Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to common questions about Act Six

What is the application process for 2023-24?

We continue our work to streamline the application process for applicants and recommenders through our partnership with Common App. The following is a summary of significant changes to the Act Six application and selection process this year:

  • This year, a completed Common App is all that is needed to apply for 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 by December 11, along with Common App recommendations from a teacher and another community member.
  • SAT/ACT scores remain optional for Act Six selection and admission decisions for most applicants at most Act Six partner colleges, but may still be required by some circumstances at some colleges.

My school uses Xello - how do I connect my Common App to my Xello account?

Here are a couple of videos that show you how to connect your Common App to your Xello account–you will request your Counselor School Report and your Teacher Recommender on Xello NOT the Common App:
Linking Your Common App to Xello
Requesting Your Documents for Common App Colleges

Where did the name "Act Six" come from?

In the sixth act (or chapter) of Luke’s drama about the early followers of Christ (the New Testament’s Book of Acts), we find a church that was confronted with the reality of ethnic inequality in the distribution of a critical resource. How the early church responded to inequality in food distribution can inform how we respond to the clear and disturbing inequality in access to one of today’s most critical resources: education. At the heart of the solution was the selection of a cadre of leaders from the affected minority group that was charged and empowered to work toward a solution. Pulled to the center of the community and provided with the resources they needed, this group created a solution that made way for dynamic growth in the church, and in the process produced two of the early church’s most significant leaders. Get the full story in Acts 6:1-7.

Do I have to be a Christian to apply?

No. Act Six was born out of the conviction that division, inequity and injustice among people saddens God and that the leadership needed to bridge and heal those divisions while dismantling and rebuilding more just systems requires a deep humility and commitment to service. Act Six believes that the Christian faith both demands and makes uniquely possible a bold and authentic truth-telling and reconciliation between people from across God’s creation.

Act Six staff operate out of deep Christian commitments–commitments that include genuine respect for those who do not share their convictions. With the exception of applicants to particular partner colleges that require a Christian faith commitment as part of their admission criteria*, Act Six applicants are not required to make a statement of faith or consent to any doctrinal statements.  They must, however, be open to exploring Christian perspectives on leadership and service and should be aware that a portion of the training program will be dedicated to this exploration. In the midst of these conversations, disagreement and differing perspectives are welcomed and engaged.

Applicants should also be comfortable with the distinct identity, mission and faith commitments of each college to which they apply. You can explore the broad diversity of how each college understands its commitment to faith and learning on each college’s website.

* Consistent with their regular admission policy, Bethel,North Central (Minneapolis-St. Paul), and Northwest (Tacoma-Seattle), require a personal Christian faith commitment from applicants and require an additional essay as part of the Act Six application in which applicants describe that commitment. Act Six applicants who do not feel comfort expressing such a commitment can apply for Act Six at other colleges.

Do I have to be a U.S. Citizen to apply?

No.  In general, U.S. Citizens, Dual-Citizens, Permanent Residents and undocumented immigrants are eligible to apply for Act Six and for admission at all partner colleges. For Bethany Lutheran, Bethel, Concordia, and North Central, undocumented immigrants are only eligible to apply for Act Six if they are eligible for funding through the Minnesota Dream Act.

Is Act Six only for students of color? Only for low-income students?

No. Act Six does not exclusively serve students of color or low-income students. All students who are committed to equity and want to use their college education to lead and serve their home communities are encouraged to apply.

Is Act Six inclusive of students who identify as LGBTQIA+?

Yes. For over 20 years, Act Six, a program of Degrees of Change, has supported students who identify as LGBTQIA+. We know it is critical in the college search process for young people to find a place where they feel they can belong. But we also know for LGBTQIA+ students, finding belonging on a college campus must take into account additional considerations such as community climate, inclusive spaces, safety, and institutional support. Degrees of Change is committed to helping each student find the college that is a strong fit for them, aligns with their values, and offers them the specific supports they need to have a successful postsecondary experience.

Are there any income requirements?

No. While family income will be considered in choosing an intentionally diverse group of students, neither high nor low-income levels will make applicants ineligible.

How are scholars matched with colleges?

You are encouraged to learn as much as possible about each partner college as you decide where you wish to apply. In your application, you will be asked to indicate for which college(s) you wish to be considered for Act Six and general admission.  If you select more than one college, you will be asked to indicate your preferences by ranking your selections.

If you are not selected to advance as a candidate to Phase II, your application will be sent on to the college(s) you indicate below to be considered through the regular admissions process. If you are selected to participate in Phase II, you will learn more about each college and have the opportunity to update your preference at the conclusion of Phase II.

After Phase II, local selection committees will select 15-25 semifinalists for each college. As in the previous phase, if you are not selected as a semifinalist, your application will be sent on to the college(s) you listed after Phase II for consideration through the regular admissions process. In general, those selected as semifinalists for each college will be admitted to that college and will be invited to participate in the on-campus Phase III event at that college.

After Phase III, each college will name 7-10 finalists. Finalists will have several days to decide and commit to the Act Six program, agreeing to participate fully in the six-month training program. Those not selected as finalists and those finalists who decline the Act Six offer will still be granted admission to that college and will be considered for regular admission to the other colleges that they indicated on their application. If admitted, they will receive financial aid awards through the regular financial aid process.

Why do I need to provide my family's financial information?

Because of the nature of the Act Six scholarship commitment and the desire of the program to select an economically diverse cadre, it is important that we have an accurate estimate of applicants’ financial situation. Further, in order to provide a good estimate of the actual Act Six award at the time of selection, it is critical that the program have an accurate estimate of the student’s Expected Family Contribution.

The information provided in the Act Six application process is the same information that colleges will later receive through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and gives both Act Six and families an early and reliable estimate of their EFC. All financial information is treated confidentially.

For those students who are not eligible to complete the FAFSA, you will use the College Board EFC Calculator in place of the FAFSA to calculate and report an unofficial EFC for Act Six purposes.

Do I make any commitment to colleges just by applying?

No. Applicants make no commitment to the program by submitting a Phase I application or by participating in Phase II or Phase III of the selection process. They may at any time remove themselves from consideration. Students who are selected as finalists will be given several days to accept the the award. If they decide to participate in the program, students are then required to participate fully in the six-month training and preparation program throughout the remainder of the year in order to receive the scholarship.

Why is the application deadline so early in the year?

The primary reason for the early application deadline and selection dates is to allow for the seven month training and preparation program throughout the rest of the year before the cadre heads off to campus. While the early deadline certainly adds some urgency to the beginning of the year, it also dramatically frees students who are selected from the stress that accompanies the rest of most students’ senior year. By March, scholars who are selected will know where they are going to college and will know that they have the best financial aid possible. Gone is the stress of applications, decisions, and financial worries that typically clouds the spring of senior year. Instead, you’ll be able to focus on preparing to be successful in college and on developing the skills to engage the campus when you arrive.

Another challenge with the timeline is the need for students who are selected to commit to a college before they have heard from all of their other college choices. While this early decision likely will come with a bit of uncertainty, what is certain is that Act Six scholars will be heading to a great liberal arts college with an unbeatable financial aid award, incredible preparation and an unparalleled support system.

Are SAT/ACT scores required?

SAT/ACT scores are in general optional for Act Six selection and admission decisions at partner colleges. In some cases (e.g., your GPA is below a certain threshold), a college may ask you for SAT/ACT scores or another alternative to inform their final admission decisions.

Is there a minimum GPA?

No. In general, there is no minimum GPA requirement. However, admissions standards vary across our partner colleges and Act Six is looking for talented students with strong scholastic potential who are passionate about learning and who will succeed and thrive in challenging academic environments. You can compare the academic profiles of each of the Act Six partner colleges to get a sense of the range of typical students at each school. 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.

How did Act Six begin?

In 2002, Tim Herron, a math teacher at Tacoma’s Lincoln High School became frustrated by the reality that too many of his talented students were not completing their college degrees. Inspired by the success of the New York-based Posse Foundation, Tim approached Northwest Leadership Foundation and Whitworth University with a bold idea to invest in a new kind of leadership for the campus and the community.

What would happen if we selected and trained cohorts of emerging leaders from the urban community and sent them together to college with full scholarships and charge to be agents of change?

Undeterred by the substantial cost and many unknowns, Northwest Leadership Foundation and Whitworth took the risk and with a powerful partnership was launched.  The first cadre of scholars arrived on campus in 2003. Four years later all 11 of those first scholars (and one from the second cadre) graduated from Whitworth with records of distinguished leadership, service and academic achievement.

Be inspired as you look back to watch the first Act Six cadre graduate from Whitworth in 2007.

Yusra Hamidani

When Yusra Hamidani applied to Act Six, her goal was to empower Muslim students, especially young females, to pursue higher education. Now a successful emerging technology analyst at Boeing and Degrees of Change board director, Yusra lives out her passion by providing mentorship and financial…

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*Important Act Six Update*Read the Press Release