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Our Approach

We designed the Young Scholars Program to incorporate three important components of support:

  • Educational Adviser (EA)
  • Individualized Learning Plan (ILP)
  • Community

 Educational Adviser


The Foundation matches an on-staff educational adviser (EA) with each Young Scholar. The EA collaborates with Scholars and their families during the middle and high school years to provide academic guidance, assess needs and opportunities, identify resources, and determine the Foundation’s support. 

As a GUIDE, the EA helps each Young Scholar:

  • Select a high school
  • Plan an appropriately challenging four-year academic course load
  • Discover new educational resources
  • Research enrichment opportunities
  • Prepare for and complete the college admissions process

As an ADVOCATE, the EA:

  • Conducts home and school visits
  • Collaborates with educators, coaches, mentors, and other key adults to help support the Scholar’s learning
  • Helps make educational decisions

As a COACH, the EA helps each Young Scholar:

  • Develop strengths and skills
  • Address academic challenges as they arise
  • Stretch outside of his or her comfort zone
  • Set yearly academic and extracurricular goals

As a TAILOR, the EA helps each Young Scholar:

  • Construct a yearly Individualized Learning Plan (ILP)
  • Understand how ILP opportunities complement one another
  • Achieve academic and extracurricular goals
  • Select summer experiences that enhance growth and learning

 Individualized Learning Plan

Created to help each Young Scholar meet his/her academic and extracurricular goals, an Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) is a map of the annual educational opportunities funded by the Foundation. (Sample ILPs).

Each ILP is designed to help Scholars develop and nurture academic skills, explore passions and interests, and stretch outside of their comfort zone.

Young Scholars experience opportunities may include:

  • Residential summer programs
  • School expenses
  • Fine music/art/athletic lessons and supplies
  • Books and magazines
  • Software and technology
  • Distance learning courses
  • Internships
  • Conferences
  • Travel opportunities

Scholar Community

In addition to financial support and advising, each Young Scholar also has several opportunities to attend extraordinary educational, cultural, and enrichment activities with fellow Scholars.

Welcome Weekend is a four-day residential experience that allows new Young Scholars and a parent or guardian to learn about the Young Scholars Program, get to know their Scholar and parent communities, prepare for high school, and meet JKCF staff.

Scholars Weekend is a four-day residential experience for Young Scholars about to enter their senior year of high school to learn about the college search and application process, as well as scholarship opportunities. This event gives Young Scholars the opportunity to network with Scholars in JKCF higher education programs.

CivicWeek is a program that Young Scholars are encouraged to attend at least one summer during high school. CivicWeek programs combine meaningful, hands-on service, meetings with prominent professionals and community leaders, reflection, and team building in one of the nation’s most dynamic cities.

Regional events are hosted by the Foundation across the country to foster community among groups of Scholars living in the same area. JKCF Young Scholars and higher education Scholars attend the gatherings to build connections. Past events have taken place in Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, and New York.

parent Community

Parent(s)/guardian(s) of Young Scholars also establish a community of support. They attend Welcome Weekend, receive a JKCF Family Newsletter, and occasional attend regional events.

Alert me when the application opens

Información en Español:
El Programa Young Scholars

Webinars for students, families, and educators

Join us for a live webinar on eligibility requirements, selection criteria, and key dates. Cooke Foundation staff will answer attendee questions and share best practices and tips for the application process. Several dates and times are available:

Register for Upcoming Webinars

Information for families

English: Program Flyer | Application Guidelines

Español: Folleto | Pautas de la Solicitud

한국어: 브로셔 | 신청 가이드 라인