College Prep Scholars Program: Who Should Apply

The deadline for the 2020 College Prep Scholars Program has been extended to Tuesday, April 21, due to COVID-19. Read our latest update >>

We are looking for high school juniors who have shown outstanding academic ability despite financial challenges. We take a holistic approach to reviewing applications, and we do not have absolute criteria or cut-offs for GPA, standardized test scores, income, or other factors.

Be sure to review carefully

Eligibility  |  Academic Achievement  |  Financial Qualifications  |  Personal Circumstances  |  FAQs
 

Eligibility

Any high school junior, regardless of citizenship, currently attending high school in the U.S. is eligible for the College Prep Scholars Program. Additionally, U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents living abroad are eligible for the program. International students living outside the U.S. are not eligible. 

Applicants must be high school juniors who are planning to apply to college during the fall of their senior year.

 

Academic Achievement

We seek students who have demonstrated high academic achievement. The following is based on profiles of past College Prep Scholars, and are not strict cut-offs:

Academic Criteria

Grades and rigor of high school curriculum

Mostly A's in the most challenging courses available (usually including Honors, AP, and/or IB level courses).

Class rank

Top 5-10% of graduating class.

Standardized test scores

PSAT or SAT scores >1280
ACT composite score >27

We also recommend submitting any ACT Aspire, AP, IB, or SAT Subject Test scores.  

Additional criteria

We also look for evidence of strong writing ability, intellectual spark, and determination through essays and the teacher recommendation.

Financial Qualifications

College Prep Scholars typically come from households earning less than $65,000 annually for a typical family of four and have minimal assets. This is not a strict cut-off and we encourage students who feel they have faced significant financial hardship to review these financial criteria carefully to see if they may qualify.

Financial Criteria

Household income

All sources of household income are taken into account, including, but not limited to:

  • Salaries, wages, and tips
  • Business and farm income
  • Rental income
  • Interest and dividend income
  • Retirement distributions
  • Alimony
  • Child support received

Assets

All assets held by the family are taken into consideration, including:

  • Home ownership
  • Business or farm ownership
  • Cash and savings
  • Investments
  • Additional properties

Non-custodial parent income and assets

Students with divorced or separated parents must report the income and assets of their non-custodial parent, as this information is taken into consideration by our college partners when determining financial need. The only exception is when the student has not had contact with the non-custodial parent for an extended period of time.

Household circumstances

Individual household circumstances are taken into consideration, including:

  • The number of people supported by the household income
  • The number of students in college (undergraduate only)
  • Unemployment or other changes to the household income
  • Eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch
  • Having been in foster care
  • Other non-discretionary financial commitments, such as high medical bills

Personal Circumstances

We also take the following factors into account when reviewing applications:

Personal Circumstances

Parents' level of education

Many past College Prep Scholars are among the first generation in their family to attend a U.S. four-year college.

Extenuating circumstances

Students who have an unusual level of responsibility, such as part-time jobs to help their parents pay the bills, or caring for siblings if their parents are absent or at work.

Extracurricular achievements

Accomplishments and leadership roles in extracurricular and community activities. 

Personal traits Strength in character and motivation to succeed. 

Eligibility FAQs