Minneapolis-St Paul Act Six Scholars

Start Your Application Today

This fall we're excited to partner with Common App to make applying for Act Six more efficient than ever. It’s easy to get started and important to begin the process early to make sure your app is complete by the November 2 deadline. There is no fee for Act Six, and with your completed Common App you can also apply to your choice of more than 900 colleges around the country.

Check your eligibility and review the material below to learn about the application process. Then complete an interest form to get started today.

Check Your Eligibility

You are eligible to apply now if you:
  • love your community and want to use your college education to make a difference as a leader on campus and at home;
  • will graduate from high school in 2022, or previously graduated in 2021 or 2020;
  • are not currently enrolled at a four-year college (students at two-year colleges may apply);
  • live in one of our seven Act Six program sites; and
  • want to attend at least one of the Act Six partner colleges in your 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 Details

New for 2021-22

As the country struggles to emerges from the pandemic, we are cautiously returning to our pre-COVID selection timeline with in-person events. We also continue efforts to streamline the application process for applicants and recommenders. The following is a summary of significant changes to the Act Six application and selection process this year:

  • We’re partnering with Common App to make the application process more efficient for applicants and the adult recommenders who support them.
    • The information applicants provide to Act Six through Common App can also be used to apply to more than 900 colleges across the country.
    • Recommenders can upload a single recommendation for an applicant to be used for Act Six as well as application to any Common App member college.
  • We’ve returned to our traditional selection timeline with application deadline of November 2.
  • Selection events will once again be in-person. Depending on local conditions, alternative virtual events may also be offered.
  • 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. Test scores are still required for Minneapolis-St Paul students applying to Bethany Lutheran and may be required for some other students in certain limited circumstances.

Application Process

Act Six now 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 start your application.
  2. Use the link in your email to create an Act Six account and start your Act Six application.
  3. Use the button provided in your Act Six application 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.
  4. From the Common App, send invitations to your school counselor, teacher and community recommenders.
  5. Complete and submit your Common App to Act Six.
  6. Submit your Common App to each of the Act Six partner colleges who accept Common App. These colleges are flagged when you select them on your Act Six application. We’ll send your application to the other colleges you select.
  7. Complete and submit the Act Six application. This requires first completing the FAFSA, if eligible. Those not eligible to complete the FAFSA must complete the College Board EFC Calculator.

Application Components

The Act Six application consists of three major components, which must all be submitted by the November 2 deadline. Details and instructions for each component are available at the bottom of this page.

  1. Act Six Application, which includes:
    • Contact and demographic information
    • College preferences
    • Two Act Six essays
    • Financial summary
  2. Common App, which includes:
    • Profile and family information
    • Education background and optional testing results
    • Activities list
    • Personal essay
  3. Common App Recommendations, which include:
    • School report
    • Teacher evaluation
    • Community evaluation

  1. Act Six Application

Using the personalized link you receive by email, you’ll create an Act Six account by adding a password or securely linking your Google, Microsoft, Facebook or LinkedIn account. Once you log in, you’ll find a task list with a link to start your Act Six application. You’ll return to this task list for updates throughout the selection process.

The Act Six application form has seven sections:

  1. Basics. Name, contact and school information.
  2. Demographics. More about you and your background.
  3. Colleges. Where you want to apply and what you want to study.
  4. Common App. A personalized link to add Act Six to your Common App “My Colleges” list.
  5. Essays. Two essays to tell us more about you and how your vision aligns with Act Six.
  6. Financials. Summary of family finances from the FAFSA or College Board EFC Calculator.
  7. Certify. All the final legal stuff.

You can complete the first three sections in about 10 minutes.

To complete the remaining sections, you’ll need to do the following before the November 2 deadline:

  • complete and submit your Common App, including the personal essay
  • thoughtfully respond to the essay prompts,
  • results from your completed FAFSA or College Board EFC Calculator (for those not eligible for FAFSA), and
  • have a parent or guardian on hand to sign the form when you are finished.

The information you enter will be saved after you complete each page. After saving, you can leave and log back in to continue the application at any time.

      --- Essays

The Common App personal essay and the two Act Six essays are perhaps the most important part of your Act Six application. Carefully consider and thoroughly edit each of your responses, as you will be evaluated on content, mechanics and style.


The Common App personal essay is shared with Act Six and all the colleges you apply to with Common App. “The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores?” [Common App]

You can respond to any of the following prompts with an essay of 250-650 words:

  • Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  • The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  • Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  • Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
  • Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  • Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  • Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

In addition, you have the opportunity in an additional statement to share any information not reflected in other parts of the application.


As part of the Act Six application, you are required to submit two Act Six-specific essays that tell us more about you and how your vision aligns with Act Six. All applicant must respond to the following prompt in 250-650 words:

  • Act Six seeks to identify service-minded leaders who want to enhance their college campuses and their home communities. Reflecting on your life experiences, identities and strengths, describe how these elements have motivated you to serve and lead others now and in the future. Further, how have they prepared you to support your peers in a multicultural Act Six cadre on a college campus and beyond?

The second Act Six prompt depends on the colleges you select, and your response should be between 250-500 words:

  • Act Six and the colleges you selected do not expect or require any faith commitment from Act Six applicants. We are, however, committed to exploring through Act Six an open conversation about spirituality as it relates to leadership and service in a diverse community. What role, if any, has your own faith tradition or spirituality played in your life to this point, how might it influence your values and vision for your future, and how do you feel about studying at a religiously affiliated institution?

However, if you select one or more of our partner colleges who require a Christian faith commitment as part of their admissions process,* you will instead be asked to respond to a prompt that asks more explicitly about the nature of your Christian faith and how it impacts your life and leadership. If you do not feel comfortable responding to that prompt, you can remove colleges from your set of selections.


It is critical that you compose and save all of your essays in a separate word processor so you can use spell check and edit carefully. When you have a final product, copy and paste your essays into the application. Be sure to save a copy of your essays for your own records.

Use plain text only, as no formatting or special characters will be preserved. Insert a blank line between each paragraph. Pay close attention to the word count requirements and use the word count feature of your word processor to check the length before pasting. After pasting, scroll down to check that the complete essay fit in the box.

Please be aware that if you disclose information regarding child abuse, neglect or other harm to minors, staff may be required to report this information to the appropriate authorities.


* Bethel University, Corban University, Northwest University, Northwestern-St. Paul University, North Central University, Oakland City University and Taylor University require a Christian faith commitment as part of their admissions process.

      --- Financials

We need basic information regarding your financial situation as we consider your application. In order to complete the Financials section of the Act Six application, you need to first submit your completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), if you are eligible.* You can begin working on your FAFSA when it opens on October 1, using your income and tax information from last year.  If you are not eligible to complete the FAFSA, you must instead use the College Board EFC Calculator, which can be accessed at any time.


The following steps are required to complete the Financials section for those eligible for the FAFSA:

  1.  In order to complete the FAFSA, both you and a parent you live with need to create a FSA ID, which will allow you both to access and sign your FAFSA. Visit fsaid.ed.gov/npas to create a FSA ID.
  2. After October 1, start your FAFSA at fafsa.ed.gov. Visit the FAFSA Help Page for an overview of the process and answers to many common questions. If you have further questions, ask a counselor at your school for assistance. Please ensure that you indicated on your FAFSA to have results sent to every college that you selected on your Act Six Main Application.
  3. Once you and your parent complete and sign the FAFSA with your FSA IDs, you will receive a FAFSA Student Aid Report that summarizes the information you provided and shows your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
  4. With your FAFSA Student Aid Report in hand, complete the Financial Summary section. You cannot complete this form without your Student Aid Report.

The following steps are required to complete the Financials section for those not eligible for the FAFSA:

  1. Visit the College Board EFC Calculator at any time.
  2. Read all instructions very carefully and complete the five steps of the form. The process should only take 10 minutes if you have all of the required income figures. Be sure to click on the blue question mark icons for instructions and clarification on each question.
  3. On the Formula page, be sure to select “Federal Methodology (FM)“.
  4. After completing the Finances page, click the “See Results” button.
  5. On the Results page, you will find “Total Estimated FM Contribution“.
  6. With this number in hand, complete the Financial Summary section. You cannot complete this form without this number.
  7. As an option, you can click “Save Results” to create a College Board account so you can access these results again in the future.

* U.S. Citizens, U.S. Permanent Residents and immigrants with refugee status are typically eligible to complete the FAFSA.

  2. Common App

Act Six now 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.

From the Common App page of your Act Six application, you’ll find a button to add Act Six to your Common App “My Colleges” list. If you have not yet started Common App, you’ll be prompted to create an account. If you have already started an application, you simply login again. After logging in, you’ll find Act Six listed on your “My Colleges” list. Note that you cannot search for or add Act Six directly from Common App.

To apply for Act Six, you must create your Common App account as a first-year student, not as a transfer student (even if you have already graduated high school and are currently enrolled in a two-year college). You cannot add Act Six to a Common App transfer application.


Common App has six sections:

  1. Profile. Name, contact and demographic information.
  2. Family. Information about your parents and siblings.
  3. Education. High schools and colleges you’ve attended and honors you’ve received.
  4. Testing. ACT, SAT, AP or IB tests you’ve taken or plan to take, and your best scores.
  5. Activities. List of extracurricular activities, including work, sports, volunteering, etc.
  6. Writing. Personal essay, as well as any additional information you wish you provide.

The information that you provide in these sections is shared with Act Six and all of the colleges you choose to apply to with Common App.

When you have completed all the sections of your Common App, you must submit it to Act Six. We download updates from Common App once every night. The Common App page of your Act Six application will indicate when we have received your Common App (typically, the day following submission). Note that once you have submitted your Common App to Act Six, we will not receive any further changes you make to the Common App.

In addition to Act Six, you must submit your Common App directly to each of the Act Six partner colleges who accept Common App. These colleges are flagged when you select them on your Act Six application. We’ll forward your application to the other colleges you select.

 

  3. Common App Recommendations

Act Six requires three Common App recommendation forms:

  • School report, completed by your high school counselor who can access your transcript as well as school and class information.
  • Teacher evaluation, completed by a teacher who has taught you an academic subject (for example, English, foreign language, math, science, or social studies).
  • Other evaluation, completed online by a mentor, employer, teacher, pastor or other adult (possibly at school) familiar with the applicant’s leadership potential and involvement outside of school.

We encourage you to provide your recommenders with specific information about Act Six, and to send invitations as soon as possible to leave adequate time for them to respond. To invite your recommenders, click “Recommenders and FERPA” under Act Six in “My Colleges”. Carefully read all the instructions, then click the Invite Recommenders button to invite a counselor, teacher, and an other recommender. You can then assign a recommender to each of the required forms.

Note that you can assign a recommender to both Act Six and multiple other colleges. When you do, the single recommendation form they submit will be shared with all of the colleges you assigned them to. Recommenders are not able to provide different letters to Act Six and other colleges.

Counselors and recommenders can learn more about the process at the Common App’s Recommender Guide.

Selection Process

Selection Timeline

Selection Timeline

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

Phase I: Online Application

Applicants complete an initial online application that includes three major components: an Act Six application, the Common App, and three Common App recommendations.  All application materials must be submitted by November 2 at 11:59 pm. After an initial screening of written application materials, applicants are notified whether they will advance by email on November 18.

Phase II: Video Submission and Interactive Group Assessment

Candidates will be given a prompt and have one week to submit a 3-minute, unedited, individual video to supplement their application materials by November 29. Videos are assessed on their content, not on the quality of the filming.

Candidates then participate in a local half-day interactive event on December 4 where they demonstrate their academic and leadership potential while working together to address a complex community issue. Candidates learn more about each partner college and based on that information can update their college preferences after the event. A local community committee considers candidates’ performance on both the written and interactive components to name 20-30 semifinalists for each partner college. Depending on local conditions, an alternative virtual event may also be offered. Decisions are emailed on January 24.

Phase III: Virtual Campus Visit

Semifinalists travel to the college for which they were selected for a two- or three-day on-campus event between February 4-25. 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 28.

Final Decision and Announcement

Finalists are given one week to decide and commit to the Act Six program by March 7, 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 18.

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?