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Eligibility requirements for the Young Scholars Program include:
What test scores do I need to qualify?
Students who have taken standardized tests, such as the SAT or ACT, must submit official score reports. Students who have not taken the SAT or ACT should ask their schools to submit scores from other recent state and national standardized achievement tests. Students without any standardized test scores may still apply. Each application will be reviewed individually.
Must I be eligible for one of the talent centers' programs to apply?
No. While the talent centers help conduct outreach for the Young Scholars Program, eligibility is entirely independent of the talent centers. Each year the Foundation accepts students into the Young Scholars Program that are not eligible for the talent center programs.
Are homeschooled students eligible to apply?
Yes. Students who are home-schooled do not need to submit the School Report as a part of their application, but must submit the Personal Recommendation. Please see the application guidelines for specific instructions.
Are high-achieving students who also have learning disabilities eligible to participate in the Young Scholars Program?
The Foundation encourages applications to the Young Scholars Program from students who demonstrate high levels of ability in some areas, but whose learning disabilities reduce their measured performance in other areas. The application to the Young Scholars Program provides an opportunity to describe student learning disabilities, and the Foundation may ask applicants to submit available documentation of learning disabilities.
Must I be a US citizen to apply?
No. You must, however, reside in the United States or a US territory and attend high school in the United States. At this time, the Foundation is not providing services to students who attend high school outside the United States.
What is the limit on a Young Scholar's family income?
Family income may not exceed $80,000. The average family income of our previous class of Young Scholars was approximately $25,000. We take into consideration: high cost of living expenses in some areas, extraordinary medical expenses, number of dependents in college, number of dependents, and high cost of supporting children with learning differences.
You can see a list of other programs and opportunities on our Additional Resources page.
For the first time this year, the Young Scholars Program will have a two-phase application process.
Phase One application requirements will include:
If you are selected as a semifinalist based on your Phase One application, you will be invited to submit additional information in Phase Two of the application process.
Phase Two application requirements will include:
As you are preparing your Phase One application, we strongly encourage you to begin gathering the required materials for Phase Two so that you will be prepared to submit your Phase Two application quickly should you be invited to do so.
The deadline for the Phase One application is March 21, 2013 (closes at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time).
Should you be invited to continue on to Phase Two of the application, the deadline for the application as well as all required documentation is May 23, 2013 (closes at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time).
Application materials will be available to all 7th-grade students on the Foundation's website in mid-January 2013.
March 21, 2013
Phase One application closes ar 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.
All applicants will be notified regarding their Phase One application status in mid-April.
April 19. 2013
Those applicants invited to proceed to Phase Two will have access to the Phase Two application.
May 23, 2013
Phase Two application closes ar 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.
Application review which may include telephone or in-person interviews.
The Foundation notifies all applicants in writing if they have been selected as a Young Scholar. The Foundation's educational advisers contact all new Young Scholars and arrange an in-person visit to the Scholar's home.
How do I obtain application materials?
In January, all application materials are made available on the Foundation's website.
If you do not have Internet access, you can obtain application materials by contacting the regional talent center that conducts outreach in your state.
Students who reside in the:
- East and West Coast states should contact Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth:
(410) 735-6270 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Southern states should contact Duke University Talent Identification Program:
(919) 668-9100 or email@example.com
- Midwestern states should contact Northwestern University Center for Talent Development:
(847) 491-3782 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rocky Mountain states should contact the Center for Bright Kids Regional Talent Center:
(303) 428-2634 or email@example.com
The Foundation collaborates with regional talent centers to inform students, families, and schools about the Young Scholars Program and answer related inquiries. Applicants do not need to be part of the talent centers' programs to be eligible for or participate in the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Young Scholars Program.
If you have questions about applying to the Young Scholars Program, you can contact the talent center affiliated with your state and the outreach staff at the center will assist you with your questions.
How will I know that my application has been received?
Students who apply online will receive immediate notification once they submit their application. Students applying via paper application will receive a postcard in the mail indicating that their application has been received.
How can I check on the status of my application?
The online application will show the application's status in the black header bar, on the far right of the screen. If you have additional questions about the status of an application, you can contact our Help Desk at 855-509-5253 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the parent I don't live with is unwilling to complete the Non-Custodial Parent(s)/Guardian(s) Financial Form, am I still eligible to apply?
Yes, but an explanation of the situation and copies of relevant official documents must be provided with the Family Information Form.
What are the selection criteria?
The Foundation reviews each application individually with the assistance of a panel of education experts. The Foundation selects Young Scholars using the criteria below. While all criteria are important, the Foundation pays particular attention to the first two.
When and how are the scholarship winners announced?
All applicants, whether selected for the scholarship or not, are notified in the fall. All applicants will receive decisions by email. Recipients' names will not be published on the Foundation's website.
What opportunities and support do Young Scholars receive?
Working together as a team, the Young Scholar, parent or guardian, and a full-time Foundation educational adviser develop an Individual Learning Plan tailored to the student’s talents, educational goals, and financial situation. Each Young Scholar receives a unique combination of opportunities that may include:
As a Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholar, what is expected of me?
The Foundation expects Young Scholars and their families to communicate at least once every two weeks and work closely with their designated Foundation educational adviser to develop and follow their annual Individual Learning Plans (ILP).
The Foundation also expects Young Scholars to Think Big and Work Hard:
These responsibilities are outlined in a Letter of Commitment included in the award packet, signed by the Scholar and the Scholar's parent(s) or guardian(s). Families and Scholars discuss program expectations in depth with the educational adviser prior to signing.
What does working with a Foundation educational adviser involve?
Educational advisers collaborate with each Young Scholar and his/her parent(s) or guardian(s) to develop an annual Individual Learning Plan (ILP) tailored to the student's talents and financial situation. Educational advisers also provide assistance with career exploration and college planning, review student performance, help set educational goals, and identify new areas for growth and learning. Young Scholars and their families are expected to communicate at least every two weeks with their educational advisers by phone, by email, via Skype, and during in-person visits. Each educational adviser conducts home and school visits to each Young Scholar.
What is an Individual Learning Plan (ILP)?
This personalized educational roadmap helps Young Scholars focus on their goals and develop plans to reach them. Each plan offers an overview of the educational opportunities, support, and resources each Young Scholar will receive throughout the year, identifies needed resource materials and equipment, and sets timelines. The Foundation’s educational advisers write and monitor each Scholar's ILP, and maintain contact with service providers, vendors, and parent(s) or guardian(s).
Who decides what is included in a Young Scholar's ILP?
The Foundation educational adviser works closely with the Scholar, his/her family, and others to understand the abilities, talents, dreams, and goals of each Young Scholar. Educational advisers then develop individualized recommendations that can move the Scholar toward those goals. Family input is carefully considered, and parent(s) or guardian(s) always have the right to decline any recommendation. The Foundation’s senior program manager and other staff work directly with the educational adviser to assure that a realistic, balanced plan is presented to the Scholar and family.
How can I use the scholarship?
While Young Scholars are selected in the 8th grade, funding for services does not begin until the summer before 9th grade. The Foundation tailors opportunities to each student's unique needs and community resources, working with the Scholar and family each spring to develop a plan for the upcoming school year. Beginning in 9th grade, students may use the scholarship to attend academic summer, after-school, or weekend programs; participate in distance learning or college courses; and take performing or fine arts lessons. The Foundation may also fund the purchase of resources such as books, computers, supplemental educational tools, or computer software. For some Young Scholars, the awards fund a contribution to high school or special-program tuition.
Does the Young Scholars Program primarily provide boarding school scholarships?
No, the primary purpose of the program is to find challenging educational experiences for high school students. In only some cases does this include support for private boarding school. Educational advisers work with Young Scholars and their families to determine the suitability of their local public or magnet schools. Where suitable local school opportunities are available, scholarship funds will be used to enhance local educational opportunities through distance learning courses, summer programs, and other services. If no suitable local school option is available to meet the Scholar’s educational needs, the Foundation works with the Young Scholar and their families to apply for admission to and financial aid from a boarding, private, or parochial school. If the Scholar is admitted to a private school and the financial aid the family receives is inadequate to meet their financial need, the Foundation may contribute to these costs.
How long will scholarship support continue?
Each school year, the Foundation evaluates Young Scholars through a renewal process. Foundation staff consider the Scholar’s commitment to and participation in the program; working relationship with the designated Foundation educational adviser; academic performance; and progress, conduct, and motivation. When students have not met the expectation of the Young Scholars Program, the Foundation does not renew their participation in the program. The Foundation also takes disciplinary action during the year as necessary, up to and including expulsion from the program.
Are there any mandatory requirements?
During the summer before 9th grade, Young Scholars are required to participate in a Foundation-sponsored Young Scholars Welcome Weekend in the Washington, DC area. In the summer before 12th grade, Young Scholars are required to return to the Washington, DC area to participate in Scholars Weekend.
Young Scholars are also expected to participate in summer enrichment programs, which often include residential placement away from home.