Advice from Tillman Scholars: Preparing your 2023 Application

Uncategorized | 01/31/2023

With applications for the 2023 class of Tillman Scholars closing February 28, we want to help you make the most out of your application! While the process may be arduous, the rewards last a lifetime. As the Pat Tillman Foundation continues to address the leadership gap in our country, it is the passion and tenacity of our growing Tillman Scholar community that offers unique perspectives and creative solutions to overcome seemingly insurmountable issues facing our society and world.

To best prepare you for the journey you will embark on during this application process, we asked some of our Tillman Scholars offer their advice. Check out their words of encouragement and don’t wait to get started. 

“My best advice is to decide on a word or phrase that encompasses how you serve and lead. Use that word to tell a story with each aspect of your application. Let the final essay be the action portion of your story. Build up a theme where you describe where you came from and then use that to empower specific and tangible action items that will get you where you’re going.” —Desaree Edwards, 2022 Tillman Scholar

“Be unapologetically you, not what you think we want you to be. Imagine with your education, there was a future where you could do anything in the world if you had the resources…and imagine beyond that. Using this perspective can help you imagine the impact this foundation can have on you. This is a heck of a place to start. The only way to make your application unique is to really show us who YOU are. Doing this through storytelling can really showcase some of your amazing attributes!” —Jay Vinnedge, 2016 Tillman Scholar

“Before you even start writing essays or ask someone to be your recommender, take time to learn more about the 800+ Tillman Scholars that have already been selected. Read their work, listen to their voices, learn what makes them humble and passionate leaders. If after that you’re feeling some nerves and excitement, that’s probably a good thing — it means you really care about joining this community and absolutely should proceed with your application.” —Tabatha Renz, 2013 Tillman Scholar; Associate Director of Programs

Applications close soon, don’t wait to get started! If you have questions or are looking for more resources for applying to be a 2023 Tillman Scholar, check out