Instructions on completing the application and corresponding with ESF

The scholarship is intended for students of Estonian heritage studying full-time in a Bachelor or Master degree program at an accredited academic institution in the USA, Estonia or elsewhere.

Application Portal Is

Not following the instructions is cause for disqualification and/or forfeiture of the scholarship

General directions


The portal closes upon receipt of 200 applications or on March 15th, 2023

Scholarships will vary depending upon the country where the student is studying

Average scholarship range is $2,000 - $7,000 (USD)


2023 Timeline

Jan 15  | Application portal opens – ESF begins accepting applications ONLY from Estonian candidates in their senior year in a USA high school and graduates of USA high schools.

Applications from candidates who are not USA high school seniors or graduates will be discarded.

      Candidate receives emailed auto-confirmation of submission

Feb 15  | ESF begins accepting applications from other Estonian candidates.

      Candidate receives emailed auto-confirmation of submission

March 15 | Portal closes if application limit has not already been reached

      Deadline for a recommendation letter to be received by ESF  

May 15 | Candidates begin receiving email notifications of ESF’s decision

July 30 | Deadline for notifying ESF of changes to academic plans

Sept 1 | ESF begins accepting emailed proof of registration/matriculation (R/M) for the fall  semester from scholarship recipients

Upon ESF receipt of R/M, stipend is remitted to the student's bank account

Oct   1  | Deadline for ESF receipt of proof of R/M for fall semester

             Scholarship is revoked if proof of R/M is not received


Correspondence -

  • Add ESF to your contact list to avoid spam filters or being blocked
  • All correspondence with ESF is via email:
  • The email entered into the application must be valid through the upcoming academic year
  • All ESF emails must be replied to within one week



  • Ensure all MANDATORY ATTACHMENTS are available and formatted for uploading prior to filling out the online application (refer to Technical Tips)
  • Only one application is accepted per candidate each academic year
  • ASAP - send RECOMMENDATION LETTER instructions to the provider
  • Prepare all answers prior to starting the online application
    • The application must be completed and submitted in the same session
    • The application cannot be saved to be resumed later
    • Once submitted, changes or additional information CAN NOT be sent
    • Answers are 40, 200, or 1,000 characters (including spaces)
  • All financial information must be converted to USD



  • The application must be filled out in Estonian
    • Candidates born/schooled outside of Estonia may use English and Estonian
  • All documents originating in Estonia must be in Estonian
    • Documents originating elsewhere must be in English or Estonian
    • Documents not in English or Estonian must be accompanied by English or Estonian translations


Extracurricular Activities

  • Irrespective of whether you are a first-time applicant or have submitted applications in previous years, give a complete list of your important activities and responsibilities you have taken on.
  • Include membership in Estonian organizations and participation in Estonian activities, even from childhood (choir, dance, school, scouts, summer camp, athletics, etc) 

Mandatory documents

Attachments to upload with the application

  1. Transcript(s)
  2. Personal Essay
  3. Photo
  4. Other Documents (GPA calculations, translations, grading systems, explanations, etc.)

Emailed directly to by the recommendation provider

  1. Confidential Letter of Recommendation
1. TRANSCRIPT(S) PDF (less than 5 MB)
  • Official transcript must be in Estonian or English
  • If the school is not in Estonia or the USA, include the school’s official explanation of the grading system
  • Master’s students must include prior transcript(s)
  • All high school seniors and college freshmen must include grade 9-12 transcript(s). If in Estonia, they must include the Estonian national exam results 
  • Transcript must include recent fall semester’s grades
    • If not available, a letter written by an academic advisor detailing the candidate’s achievements and class ranking during the fall semester, must be uploaded with OTHER DOCUMENTS. It must be on official letterhead, signed and dated
  • Transcript must show the cumulative GPA
    • If not available, or not on a 4 or 5 point scale, cumulative GPA must be calculated on a 4 or 5 point scale and uploaded with OTHER DOCUMENTS

If the school’s grading system has been changed/adapted due to Covid-19 (e.g. classes are pass/fail) upload the official explanation of how cumulative GPA is determined

2. PERSONAL ESSAY PDF (less than 1 MB)
  • Must be no longer than one page
  • Topic is to be selected by the candidate
  • Essays from previous years addressed topics such as:
    • What inspires you about your field of study
    • A life changing event, person, or challenge
    • Previous ESF recipients could write about the previous year’s impact on them and their outlook

Do not reuse essays written for previous ESF applications

3. PHOTO JPG, JPEG, PNG (less than 1 MB)
  • Passport style and size
4. OTHER DOCUMENTS PDF (less than 5 MB)
  • GPA calculations, translations, grading systems, explanations, etc.
    • Merge all document into one PDF for uploading

Technical instructions

  • Download the latest version of the browser
  • Remove the pop-up blocker
    • All Transcripts must be merged into a single PDF (less than 5 MB)
    • Personal Essay must be in PDF format (less than 1 MB)
    • Photo must be in JPG, JPEG or PNG format (less than 1 MB)
    • Other Documents must be merged into a single PDF (less than 5 MB)
      • Merging Documents
        • Free online software is available
        • Apple Preview can be used
        • Use black and white settings to minimize file size

Confidential recommendation letter

The following information should be sent to the recommendation provider in a timely manner

The confidential recommendation letter must be received by ESF by March 15th, 2023        

The Candidate may select either an academic or a personal letter to be sent on their behalf which addresses the ESF criteria….”The Estonian Student Fund USA awards scholarships to students who demonstrate academic excellence, community leadership, and a commitment to making a contribution to the Estonian language, culture, and society.”

  • The letter must be sent by the recommendation provider directly to
    • Must be sent as a PDF attachment (less than 1 MB)
    • The subject line must read:
      •  “Candidate’s Last Name, First Name – ESF Recommendation Letter”
  • Must be written on organizational letterhead and include the recommender’s
    •  Name, contact information, signature, date
  • If the provider is not fluent in Estonian, the letter may be written in English


               The Academic Letter of Recommendation

  • Must be written by a teacher, department head, or advisor who has taught or advised the candidate within the past two years
  • Must provide information on the candidate’s recent academic progress, achievements, current class standing, and why they are a worthy candidate
  • May include comments on the candidate’s character, personal qualities, and/or community leadership
  • Must include specific details such as the length of time the provider has known the candidate and in what capacity


                The Personal Letter of Recommendation

  • Must be written by someone who has associated with the candidate within the past two years
  • May be written by a former teacher, workplace supervisor, organization officer, or religious leader but cannot be written by a family member, relative or friend
  • Must comment on the candidate’s character, personal qualities, and/or community leadership and why they are a worthy candidate
  • Must include specific details such as the length of time the provider has known the candidate and in what capacity