Frequently Asked Questions
- Can home-schooled students apply for the Flinn Scholarship?
- How can I prepare for the application process?
- Are Advanced-Placement or community-college courses important?
- Should I take both the SAT I and the ACT?
- What about the SAT II and the AP Achievement tests?
- How do I have my test scores forwarded to the Scholars Program?
- What if I don't have access to the Internet to submit my application online? Can I mail or fax my application to the Foundation?
- Do you count all the words in the essays?
- Does it matter what I list as my potential major or career interests?
- How do I calculate “total hours invested” for my school and community activities?
- Do my letters of recommendation have to be from high school teachers?
- Can I submit more than two letters of recommendation from teachers?
- How do my teachers and guidance counselors submit recommendations online?
- Why do you need to know the specific out-of-state schools that I have applied to?
- What if I am applying early to an Arizona university?
- What if I am applying early to an out-of-state college or university?
- What feedback on my application or interview can I expect?
- Can I accept other scholarship awards if I receive the Flinn Scholarship?
Yes. All applicants must meet our criteria for citizenship, Arizona residency, and SAT or ACT scores. The counselor recommendation and transcript are typically provided by the parent who took primary responsibility for the student’s education. That letter must provide information about the curriculum and home-schooling approach.
The other two letters of recommendation must be from persons who taught the student in an academic course at an accredited institution: high school, community college, or university. It is essential that we receive this independent assessment of the student’s academic and social performance in a group context like those he/she will encounter at university.
Competition is more rigorous for the Flinn Scholarship than for even the most-selective colleges and universities; each autumn we receive approximately 500 applications and each spring we award 20 scholarships.
Our reviewers examine applicants’ academic achievement, leadership and involvement, service to the community, ability to communicate, and personal qualities. Each of these factors is an important part of the holistic picture that an applicant presents to us.
We encourage you to devote yourself to your studies, your extracurricular interests, and your community. Start your application early and communicate often with the teachers and guidance counselors who will write your letters of recommendations.
Yes. Taking such courses shows evidence of pursuing a challenging academic program. You should tell us if you earned high school as well as community-college course credit. Similarly, you should tell us whether you took the AP test for that subject and what score you earned.
Transcripts reflecting college work and AP test scores must be included as part of your final application, and we must receive them on or before the application deadline. For this year's deadline, see How to Apply or Key Dates.
We require only one of these standardized tests and will gauge your eligibility based on the higher of the two sets of scores.
We encourage you to take such tests and include your test scores on your application. Your performance on these exams provides a basis for comparison to other applicants, especially if you are from a high school that does not offer a wide array of college-level courses.
Fill in code 2175 on the standardized test score sheet. We will also accept test scores that appear on your official high-school transcript. If you are taking a late summer/fall administration of the SAT I or ACT, you must have completed the test before our submission deadline. For the October SAT I, scores will be available after our application deadline, but don't worry; if you have designated code 2175 on your score sheet, your scores will reach us in time for the beginning of our review process.
What if I don't have access to the Internet to submit my application online? Can I mail or fax my application to the Foundation?
Your guidance counselor or teachers may be able to help you locate internet facilities for completing the application. Typically, high schools, public libraries and community centers provide complementary Internet access for their students or patrons. Only under extraordinary circumstances will we make alternative arrangements.
No. We provide word limits in essay prompts to encourage concise expression of your thoughts and to ensure that reviewers are evaluating essays of equivalent length. Please adhere to the spirit of the request and do not exceed the limit.
Reviewers are interested in the goals, interests, and aspirations of applicants. We do not value one particular field over another, and “undecided” is an acceptable answer. There is no “right” major or career.
We recognize that the scope of your involvement in an activity may change seasonally and even more over the years as you assume new responsibilities or focus your attention elsewhere. Simply estimate the total time&mash;over multiple years, if applicable—that you have committed to an activity since you first became involved in it.
Our reviewers want independent confirmation of your academic performance and intellectual potential. Thus, your letters must come from either a high school teacher, or a college or university instructor with whom you have worked or studied. You may not substitute a letter from a family member, community member, or leader of your faith community.
No. You may submit only two letters from teachers and one from your counselor. We suggest that you request one letter from a teacher in English or a humanities or social-science field, and another from a teacher in math or science. However, it is more important that the letters talk about you and your work in very specific terms than that they represent different disciplines.
During the online application process, you will be asked to provide email addresses for your recommenders. Embark, the company that hosts our online application process, will then notify your recommenders and provide instructions on how to submit their letters online. Please notify your teachers and guidance counselor to expect email correspondence from Embark.
This information has no direct bearing on the review process. It does help Foundation and university staff to understand the kinds of undergraduate environment and opportunities you seek so they can communicate more effectively with you. This information may also help reviewers better understand your academic and career aspirations.
We encourage you to apply early to all three Arizona universities, because applying early may increase your chances of earning university-based scholarships. There may be specific deadlines you must meet for early consideration of your application. Contact the admissions offices at the universities to learn more about their individual policies. Arizona’s universities do not offer “early decision” options.
There are several ways to apply early to colleges and universities, and we approach them differently. We discourage students applying "early decision" to an out-of-state college or university from applying for the Flinn Scholarship. As an early-decision applicant, you are making a commitment to attend that institution if you are accepted. For that reason, you would not be able to accept the Flinn Scholarship if offered. You could be taking an opportunity away from a student who is serious about staying in Arizona.
If you apply via "early action" to a non-Arizona institution, in contrast, you are not making a commitment to attend that institution. You are merely indicating your strong interest and asking for an early response from the college or university.
If you retain an open mind about your university choice, you are welcome to apply for the Flinn Scholarship. If you subsequently decide to enroll in an out-of-state institution, we ask that you and withdraw from our selection process as soon as possible.
We do not provide information regarding an individual’s performance to applicants, their families, or their teachers/counselors, during or after our selection process. All materials applicants submit, and all material generated during the review process (i.e., readers' and interviewers' notes) remain confidential, as do students' teacher and counselor recommendations.
Throughout the year, and throughout the state, we conduct information sessions for educators, students, and families. We confer with counselors to suggest how students can maximize their educational opportunities during their high school careers and thereby become viable candidates for a wide range of competitive programs and awards. And we offer in-service conferences for teachers and counselors to help them better support their students through our process.
That depends on who is giving the scholarship award.
The Program distinguishes between awards offered by Arizona’s three state universities and those offered by other institutions (i.e., civic groups, academic competitions, the government, etc).
You may accept scholarships offered by organizations separate from Arizona’s universities at any time. Should you accept a Flinn Scholarship, we recommend that you report to such organizations your Flinn Scholar status, as some organizations will not duplicate expenses that are already covered.
With respect to awards offered by Arizona’s universities, the Program maintains certain restrictions—in cooperation with the universities—to prevent “bidding wars” for Flinn Scholars. These rules reflect that objective:
In most cases, well before your appointment as a Flinn Scholar-designate, Arizona universities will have offered you a merit scholarship package that includes the cash value of tuition. You definitely keep that award when you are named a Flinn Scholar; the tuition component represents the university’s cash contribution to your Flinn Scholarship. But there is no duplication of tuition funding.
Up to the point at which you are named a Flinn Scholarship finalist, the universities may offer—and you may accept--institutional, merit-based scholarships. After you are named a Flinn Scholarship finalist, any university merit scholarships must be offered contingent on you not being a Flinn Scholarship recipient.
If you are a Flinn Scholarship finalist, but do not ultimately become a Flinn Scholar, the universities may offer—and you may accept—additional merit scholarships.
There is one exception to this policy: the offer by one of the universities of a scholarship for designation as a National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist, finalist or National Merit Scholar by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation under its guidelines and selection process. Flinn Scholarship recipients may accept these awards.
During the fall semester, the universities should explain to all National Merit candidates the terms and dollar value of the available awards. The universities are bound by those statements (i.e., X dollars if you are a National Merit semi-finalist; Y dollars if a finalist; Z dollars if a National Merit Scholar). National Merit notifies the universities late in the spring of the status of its awardees, and so activates the offer made by the universities before Flinn Scholars were named.
Need-based financial aid is based on an analysis of your federal financial aid application; we do not consider need in our evaluations. The final analysis of need-based financial assistance for Flinn Scholarship recipients should take into account the support received through the Flinn Foundation Scholarship.