When is the deadline for submitting applications?
The deadline is February 1, 2014. Application must include the completed application, journalistic work, two essays, letters of reference, high school transcript and color headshot photo. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

If I miss the deadline, can I still apply?
Applications may be accepted beyond the Feb. 1, 2014, deadline from select states that have an insufficient number of qualified applicants.

Are SAT or ACT scores required?
No, applicants are not required to list SAT or ACT scores because juniors typically don’t take the exams until spring. However, scores should be supplied if they are available.

What essays are required?
Two essays of a maximum of 500 words each must be submitted with the application. First, applicants must explain why they want to pursue a career in journalism; and second, what characteristics make them a “free spirit.”

If I have no journalistic work samples, will I still qualify?
No. We require samples of writing, photography, audio, video or other media that were produced for publication or for classroom assignments.

When will I know if I am selected?
All candidates will be notified by mail no later than May 2014. Recipients will be required to sign an acknowledgment form to confirm their acceptance. Scholars’ names will be posted online in early June 2014.

Do I pay for my expenses to attend the Washington, D.C., conference?
No. Freedom Forum will pay all expenses for travel, lodging, ground transportation and meals for participants. Additional details will be sent to the winners mid-April 2014.

When and where will the conference be held?
The conference will be held June 21-26, 2014, at the Newseum. Scholars will stay in a Washington, D.C., area hotel.

How will travel and lodging logistics be handled?
The Close Up Foundation, which has been bringing high school students to Washington, D.C., for 30 years, will handle travel logistics. The foundation also will provide supervision and oversight of participants.

If I cannot go to Washington, D.C., for the journalism conference, can I still receive the scholarship?
No. All scholars are required to participate in the entire conference. This is an inspiring opportunity to interact with distinguished journalists, visit newsrooms, tour Washington and share experiences with other Free Spirit Scholars.

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to apply for the scholarship/conference?
Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.