American Dream Fellowship Competition

Elmhurst University is committed to helping individuals achieve the American Dream.

Registration for the American Dream Fellowship Competition is now closed. For Fall 2024 applicants, please check back later for information on next year’s competition.

We are pleased to announce the sixth annual American Dream Fellowship Competition, a scholarship competition that supports the enrollment of first-generation college students.

View 2022 American Dream Fellowship first-place winner Alejandra Galvan’s video submission.

Meet the 2022 Winners


All first-year admitted students (freshmen) who are first-generation college students* are invited to participate in the competition, which will consist of two rounds:

Round One: Due March 15, 2024

Make a video (no more than three minutes long) by March 15, 2024, on the topic: “The American dream is the belief that anyone, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into, can attain their own version of success. What is your version of success?”

Note: All Round One participants are automatically invited to the Round Two competition. We look forward to viewing student videos from all who applied for Round One – and seeing you on campus for Round Two.

Round Two (In-Person)

Saturday, April 6, 2024 | 8:30–11:00 a.m.

On April 1, students and their families will be invited to the second round of competition, held on the Elmhurst University campus.

The on-campus Round Two competition will consist of a group project for students, an opportunity to hear from a first-generation featured speaker, and a chance to meet other participants. Round Two concludes with an awards ceremony hosted by University President Troy D. VanAken, a first-generation college student himself.

  • FIRST PLACE: The winner receives a four-year, full-tuition scholarship.
  • SECOND PLACE: The winner receives a four-year, $10,000 annual stipend.
  • ALL STUDENTS WHO COMPLETE BOTH ROUNDS OF THE COMPETITION will receive a four-year, $1,000 annual American Dream Fellowship Grant, which can be added to previously awarded merit scholarships and/or grant aid.

* “First-generation college students” means neither parent nor guardian has earned a bachelor’s degree. Students who plan to apply for the Niebuhr Service to Society Competition are not eligible to also apply for the American Dream Fellowship.

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