Print Print

How To Apply

The application will open Thursday, February 2, 2017. Use the "Alert Me" button at right to be emailed a reminder!

The Basics

Who can apply?  Eligibility and selection criteria

What information and materials do I need in order to apply?  Parts of application and the people involved

When do I apply?  Timeline

How do I apply?  Access to the online application materials

Why should I apply?  Our approach

 

Who can apply?

Eligibility

To be eligible for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Young Scholars Program, the applicant must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Grade level – Entering 8th grade in the fall of 2016.
  • Academics – Since the beginning of 6th grade, have earned grades of all or mostly A's in school with no C's or below in core academic subjects (English/language arts, math, science, social studies/history).*
  • Testing – The official score report from the applicant’s state standardized testing. If the applicant has taken the SAT or ACT through a regional talent center, he/she should also submit those score reports.
  • Income – Family income does not exceed $95,000. The average family income of entering Young Scholars is approximately $25,000. In recent years nearly all Young Scholars have come from families with incomes below $60,000.
  • Location – Reside in the U.S. or a U.S. territory and plan to attend high school in the U.S.

Selection Criteria

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation reviews each Young Scholars Program application individually with the assistance of a panel of national education experts. Among the criteria used in the selection process are:

  • High academic ability and achievement: Strong academic record, academic awards and honors, and substantive assessments by educators providing confidential recommendations. We consider grades (typically mostly A's), achievement test scores, participation in available honors or advanced courses, commitment to learning, and work ethic.
  • Unmet financial need: Limited family income and insufficient funds to cover significant out-of-pocket education-related expenses. The average family income of our previous class of Young Scholars was approximately $25,000.
  • Persistence: Determination and perseverance in the face of challenges, ability to set and remain focused on goals and to put in the effort needed to meet those goals in the face of obstacles.
  • Desire to help others: Purposeful and meaningful commitment to others which may be evidenced by participation in volunteer/community service activities.

 

What information and materials do I need in order to apply?

The Young Scholars Program application requires information from several different people in order to be complete. Each person must have a unique email address in order to receive their required forms via email from the online application system. These include:

The Applicant – The student who, if selected, will become a Young Scholar.

The Parents/Guardians – Both of the biological or adoptive parents of the applicant. If the parents are not married to each other, there is a separate form for each parent. If there is only one parent (the second parent is deceased, unknown, missing or not in contact with the applicant), then the sole parent can complete the form independently. 

The Teacher Recommenders – One English/language arts and one math teacher. These must be teachers that had/have the applicant in 6th or 7th grade classes and should be well-acquainted with the applicant’s performance and character. Each will complete a recommendation form for the applicant. 

The Personal Recommender – An adult who knows the applicant personally (not a parent or relative), such as: a mentor; coach; extracurricular instructor; teacher (past or present); scout leader; pastor or church leader; or camp counselor. This person should also be well-acquainted with the applicant’s performance and character.

Read more about the forms and requirements for each of these roles in the following sections. 

Applicant

The student application is an online form to be completed by the applicant. It requires information on the applicant’s background, academics and interests. Sections include:

  • Basic information – Address, phone, email, gender, date of birth, and primary language spoken at home.
  • Academics – Grades for core classes in 6th and 7th grade, state standardized test scores, SAT or ACT scores (if taken).
  • Honors – Up to five honors or awards from 6th grade to present, including a short answer about why the listed award is important to the applicant.
  • Activities – Up to five activities in which the applicant spends a significant time outside of class.  These can include clubs, extracurricular activities, hobbies, academic groups, volunteer activities, or family responsibilities. 
  • Short Answers – Questions about academic and personal experiences.
  • Long Essay – A long form response to one of four topics, intended to help the scholarship selection committee get to know the applicant better. This essay should reveal more about character, leadership abilities, interests, creativity, goals, and other traits that make the applicant a unique person.  
  • Uploaded materials – Documents that need to be scanned and uploaded to the online application include:
    • Report Cards – All grades and marks from the beginning of 6th grade through the most recent grading period (semester, trimester, mid-term, six weeks, etc.).
    • Test Score Reports – The official score report from the applicant’s state standardized testing. If the applicant has taken the SAT or ACT through a regional talent center, he/she should also submit those score reports.

Parents/Guardians

The parent/guardian form is an online form to be completed by the biological or adoptive parents of the applicant. If the parents are not married to each other, there is a separate form for each parent. If there is only one parent (the second parent is deceased, unknown, missing or not in contact with the applicant), then the sole parent can complete the form independently. Sections include:

  • Employment and Education – Current employment status, current or most recent employment information, highest level of education attained, and information on colleges or universities attended and field of study. 
  • Household members – People living in the household, as listed on federal tax returns, and their relationship to the applicant.
  • Applicant information – Academic services provided to the applicant, homeschooling (if applicable), repeating or skipping a grade, school conduct, and short answers to provide additional information about the applicant.
  • Financial Form – Tax info and Adjusted Gross Income.
  • Uploaded materials – Documents that need to be scanned and uploaded to the online application include:

2015 Federal Tax Return – Complete forms, including W-2 form(s), schedules, and attachments.

2014 and 2013 Federal Tax Returns – 1040 forms only, not including schedules or attachments. 

Teacher Recommenders

Two teacher recommendation forms must be completed online, one by an English/language arts teacher and one by a math teacher. These must be teachers that had/have the applicant in 6th or 7th grade classes. 

The forms must be completed online; a standard “letter” of recommendation cannot be accepted as a substitute. Questions include:

  • Ratings – Seven-point scale to rate the applicant on a variety of academic and personal skills and characteristics.
  • Short Answers – Summaries of the teacher’s experience with the applicant in the classroom, both as a student and as a person.

Personal Recommender

The Personal Recommendation is an online form and should be completed by an adult who knows the applicant personally (not a parent or relative), such as: a mentor; coach; extracurricular instructor; teacher (past or present); scout leader; pastor or church leader; or camp counselor. This person should also be well-acquainted with the applicant’s performance and character.

The forms must be completed online; a standard “letter” of recommendation cannot be accepted as a substitute. Questions include:

  • Ratings – Seven-point scale to rate the applicant on a variety of academic and personal skills and characteristics.
  • Short Answers – Summaries of the recommender’s experience with the applicant, both as a participant in the related activity and as a person.

 

When do I apply?

The Young Scholars Program application is available to students only during their 7th grade year. The application opens in mid-January and closes in April. The applications are reviewed April through August, and final notifications are made in early fall of the applicant’s 8th grade year. 

 

How do I apply?

The online application opens in January, and instructions and the link to the application portal will be made available then.

 

Why should I apply?

This program offers the most personalized, generous scholarship and educational support to exceptionally promising students from across the nation who have financial need. Scholars receive comprehensive advising and financial support from the 8th grade through high school. Read more about the design and benefits of the Young Scholars Program on the Our Approach page. 

 

Alert Me When The Application Opens

Preview the online application

Webinar for students and families

This webinar covers eligibility requirements, selection criteria, and key dates.  Parents, guardians, and students are especially encouraged to watch to learn about best practices and tips for the application process.

View Recorded Webinar

Information for families

Application Guidelines