What it Takes to Earn a Flinn Scholarship
How You Can Help Your Student Prepare
Over the years, you have already completed the most important work you could do to help your student become a strong candidate for the Flinn Scholarship.
You have fostered her confidence, humility, and intellectual curiosity; encouraged him to become a leader in activities he finds meaningful; and supported her in the hard work that yields academic excellence.
Freshman, Sophomore and Junior Year
If your student is still a freshman, sophomore, or junior in high school, you do have time to help your student become a stronger candidate for the Flinn Scholarship.
With the caveat that there is no blueprint for a Flinn Scholar, here are a few considerations:
We look for students who have taken risks, stretched their limits, and maximized the resources available to them. For example, we hope students will enroll in the most challenging, advanced courses that are available to them, even if doing so yields an imperfect GPA. We encourage students to pursue honors, Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate classes where available.
The strongest candidates for the Flinn Scholarship tend to have deep, sustained involvement and leadership in several activities, rather than superficial involvement in many more activities. “Resume-padding” is often obvious on an application, and does not benefit a student.
Students should take the PSAT (the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) early, preferably in the sophomore year. The critical test administration occurs in October of the student’s junior year: this is the score that determines a student’s eligibility for National Merit Scholarship funding, the largest pool of merit scholarship money in North America. Position them to take advantage of that resource.
Students may take standardized tests like the ACT and SAT more than once. The selection committee for the Flinn Scholarship will consider the highest scores students earn, disregarding lower scores.
We understand that some students must work to help support their families financially. When possible, though, we hope that students will invest their time and energy outside of class for enrichment and further learning, whether through extracurricular activities during the school year, or through summer workshops or research experiences.
Although not mandatory, you and your student are welcome to attend information sessions about the Flinn Scholarship to learn more. Information sessions are held around the state each spring.
If your student is already a senior in high school, you can help your student in the following ways:
With your student, carefully read the application and discuss any uncertainties each of you may have.
Together, make a list of deadlines and tasks to accomplish (take SAT, request letters of recommendations, submit application); assist your student in tracking those deadlines and tasks--but be sure that you allow your student to complete his or her application independently.
Remind your student that neither this scholarship application, nor any other application for a scholarship or college, is the most important thing in the world. Extraordinary opportunities await, whether or not your student is selected for the Flinn Scholarship.