Onward Scholars at CHS » Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


1) What is the Onward Scholars Program?

> The Onward Scholars Program is an initiative of the John H. and Cynthia Lee Smet Foundation. It provides participants with 4-year scholarships to Cathedral High School, along with mentoring, college counseling, college visits, and other enrichment programs throughout high school. 


2) How many Onward Scholarships are awarded every year?

> Up to 12 young men will be selected as incoming freshmen to participate in this four-year program. 


3) What are the criteria for admissions to the Onward Scholars Program?

> The Onward Scholars Program builds strengths in many different areas in order to grow as students and citizens. We’re looking for students who have demonstrated excellence in academics and leadership. We expect all Onward Scholars to work hard in high school toward college admission and be active, positive role models in their school community. Applicants to the Onward Scholars Program must be students in good standing at their current school, hold a target cumulative GPA of 3.5 over their middle school years, and be accepted for admissions to Cathedral High School. 


4) How important are GPA and/or test scores in the selection process for the Onward Scholars Program?

> Middle school GPA, Standardized Test scores in Reading and Math, and the CHS writing sample(s) are strongly considered when selecting the Onward Scholars as indicators of the students’ academic potential. However, we also give great importance to demonstrated leadership, enthusiasm, work habits, and the written communication skills exhibited during the application process. Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to submit a letter of recommendation from a principal, pastor, or other community leader who can speak to the candidate’s unique qualifications. 


5) Is the Onward Scholars only offered to students who qualify for financial assistance?

> It is a “need-aware” program, but it is not solely need-based. Students who are selected will receive the full scholarship amount (75% of tuition each year) and a one-time $2,000 stipend to offset the cost of activities or programs that broaden the student experiences and exposure to careers of interest regardless of financial need. Students who qualify for additional financial assistance in order to attend Cathedral High School (with or without Onward Scholars award) must complete a separate, confidential financial aid application in order to receive assistance directly from the school or the Catholic Education Foundation. 


6) Do I need to attend Cathedral High School to be an Onward Scholar?

> Yes! You must apply for admissions and be accepted to Cathedral High School in order to be considered for the Onward Scholars Program, and you must remain a student in good standing at Cathedral High School in order to continue in the program during all four years of high school. 


7) Are the enrichment and other program activities required in order to receive the scholarship?

> Yes! Students and parents must make a commitment to participate fully in the program. The enrichment activities, mentoring, college counseling and visits are designed to help students achieve their potential not only academically, but as leaders and role models. In addition, the activities are designed to bring Onward Scholars together and build relationships with peers that will enable them to support and encourage one another through their college years and beyond. 


8) What kind of enrichment and program activities will there be? How much time will it take?

> Programs and activities are flexible, and will be designed to meet the needs and interests of each new group of Onward Scholars. You should expect regular on-campus meetings with your Onward Scholars group and several additional off-campus activities such as college visits and cultural events. 


9) Do I need to be Catholic in order to be an Onward Scholar?

> No. You do not need to be Catholic to attend Cathedral High School, nor to be selected for the Onward Scholars Program. However, we ask that Onward Scholars be ready to live in accordance with the values and ethics that are at the heart of Catholic education. 


10) What is the application process?

> Apply for admissions to Cathedral High School for the academic year. Visit www.cathedralhighschool.org for more information. 


> OSP Applications are to be submitted online to CHS by Friday, January 22nd by 3 pm. Additionally, all required materials must be submitted as well, transcripts, standardized test scores, CHS school evaluation form and recommendation letters.    


> Apply online at www.onwardscholar.org in the Application Process section of the website. Only online applications will be accepted. Both you and your parent/guardian will be required to submit a personal statement. The guidelines are included in the application. You also have the option of submitting a letter of recommendation from your principal, pastor or other community leader. 


> If you require financial assistance in order to attend Cathedral High School above and beyond the Onward Scholar award, you must follow the Catholic Education Foundation (CEF)’s and Cathedral’s (Application) need-based financial aid application process each year and meet the qualifications for each. 


> Finalists will be invited to a personal interview during the month of February and the selected class of Onward Scholars will be announced in early March. 


11) Who selects Onward Scholars?

The Program Director, school administrators, and Onward Scholars Advisory Board members from Cathedral High School evaluate and select the Onward Scholars. 


12) Can I apply for the Onward Scholars Program if I am applying to Cathedral High School as a transfer student for 10th,  11th, or 12th grade? 

> The program is designed to provide four-year scholarships to incoming freshmen at Cathedral High School. Funds for the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades are therefore already designated for Onward Scholars at those grade levels. In addition, peer support is an essential part of The Onward Scholars Program, and it is built over the course of the four years, starting in the freshman year each new “class” of Onward Scholars is selected. 


13) How is Cathedral High School able to offer this program?

> The program is an initiative of The John H. and Cynthia Lee Smet Foundation, which provides the funding and works in partnership with Cathedral High School to administer the program. 


14) Is The Onward Scholars Program guaranteed for the four years or do I need to reapply every year?

> Onward Scholars are selected with the intention of supporting them through all four years of high school at Cathedral High School. However, students must remain in good standing, and in order to qualify for renewal each year, students must: 

* Live a life that reflects Catholic values;
* Maintain a minimum of 3.5 cumulative GPA;
* Maintain outstanding citizenship behavior;
* Actively participate and/or maintain a leadership role in at least one club or student organization;
* Represent Cathedral High School in the community; 
* Participate in Onward Scholars enrichment, leadership, mentoring and college counseling activities;
* Perform community service beyond the school’s annual requirement and
* Submit a renewal application form and personal essay summarizing the past year’s personal academic growth.



                                    Onward Scholars Program ׀ 1253 Bishops Rd. ׀ Los Angeles, CA 90012

(323) 441-3116 / / onwardscholars@chsla.org