Minneapolis-St Paul Act Six Scholars

Apply for Act Six

It’s easy to start your online application below and important to begin the process early to make sure your app is complete by the December 1 deadline. There is no fee, and your completed Act Six application also serves as an application for regular admission at all the colleges you select, even if you are not chosen as an Act Six scholar. Check your eligibility and start your app now. You can stop and return to the application whenever you wish.

Check Your Eligibility

You are eligible to apply 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 2021, or previously graduated in 2020 or 2019;
  • 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 Components

The Act Six application consists of seven major components, which all must be submitted by the December 1 deadline. Details and instructions for each component are available below the Getting Started form at the bottom of this page.

  • Getting Started Form
  • Main Application Form
    • Essays
    • Financial Summary
  • High School Transcript and Counselor Report
  • Community Recommendation
  • Teacher Recommendation (optional this year)

Application and Selection Timeline

Apply

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

Phase I: Online Application

Applicants complete an initial online application that includes a basic college admissions application as well as additional essay questions, letters of recommendation, and family financial information.  All application materials must be submitted on December 1 by 11:59 pm. After an initial screening of written application materials, applicants are notified whether they will advance by email on December 11.

Phase II: Video Submission

Due to COVID-19, the typical in-person Phase II events are not being conducted this year. Instead, candidates will be given a prompt and have one week to submit a 3-minute, unedited, individual cell phone video to supplement their application materials by December 18. Videos are assessed on their content, not on the quality of the filming. A local community committee considers candidates’ written and video components to name 15-25 semifinalists for each partner college.  Decisions are emailed on January 26.

Phase III: Virtual Campus Visit

Due to COVID-19, the typical in-person, multi-day Phase III campus visits are not being conducted this year. Instead, semifinalists will participate in a one-day interactive virtual event between February 6-21 with 15-25 other semifinalists for the single college for which they were selected. Phase III allows students to learn more about the college as they participate in multiple evaluation activities that may include a personal interview, a real-time writing task, an academic seminar discussion, and group problem-solving activities. A parent or guardian will be invited to participate in a portion of the event. Partner colleges select finalists and decisions are emails on February 23.

Final Decision and Announcement

Finalists are given one week to decide and commit to the Act Six program by March 1, 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 10.

Selection Criteria

Every year Act Six recruits diverse, multicultural cadres of a region’s most promising emerging urban and community leaders. The Initiative seeks 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?

COVID-19 Changes for 2020-21

In response to COVID-19 and recognizing the additional challenges and uncertainty facing applicants, families and teacher, we have made important changes to the traditional Act Six application and selection process this year. We:

  • extended the application deadline by one month from early November to December 1,
  • SAT/ACT scores are in general optional for Act Six selection and admission decisions at partner colleges*,
  • reduced the number of essays from four to one (or two, depending on college choices),
  • made the Teacher Recommendation optional**, and
  • replaced in-person selection events with virtual events:
    • in-person Phase II events have been replaced with an individual video submission
    • multi-day, in-person Phase III campus visits have been replaced with one-day virtual events
*    SAT/ACT 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.
** A teacher recommendation is still required for Tacoma-Seattle and Spokane students applying to Gonzaga.

GETTING STARTED



Application Components
Details and Instructions

Getting Started

The first step of the application process is to create an account and complete the Getting Started form above. It takes less than 5 minutes and you provide just your basic information. When you complete the form, we’ll email you a link you can use to start the Main Application form.

You also use the Getting Started form to invite your high school counselor to submit your transcript and to send links to your recommenders when you are ready.

You can return to this page and use your email and password to log back in to the Getting Started form as often as needed.

Main Application

The Main Application form is the heart of the Act Six application and you access it from a secure link that we email you when you complete the Getting Started form. The form has eight sections:

  1. College Preferences. Where you want to apply and what you want to study.
  2. Family Information. A little about your parents and siblings.
  3. Activities and Employment. Extracurricular, personal and work activities.
  4. Academic Information. Schools attended, tests taken, and honors received.
  5. Additional Information. More demographics, future plans and how you heard about Act Six.
  6. Essays. One or two important essays to tell us more about you.
  7. Financial Summary. Family financial information and scholarships.
  8. Consent, Certifications and Releases. All the final legal stuff.

You can complete the first five sections in about 20 minutes.

To complete the remaining sections, you’ll need the following before the December 1 deadline:

Your information you enter will be saved after you complete each page. After saving, you can leave and return to the form at any time using the link in your email. If you ever misplace the link, you can log back in and resubmit the Getting Started form to have it resent.

Essays

The 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.

As part of the Main Application, all applicant must respond to the following essay prompt using between 500-750 words (typically about 1 to 1.5 pages, double-spaced):

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?

Depending on the colleges that you marked, you may be asked to respond to a second essay about your personal faith perspectives and commitments using up to 500 words.

It is critical that you compose and save 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 text fields below. 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, readers may be required to report this information to the appropriate authorities.

Financial Summary

We need basic information regarding your financial situation as we consider your application. In order to complete the Financial Summary section of the Main 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 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 Financial Summary form 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 Financial Summary form 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.

High School Transcript and Counselor Report

The High School Transcript and Counselor Report must be completed by a school counselor who can access your transcript, academic records and SAT/ACT test scores as well as school and class GPA information. You provide a name and email address for your counselor, and an email invitation is sent to the counselor, who must then submit the form online by the application deadline.

If you have taken college classes, you should also request a college transcript from your college with an invitation to a separate form.

This year, due to COVID-19, SAT/ACT scores are in general optional for Act Six selection and admission decisions at partner colleges.

  • If you will not have SAT/ACT scores by the December 1 deadline, you can still apply to Act Six.
  • If you will have SAT/ACT scores by December 1, those scores should be reported by your school counselor. You can indicate on the Main Application whether or not you you wish to have those scores considered by colleges as part of your application.
  • 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. (Scores are still required for Minneapolis-St Paul students applying to Bethany Lutheran.)

The following questions are asked on the counselor report:

  • Applicant’s cumulative grade point average.
  • Applicant’s class rank (If precise rank is not available, please indicate rank to the nearest tenth from the top).
  • Senior class average GPA.
  • Size of graduating class.
  • Percentage of the class planning to attend a four-year college.
  • In comparison to other college preparatory students at your school, the applicant’s course selection is (very demanding, demanding, average, less than demanding).
  • Please list all courses in which the applicant is currently enrolled.
  • Applicant’s anticipated or actual graduation date.
  • Has the applicant ever been found responsible for a disciplinary violation at your school from ninth grade forward, whether related to academic or behavioral misconduct, that resulted in probation, suspension, removal or expulsion from your institution?  If so, please give the approximate date of any incident and explain the circumstances.
  • To your knowledge, has the applicant ever been convicted of a misdemeanor, felony, or other crime, or have a court case pending against him or her at this time?  If so, please give the approximate date of any incident and explain the circumstances. Note that you are not required to answer “yes” to this question, or provide an explanation, if the criminal adjudication or conviction has been expunged, sealed, annulled, pardoned, destroyed, erased, impounded, or otherwise ordered to be kept confidential by a court.

Community Recommendation

The Community Recommendation form must be 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.  The applicant provides a name and email address, and an email invitation is sent to the recommender, who must then submit the form online by the application deadline.  The following questions are asked on the community recommendation:

  • How long have you known the applicant and in what context?
  • Please rate the applicant (below average, average, above average, very good, extraordinary) in each of the following five categories. Use the “extraordinary” rating only for truly exceptional performance. For example, an applicant who is the best you have seen in five years may rate as exceptional. Then, explain your rating by giving a specific example of the applicant’s behavior.
  • Leadership Experience and Potential
    To what extent will the applicant be a service-minded leader and an agent of positive transformation on the college campus and his/her community at home? Consider the following:

    • Has the applicant sought, found, and grown from authentic leadership experiences and other opportunities that have equipped him/her with leadership skills? (Keep in mind any possible limitations of time or opportunity imposed by family or circumstance.)
    • Does the applicant demonstrate a level of insight and perception indicative of a leader?
    • Does the applicant have a realistic awareness of the challenges of leadership? In light of these challenges does s/he posses a willingness to step out of his/her comfort zone to be a leader?
    • Does the applicant see Act Six as an opportunity to be a part of something significant and important? Does s/he demonstrate a desire to make a real difference on the college campus and their community at home, to educate as well as learn from others?
  • Heart for and Commitment to Service
    To what extent will the applicant commit to humbly serving others and to what extent will s/he view Act Six as an opportunity to reach out to those around him/her? Consider the following:

    • Is there evidence that the applicant’s leadership and community involvement is motivated by a sincere desire to invest in the welfare of people, rather than to merely build a resume?
    • Does the applicant’s understanding of the benefits of leadership emphasize the rewards of empowering others more than the recognition and notoriety that comes with leadership?
    • Does the applicant clearly articulate a long-term commitment to serving others?
  • Personal Goals and Vision
    To what extent will attending college and participating in Act Six align with and/or transform the applicant’s goals and vision for his/her life? Consider the following:

    • Can the applicant articulate ways that s/he hopes to change and grow through college?
    • Does the student’s discussion of his/her goals and desired personal growth complement the mission of the Act Six initiative?
  • Perspectives and Insights on Diversity
    To what extent will the applicant be committed to and effective in fostering intercultural relationships and acting as an agent for social transformation on the college campus? Consider the following:

    • Does the applicant have a strong sense of their own identity?
    • Does the applicant articulate the value of people from different backgrounds being together and building authentic relationships across their differences? Does s/he do so with perspectives and insights that penetrate beyond surface-level cliches and easy answers?
    • Does the applicant have significant experience in multicultural settings and has s/he reflected on that experience in ways that suggest that s/he can carry it forward to the campus community?
    • Does the applicant acknowledge that there are very real challenges in bringing people from diverse backgrounds together?
  • Resiliency and Strength of Character
    To what extent will the applicant be able and willing to persevere through hardship? How resilient is s/he to the challenges and struggles that life brings? Consider the following:

    • Does the applicant possess a depth and strength of character that will serve to encourage, support, and empower those around him/her?
    • Has the applicant demonstrated the ability to overcome adversity?
    • Does the applicant possess motivation, creativity, relative maturity, integrity, independence, originality, passion for learning and capacity for growth?

Teacher Recommendation (optional this year)

This year, due to COVID-19, the Teacher Recommendation form is optional. You may still send an invitation to a teacher, but it is not required to complete your application and will not negatively affect your application if not submitted. (A Teacher Recommendation must still be received in order for Tacoma-Seattle and Spokane applicants to be considered for admission to Gonzaga University.)

The Teacher Recommendation must be completed online by a teacher who has taught the applicant an academic subject, for example, English, foreign language, math, science, or social studies.  The applicant provides a name and email address, and an email invitation is sent to the recommender, who must then submit the form online by the application deadline.  The following questions are asked on the Teacher Recommendation:

  • Compared to other college-bound students you have worked with, how do you rate the applicant (below average, average, above average, very good, extraordinary) in terms of: leadership, academic achievement, intellectual promise, quality of writing, creative, original thought, productive class discussion, respect accorded by faculty, disciplined work habits, maturity, motivation, integrity, reaction to setbacks, concern for others, self-confidence, initiative, independence, and overall.
  • How long have you known the applicant and in what context?
  • List the academic courses that you have taught the applicant, noting for each the grade level (9th, 10th, 11th, 12th) and the level of course difficulty (AP, honors, IB, elective, etc.).
  • Do you think the applicant is ready to succeed at college? Please provide an assessment of the applicant’s academic preparation for college. Please explain any areas of concern.
  • Why do you believe the applicant is a good candidate for the Act Six initiative?  Highlight what you think is most compelling about the applicant.
  • Describe a specific situation when the applicant stood out or impressed you. What was the challenge encountered and how did the applicant respond?