Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

After You Apply

General Information

What does a Johnson Scholarship cover?

Recipients of a Johnson Scholarship will receive full tuition and fees and standard room and board for four years. Johnson Scholarship winners with significant demonstrated financial need (as determined through evaluation of a complete financial aid application) will receive the full cost of attendance for four years, which includes full tuition and fees, standard room and board, and an allowance for books and personal expenses.

Are Johnson Scholars afforded any extra benefits as students at W&L?

Johnson Scholars receive grant support of up to $7,000 which they may use to fund internships, volunteer or community service projects, faculty supervised research, international experiences, leadership projects, or other proposals that will enhance their W&L experience. These funds can be used in one or more summers.

How do I apply for a Johnson Scholarship?

Your Johnson Scholarship application consists of a completed Common Application (including all test scores, recommendations and school forms), plus the additional Johnson Scholarship essay found on the W&L Writing Supplement to the Common Application.

What is the application deadline?

All of your application materials must be received in our office by December 1st in order to be considered for any merit-based scholarships.

Remember, your completed Johnson Scholarship application consists of a completed Common Application (including all test scores, recommendations and school forms), plus the additional Johnson Scholarship essay found on the W&L Writing Supplement to the Common Application.

Don't wait until the last minute!

I am an international student (a non-U.S. citizen). Am I eligible for a Johnson Scholarship?

Yes. Non-U.S. citizens may apply for a Johnson scholarship.

I am a QuestBridge Finalist and intend to apply to Washington and Lee using the QuestBridge application, not the Common Application. How do I submit my Johnson Scholarship application essay?

When we receive your admission application from QuestBridge, we will create an account for you in W&L's applicant portal, the Generals' Headquarters (the GHQ). Within the GHQ you can submit your Johnson Scholarship application essay and monitor the progress of your application. We will send your GHQ log in credentials via email after we have received your QuestBridge application and created your GHQ account.

I will not be taking the SAT/ACT until the December test administration, after the December 1st deadline. Can I still be considered for the Johnson Scholarship?

As long as you indicate that Washington and Lee should automatically receive your scores directly from the testing agency (either College Board or ACT), your scores from the December tests will be here in time to be considered for the Johnson Scholarship review. Be sure that the remainder of your application is in our office by the December 1st deadline, though.

When will I know if I have been named a finalist in the competition?

Students will be notified in early February as to their status in the Johnson competition as well as their status in any regional scholarship competitions. The on-campus portion of the competition takes place in early March.

The deadline for the Johnson Scholarship is earlier than the Regular Decision deadline. Does this mean that I have to apply Early Decision to apply for the Johnson Scholarship?

No. Applying for the Johnson Scholarship by the December 1st deadline does not represent a commitment to enroll at W&L and does not mean that you are applying Early Decision or Early Decision II.

When you submit your Common Application to W&L you will be asked to indicate whether you are applying Early Decision, Early Decision II, or Regular Decision. No matter which you choose, you can still apply for the Johnson Scholarship, provided your complete application for admission plus the Johnson Scholarship application is in our office by December 1st.

W&L's ED plans are binding, which means students admitted ED or ED II must withdraw all their applications from other colleges and confirm their intention to enroll at W&L with the required reservation deposit.

Please note: Final scholarship decisions are made after the Early Decision application processes have concluded. Therefore, students whose enrollment at W&L depends on winning a Johnson Scholarship should not apply under our binding Early Decision plans.

The Early Decision I deadline (November 1st) is earlier than the Johnson Scholarship deadline (December 1st). If I am applying Early Decision I, do I have to submit my Johnson Scholarship application essay by November 1st?

No. If you wish to apply for a Johnson Scholarship and are not ready to submit your Johnson essay when your ED I application is due (November 1st) you may submit your application for admission and your Johnson Scholarship application separately. To submit your Johnson essay after submitting your completed Common Application, log into your applicant portal account on W&L's website, and submit your Johnson Application there: This option is only available to Early Decision I applicants. Please wait 24 hours after submitting your Common Application before attempting to log into your portal account.

I was accepted to W&L as an Early Decision applicant. Will I be at a disadvantage in the Johnson Scholarship competition since W&L knows I am going to enroll?

No. The Johnson Scholarship applicant review is conducted without regard to which decision plan you selected (Early Decision or Regular Decision). Likewise, you will have no particular advantage in the competition. Your application will be re-read in its entirety, in the context of the Johnson Scholarship competition. Every year, a number of Early Decision candidates earn a spot in the competition as finalists, and nearly every year a number of them win a Johnson Scholarship.

What does the on-campus Johnson competition consist of?

Johnson Scholarship finalists spend 3 days and 2 nights on campus in early March. The on-campus competition is a series of interviews with faculty, current Johnson Scholars, and admission officers. The rest of the finalists' time on campus is spent discovering W&L - sitting in on classes, interacting with students in the residence halls and over meals, meeting with professors one-on-one at departmental Open Houses, participating in social events on campus, and generally just getting a feel for life on campus.

What does it take to be named a Johnson Scholarship finalist?

The Johnson Scholarship review process is comprehensive and takes into account academic achievement and intellectual promise, as well as accomplishments and leadership outside the classroom. There is no minimum GPA or SAT/ACT requirement to be named a finalist, but the competition is severe.

Johnson finalists have taken their schools' most rigorous classes and have made top grades. Their test scores (on the SAT, ACT and the optional SAT Subject Exams) are high and their writing samples are outstanding. Letters of recommendation for finalists typically attest to outstanding ability and deep curiosity, while their extracurricular commitments and accomplishments show evidence of sincere engagement and top achievement in non-academic pursuits.

Many students with outstanding credentials will apply for the Johnson Scholarship Program. With relatively few spots available for finalists, many extremely impressive candidates will not be selected to advance in the competition.

After You Apply

If I have been selected as a finalist, does that mean that I am admitted to Washington and Lee University?

At the point at which you are named a finalist, we are planning to offer you a place in the first-year class. However, your acceptance is not final until you receive your acceptance notification from Washington and Lee. In the meantime, your winter and spring grades, your decision whether or not to attend the competition and your conduct during the competition can affect the outcome of your admission application.

I was not named a finalist. Are there other scholarships for which I may apply?

Students not named finalists in the Johnson Competition may still apply for need-based financial aid. For more information, including W&L's net price calculator and financial aid application deadlines, please visit the Office of Financial Aid's website. No further merit-based scholarship opportunities are available.

When is the competition?

The competition takes place in early March.

What should I pack for my visit to campus?

  • Interview attire - you will have two interviews during the on-campus competition, and we encourage you to bring clothes that will make you feel confident in those interview settings. Many will wear business casual attire.
  • Casual attire - this is what you will wear during most of your time on campus. Bring comfortable shoes because our campus is hilly and you will be walking and exploring our beautiful campus.
  • Check the weather to see whether a coat and/or umbrella will be necessary.
  • Workout clothes, if you wish to use our fitness center.
  • Shower essentials, including a towel and toiletries.
  • Sleeping Bag.
  • Pillow.
  • Alarm Clock.

Can I make my own flight arrangements?

In order to coordinate arrivals and departures and to control costs, we will make all of your travel arrangements. Exceptions will be made only in extreme circumstances and only with approval by the Scholarship Coordinator.

I am flying into Roanoke. How will I get to campus?

An admissions representative will be at the airport to greet all flights and to put finalists onto shuttles to bring them to campus. Washington and Lee will also provide transportation back to the airport for your return flight.

Is there another way to get to Washington and Lee?

Under special circumstances, we can also arrange for finalists to arrive by Amtrak. Please contact us to make arrangements to take the train to Staunton, VA.

Why is there an on-campus competition? Why can't I just be named a scholarship winner on the basis of my application materials?

Washington and Lee is a university that is interested in students' background and accomplishments as well as in their character and goals. The Johnson program is meant to recognize students with outstanding intellectual and leadership potential. W&L seeks to be personal in all things - beginning with the admission and scholarship selection processes, all the way through each student's four years in Lexington - and we believe that meeting the candidates and spending time with them are valuable tools in selecting the students for whom the scholarship is intended.

What costs are associated with the competition?

There are no costs incurred by the finalist to join us in Lexington. We will either reimburse a student's mileage or fly him/her to campus at our expense, whichever is most convenient to the finalist. While on campus, all meals and events are covered by the Admissions Office. Incidental travel expenses, such as meals en route, tolls, airport parking, checked luggage fees, etc, will be reimbursed to the finalist after the competition.

What constitutes reimbursable travel expenses?

W&L will reimburse you for gas OR mileage (.375 cents per mile), tolls and meals en route if you are driving to and from the competition. If you are flying, we will reimburse you for gas OR mileage to and from your home airport, tolls, airport parking, checked luggage fees and meals en route. Items such as books for reading material and umbrellas for inclement weather are not reimbursable travel expenses. Please pack accordingly.

Where will I stay if I come to campus as a finalist?

Finalists are housed with current first-year students in one of four residence halls. Residence halls are co-ed, and all but one floor are same-sex. All residence halls are substance free. In most cases, finalists will be asked to bring a sleeping bag. If a finalist does not have one, the Admissions Office will provide one.

Since finalists are staying in dorm rooms, not hotels, they will likely sleep on the floor. In some instances, host students are able to provide a spare bed, a couch, or an air mattress, but finalists should not expect such accommodations.

What if I cannot attend the competition?

Students unable to attend the competition will be disqualified from consideration for the Johnson Scholarships.

Can my parents attend the competition?

Parents are discouraged from accompanying their students to campus. While we welcome their visits at other times, the days encompassing the Johnson Competition are extremely busy, both for the finalists and for the admission staff and university faculty. There are no official Admissions Office events offered to the general public or to Johnson finalists' family members during the competition. This is so that we may focus our full attention on the finalists. Requests for parent meetings will not be accommodated. If parents would like to travel with their students, they must do so at their own expense.

When will I find out if I won a scholarship?

While an official notification date has not yet been determined for this year, finalists can expect to learn of their status in the competition shortly after the on-campus competition and no later than April 1.