The Johnson Scholarship

The Johnson Scholarship is one of the premier merit-based scholarship programs in the country.

W&L's Johnson Scholarship recognizes and rewards students on the basis of academic achievement, demonstrated leadership and integrity, and their potential to contribute to the intellectual and civic life of the W&L campus and the world at large in years to come.

Troy Larsen ’22 was a W&L Johnson Scholar and mathematics and classics major. His funded summer research on knot theory earned Troy a prestigious Goldwater Fellowship. He continues his research today in pursuing a doctorate in mathematics.

Scholarships are awarded to up to 44 incoming students each year (roughly 10% of the first-year class).

Johnson Scholarships cover tuition and fees, housing and food, and $10,000 in funding for a summer experience — a grand total of more than $83,000 per year. Students with additional financial need may also see their scholarship amount increased to cover additional costs of attendance, which may include textbooks and supplies, travel expenses, and technology costs.

Finalists for Johnson Scholarships participate in an on-campus competition and are notified in late March of their status. All costs associated with attending the competition will be paid by Washington and Lee University.

Johnson Scholarship FAQs

The deadline to apply for the Johnson Scholarship is Dec. 1. Note that Washington and Lee University offers Early Decision I (Nov. 1), Early Decision II (Jan. 1) and Regular Decision (Jan. 1) admissions programs. We must receive your Johnson Scholarship application by Dec. 1, but you may choose to apply under any of the application decision programs.

Applying for the Johnson Scholarship requires submission of a complete Common Application and the W&L Johnson Scholarship supplement, which consists of a second personal essay.

The scholarship is awarded on the basis of merit, and merit takes many forms at W&L. Your academic record is important, as are demonstrations of your leadership and integrity, as represented in your extracurricular engagements, personal statements, and letters of recommendation.

We will review your complete Common Application, including your transcript, letters of recommendation, test scores (if supplied), and your personal essay, plus your supplemental Johnson Scholarship application, including an additional personal statement. Our application review is comprehensive and seeks to find students to invite as finalists who strive to be leaders in the many communities they inhabit.

Finalists for the Johnson Scholarship will be notified in early February and invited to campus for the scholarship selection competition. Scholarship winners will be notified in mid-March with full details about the scholarship award.

The word 'competition' sounds scary, but the scholarship competition event is not. This is a chance for you to experience W&L up close by rooming with a current Johnson Scholar, attending classes, and interviewing with faculty, staff and current students. We frequently hear from students that the scholarship competition was their first introduction to the collaborative and supportive community that is Washington and Lee, and that the connections they made during the event were deciding factors in where they ultimately chose to attend.

Many students will use their $10,000 enhancement funds to pay for the costs associated with a study abroad program or to pay for living expenses while volunteering or interning over the summer. Enhancement funds can even be used to fund one or more Spring Term Abroad programs available during W&L's distinctive 4-week May semester.

Office of Admissions

Gilliam House
19 Letcher Avenue
Lexington, Virginia 24450

About the Scholarship

A premier merit-based scholarship program that covers the full cost of attendance — you can't afford NOT to apply.

Johnson Scholars in the News

Our scholarship winners tackle challenges and continue to earn accolades as students and alumni.