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How to Apply to the Bonner Community Scholars Program


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The Bonner Institute works with the Admission’s Office to recruit high school seniors to apply to the College and the Bonner Community Scholars program. Anyone who is interested can apply during their senior year of high school!

In addition, TCNJ students who volunteer for a year as Bonner Volunteers are also recruited to join the program when scholarship funds become available (for more information about becoming a BVol, please visit the (Get Involved page). All Bonners receive aid that equates to 50-100% of the tuition portion of their bill.

If you have any specific questions, please email

Thank you and we look forward to meeting you on our campus soon!

Frequently Asked Questions

What do we look for in an applicant?

We are looking for students who have a passion for community service and social justice. The Bonner Community Scholars are a well-rounded group of students with all different experiences, skills, backgrounds, majors, and passions. During the recruitment process we are looking to bring students in who have different strengths (experience in community service, non-profit background, public speaking, leadership, etc.) in order to make our program as successful as possible.

If I am a current TCNJ student, can I apply to become a Bonner?

Yes. But we would strongly encourage you to become a BVol and volunteer at some of our sites first. We have a large group of dedicated BVols who often apply to the program and have an advantage during the selection process due to their experience with Bonner sites. For more information about becoming a BVol,  please visit this page.

How does the Application Process work?

You can apply to the Bonner Community Scholar program as either a high school senior or current TCNJ student. Processes are different for each student type.

High School Seniors

Timeline 1:

  • Students may request a written application to the program from September through February.
  • Written applications from are due in mid-March.
  • If chosen for an interview, interviews will occur during the weekend of TCNJ’s Accepted Student Day–usually the first or second weekend in April.

Timeline 2

  • Students may request a written application to the program during their senior year of high school from March through the end of April.
  • Written applications are due early May.
  • If chosen for an interview, interviews will occur mid-May.

Current TCNJ Students (Bonner Volunteers)

  • Students may request a written application to the program from September through April.
  • Written applications are due mid-May.
  • If chosen for an interview, interviews will occur in early mid-May.

*Note: All dates are subject to change

What is on the written application?

Upon request, students will receive the written application via email. The application is a series of short answer questions. In addition, we will ask for the name and phone number of two references to contact in regard to your application. (not letters of recommendation, just contact information).

When will I hear back about my written application?

Students can expect an email or a phone call about whether or not they will receive an interview approximately 1-2 weeks after the written application is due.

How do interviews work?

The interview process is about three hours long and consists of three interviews, one with the Bonner Staff, one with a group of Bonner students, and one role-playing scenario. High school seniors applying in Timeline 1 will have the option of staying overnight with a Bonner on campus.

How many people who apply are selected?

This is largely determined by the year and the availability of scholarship funding. However last year we had about 200 written applications and accepted about 25 students into the program.

What can I expect if I am selected?

If selected, you would be joining a team of 100+ students, staff, faculty, and community partners working together to make our local community and national community a better place. Each Bonner student will be on a team with other TCNJ Bonners working on an issue they care about. The team, along with the staff and community partners, plan out their goals and schedule at the beginning of each year. Students serve together at the site and work on projects as a team.

Beyond service, when you enter this program you will gain many new skills and joining the Bonner Family. The TCNJ Bonners are a very close group and we continue to build relationships through fun team building activities and group service trips.

Graduated Bonners say that they gained more from the program than they ever could have imagined. Many of our graduates have entered the non-profit world, working for some of our current partners in Trenton, while others have continued their education at the graduate level. We hope that students leave TCNJ prepared to be active citizens in their own communities and continue the work they started while in the Bonner Program.

How much is the scholarship?

Bonner Scholarships range from 50%-100% of tuition (not including fees or room and board) based on financial need. The amount of financial need of the accepted Bonners will be determined by the FAFSA. Please note: These scholarships are only available to citizens or permanent residents of the United States. However, other resources  for interested students are available; if you have questions, please contact Paula Figueroa-Vega (

What happens if you are not selected?

If you are not selected to become a scholarship recipient, we encourage you to get involved in our Bonner Volunteers (B-Vol) group! Please visit this page for more information.

Since our recruitment process typically happens before students even get to TCNJ, we have already given out all of our scholarships at the beginning of each school year. However, sometimes scholarship opportunities become available and we are able to allocate funding to current TCNJ students. We look to our best B-Vols first!

 We are members of a National Network!

10MercerImageWe are one school in a national network of over 85 other colleges and universities with the Bonner Program! If you are applying to other schools, be sure to check to see if they have a Bonner Program also! Here is the link to the Bonner Foundation’s Website and list of participating schools!