Student News

Michelle Obama’s $10K Scholarship for High School Seniors

Learn how your memoir could lead to a $10,000 college scholarship.

Shawna Newman

October 16, 2023

Michelle Obama’s $10K Scholarship for High School Seniors
There’s power in storytelling.
Inward accounts and reflections shared with others often serve as conduits of courage, motivation, and respect—empowering camaraderie, fueling gratefulness, or inspiring social change for readers. There is genuine power in storytelling. Have you faced your fair share of obstacles or have an exciting life story to share? Give a whole new meaning to the value of stories; express your authentic self by writing an autobiography and win a big scholarship as a result! Michelle Obama, in partnership with publishing company Penguin Random House and We Need Diverse Books, announced a new creative writing award for high school students, The Michelle Obama Award for Memoir. This scholarship was designed to celebrate the soon-to-be release of her second book, The Light We Carry.
JUMP TO THE $10,000 MICHELLE OBAMA AWARD FOR MEMOIR SCHOLARSHIP Obama explains the potency of storytelling in a PRH press release, “When we share the whole of ourselves, we offer others the opportunity to not only see us as we are, but maybe even think about themselves in a new way. This allows us to harness the things that set us apart and helps us see the world as the nuanced, messy, beautiful place that it is.”

Who is Michelle Obama’s scholarship open to?

Current high school seniors attending U.S. public schools are encouraged to use their creative writing skills to share their autobiographies. Students from the Class of 2024 that are applying for this scholarship must be planning to attend a two-year or four-year college or university.
In addition to the $10,000 scholarship, the award winner will gain access to virtual meetings and chats with PRH editors and authors, networking workshops, and an invitation to a panel discussing career opportunities in publishing. The winner will also be invited to the creative writing virtual awards ceremony, in the summer of 2023.

How to I apply for Michelle Obama’s $10,000 memoir scholarship?

Use your life experiences and writing talent to share your story via a 500-word minimum, 10-page maximum memoir. Your personal essay must be written in English.

What’s a memoir?

A memoir is a nonfiction story, or autobiography, of your personal life experiences. In other words, it is an essay sharing your life story.

$10,000 Michelle Obama Award for Memoir

Deadline: 1/16/24 The Michelle Obama Award for Memoir is open to current high school seniors who attend public school in the United States and are planning to attend an accredited institution in the Fall of 2023. You must submit a memoir/personal essay of no more than ten pages in order to be considered for this award. Obama is no stranger to creative writing. In 2018, she published her memoir Becoming. According to U.S. News & World Report, this publication is considered one of the most popular books from a White House resident; 17 million copies have been sold. In her PRH statement, Obama is transparent about the will needed to share such personal memories, “I know firsthand how nerve-wracking it can be to share the most intimate stories from your life with the world,” said Mrs. Obama. “But after publishing my memoir, Becoming, I’ve learned that writing your own story can be a powerful tool. Michelle Obama’s memoir scholarship is an addition to PRH’s existing creating writing awards: • $10,000 Scholarship: Amanda Gorman Award for Poetry • $10,000 Scholarship: Maya Angelou Award for Spoken Word • $10,000 Scholarship: Fiction & Drama • $10,000 Scholarship: Michelle Obama Award for Memoir • $10,000 Scholarship: Top NYC Entrant Award PRH states their social-impact program has awarded more than $2.8 million to U.S. students attending public high schools, since 1993. Michelle Obama’s Award for Memoir is not her first higher-education scholarship for young people. In May, her husband and former President Barack Obama, partnered with AirBnb CEO, Brian Chesky, to launch the Voyager Scholarship. This is just one program associated with The Obama Foundation.

Other Creative Writing Scholarships

If you enjoy writing, you will also want to check out and apply for the below scholarship opportunities:

Penguin Random House Creative Writing Award Scholarships for Writers Top Essay Scholarships for Students Scholarships for Your Senior Year Scholarships for Military Families

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