Two seniors qualify as Coca-Cola Scholar semifinalists

November 6, 2023 — by Aiden Ye
Seniors Brad Ma and Zeyneb Kaya were two of 1,514 semifinalists in America.

Seniors Brad Ma and Zeyneb Kaya are two of the 1,514 Coca-Cola scholarship semifinalists this year. They were selected from a pool of more than 100,000 applicants, and still have two more rounds of applications. 

Each year, the Coca-Cola Scholarship provides a $20,000 academic scholarship to 150 prestigious finalists. This year marks the 36th edition of the scholarship, which has donated more than $81 million to its 6,750 alumni to foster societal leaders and innovators. 

To be selected as a semifinalist, students fill out a form detailing their academic performances, activities and achievements. 

Currently, Ma and Kaya are working to complete the tougher second phase of the application, which consists of multiple short response questions, three personal essays and two recommendation letters.

“My essays from my early action colleges really helped,” Kaya said. “The essays are only 300 words though, so you have to be very clear and condensed when writing them.”

If they pass this phase, they’ll become one of the 250 regional finalists who will participate in an interview to determine the final 150 finalists.

As the Nov. 9 deadline for the semifinalist phase application concludes, Kaya reflects on her progress.

“It’s very very selective, but I’m really happy with what I’ve written,” Kaya said. “I think it’s the best I can put out.”

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