Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Young Scholars Program 2018 for High School Students in the U.S.

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Young Scholars Program 2018 for High School Students in the U.S.

Deadline: March 21, 2018

Applications are open for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Young Scholars Program. The Young Scholars Program is a selective 5-year pre-college scholarship for high-performing 7th grade students with financial need. It provides comprehensive academic and college advising, as well as financial support for school, Cooke-sponsored summer programs, internships, and other learning enrichment opportunities.

Each Young Scholar is assigned an on-staff educational adviser who works closely with the student and his or her family, individually and as part of a scholar community. Educational advisers support Young Scholars to maximize high school experiences and go on to thrive at the nation’s top-performing colleges. Our programming and support may include:

  • Identifying an appropriately rigorous high school
  • Engaging in four-year planning and goal-setting
  • Funding for academic and extracurricular opportunities, such as music and art lessons, supplemental academic classes, and technology
  • Annual summer programs, including two required Young Scholar summer programs
  • Year-round Young Scholar community programming
  • Networking opportunities with a high-achieving peer community
  • Special consideration for a Cooke College Scholarship for up to $40,000 per year

The Young Scholars Program is a national scholarship with students representing every region and attending school in rural, urban and suburban communities. The Foundation selects up to 50 Young Scholars per year. Selection criteria focus on academic achievement, persistence, leadership, and service to others.


The Young Scholars Program provides scholars with educational and college advising as well as financial support for academic and extracurricular enrichment from 8th grade through high school.

Beginning in 8th grade, Cooke Young Scholars:

  • Participate in high-quality academic and extracurricular opportunities in their local community, on college campuses, and around the globe.
  • Develop the knowledge, talents, and leadership skills to be significant contributors.
  • Set and reach academic and talent goals that will prepare them to be competitive, well-informed applicants for our nation’s best colleges and universities.

Each receives a unique combination of opportunities that may include:

  • Guidance in selecting a high school and, if necessary, support in applying to a private or magnet high school.
  • Summer academic or enrichment programs.
  • Computers, software, or other learning technology.
  • Specialized support in music, art, science, math, or other subjects.
  • Connection with a nationwide community of Cooke Young Scholars.
  • Resources for career exploration and mentorship.
  • College advising and counseling.


As minimum criteria to apply, students must:

  • Currently be in 7th grade
  • Reside and plan to attend high school in the U.S. or U.S. territory
  • Earn grades of all or mostly As with no Cs in core academic subjects during 6th and 7th grade (English/Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies/History)
  • Have a family adjusted gross income of less than $95,000
  • Be willing to participate in multi-week residential summer programs, including two required Cooke scholar programs after 8th and 11th grades

Selection Criteria

The Cooke Foundation reviews each application individually with the assistance of a panel of education experts. The foundation selects Cooke Young Scholars using the criteria below. While all criteria are important, the foundation pays particular attention to the first two.

  • High academic ability and achievement: Strong academic record, academic awards and honors, and substantive assessments by educators providing confidential letters of recommendation. We consider grades (typically mostly A’s), achievement test scores, participation in available honors or advanced courses, commitment to learning, and work ethic.
  • Financial need: Your family income does not exceed $95,000.The average family income of entering Cooke Young Scholars is approximately $25,000. In recent years nearly all Cooke Young Scholars have come from families with incomes below $60,000.
  • 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.
  • Leadership: Able to positively influence others and take initiative in various circumstances (family, community, school, church, etc.).
  • Service to others: Purposeful and meaningful commitment to others which may be evidenced by participation in volunteer/community service activities.


Click here to apply.

For more information, visit Young Scholars Program.