The Jefferson and Walentas Scholarships feature two similar yet distinct selection processes that are designed to give students an opportunity to showcase their excellence in leadership, citizenship, and scholarship.
No one may apply for a Jefferson or Walentas Scholarship. Participating schools are asked to nominate the student in the senior class who best exemplifies excellence in the areas of leadership, scholarship, and citizenship.
- An eligible school’s nominating committee is asked to nominate one student per scholarship program.*
- Successful candidates have demonstrated exceptional leadership talents, an understanding of the broader community around them, and uncommon academic abilities.
Walentas Scholars Program candidates must also be the first or among the first in their families to earn a bachelor’s degree. Learn more about the Walentas Scholars Program.
- Prior interest in the University of Virginia and financial need should not be factors in selecting a nominee.
- Nominations are completed by both school officials and students and include a scholastic report, extracurricular activities, and two essays. The Jefferson Scholars Foundation is separate from the Office of Undergraduate Admission and does not have access to the Common Application.
- The Jefferson Scholars Foundation seeks to identify the most highly talented students in the world, and all that is asked of these students is a willingness to participate fully in the selection process.
- All counselors and Jefferson and Walentas Scholar nominees must submit a completed nomination form by December 1.
*Schools will be allowed to nominate a second candidate if and only if they feel they have two equally qualified candidates between whom they are unable to distinguish.
Admissions At-Large Nomination
A separate competition permits a review of all:
- U.Va. Early Action applicants attending secondary schools not eligible to participate in the regional competitions
- School of Architecture applicants
- School of Education applicants
- School of Engineering and Applied Sciences applicants
- Nursing School applicants
Students who wish to be considered for a Jefferson Scholarship nomination but do not attend an eligible school must apply using the Early Action admission process to the University of Virginia. Due to the volume of students in the Admissions At-Large competition, only those students receiving a nomination will be notified of their status.
Nominees for the Walentas Scholarship will be put forward by secondary schools within the initial geographic regions (New York City; Rochester, New York; and Commonwealth of Virginia). Although some nominees may be identified via Admissions, all nominees must still be geographically bound to these regions and receive an endorsement from their school before entering the Walentas Scholars competition.
Regional Selection Committees—comprised of alumni and friends of the University—review transcripts, extracurricular activities, essays, and recommendations of all nominees before conducting one or more rounds of interviews. Of these regional nominees, finalists for the Jefferson and Walentas Scholarships are identified and invited to Charlottesville to compete in either the Jefferson or Walentas Scholars Selection Events in March.
Final Selection Event
In March, finalists arrive on Grounds to participate in either the Jefferson or Walentas Scholars Selection Events. This final stage of the competition gives students an opportunity to explore the University of Virginia. Activities include participation in seminars led by University professors, a written exercise, a math/logic exam, and a personal interview. At the competitions’ conclusion, the Selection Committee identifies the recipients of the Jefferson Scholarship and the Walentas Scholarship. Recipients must then decide whether to accept the scholarship offer by mid-April.