"I created ScholarJet because I believe that students have more to offer than a 500-word essay." (Tuan Ho, CEO and Co-Founder of ScholarJet)

Expanding Opportunities and Encouraging Initiative

Tuan Ho immigrated to the U.S. from Vietnam at age 10 because his mother believed in the value of education for opening possibilities. When applying to colleges, Tuan composed 120 essays to apply for scholarships. Through his hard work, Tuan earned a full-ride to Northeastern University, but his experience left him disillusioned with the scholarship application process. As an engineer and non-native English speaker, Tuan felt like written essays did not accurately express his skills and capacities. So he started ScholarJet, an online platform that enables students to win scholarship money and internships by entering various company-sponsored competitions. Challenges include coding a resume, creating a commercial for a favorite product or service, and designing a product to improve the everyday life of a person with physical disabilities. Partner businesses post challenges detailing submission criteria, and students submit projects by the listed deadline date. Prizes typically range from $1000-$3000, and the award is sent directly to winners’ undergraduate institutions as scholarship money.

Where Study, Work, and Passion Meet

In addition to scholarship money, companies can post internship and full-time job applications on ScholarJet. Instead of soliciting paper resumes, businesses like WeWork and Wayfair challenge applicants to post videos, submit a portfolio of their best work, or build a data model to predict customer behavior. Competition criteria can be quite unique; one contest asks applicants to create an app, video, or graphic about toast (yes, the food). These competitions offer potential employers insight into the skills of their applicants, while giving potential hires freedom to let their passion shine and to be evaluated based on their best work.

Currently, most of ScholarJet’s scholarship and job application competitions are only open to undergraduate students in Massachusetts. However, the company hopes to become a nationwide service in the near future. And with all three members of their leadership team recognized by Forbes 30 under 30, and having recently received an award from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, ScholarJet seems nearly ready for accelerated growth.

Image: via ScholarJet