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Applications for the 2024 scholarships may be submitted from November 1, 2023 until February 1, 2024.

Winners of the 2023 scholarship are featured on the Scholars page. 

The Scholarship

The Harriet Fitzgerald Scholarship in the amount of $10,000 for the 2024-2025 academic year will be awarded to a woman who will begin attending an undergraduate women’s college in the United States or Canada in the Fall 2024 term.   


Applications, confidential letters of recommendation uploaded at our web site by recommenders, transcripts uploaded at our web site by high school counselors or registrars, and official reports of standardized test scores must reach us by February 1, 2024, by 11:59 pm EST. 


The Scholarship Selection Committee reviews applications in February and March. Finalists are identified and interviewed in March, and recipients are notified in early April. New scholar names are publicly announced in May, once their choice of college has been confirmed.


The Sunflower Initiative pays the Scholarship directly to the college each term after verifying enrollment.   


The Scholarship is awarded for one year with the possibility of renewal each year based on continued high academic performance. 


Why was the scholarship established?

Originally established by alumnae and friends of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in 2010, The Sunflower Initiative has grown its membership to include alumnae and friends of other women’s colleges also. The Scholarship, named after a distinguished alumna of R-MWC, Harriet Fitzgerald, provides a promising young woman with financial support to attend a women’s college where her intellect and talents will be nurtured and where she will receive an education preparing her to participate fully in public life.

Who is eligible?

The Scholarship Committee welcomes applications from highly motivated women who are passionate about learning and desire to attend a women’s college in the United States. The successful candidate must

  • possess a stellar high school record,
  • provide outstanding references,
  • have a sincere desire to make a contribution to society, and
  • demonstrate strong character and leadership qualities, as well as breadth and depth of interests.

For best consideration, applicants should have

  • an unweighted GPA of at least a 3.7 and
  • either a composite SAT score of at least 1350 or a composite ACT score of at least 27 with no single ACT score below 25. International students should be able to arrange to take the SAT or ACT in their home countries.  For applications due by February 1, 2024, test scores are welcome but are optional.

All women expecting to start their first full term of college at an undergraduate women’s college in the Fall 2024 term are eligible to apply. These include

  • graduating high school seniors,
  • high school graduates who have taken a gap year since graduating from high school,
  • women who matriculated at college but left prior to the completion of their first semester and now plan to start college again, and
  • dual enrollment candidates who have taken some college courses early while completing high school

Women who have already completed one or more college semesters are not eligible.

What application materials are required?

  • An application form completed online at our website, including the following supplements all in PDF format so that our readers can read them
    • an essay [in PDF format] uploaded within the online application form,
    • responses to questions about your activities, achievements, awards and any other information to support your application, which you may also supply by uploading an optional résumé [also in PDF format] within the online application form. 
  • Three (3) confidential letters of recommendation on letterhead and in PDF format.  Please ask for letters from people who understand the Scholarship and why you are applying, and who appreciate that we rely on fairly detailed letters that help us get to know the applicant. Standardized letters (for all college applications, for instance) are not as helpful as letters written for this particular scholarship.
    • At least two of the letters should come from people who can comment on your academic qualifications (teachers and counselors).
    • The third letter may come from someone who can also comment on your extracurricular activities and personal character (this could also be a teacher or counselor, but perhaps a community member, club advisor, employer, or other non-family member).
    • Letters must be submitted online to our website directly by the letter-writer.
  • Official high school or GED transcripts uploaded at our website by your high school counselor or registrarWe will need grades from the Fall semester of your senior year and the course list or schedule from the Spring semester of your senior year as well, so your counselor will need to add report cards or course schedules in addition if these are not on the transcript document.  
  • Optional for applications due by February 1, 2024: Official reports of SAT (code 7230) or ACT (code 1715) scores sent to us electronically by the testing service or uploaded by your high school counselor or registrar

Incomplete applications and late materials will not be considered.   

How should application materials be submitted?

Applicants may not send letters, test scores, or transcripts to us themselves.

  • As is standard with official documents where authenticity and confidentiality are important, we will accept these materials only directly from letter-writers, testing services, or high school counselors or registrars. 
  • Letter-writers should use official letterhead to verify the authenticity of their affiliation, and both recommenders and counselors should submit documents in PDF format so that our readers will be able to read all of these materials.  Please communicate these requirements to those submitting materials in support of your application. 
  • Forms for submission are located on our website at

Applicants are responsible for checking with the other parties who are uploading and sending test scores, transcripts, and letters to ensure that these materials are sent before the deadline. 

  • Since letter-writers, counselors, registrars, and testing services are extremely busy during the college application season, applicants should make their requests several weeks ahead of the due date, and check afterward with senders to make sure that they have sent the necessary documents
  • From early January until the February 1 deadline, applicants will be able to check on which supplementary materials have reached us thus far.  We will update this information every two or three days until the deadline of February 1. 

What is The Sunflower Initiative’s selection timetable?

  • Applications are reviewed during February through early March. 
  • Semifinalists are identified and notified by email in mid-March. 
  • Finalists are selected and notified in mid-to-late March and interviewed in late March. 
  • Winners are selected in early April so they can incorporate news of the scholarship into their decision-making about colleges.
  • Because Scholars have until May 1 to decide on a college and because subsequent negotiations with the colleges are sometimes necessary to ensure that the scholarship can be provided in the manner that is most helpful to our Scholars, we are not always able to post the names and biographies of winners on our website or to send personalized notification of the results to Semifinalists and Finalists until May. 

“The atmosphere of connection and innovation permeating the campuses of the women’s colleges I visited and the palpable enthusiasm of the students and faculty in these colleges was exciting and inviting. Their visions of positive change and missions to empower women to improve the world set them apart from all other colleges I visited."

Applicant for The Sunflower Initiative Scholarship

You're about to make the best decision of your life.

If you are a high-achieving young woman looking for a living and learning community where you can develop your full potential, The Sunflower Initiative can help you make a choice that’s right for you. Our renewable annual scholarship can be applied at a women’s college that you choose to attend. In addition to our financial support, you will join a network of accomplished women who are passionate about your future success.