The Sunflower Initiative logo
Women Funding Women’s Education
The Sunflower Initiative logo
Women Funding Women’s Education


The Sunflower Initiative will award another Harriet Fitzgerald Scholarship in the amount of $10,000 for the 2021-2022 academic year to a woman who in the Fall 2021 term will begin attending an undergraduate women’s college in the United States or Canada.  The Sunflower Initiative, established by alumnae and friends of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and supported by alumnae and friends of other women’s colleges as well, offers the Harriet Fitzgerald Scholarship to honor one of the College’s most distinguished alumnae. It will provide a promising young woman with financial support to attend a woman’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.

Deadline:  We must receive 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 by February 1, 2021 by 11:59 pm EST.

Notification:  The Scholarship Selection Committee will notify the winner of the award in April 2021.  The Sunflower Initiative pays the scholarship directly to the college each term after confirming the Scholar’s enrollment.  The Harriet Fitzgerald Scholarship is awarded for one year with the possibility of renewal each year based on continued high performance.

Who is eligible for a Harriet Fitzgerald Scholarship?

The Scholarship Committee welcomes applications from highly motivated women who are passionate about learning and desire to attend a woman’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
  • show evidence of 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 1900 (scoring through 2016) or 1350 (scoring since 2016), 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 the 2020-2021 application year, we welcome test scores if you have them, but we are making this item optional.

All women expecting to start their first full term of college at an undergraduate women’s college in the Fall 2021 term are eligible to apply. These include

  • graduating high school seniors
  • those who have taken a gap year or two 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
  • women who have taken a college course or two early while completing high school (sometimes called “dual enrollment”

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

How should one gather application materials?

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.

  • Applicants are responsible for checking with the other parties who are uploading and sending test scores, transcripts, and letters to make sure that these materials are sent before the deadline. Please inform your letter-writers and high school counselors or registrars that they will find access to the brief forms they need to submit when they upload your letters and transcripts at our website.  Please tell them directly about using official letterhead and providing documents in PDF format.
  • Letter-writers, counselors, registrars, and testing services are extremely busy during the college application season, so 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 of 2021, applicants will be able to check to see which of their supplementary materials we have received up to that point.  We will update this information every two or three days until the deadline of February 1.

What components are required for a complete application?

  • An application form completed online at our website, including
    • An essay [in PDF format] uploaded within the online application form,
    • Responses to questions about your activities, achievements, awards, and so on, which you may also supply by uploading an optional résumé [also in PDF format] within the online application form.

We can only guarantee that our readers will be able to read your essays and résumés if you upload them in PDF format.

  • 3 Confidential letters of recommendation on letterhead and in PDF format. You should request at least two of the letters from people who can comment on your academic qualifications (teachers and counselors); it is sometimes helpful if the third letter comes 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); these letters must be submitted on-line to our website directly by the letter-writer.
  • Official high school or GED transcripts uploaded at our website by your high school counselor or registrar
  • Optional for 2020-2021: 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.