Tacoma-Seattle Act Six Scholars

How Act Six Works

A proven model for college success and community leadership

Act Six is a leadership and scholarship program that connects local faith-based community affiliates with faith- and social justice-based colleges to equip emerging urban and community leaders to engage the college campus and their communities at home through a simple but powerful four-part strategy:

How It Works: 4 Steps

1 Recruit and Select

Calling Diverse Emerging Leaders Who Love Their Community

Act Six brings together diverse, multicultural cadres of young people who want to use their college education to make a difference on campus and in their communities at home.  Scholars are actively recruited from across the region and chosen through a rigorous, three-phase selection process.

IMPORTANT: Due to FAFSA delays, final decisions will be sent on a rolling basis. Our 2024 scholars will be confirmed and announced in May.


Students are eligible to apply now if they:
  • love their community and want to use their college education to make a difference as a leader on campus and at home;
  • will graduate from high school in 2024, or previously graduated in 2023 or 2022;
  • are not currently enrolled at a four-year college (students at two-year colleges may apply);
  • live in one of four Act Six program sites; and
  • want to attend at least one of the Act Six partner colleges in their program site.

While ethnicity and family income are considered as factors in selecting an intentionally diverse group of scholars, there are no income restrictions, and students from all racial and ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

There is no minimum GPA requirement and admissions standards vary across our partner colleges. In general, applicants with a GPA below 3.0 will need to demonstrate their readiness for academic success in college through their recommendations, essays and/or test scores.

Application Process

Act Six utilizes Common App to make the application process more efficient for applicants and the recommenders who support them. The information provided to Act Six through Common App can also be used to apply to more than 900 colleges across the country.

The process to apply for Act Six is as follows:

  1. Complete the Act Six Interest form. If you are eligible, we’ll email you a link to add Act Six to your Common App.
  2. Use the personalized link in your email to create a Common App account and add Act Six to your “My Colleges” list. If you have already started your Common App, the button will add Act Six to your existing application.
    • You cannot search for or add Act Six to your “My Colleges” list without the personalized link we send you after completing an interest card.
    • From the Common App, send invitations to your school counselor, teacher and community recommenders.
    • Complete and submit your Common App to Act Six by the November 28 deadline.
      • A Common App high school report and transcript must also be received from your counselor by November 28.

Applicants selected to advance to Phase II will be asked to submit additional information, including a video, additional essay and financial information, along with Common App recommendations from a teacher and community member by December 11.

Selection Timeline

Act Six scholars are chosen through a rigorous, highly competitive, three-phase selection process that spans four months.

IMPORTANT: Due to FAFSA delays, final decisions will be sent on a rolling basis. Our 2024 scholars will be confirmed and announced in May.

Phase I: Common App

Applicants apply to Act Six by submitting the Common App by November 28, including the personally essay and the high school report and transcript from their counselor. After an initial screening of Common App materials, applicants are notified whether they will advance by email on November 30.

Phase II: Additional Materials

Candidates will be given one week to provide additional materials by December 11, including an individual video, an additional essay, financial information, and preferred rankings of Act Six partner colleges.

A local community committee considers candidates to name 15-25 semifinalists for each partner college. Decisions are emailed on January 15.

Phase III: Campus Visit

Semifinalists travel to the college for which they were selected for a two- or three-day on-campus event between January 29 – February 16. Phase III allows students to experience campus life as they participate in a four-part evaluation process that includes a personal interview, an on-site writing task, academic seminar discussions, and group problem-solving activities. A parent or guardian is invited to participate in a portion of the visit. Depending on local conditions, an alternative virtual event may also be offered. Partner colleges select finalists and decisions are emails on February 21.

Final Decision and Announcement

Finalists are given one week to decide and commit to the Act Six program by February 29, agreeing to participate fully in the six-month training program. Applicants may withdraw from the process at any time prior to this commitment.  The new class of Act Six scholars are formally announced to the public on March 21.

Selection Criteria

Every year Act Six recruits diverse, multicultural cadres of a region’s most promising emerging urban and community leaders. We seek young people who want to use their college education to make a difference on campus and in their communities at home.

Act Six scholars must be:
  • committed to anti-racism and compelled to work for justice and equity,
  • passionate about learning,
  • eager to foster intercultural relationships,
  • willing to step out of their comfort zones,
  • committed to serving those around them, and
  • ready to make a difference on campus and at home.

The selection process also places high value on applicants’ teamwork, critical thinking, communication skills and academic potential.

Selecting Act Six scholars is a complex and multi-faceted process that considers many factors.  The selection committees use the following questions to guide their evaluation of Act Six applicants.  These questions best summarize what we are looking for in Act Six scholars.

  • To what extent will the student contribute to the racial, economic, and experiential diversity of an Act Six cadre?
  • To what extent is the student prepared to succeed and thrive academically at the selected college?
  • To what extent will the selected college be a good fit for this student?
  • To what extent will the student eagerly engage in a year-long exploration and discussion of Christian perspectives on leadership, diversity, and social justice?
  • To what extent does the student understand and desire to advance the stated mission of the selected college?
  • To what extent will the student be a service-minded leader and an agent of transformation on the college campus?
  • To what extent will the student be committed to serving others and to what extent will s/he view the Act Six initiative as an opportunity to reach out to those around them?
  • To what extent will the student be committed to and effective in fostering intercultural communication and acting as an agent for social change on the college campus?
  • To what extent does the student see a sense of purpose in their participation in the Act Six Initiative?
  • To what extent will attending the selected college and participating in the Initiative align with and/or transform the student’s goals and vision for their life?
  • To what extent will the student be able and willing to persevere through hardship? How resilient are they to the challenges and struggles that life brings?
  • To what extent does the student possess a depth and strength of character that will serve to encourage, support, and empower those around them?

What does it mean to be an Act Six scholar?

2 Train and Prepare

Premier College Success and Leadership Training

Once selected, Act Six scholars participate in six months of intensive training with their cadre, equipping them to support each other, succeed academically and grow as service-minded leaders and agents of transformation. After training, Act Six scholars begin college ready to engage the campus and community with a built-in support system and a sense of purpose.

Training Activities

Starting in March, new cadres meet together weekly to:

  • establish supportive friendships and grow as a team
  • hone study and time-management strategies
  • build intercultural and community leadership skills
  • wrestle with important and challenging social issues

In addition to the weekly meetings, the program includes:

  • week-end retreats and conferences
  • family workshops and social events
  • additional visits to the college campus
  • an extended summer expedition

Training Themes and Content

Blending practical college success skills, leadership training, self-discovery and cadre team-building, the Act Six training program revolves around the following seven themes:

  • Identifying and aligning with our core values
  • Understanding the vision, mission, and foundation of the Act Six program
  • Exploration of various leadership styles
  • Exploration and development of personal leadership strengths
  • Practical tools for leadership
  • Christian motivations for and perspectives on service
  • Frameworks for understanding service and community development
  • Connecting individual gifts and passions with community needs
  • Exploring differing cultural lenses and their effect on intercultural relationships
  • Understanding and communicating across differences
  • Exploring race dynamics in America and on the college campus
  • Identity formation in a multicultural environment
  • Trust-building and nurturing of authentic relationships
  • Acknowledging and supporting individual strengths and weaknesses
  • Exploration of community and campus assets and needs
  • Critical reading, writing, and discussion skill development
  • Time and money management
  • Anticipating and addressing the personal and social challenges of campus life
  • Dynamics of personal and organizational change
The training has been very important to me in that it has provided a means by which I can better myself. It has also introduced me to new ways of thinking about the world. The knowledge I have gained will aid me greatly in bettering myself and the world.
- Act Six Scholar

3 Send and Fund

To College Together with Unbeatable Scholarships

Act Six sends scholars together to college with the built-in support and encouragement of a cadre of fellow leaders who share a common mission.  Act Six is the only urban leadership award that offers unparalleled full-tuition, full-need scholarships. Since 2002, 1,092 Act Six scholars have received more than $100 million in grants and scholarships.

Full-Tuition, Full-Need Scholarship

Act Six offers full-tuition, full-need urban leadership scholarship. Act Six works with colleges and other partners to guarantee that full scholarship recipients receive grants that, at minimum, cover full tuition at the college for four years.

Scholars with need beyond tuition (as determined by the FAFSA) will receive additional grants and work-study to fully meet that need. For most scholars, the awards will, therefore, cover some or all of the cost of room and board, books, travel, and personal expenses.

To retain the scholarship, scholars are required to remain active in the program and maintain satisfactory academic progress throughout their undergraduate studies.

Here’s how the full scholarships work:

  1. Each year students must work with their parents to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which will determine the family’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Students who are unable to complete the FAFSA will complete an alternative form to determine their EFC.
  2. The family’s need is then determined by subtracting their EFC from the total cost of attendance (including tuition, room and board, books, travel, and personal expenses).
  3. Act Six award packages begin with any government student aid or outside scholarships for which students qualify.
  4. After outside grants and scholarships have been applied, the college commits to providing scholarship aid that will meet full tuition for every Act Six scholar.
  5. If the family’s need exceeds the cost of tuition, the college commits to providing additional scholarship aid and work-study to meet full need.
  6. Each family will be responsible for covering their EFC.

Because financial aid policies generally prevent colleges from exceeding need and because Act Six awards meet the full need without a loan, scholars can be assured that they are receiving unsurpassed award packages.

4 Support and Inspire

Connected Leaders Working Together For Positive Change

Getting to college is just the start of the Act Six experience.  Bound together by a shared mission and commitments, scholars learn to encourage and challenge each other while they receive ongoing support from their colleges and their affiliate.  After five years together, scholars graduate from college connected to each other and ready to lead in the community.  Together, they are weaving a fabric of leadership that will shape the future of our cities.

Campus Support

On campus, faculty and staff mentors meet regularly with the cadres and with each individual scholar as needed. Mentors provide social support and connect students with campus resources. This support helps scholars thrive academically, but also empowers them to get involved and step out into leadership roles on campus and in the surrounding community.

Back home, Act Six staff and coaches provide additional support, ongoing leadership development and assistance connecting with internships and career opportunities.

Every two years, Act Six hosts a regional convention that convenes scholars and graduates from across the region for three days of challenging speakers, workshops, and networking, along with a career and graduate school fair.

A Fabric of Leadership

When you consider moments of significant positive change that have happened in your community, you can usually point to a group of connected people who made it happen. Networks of effective leaders working together get things done. The problem is that those leadership networks don’t always look like or represent the full breadth of a community, and as a result, some groups tend to get left behind. For our communities to thrive in the future, we need diverse networks of homegrown leaders who love their home and are committed to building vibrant communities where everyone thrives.

It is precisely this kind of diverse, committed leadership network that Act Six is producing.  Now, after two decades and hundreds of Act Six graduates, we are beginning to see the fruits of this fabric of leadership as graduates grow in their responsibility and deepen their connections in the community.

Look back at the impact of the Act Six graduate network in Tacoma in 2014

A Proven Model with Powerful Outcomes


scholars in 199 cadres from
7 cities trained for 17 colleges since 2002, with 614 graduates


students of color,
82% low-income


graduate within 6-years,
12 points higher than all students


return to their home communities, where
74% volunteer

Brandon Williams

Brandon Williams took a chance on Act Six. As a senior at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis, Brandon was the first student from his school to be accepted to Howard University, and was also considering accepting an admission offer from his dream school, Loyola University…

Read Story

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