With a character limit of 140, applicants must write a short statement to explain why they are worthy of such a scholarship.
“It’s judged based on quality, creativity, ability to tell a story on why they should receive the award, and the entrepreneurial drive and desire to pursue a college education,” Rick Maynard said, a KFC spokesman.
The contest started on Nov. 17 and will end on Nov. 26. The winner will be revealed on Dec. 1. To apply, tweets must include the hashtag #KFCScholar.
Though the fried-chicken food chain gives out 75 scholarships a year, this is the first one that requires a single tweet.
“We think this is a smart and strategic way to reach young people online, where they already spend a lot of time,” John Cywinski said, KFC’s chief marketing and food innovation officer.
Traditional scholarships can be time consuming and confusing to fill out. Carol Montgomery, director of guidance services for Jefferson County public schools in Kentucky, said she thinks this innovative contest is a great alternative to wasting pen ink.
Though Montgomery sees the value in traditional scholarship applications, she said social media is a great way to reach students.
“I would love that kids could spell and could write and could do sentences and paragraphs and themes and essays at a very high level,” she said. “But we cannot negate the value of the social media with Facebook and Twitter.”
To be eligible for the scholarship, high-school students must have a minimum grade-point average of 2.75, and be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. The scholarship money will be divided into $5,000 a year for four years. The winner may use the money for a bachelor’s degree at a public college or university in the beneficiary’s home state.