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 in the At-Large region have a separate deadline of November 15.

Admissions Review

The Office of Undergraduate Admission conducts an additional review of Early applicants to the University of Virginia and recommends nominees for the Jefferson and Walentas Scholarships. All nominees recommended for the Walentas Scholarship must still be geographically bound to New York City, Rochester, NY, and the Commonwealth of Virginia, in addition to receiving an endorsement from their schools, in order to participate.

Regional Selection

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 National Selection in March.

Final Selection Event

In March, finalists arrive on Grounds to participate in either the Jefferson or Walentas Scholars National Selection. 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, written examinations, 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.



Learn more about the Foundation’s Professorship Program.

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The Foundation supports world-class graduate students through Jefferson Fellowships and National Fellowships.

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The Jefferson Scholarship and the Walentas Scholarship are the premier undergraduate scholarships at the University of Virginia.

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