent or guardian’s death, financial need, and the quality of the essay or video submission.

Notification of Winners

After thorough evaluation, the scholarship recipients are selected. The winning applicants are notified by email or phone call. It is essential for applicants to ensure their contact information is accurate and up-to-date. Once the winners have been notified, they are typically required to provide additional documentation, such as proof of enrollment in an accredited college or university.

All scholarship recipients are then publicly announced and celebrated on the Life Happens website and across their social media channels. This recognition builds awareness about the importance of life insurance and the powerful stories of the young people who have benefited from the Life Lessons Scholarship Program.

Scholarship Impact


Success Stories

The Life Lessons Scholarship Program has had a significant impact on the lives of students who have experienced the loss of a parent or guardian. By providing financial support for their education, the program helps them achieve their dreams and reduce the burden on their families.

These scholarships have assisted students in a variety of situations. For example, students who might have struggled to pay for college without the support of a parent who had a life insurance policy. Through the Life Happens organization, a $5,000 scholarship is awarded to these students, helping them continue their education and focus on their goals.

Life Lessons Learned

In addition to providing financial support to students, the Life Lessons Scholarship Program also encourages recipients to share their experiences and the lessons they have learned from the loss of a parent or guardian. This enables them to reflect on the importance of being prepared for such unexpected events in the future.

Some common themes among these life lessons include:

  1. The importance of life insurance: Many students recognize how a life insurance policy could have eased their family’s financial burden and stress after the loss of a parent or guardian.
  2. Fiscal responsibility: The experience of losing a parent often highlights the need for financial preparedness, including savings and investments for future emergencies.
  3. Resilience and personal growth: Navigating the challenges associated with the loss of a family member often leads to the development of important life skills, such as coping mechanisms and adaptability.

Through the Life Lessons Scholarship Program, students are not only receiving necessary financial support, but they are also learning valuable life lessons that can help them make informed decisions for their futures and those of their families.

Frequently Asked Questions


How can a student qualify for a Life Lessons Scholarship?

To qualify for a Life Lessons Scholarship, a student must be a college-bound high school senior or a current college student who has experienced the death of a parent or legal guardian. Eligibility requirements and other criteria may vary, so it is crucial for applicants to review the scholarship details carefully.

What materials are typically required when applying for a Life Lessons Scholarship?

When applying for a Life Lessons Scholarship, applicants are generally required to submit personal information, academic records, a personal essay, and/or a video essay. Additional materials such as recommendation letters may also be needed. Detailed application requirements can be found on the scholarship program’s website.

What tips can help increase the chances of receiving a Life Lessons Scholarship?

To increase the chances of receiving a Life Lessons Scholarship, applicants should:

  1. Start the application process early;
  2. Carefully review eligibility criteria and requirements;
  3. Write a compelling personal essay demonstrating the impact of losing a parent or guardian;
  4. Seek feedback on essay drafts;
  5. Submit a polished, well-crafted video essay if required;
  6. Obtain strong recommendation letters (if applicable);
  7. Proofread all application materials meticulously before submitting.

How does the Life Lessons Scholarship Program assist students from single-parent families?

The Life Lessons Scholarship Program primarily supports students who have lost a parent or guardian by offering financial assistance for their educational endeavors. This can significantly alleviate the financial burden faced by single-parent families or students grappling with the loss of a caregiver.

What are the deadlines and key dates associated with the Life Lessons Scholarship application process?

Deadlines and key dates for the Life Lessons Scholarship application process may vary from year to year. It is important for applicants to stay informed by visiting the official scholarship website for the most up-to-date information.

What kind of educational expenses does the Life Lessons Scholarship cover for recipients?

The Life Lessons Scholarship typically covers a range of educational expenses for recipients, such as tuition fees, books, and other related costs. However, it is essential for students to consult the official scholarship website for specific information regarding the scholarship’s coverage and restrictions.

Helpful Resources

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