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The Insider’s Guide to the Washington Crossing Foundation Scholarship

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As students begin planning for their post-secondary education, one of the major considerations is how to fund their studies. Scholarships provide a great opportunity to offset tuition costs and ease the financial burden of college or university. One such scholarship worth exploring is the Washington Crossing Foundation Scholarship, a prestigious award that can provide substantial assistance to qualifying American students. 

Background on the Washington Crossing Foundation

The Washington Crossing Foundation was established in 1954 with the mission of promoting America’s heritage of liberty. Named after General George Washington’s daring crossing of the Delaware River in 1776, which inspired his victorious attack on the Hessian troops in Trenton, New Jersey, the Foundation seeks to honor Washington’s leadership and spread awareness of this pivotal moment in the Revolutionary War.

Over the past 65+ years, the Foundation has grown significantly and now supports a variety of educational initiatives that preserve American history and instill patriotism in new generations. In addition to operating historic sites like Washington Crossing Historic Park, it also administers scholarship programs for American students to further their education. The flagship Washington Crossing Foundation Scholarship is a highly competitive award intended to recognize academic achievement and support those pursuing post-secondary degrees.

Benefits of the Washington Crossing Foundation Scholarship

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One of the major draws of this scholarship is the significant financial assistance it provides to recipients. Annual scholarship awards are currently set at $10,000, though this amount is subject to change each year based on the Foundation’s funding levels. This $10,000 can go a long way in helping cover tuition, fees, books, and other education-related expenses at a college or university.

Perhaps even more valuable than the monetary award is the prestige that comes with being selected as a Washington Crossing Foundation Scholar. This scholarship is viewed as one of the most respected academic honors for American students, alongside esteemed programs like the Coca-Cola and Gates Millennium scholarships. Earning this scholarship demonstrates high academic achievement as well as a commitment to American history, civic values, and patriotism – qualities that will strengthen any recipient’s resume or applications to competitive post-graduate programs.

In addition to the financial award, scholars may also receive special invitations and opportunities through the Foundation, such as attendance at annual scholar symposiums or engagement with prominent leaders in government, business, and culture. This provides an excellent networking platform for scholars as well as chances to further develop their leadership abilities.

Eligibility Requirements for the Scholarship

To be considered for a Washington Crossing Foundation Scholarship, applicants must meet the following basic eligibility criteria:

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  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be a high school senior or graduate enrolling as a full-time undergraduate at an accredited four-year college or university in the U.S. for the entire upcoming academic year
  • Demonstrate academic excellence with a minimum cumulative high school GPA of 3.5 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) or SAT score of 1300 or higher
  • Exhibit strong leadership qualities, extracurricular involvement, and community service
  • Express a sincere interest in American history, heritage, and democratic principles through the application essay

The scholarship is open to students from all 50 U.S. states as well as Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories. Students may apply during their senior year of high school or within one year of high school graduation. Prior recipients of the scholarship are not eligible for renewal, but high-performing scholars may become candidates for additional fellowship opportunities with the Foundation in the future.

How to Apply for the Scholarship

Application deadlines for the Washington Crossing Foundation Scholarship fall in mid-to-late January each year, so students should begin preparing their materials for the previous fall term. The application process is entirely online through the Foundation’s website and involves submitting the following key components:

Personal Information Form

This initial form collects basic applicant data like name, address, citizenship status, intended college, GPA/test scores, extracurriculars, and other background details to determine eligibility.

Resume or Activities List

A one-page resume highlighting academic honors, leadership roles, community service involvement, work experience, and extracurricular commitments is required.

Essay of 500-1000 Words

The core of the application is a well-written essay responding to a general prompt about the importance and relevance of America’s founding principles today. Strong essays demonstrate passion, knowledge of history, and leadership potential.

Two Letters of Recommendation

Applicants must obtain letters—one from a teacher, counselor, or administrator and the other from a community member—that attest to their character and qualifications.

Official High School Transcript

This document serves to verify the applicant’s GPA and class standing as reported on the personal information form. Electronic upload or mail-in options are available.

The application process may seem involved, but the Foundation provides thorough guidance materials to assist students. Additionally, qualified juniors are invited each summer to participate in essay workshops, helping them prepare outstanding scholarship submissions. Overall, the multi-step process aims to select scholars representing excellence in academics, leadership, and civic commitment.

Selection Process and Notification

Once the mid-January deadline passes, the Foundation begins a rigorous review of all completed applications over the following months. Initial screening is done by the Foundation’s selection committee to ensure all basic eligibility and requirements have been met.

The top applicants based on transcripts, activities, and essay quality are then invited for in-person or virtual interviews in late winter/early spring. These give selection committee members the chance to engage with candidates and better evaluate their character, values, communication skills, and knowledge of presented materials.

Final scholarship selections are typically made by late spring. All applicants, whether selected or not, receive notification by mail. Scholarship recipients are then recognized and celebrated at the Foundation’s Annual Awards Dinner, where they have an opportunity to share their goals and what inspired their application. Scholarship funds are directly disbursed to the college or university once awardees submit proof of enrollment for the upcoming school year.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Scholarship:

Can international or DACA students apply?

No, eligibility is currently limited to United States citizens only. The scholarship aims to specifically support American students and promote patriotic education.

Is community or military service considered?

While not required, extensive community service, volunteering, or family military background can strengthen an applicant’s profile. Leadership roles and commitments outside the classroom are valued.

If I don’t win, can I reapply?

Yes, you may reapply to the Washington Crossing Foundation Scholarship in subsequent years as long as you still meet the basic eligibility requirements. Each annual application cycle is considered independently.

How competitive is it to receive the scholarship?

This program is highly competitive, with typically 50-150 candidates selected for interviews out of 500-800 total applicants each year. Selection rates vary but are often in the 10-15% range. Applicants should demonstrate truly exceptional academic achievement and commitment to civic values.

Does majoring in history or politics help?

While an interest in American history is preferred, the scholarship is not tied to any specific intended major or field of study. All degree programs at accredited four-year colleges/universities in the United States are eligible.

Is it possible to defer acceptance of the scholarship?

No, if awarded the scholarship, recipients must commit to using the full $10,000 amount towards the costs of the first academic year indicated in their application. Deferrals are not permitted, given the competitive one-year nature of the program.

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