Scholarship Snapshot
Full Cost of attendance
Scope (Full or Partial): Full
Target Country: United States
Target Audience: Undergraduate Students
Deadline: December 1

Full-ride scholarships are excellent opportunities for students to reach their career goals and aspirations without financial burdens. The Jefferson Scholars Program offers such an opportunity to students at the University of Virginia. In this publication, we will delve into what this scholarship is all about, the requirements needed to receive it, the scholarship process, and how to send in a successful application.

What Is Jefferson Scholarship?

The Jefferson scholarship is a merit-based full-ride scholarship that covers the entire cost of a college education for four years at the University of Virginia. It was named in honor of Thomas Jefferson, the benefactor of the University of Virginia and the third President of the United States. 

The total value of the Jefferson Scholarship goes over $333,000 for non-Virginian students and $177,000 for Virginian students The stipend alone in 2022 to 2023 exceeds $72,000 for non-Virginian students and $36,000 for Virginian students. This amount covers costs like tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, board, and personal expenses. 

The first Jefferson Scholarship award was given in 1981 and since then, this program gives awards to several outstanding recipients each year. It is known to be one of the most prestigious scholarships globally. The awards offer students generous financial support and other benefits. The goal of the program is to help students pursue their passions and develop their talents for the good of the University and society.

How hard is it to get the Jefferson Scholarship?

The Jefferson scholarship is highly competitive with a rigorous selection process. This is a typical feature of all full-ride scholarships. The Jefferson scholarship offers awards to around 30 students annually from a direct pool of 6,000 nominating schools in 65 eligible regions. These schools get a spot to nominate only one student for this scholarship. 

For the entering class of 2022, eligible high schools nominated about 2,400 students. Of those, 181 students got to the final round, and 40 recipients were finally given the awards. This sh that the chances of landing this scholarship award are pretty slim. But with adequate information and preparation, you can significantly improve your chances of winning one. Our publication aims to help you put your best foot forward in order to increase your chances.

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Benefits of the Jefferson Scholarship

Besides offering a full-ride scholarship, there are other perks that come with being a Jefferson Scholar at the University of Virginia. These benefits are included to broaden the horizon of Jefferson Scholars and mold them into exceptional individuals. The Jefferson Scholars Program covers the following supplemental enrichment opportunities: 

  • Institute for Leadership and Citizenship: In their first year, Scholars attend a two-week program designed to deepen their appreciation of leadership and citizenship. The Institute includes in-class workshops, group discussions, a service-learning project, seminars, and independent exploration.
  • Foreign Travel Studies: Scholars participate in a foreign travel and study experience through the University’s International Studies Office in the summer prior to their third year. They undertake an independently designed inquiry into a topic of personal interest following the structured program. 
  • Alumni Connections: Scholars have access to valuable connections which include hundreds of members of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation (JSF) community, current Scholars and Fellows, faculty, alumni, and volunteers. Through this medium, they receive mentoring, advice, and shadowing opportunities. Scholars can interact with the JSF community through a custom online platform and can also receive introductions to other members when appropriate. 
  • Career Development: Scholars can take part in career services programs. These programs provide one-to-one career exploration, guidance, and interview opportunities. Additionally, scholars who secure an unpaid internship during their time at the University of Virginia (UVA) are eligible for funding from the Foundation. 
  • Exploratory Fund: Scholars can apply for merit-based seed funding to implement cutting-edge ideas that create sustainable social, cultural, or economic change. New commercial or philanthropic enterprises within or outside the University are eligible for funding consideration. 
  • Learning from prominent leaders: The Jefferson Scholars Foundation hosts a number of speakers, panels, and conferences throughout the academic year. This gives Scholars the opportunity to engage with and learn from prominent faculty, alumni, government officials, and business leaders.

Jefferson Scholarship Requirements

To be eligible for the Jefferson Scholarship, applicants must meet the following requirements: 

  • Be a high school senior or a current college student from an eligible school.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or a citizen of any nationality.
  • Demonstrate exceptional academic achievement, intellectual curiosity, and moral integrity 
  • Have a record of leadership potential and a commitment to community service 
  • Be highly talented and willing to participate in the selection process.
  • Submit a completed application, including essays, recommendations, and transcripts, by the deadline
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How to get the Jefferson Scholarship award

As already outlined, the Jefferson Scholars Program follows a precise selection process. To get the award, follow the following steps:

  • Get a Nomination: No student can directly apply for the Jefferson scholarship program. Participating eligible schools nominate one student in the senior class who best embodies the virtues needed in a Jefferson scholar. The student must demonstrate outstanding excellence in the areas of leadership, scholarship, and citizenship. The Office of Undergraduate Admission also additionally reviews Early applicants to the University of Virginia and recommends nominees for the Jefferson Scholarship. All you can do is notify your counselor and indicate an interest in getting this scholarship or apply to the University of Virginia through early action.
  • Complete the Nomination Application Once you’ve received your school’s nomination for the Jefferson Scholarship, you’ll work with your school counselor to gather and submit your application materials. These include your academic record, a list of extracurricular activities, teacher recommendations, and responses to two essay questions. After you’ve submitted your Jefferson Scholarship nomination application, it’s time to start preparing for potential interview questions. 
  • Prepare for Interviews: Regional selection committees will review all aspects of your Jefferson Scholarship nomination application. Based on their review, they will select nominees for one or more rounds of interviews. After the selected nominees have answered a series of interview questions, the committee will then nominate candidates for the final selection round. You can research potential interview questions and prepare for them.
  • Final Selection: Finally, the Foundation invites finalists from the regional selection round to participate in another round of interviews in March. Those selected in this round will be invited to visit the UVA campus in Charlottesville. By mid-April, the Foundation notifies all Jefferson Scholarship winners and asks them to make a final decision about accepting the scholarship.
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Jefferson Scholars Timeline

  • Nomination applications for the Jefferson Scholarship open in September
  • The application deadline for the nomination is December 1. Schools in the At-Large region have a separate deadline of November 15.
  • All semifinalists get notifications and invites for interviews in January
  • The committee conducts interviews in February
  • Finalist gets invites to finalist weekend which will feature another round of interviews, group activities, and social events in March
  • Jefferson Scholars are selected and given awards in April

Tips to help you succeed

  • Start early and begin preparing for the application process as soon as possible. 
  • Research the scholarship, understand its requirements and selection criteria, and plan your strategy accordingly. 
  • Focus on academics: Academic excellence is a key requirement for the Jefferson Scholars Award. Ensure that you have a strong academic record, and take challenging courses to demonstrate your intellectual curiosity. 
  • Develop a well-rounded resume that showcases your leadership abilities, service to others, and unique talents. Extracurricular activities and community involvement are also important. 
  • Seek advice and mentorship from your teachers, counselors, and other trusted advisors. They can provide valuable insights and feedback to help you improve your application. 
  • Craft well-written essays that highlight your strengths and unique qualities, and demonstrate your passion for leadership and citizenship. Essays are an opportunity to showcase your personality, values, and goals. 
  • Practice your interviewing skills and prepare responses to common interview questions. Be confident, articulate, and thoughtful in your responses. The Jefferson Scholars Award involves multiple rounds of interviews.
  • Finally, be true to yourself and stay authentic throughout the application process. Let your personality and character shine through, and demonstrate your commitment to making a positive impact on the world.

At Scholarship Monitor, we are committed to providing you with up-to-date information on scholarship opportunities. Make sure to always check back for more updates and take advantage of the resources we have provided to help you achieve your academic and career goals.


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