What Makes a Strong Kemper Scholar
Students accepted to the Kemper Scholar Program meet a number of criteria based on scholastic achievement, career interests and demonstrated maturity. The Kemper Scholars Program evaluates candidates based on the following considerations:
Academic standing, achievement and potential
Students who plan to graduate in no less than four years and have completed less than 20% of the coursework required for their major. Kemper Scholars must maintain a minimum 3.25 grade point average. However, most Kemper Scholars will graduate with a 3.50 or better. Students who achieve less than 3.25 during a semester or show a cumulative grade point average of less than 3.25 for two semesters will be dropped from the program.
Academic major/career interests
The Kemper Scholars Program is designed for students who are pursuing, or intend to pursue, a business-related degree program such as accounting, data science, finance, risk management, economics, statistics, operations/HR, marketing, math and/or actuarial science. Students who combine course work in any of these areas with courses in computer science are strongly encouraged to apply.
Prospective Kemper Scholars must have a demonstrated strong interest in pursuing a business career and be open to exploring career options in the insurance industry.
Students who are general business majors or unsure of what aspect of business they want to pursue and/or which industry they are most interested in may be a good match for the Kemper Scholars Program.
Students who are certain they want to pursue a career in consulting, investment banking, international business, wealth management, or law are not a best fit for the program.
Availability for post-sophomore and post-junior summer experiences
Kemper Scholars must commit at least ten weeks between the end of the spring term and the fall term after their sophomore and junior years, plus time for travel to their internship sites. Students hoping to study abroad for a full year or in the spring term in an international study program that do not end until mid- or late-June should not apply to the Kemper Scholars Program unless they are willing to alter their international study plans.
Leadership in school and community
Kemper Scholars demonstrate a capacity for leadership by their activities and involvement both in high school and in college.
Commitment to citizenship and service
Service is an underlying principle of leadership. Prospective candidates must display a commitment to helping others and serving society. A record of community service activity in high school or college is important.
Intellectual curiosity and independence
The Kemper Scholars Program is most satisfying to students who are eager to learn new things and can relate their experiences to academic preparation and career aspirations.
Openness to being mentored
The impact of the program is largely achieved from two key aspects:
- Interaction with and peer learning from the other Kemper Scholars
- Structured activities and mentoring by Kemper Foundation staff and work supervisors.
Because the program awards neither college credit nor grades, Scholars benefit most when open and committed to mentorship from the Kemper Foundation staff. Scholars must be willing to engage fully in program activities, to reflect upon and talk with staff about their personal goals and development and to openly consider mentors’ advice.
Unusual maturity, openness and flexibility
During Summer Experiences, Kemper Scholars live and work as independent adults. They must be able to relate well to adults in the workplace, to adjust to unexpected events and to make wise decisions about life away from work. Kemper Scholars become part of a very diverse group and must be open to and accepting of fellow Kemper Scholars with differences in economic background, politics, religion, ethnicity, culture, interests and sexual orientation.
Need and opportunity
For many participants, the Kemper Scholars Program provides their first chance to work alongside adult professionals, to live independently away from home and to test out a professional career. For these students, the program often has the greatest value and makes the greatest impact. While they are not the primary criteria, personal background and financial need may be considered in the selection process.
The Kemper Foundation seeks to recruit Scholars from diverse economic, ethnic and geographical backgrounds. We seek also to achieve a group balanced, preferably equally, between male and female participants.
Parental or guardian support
Kemper Scholars must have the permission of their parent(s) or guardian(s) to participate in the program. Before they apply to the program, prospective Kemper Scholars are responsible to ensure that their parent(s) or guardian(s) will be comfortable with their travel to and from Chicago as well as their living in working in Chicago for the summer. The Kemper Foundation staff deals directly with students and will consult parents or guardians only in unusual circumstances.