Minneapolis-St Paul Act Six Scholars

Start Your Application Today

We partner with Common App to make applying for Act Six easy and efficient. It’s easy to get started and important to begin the process early to make sure your app is complete by the November 15 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 2023, or previously graduated in 2022 or 2021;
  • are not currently enrolled at a four-year college (students at two-year colleges may apply);
  • live in one of five 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 2022-23

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 15 deadline.
    • A Common App high school report and transcript must also be received from your counselor by November 15.
    • Applicants selected to advance to the in-person Phase II event will be asked to submit additional information, including a video, additional essay and financial information by December 8, along with Common App recommendations from a teacher and another community member.
  • Selection events, including Phase II, will once again be in-person.
  • 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.

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.
    • Common App for fall 2023 enrollment opens August 1. However, you can create an account now in the current version of Common App, and the first time you login after August 1 you will be prompted to roll all of your information over to the new application year.
  3. From the Common App, send invitations to your school counselor, teacher and community recommenders.
    • While it is smart to identify and ask recommenders with as much lead time as possible, you should wait until school begins in the fall before sending invitations to counselors and teachers through Common App.
  4. Complete and submit your Common App to Act Six by the November 15 deadline.
    • A Common App high school report and transcript must also be received from your counselor by November 15.

Applicants selected to advance to the in-person Phase II event will be asked to submit additional information, including a video, additional essay and financial information by December 8, along with Common App recommendations from a teacher and community member.

Common App

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.

After you complete an interest card and we confirm you are eligible to apply, you’ll receive an email that contains a link 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 to your “My Colleges” list within Common App without the link we provide.

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 for fall 2023 enrollment opens August 1. However, you can create an account now in the current version of Common App, and the first time you login after August 1 you will be prompted to roll all of your information over to the new application year.

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.

In addition, on the Act Six Questions page, we ask you to identify the Act Six colleges that you wish to apply to through Act Six.

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.

--- Personal Essay

The Common App personal essay is shared with Act Six and all the colleges you apply to with Common App. It is perhaps the most important part of your Act Six application. “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.

--- 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. Due with initial application on November 15.
  • Teacher evaluation, completed by a teacher who has taught you an academic subject (for example, English, foreign language, math, science, or social studies). Due for those advancing to Phase II on December 8.
  • 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. Due for those advancing to Phase II on December 8.

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.

  • While it is smart to identify and ask recommenders with as much lead time as possible, you should wait until school begins in the fall before sending invitations to counselors and teachers through Common App.

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

Selection Process

Selection Timeline

Apply 8

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

Phase I: Common App

Applicants apply to Act Six by submitting the Common App by November 15, 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 23.

Phase II: Addition Materials + In-Person Event

Candidates will be given three weeks to provide additional materials by December 8, including an individual video, an additional essay, financial information, and preferred rankings of Act Six partner colleges.

Candidates then participate in a local half-day interactive event on December 10 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 15-25 semifinalists for each partner college. Decisions are emailed on January 30.

Phase III: Campus Visit

Semifinalists travel to the college for which they were selected for a two- or three-day on-campus event between February 10 – March 3. 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. Partner colleges select finalists and decisions are emails on March 6.

Final Decision and Announcement

Finalists are given one week to decide and commit to the Act Six program by March 13, 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 24.

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?