Floyd '20 Awarded Jefferson Scholarship

Jax Floyd '20 was recently awarded the prestigious Jefferson Scholarship at the University of Virginia (UVA).

Jax Floyd '20 was recently awarded the prestigious Jefferson Scholarship at the University of Virginia (UVA). This scholarship is extremely selective and covers full four-year tuition at the school while also providing fully-funded research and opportunities to study abroad.

With an acceptance rate of less than two percent, the Jefferson Scholarship aims to "serve the University by identifying, attracting, and nurturing individuals of extraordinary intellectual range and depth who possess the highest concomitant qualities of leadership, scholarship, and citizenship," according to UVA's website. All applicants must be among the one or two seniors nominated by their respective high school each year.

When asked about his nomination by the Lawrenceville College Counseling Office, Floyd said that he believed he was selected based on his leadership efforts. While it wasn't anything he did in particular, he emphasized, Floyd believed that his efforts in promoting diversity and inclusion at Lawrenceville were the hallmark of his application.

According to Floyd, the application process was "definitely different than the normal college application process." After being nominated, he had to submit a written application with"topics...more leadership focused and somewhat philosophical in nature." Finalists selected from this global pool of nominees are then invited to an exclusive Jefferson Scholars Selection Weekend at UVA. This visit includes an in-person interview, a tour of the campus, meetings with Jefferson alumni, and a sophisticated math exam. However, this year's Selection Weekend was canceled due to COVID-19 related safety concerns. Instead, finalists interviewed online with reviewers from several institutions.

When he received his notification of acceptance into the program, Floyd was faced with a "very difficult choice." He talked to several Lawrenceville alumni of the Jefferson Scholarship, both those who accepted and declined the honor, to get a better sense of the program's benefits. Ultimately, it was something that a Jefferson Scholars alumni from Lawrenceville said to Floyd that made up his mind: "At a place like UVA, you can be a big fish in a small pond with a ton of close connections, or you can go to a place like Stanford, where you will be a much smaller fish in a much larger pond of successful people."

After "thinking long and hard," Floyd said, "I have finally decided not to accept [the scholarship] and instead accept an offer from Stanford." He felt that this decision is a "bet on [himself]," and one that he felt comfortable making. "It certainly was a hard decision," he concluded, "but ultimately it came down to comfort and fit, and I feel that Stanford is the place where I want to spend my college years."

As a word of advice to prospective Jefferson Scholars, Floyd summarizes that "It's mainly about leadership and character, and I think it is a tremendous opportunity." He encourages anyone who is interested in leadership to explore this "avenue of fantastic opportunities."

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