Application Information

for High School Students

The mission of the Renaissance Scholars Program (RSP) is to provide scholarships to high achieving, low-income students who will be the first in their family to earn a bachelor’s degree. The Program offers a renewable college scholarship of up to $4,000 per academic year (a maximum of $16,000 toward your bachelor’s degree).

 RSP works closely with a variety of partners to connect students with mentoring organizations on their college campuses. RSP provides additional growth opportunities and resources for scholars, including in-person and virtual events.  


Requirements for High School Applicants

  • Must be a high school senior in Oregon or Illinois, or a recent graduate.
    • U.S. citizenship is not a requirement (see FAQ section for more). 
  • Plan to earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited US 4-year college. 
  • Be the very first person in your family to attend a 4-year college. Students who have a parent or sibling with a bachelor’s degree, or a sibling currently enrolled in a 4-year college are not eligible. (see FAQ section for more). 
  • Have significant demonstrated financial need. Renaissance defines this as an EFC of 6895 or less, or equivalent for those who do not file the FAFSA. If Renaissance scholarship winners go on to win a “full ride” scholarship through a college or organization, the Renaissance award will be rescinded (see FAQ section for more). 
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and show academic achievement. 

(NOTE: Scholarships cannot be applied at community college. If students decide to enroll or continue at community college, they will need to reapply when they are ready to transfer.)

In addition to meeting the requirements above, The Renaissance Foundation is looking for students who demonstrate: leadership potential, a concern for others, and a strong work ethic. These qualities can be demonstrated through participation in volunteering, membership in clubs/community organizations, paid/unpaid work, or family responsibilities. 
Successful candidates are able to clearly communicate their strengths and goals, both in their written application and in an interview setting. 

February 1 Deadline

February 1  Application due

February  Committee review

Early March  Finalists notified

March  Interviews

All applicants notified of final decision by early April.

May 1 Deadline

March 1  Application opens

May 1  Application due

May  Committee review

Early June  Finalists notified

June  Interviews

All applicants notified of final decision by early July.

Application Checklist

Students must upload and submit all parts of the application by the submission deadline. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

1. Complete all required application boxes and proofread.

2. Documents

    • Most recent unofficial high school transcripts
      • You can often download or take a screenshot in your school’s grading portal, or ask your school counselor.  
      • Transcripts must include your unweighted cumulative GPA and completed classes. It is helpful if they include the courses you are currently enrolled in. 
    • College transcripts, if applicable
      • Usually, you will have college transcripts if you have taken any classes at a community college or through a dual-enrollment program. 
    • One of the following financial documents:  
      • FAFSA Student Aid Report (SAR). 
      • Completed ORSAA/alternative financial aid application.
        • You do not need to include the entire report, just make sure that the document includes your EFC (estimated family contribution). 
      • Parent’s most recent tax paperwork (Form 1040 or similar) only if neither FAFSA/ORSAA/alt. app. apply 

3. Letters of Recommendation

Note: We recommend sending your requests as soon as possible. It is polite to give recommenders at least two weeks. You can request recommendations before you are finished with your application.
    • Letter of Recommendation #1– from an educational source (teacher, professor, counselor, non-family member) 
    • Letter of Recommendation #2– from any source (teacher, counselor, coach, boss, mentor, non-family member) 

4. Essays:

    •  Essay #1 (1,000 words or less) – The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Describe a significant personal challenge or problem you’ve faced, how it affected you, how you overcame or tried to overcome the problem, and what you learned about yourself in the process. As you consider your future goals, how will you use what you’ve learned from this experience?
    • Essay #2 (pick one prompt, 500 words or less):  
      • A. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without describing it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
      • B. Describe your life in 10 years. Tell us about your career, your accomplishments, hobbies, home, anything you see. How did college contribute?
      • C. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you?
      • D. Tell a story from your life that helped shape your future goals. How will college help you reach these goals?

 5. Optional Items:

    •  SAT or ACT scores. 
    • Resume or activities summary, including jobs, extracurriculars, pre-college experiences, etc. 
    • Statement on financial situation to add context if necessary (ex: if your paperwork does not accurately reflect your current financial situation). 

Not sure if you are eligible?

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