The Johnson Scholarship Program

Washington and Lee University is putting an unprecedented $100 million gift to work, opening the doors of this remarkable community to students of exceptional leadership potential, personal promise, and academic achievement – and allowing them to graduate free of debt. Up to 200 applicants to W&L and the Johnson Scholarship Program will be selected to interview on campus for the prestigious Johnson Scholarship. Ultimately, 44 Johnson scholars will be named, nearly ten percent of each incoming class, and each will receive a scholarship of at least tuition, room, and board.

To apply for a Johnson Scholarship, students should submit their complete Common Application, including transcripts, recommendations, and test scores (SAT or ACT with writing scores) by December 1, 2017, along with the additional Johnson Scholarship application essay (below). Finalists will be named with particular attention given to their records of academic achievement, demonstrated leadership and civic involvement, and their Johnson Scholarship application essays.  Applying for the Johnson Scholarship ensures your consideration for any other merit-based scholarship for which you might be eligible, including regional or departmental scholarships.

Please respond to one of the following prompts, and limit your response to 800 words. 

The Honor System has been a hallmark of the Washington and Lee experience for well over a century. Exclusively governed by the W&L student body, the system exemplifies the trust and integrity that distinguish the campus at large. Reflect on a time when you have been entrusted with a significant responsibility. How did you earn it? More important, how did you respond?

Washington and Lee University’s “standards include civility. When free and equal people with different backgrounds and perspectives come together, disagreement is inevitable. In that contentious swirl of competing views, assertiveness is called for, but so, too, is reticence. You have to develop the courage of your convictions while entertaining the possibility you could be wrong. And you have to resist the temptation to demonize those who disagree with you as morally deficient just because they may not share your views.” (Kenneth Ruscio ’76, former President of Washington and Lee University). Reflect on a time when your stance on an issue changed as a result of civil discourse.

Consider the meaning of “fair,” especially how the term can be misused. What impact does fairness—perceived or actual—have in society and your life? Has fairness ever helped or hurt you personally? At what cost or benefit to you or others? Impact of fairness in society and life

“To promote literature in this rising empire and to encourage the arts, have ever been amongst the warmest wishes of my heart.” (George Washington, 1798, first president of the United States and first major benefactor of Washington and Lee University) Describe a work of art that has influenced you, and discuss the impact it has had on you.

“What I want to hear after a Spring Term course is that ‘This class changed my life.’ ” (Marc Conner, Ballengee Professor of English and Interim Provost). W&L’s Spring Term is a four week, intensive experience during which students take only one course, allowing for undivided attention to the subject matter. Spring Term courses are known for innovative pedagogy, interdisciplinary scholarship, travel, and field work in diverse settings. If you could design a Spring Term course, what would you propose, and why would you choose to pursue that topic?

Non incautus futuri (not unmindful of the future) is a telling motto for the country’s ninth oldest higher education institution. In your opinion, what should W&L be most mindful about in preparing you for the future?

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