The Van Doren Scholars

Frequently Asked Questions

Application Procedure

Application Procedure

Van Doren Scholars are selected at the conclusion of a rigorous screening season involving written applications, personal references and individual interviews. The first step is knowing and following a few, simple rules.

  • How informal are the interviews?

    • If you are selected as a Finalist, you will receive an invitation to meet individually with the Van Doren Selection Committee, a group of current- and retired educators and community leaders who have evaluated hundreds of talented applicants since the program’s inception. Interviews are brief, but they provide a more-personal opportunity to expose qualities of mind or character that will help you stand out.

      You should expect an informal give-and-take, and Committee members may ask you for more detail about an academic or charitable project or simply to talk about a lesson learned or some unfulfilled dream. At this point in their evaluations, qualities of thoughtfulness, self-awareness, and honesty often count for more than demonstrations of ambition or intellect. Thus, there are no “set” questions (aside from the Committee’s mandate to clarify each applicant’s tuition needs and resources).

      Individual Committee members have different interests, but their goals are the same: to peer beneath superficial distinctions such as a candidate’s personal poise or volubility, and to find that compelling kernel of promise that has been the hallmark of Van Doren honorees. 

  • May I apply more than once?

    • Yes. Scholarship recipients are encouraged to re-apply in subsequent years while they continue their educations, and it is not uncommon for Van Doren Scholars to receive sequential awards. Whether you have been successful as a candidate or not, you may reapply in any year that you meet the eligibility requirements. Note however that simply re-filing an old application is strongly discouraged. Selection Committee members are interested in your growth as a scholar and person year-over-year. Recycled essays or references cloud this distinction.

  • What do I need to do to claim my award?

    • Van Doren Scholarships are paid-out in two checks. The first, for one-half of the amount of your scholarship, will be prepared as soon as we receive a copy of your fall semester tuition bill. This confirms that you are enrolled in an accredited school, satisfying an important condition of the award. First checks generally go out in July or August and it takes about a week for the check to be prepared and forwarded.

      The second half of the award is sent after we receive a copy of your second semester bill along with a copy of your fall semester transcript. These documents confirm that you remain enrolled as a student in good standing with your institution. This typically happens in December or January. We have tried to make this process as quick and easy as we can.

      Checks can only be written to the scholar or the scholar’s parent or guardian; checks cannot be written directly to a college or university.

      A full explanation of this process is provided in a publication by the committee entitled “Receiving Your Van Doren Award” and this is given to each scholar who receives a Van Doren Scholarship.

  • Where are Interviews held?

    • Face-to-face interviews are held at the Peapack Reformed Church in Gladstone, NJ. You can view a map showing the interview location here.

  • Where do I obtain a scholarship application form?

    • The 2019 Van Doren Scholarship Application forms may be obtained by downloading a convenient electronic PDF file from this website. If you have the free Adobe Reader plugin for your browser, you’ll be able to enter text directly into the electronic form and save your application locally until it is complete, then print it at your desktop printer.

      In addition to the electronic version here, printed copies are available at at any Somerset County Public Library branch and at many cooperating high school guidance departments. As hard-copy forms may vary slightly from year to year, be sure to verify that your form corresponds to the current application year.

  • Will you pay my award directly to my college bursar?

    • No. IRS regulations require most disbursements from Peter Van Doren’s trust to go directly to individual scholarship beneficiaries. As soon as we receive proof of your enrollment and completion of an academic term, we will prepare checks in your name or, if you have previously instructed us to do so, payable to your designated parent or guardian. 



Get news & announcements about the VanDoren Scholars delivered right to your email box!