Scholar Lead Program

What is the Scholar Lead Program? 

The Scholar Lead program is a peer mentorship program that helps students as they transition into their academic journey. The Scholar Lead program pairs a more experienced Scholar with new Scholars to offer resources, information, and social support as they adjust to their postsecondary program.  

What is the purpose of the Scholar Lead Program?

Research shows peer mentorship is one of the most important factors in degree completion. With that in mind, the Scholar Lead Program accomplishes the following:

It prepares Scholars to be future leaders and mentors. Scholar Leads receive professional development and mentorship support from WSOS staff to grow as leaders and mentors themselves.

It fosters community among Scholars and Scholar Leads. The Scholar Lead Program connects first- and second-year Scholars to their peers who are further along in their academic careers.

It helps Scholars access resources. Scholar Leads connect their matched Scholars with resources and facilitate community-building events to support their matched Scholars’ success.

“WSOS has given me the opportunity to find a supportive community in a large university. Coming in as a freshman, I was homesick and felt very lost, physically as the campus is huge and socially as all my friends went to colleges farther away. However, my first WSOS meeting with my Scholar Lead made me feel very welcome and gave me a lot of good advice for making new friends and finding organizations.”

Almond, Opportunity Scholar

Why should you apply to be a Scholar Lead?

The Scholar Lead Program is a great opportunity for you to become a community leader in a supportive and positive environment.

As a Scholar Lead, you can expect:

  • A stipend, paid in three equal quarterly installments
  • Advising and professional support from a WSOS staff member
  • Additional professional and leadership development support through WSOS resources
  • The opportunity to participate in exclusive WSOS opportunities (that look great on a resume!)
  • The opportunity to grow your leadership skills
  • To connect and collaborate with a community of peers

Scholar Lead Responsibilities

If you are selected as a Scholar Lead, you would be expected to:

  • Serve as an enthusiastic, empowering role model to first- and second-year Opportunity Scholars
  • Communicate with your mentees on a regular basis (typically twice a month) via email, text, phone calls or online or in-person meetings
  • Facilitate community-building events for assigned Scholars
  • Support your mentees in navigating college and WSOS
  • Assist Opportunity Scholars in familiarizing themselves with campus and other resources to support their academic journey

Review the position descriptions below to learn more about the benefits and responsibilities of a Scholar Lead.

“The opportunity to be a Scholar Lead for a year was both a great resume builder for me and a chance to build my own professional skills meeting and connecting with people, and a way to support other students in STEM majors to give them the encouragement to continue and pursue great careers which will benefit themselves and society as a whole.”

Isobel, Opportunity Scholar

When is the Scholar Lead application due?

Baccalaureate Scholars:

  • Priority decision: March 31, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. PT
  • Final deadline: April 28, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. PT

Career and Technical Scholars:

  • Regular deadline: March 31, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. PT

Accessing and Submitting the Scholar Lead Application

Applicants can access the application directly in the Scholar Portal. Please review the instructions below to access your application.

  • Begin your application:
    • Log in to the Scholar Portal. In the top menu bar, hover over the Scholar Lead App option and select Start Application.  
  • Complete the Eligibility Check. If you’re eligible, you’ll be instructed to begin your application. You only need to complete the Eligibility Check once.
    • To resume your application: In the top menu bar of the Scholar Portal,  hover over the Scholar Lead App option and select Resume Application.  

Important: There is no submit button. If all parts show as ‘Complete’ on the Status page, you’re good to go! Your application will be automatically submitted, and you’ll receive a confirmation email. 

Frequently Asked Questions about the Scholar Lead Program

Can I be a Scholar Lead if I already graduated college?

Yes, recent alumni are eligible to apply to be a Scholar Lead.

Note for Baccalaureate alum: If you graduated during or before last summer, you are NOT eligible to be a Scholar Lead.

I am currently/planning to live out of state. Can I apply to be a Scholar Lead?

No. Applicants must currently reside in Washington state to be eligible to be a Scholar Lead. This includes alumni who intend to work outside the state.

Am I able to participate in study abroad while being a Scholar Lead?

Yes, applicants are eligible to be a Scholar Lead while also studying abroad. As part of the Scholar Lead application, you will be asked to share your time management and communication plan while abroad.

When is the earliest I can become a Scholar Lead?

Baccalaureate Scholars: Scholar Leads are required to have been on their college campus for at least two full academic years, not including Running Start. In addition, Scholars must have their Award Increase submitted by June 1, 2023.

Career and Technical Scholars: Any Career and Technical Scholar in good standing can become a Scholar Lead.

Who will I be matched with? Who will my Scholar Lead be?

Baccalaureate Scholars: When possible, Leads will be matched with Scholars at their school in the same area of study.  If that’s not possible, Leads may be matched to Scholars from a different school or a different area of study.

Career and Technical Scholars: The Scholar Lead program prioritizes matching Scholars to Scholar Leads who are in the same area of study. When possible, Scholars will be matched with someone at their school. However, sometimes it’s not possible to match Scholar Leads with Scholar mentees from their school.

Is the WSOS compensation taxable income?

Yes. By considering this opportunity as a WSOS Scholar Lead, the stipend you will receive is taxable income.

You will complete a W9 form and will be considered “self-employed” for tax purposes.  Tax owed will not be withheld from the stipend.

You will receive a 1099-MISC form in January and will need to file a tax return and pay any taxes owed.  While we cannot provide tax information or advise, we strongly encourage you to seek additional tax resources as needed.

I am an undocumented Scholar. Am I eligible to be a Scholar Lead?

The Scholar Lead program requires Scholars to be authorized to work in the United States. DACA Scholars with work authorization are eligible to apply.

I am unable to submit my application/I received an email saying my application was complete before I was done. What should I do?

The Scholar Lead application will be considered complete once all sections of the application have been filled. The application will be automatically submitted, and you will receive an email confirming that the application is completed.

However, if you receive a confirmation email before you are done with your application, you can still return to the application and make changes or edits as long as it’s before the submission deadline.

If it’s after the deadline and you need to make changes:

If you are a Baccalaureate Scholar, please email to make changes to your application.

If you are a Career and Technical Scholar, please email  to make changes to your application.

Am I required to complete the Award Increase before submitting the Scholar Lead application?

You must submit your WSOS Award Increase or Renewal on time. Award Increases and Renewals can be found in your Scholar Portal. If you don’t think you’ll be able to complete your Award Increase by the deadline, please email us at