FAQs

Did you apply for the 2020 Flinn Scholarship or are you planning to do so as a high-school senior? Are you a parent curious about how the Flinn Scholarship will benefit your child and family? Or a high-school teacher or counselor who wants to learn more about the program and how best to help your students? 
 
Then browse and review the FAQs below. More details and tips are available elsewhere on the website for applicantsparents, and teachers and counselors 

And feel free to contact the Flinn Scholars Program with any additional questions. 

 

Applicant FAQs

  • How can I prepare for the application process?

    Competition is more rigorous for the Flinn Scholarship than for even the most-selective colleges and universities; we receive more than 850 applications and award 20 scholarships—an award rate of less than 3 percent. Our reviewers examine applicants’ academic achievement, leadership and involvement, service to the community, ability to communicate, and personal qualities. We encourage you to devote yourself to your studies, your extracurricular interests, and service to your community. Start your application early and communicate often with the teachers and guidance counselors who will write your recommendations.

  • What if I’m not in the top 5% of my class but I have a 4.0 or close to it? Can I still apply?

    We understand that many students from small or college-prep schools may not be in the top 5% of their classes, despite high academic achievement. We still encourage you to apply.

  • What if my school doesn’t report a class rank?
    Your counselor will be able to indicate that your high school doesn’t rank on their recommendation form.
  • Can home-schooled students apply for the Flinn Scholarship?
    Yes. The counselor recommendation and transcript are typically provided by the parent who took primary responsibility for the student’s education. That recommendation must provide information about the curriculum and home-schooling approach. The other two recommendations must be from persons who taught the student at an accredited institution: high school, community college, or university. We must receive independent assessment of the student’s academic and social performance in a group context.
  • What is the latest SAT or ACT exam that will count for the application?

    The last exams that count for the Class of 2020 Flinn Scholarship are the September 14, 2019, ACT and the October 5, 2019, SAT. October SAT scores will not be available until after our application deadline, but if you have designated code 2175 on your score sheet, your scores will be considered.

  • Should I take both the SAT and the ACT?
    We require only one of these standardized tests and will gauge your eligibility based on the higher of the two sets of scores. If you take multiple SATs or ACTs, we will “superscore” them. (For instance, if your SAT scores are 600 Evidence-Based Reading & Writing/700 Mathematics on your first exam, and 670 Evidence-Based Reading & Writing/690 Mathematics on your second exam, we will count your score as 670 Evidence-Based Reading & Writing/700 Mathematics.)
  • What about the SAT Subject Tests?
    We do not consider the SAT Subject Tests (SAT II) in our process.
  • How do I have my test scores forwarded to the Scholars Program?
    Fill in code 2175 on the standardized test score sheet or send score report after registration from your online account. We will also accept test scores that appear on your official high-school transcript. To be considered, you must have taken the SAT or ACT before our submission deadline. Scores from the September 14, 2019, ACT and the October 5, 2019, SAT will be considered if you have designated code 2175 on your score sheet or had them sent directly.
  • Are writing scores on the ACT or the SAT required?
    We do not consider the writing section of the ACT or the essay section of the SAT.
  • Are Advanced Placement or community-college courses important?
    Yes. Taking such courses shows evidence of pursuing a challenging academic program. 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. If your high-school transcript does not automatically indicate the scores you have earned for your AP exams, you should request that the College Board send them to us directly, using Code 2175 for the Flinn Scholars Program.
  • Does it matter what I list as my potential major or career interests?
    No. People intending any field of study and career can make outstanding contributions to their community, the state of Arizona, and the world.
  • Do my recommendations have to be from high-school teachers?
    Yes (with the sole exception being for home-schooled applicants). You may not substitute a letter from a family member, community member, or leader of your faith community.
  • Can I submit more than two recommendations from teachers?
    No.
  • Which teachers provide the best recommendations?
    Teachers who know you well will be able to speak more convincingly and in much more detail about your various strengths, experiences, and potential. There is no preference for teachers from specific subject areas.
  • How do my teachers and guidance counselors submit recommendations online?
    As part of your application, you will provide the names and email addresses of your three recommenders. They will each receive an email with instructions for completing your recommendation. Your counselor will also submit a copy of your transcript. Please notify your teachers and guidance counselor to expect email correspondence related to the Flinn Scholarship.
  • Can I accept other scholarship awards and the Flinn Scholarship?

    At any time, you may accept scholarships offered by organizations separate from Arizona’s universities. With respect to awards offered by Arizona’s universities, the Scholars Program maintains certain restrictions—in cooperation with the universities—to prevent “bidding wars” for Flinn Scholars. In most cases, well before your appointment as a Flinn Scholar-awardee, Arizona universities will have offered you a merit scholarship package that includes the cash value of tuition. You keep that award when you are named a Flinn Scholar; the tuition component represents the university’s contribution to your Flinn Scholarship. (You do not get a second tuition scholarship for being named a Flinn Scholar.)

    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 additional university merit scholarships must be conditional—an offer 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 Scholarship.

  • What if I am applying early to a college or university?

    We discourage students who are applying through a binding Early Decision process to an out-of-state college or university from applying for the Flinn Scholarship. (The one exception is the Questbridge Scholarship Program. Questbridge applicants are welcome to apply for the Flinn Scholarship.) Early-decision applicants commit to attend a particular institution if accepted; such students would not be able to accept the Flinn Scholarship if offered.

    We do, however, urge you to apply early to all three Arizona universities, as applying early may increase your chances of earning university-based scholarships besides the Flinn Scholarship. Arizona’s universities do not offer binding Early Decision options.

  • Why do you need to know the specific out-of-state schools that I have applied to?
    Knowing the schools you are considering helps the Flinn Scholars Program and university recruiters understand the undergraduate environment and opportunities you seek. This allows for more effective communication, and may also help reviewers better understand your academic and career aspirations.
  • 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. Only under extraordinary circumstances will we make alternative arrangements. If you believe your situation is unique, please contact us at flinnscholars@flinn.org or call 602-744-6802.
  • Can you tell me the status of my application?
    It may require up to two weeks after the application deadline for Flinn Scholars Program staff to match transcripts and scores for all applications received. Once this process is complete, staff will contact applicants with missing transcripts or test scores, and they will be given an opportunity to submit those items.
  • What is the application timeline?
    Mid-August: Applications available.
    Mid-September: Application deadline.
    Mid-December: 75 semifinalists notified.
    Early January: Semifinalist interviews.
    Late January: 40 finalists notified.
    Early March: Finalist interviews.
    Mid-March: 20 finalists offered award.
    Mid-April: Deadline to accept offer.
  • What feedback on my application or interview can I expect?
    We do not provide information regarding an individual’s performance to applicants, their families, or their teachers and 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.
  • Can the Scholarship be deferred?

    Flinn Scholars may take a leave of absence from the Scholarship for up to four semesters, or two academic years. The semesters may, but need not, be taken consecutively.

    A student must complete one academic year in the Scholars Program, immediately following high-school graduation, before he or she is eligible for leave.

    The Flinn Scholars community, a critical element of the program, develops around shared experiences from the time of selection, through the undergraduate years, and beyond.

  • What does the Flinn Scholars Program expect of Flinn Scholars?
    Scholars submit an annual narrative about their coursework, on- and off-campus activities, career plans, and overall college experience. They must maintain a 3.2 cumulative grade-point average and participate in at least two Foundation-related activities each academic year.
  • Am I required to attend the group seminar to China?

    Yes. The three-week summer seminar in China—including time in the capital city of Beijing and a rural village in the Yunnan province—is attended by every Scholar after their freshman year. The Flinn Scholars summer seminar complements and broadens a Scholar’s field of study, provides experiences beyond degree programs, and provides opportunity to experience the culture and history of other locales and people. In addition, Scholars choose at least one other study abroad experience.

    (The Flinn Scholars Program will consider a compelling circumstance that would prevent the student from participating.)

Tips for Flinn Scholarship applicants


Parent FAQs

  • How are Flinn Scholars chosen?

    Competition is much more rigorous for the Flinn Scholarship than for admission to even the most selective colleges and universities; we receive more than 850 applications and award 20 scholarships each year. Flinn Scholars come from every corner of Arizona, and upon arrival at their university, choose concentrations in virtually every discipline. There is no blueprint for a Flinn Scholar.

    Merit, demonstrated by academic and personal achievement, is the only factor in selection. Financial need is not a consideration. Our reviewers, a large panel of distinguished community members and Flinn Scholar alumni, 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.

    From all applicants, reviewers select a group of semifinalists for a preliminary interview in January at the offices of the Flinn Foundation. Following this interview, about 40 applicants are named finalists and invited for a personal interview with the Selection Committee in the last week of February or first week of March. The Selection Committee, comprised of state leaders in various fields, recommends recipients to the Foundation’s Board of Directors, which makes the formal approval.

  • What does the Flinn Scholarship provide?
    Total value of the Flinn Scholarship—including the cash value of tuition offered by each university—exceeds $120,000. But the award’s monetary value is only the beginning. There are many benefits.
  • Why should my student apply for a Flinn Scholarship?

    Flinn Scholars have a competitive edge. Over the course of four years, they routinely compile extraordinary records of graduate-level coursework and published research. By graduation day, they have become globally-traveled leaders wielding influence in the state, nation, and world. And they convey a serious sense of purpose and goals. Every year, Scholars win prestigious fellowships such as the Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, Gates Cambridge, Churchill, Goldwater, Truman, and Udall, and alumni regularly attend the nation’s top graduate schools, often with full scholarships.

    Many Scholars say the most important aspect of the program is joining a community of similarly motivated students of diverse interests. They form long-lasting friendships within an unparalleled network of talented future leaders in every field you can imagine.

  • How strong are Arizona’s universities?

    Arizona’s universities are among the best public universities in the country. The honors programs and colleges offer undergraduates an Ivy League educational experience at a public-school price. Flinn Scholars and their honors peers enjoy unparalleled access to distinguished faculty, with whom they are often matched for personal mentorship.

    One of the important strengths of Arizona’s universities is their size: they offer thousands of courses in hundreds of degree-granting programs, world-class facilities for research and creative activity, and an array of extracurricular opportunities to satisfy the most curious student.

    As members of the universities’ honors programs and colleges, Flinn Scholars receive all the benefits of the large university in an intimate and intellectually rich setting.

    By every measurable dimension—undergraduate achievement, graduate-school acceptance, future employment competitiveness, and professional honors—graduates of Arizona universities realize high levels of success and distinction.

  • What does the Flinn Scholars Program expect of Flinn Scholars?
    Scholars submit an annual narrative about their coursework, on- and off-campus activities, career plans, and overall college experience. They must maintain a 3.2 cumulative grade-point average and participate in at least two Foundation-related activities each academic year.
  • Is any kind of guidance available if my student is having difficulty?
    Yes. We care greatly about the success and happiness of our Scholars and will immediately help a Scholar initiate contact with the university if the student is having difficulty. In addition to the conventional support services found on every university campus, Flinn Scholars often rely on their faculty mentors, honors staff, and each other for academic support.
  • Can home-schooled students apply for the Flinn Scholarship?

    Yes. The counselor recommendation and transcript are typically provided by the parent who took primary responsibility for the student’s education. That recommendation must provide information about the curriculum and home-schooling approach. The other two recommendations 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 independent assessment of students’ academic and social performance in a group context like the environment they will encounter at the university.

  • What if my student doesn’t have access to the Internet to submit an application online? Can my student mail or fax an application back to the Foundation?
    Your student’s guidance counselor or teachers may be able to help him or her locate internet facilities for completing the application. Only under extraordinary circumstances will we make alternative arrangements.
  • What feedback on the application or interview can my student expect?

    We do not provide information regarding an individual’s performance to applicants, their families, or their teachers and 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.

Tips for parents of prospective Flinn Scholarship applicants


FAQs for Teachers and Counselors

  • How are Flinn Scholars chosen?

    Competition is more rigorous for the Flinn Scholarship than for even the most selective colleges and universities. We often receive more than 850 applications for 20 scholarships.

    Merit, demonstrated by academic and personal achievement, is the only factor in selection; financial need is not a consideration. Flinn Scholars come from every corner of Arizona, and upon arrival at the university, they pursue studies in every discipline. There is no blueprint for a Flinn Scholar. (A list of baseline criteria is posted on our Requirements page.)

    Our reviewers—community leaders and Flinn Scholar alumni—examine applicants’ academic achievement, leadership and involvement, service to the community, ability to communicate, and personal qualities. Each of these factors contribute to a holistic picture that an applicant presents to us.

    From all applicants, reviewers select a group of Semifinalists for an initial interview at the Flinn Foundation. Following this interview, 40 applicants are named Finalists and invited to interview with the Selection Committee, comprised of state leaders in various fields. The Selection Committee recommends a cohort of Flinn Scholars to the Foundation’s Board of Directors. All finalists are notified of their status by late March, and a public announcement is made in April.

  • What does the Flinn Scholarship provide?
    Total value of the Flinn Scholarship exceeds $120,000. In addition to an award by the university covering the cost of tuition and mandatory fees for eight semesters, the scholarship provides funding for housing and meals and study abroad. But the award’s direct monetary value is only the beginning of the program’s benefits.
  • Why should my best students apply for a Flinn Scholarship?

    Flinn Scholars have a competitive edge. Over the course of four years, they routinely compile extraordinary records of graduate-level coursework and published research. By graduation day, they have become globally-traveled leaders wielding influence in the state, nation, and world. They convey a serious sense of purpose and goals. Every year, Scholars win prestigious fellowships such as the Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, Gates Cambridge, Churchill, Goldwater, Truman, and Udall, and alumni regularly attend the nation’s top graduate schools, often with full scholarships.

    Many Scholars say the most important aspect of the program is joining a community of similarly motivated students of diverse interests. They form long-lasting friendships within an unparalleled network of talented future leaders in every field you can imagine.

  • How do I submit recommendations for my students?

    During the online application process, your students will submit your email address as part of their applications. You will receive, via email, instructions on how to submit your recommendation online. Once submitted, your recommendations are confidential during and after our selection process. In addition, guidance counselors must upload a copy of applicants’ transcripts. We ask that you ensure that your recommendation, including the transcript, is submitted to us by the deadline. Incomplete or late applications may not be reviewed. Please contact us at flinnscholars@flinn.org with any questions.

  • What feedback on the application process or interview can my student expect?

    Each spring, we conduct information sessions about the Flinn Scholarship for students, and families, including guidance for maximizing educational opportunities during high school to become viable candidates for a wide range of competitive programs and awards.

    We do not provide information regarding an applicant’s performance to applicants, their families, or their teachers and counselors, during or after our selection process. All materials that applicants submit, including teacher and counselor recommendations, and notes of reviewers and interviewers, remain confidential.

Tips for recommending students for the Flinn Scholarship