Take Five Scholars Program FAQ

The Take Five Scholars Program provides free tuition for an extra year or semester of study designed to enrich a student's curriculum. Take Five affords students the opportunity to indulge in studying a topic of interest; to learn for the sake of learning, without the concern that it will make him or her a better job or graduate school applicant. Students complete an application that includes a proposal for a sustained and coherent interdisciplinary program of study.

The Take Five Scholars are among the most interesting students on campus—they have diverse and varied interests and are intellectually curious. Take Five Scholars are multi-dimensional people who generally go on to great things after college. For more information, see the Take Five home page.


For What Purpose Can Take Five Courses Be Used?

They may be used for academic enrichment. Take Five courses cannot be used in any way to satisfy graduation, major, minor or cluster requirements. Furthermore, Take Five is not an opportunity to earn additional credentials, such as fulfilling pre-med requirements, or completing certificate programs, or the requirements of another major. Students must demonstrate on their application that they could complete all graduation requirements without Take Five.


Who is Eligible to Apply?

Any student who has completed at least one semester at the University, has at least one full semester left at the University, and has been officially accepted into a major may apply. Additionally, all full-time students in The College or the Eastman School of Music are eligible to apply in any year except during the second semester of their senior year(i.e. their final semester).


What is the Application Timetable? How do I Apply?

Applicant selections take place twice a year. Information about the program and application process is available through Blackboard. Students must carefully review each section of the "TAKE FIVE PROGRAM" module located on the Blackboard home page. 

There are TWO REQUIRED DEADLINES each semester: The Program Recommender Email Confirmation is due approximately one month prior to the deadline for the Take 5 Application and recommendation letters. Dates are subject to change according to the calendar year (i.e. when November 1 falls on a weekend), but generally, the application deadlines are as follows:


(1) Program Recommender Email Confirmation due the first week of October, and

(2) T5 Proposal and recommendation letters due November 1.


(1) Program Recommender Email Confirmation due in mid-February, and

(2) T5 Proposal and recommendation letters due the Thursday after Spring Break.


What Does the Application include?

Most significant are the essay and the corresponding courses, a substantial number of which must be beyond the introductory level. Applicants are also asked to supply a resume, two letters of recommendation and a listing of the courses they have used or will use to complete cluster requirements.

In addition, applicants need to complete the following three course listings:

  1. The remaining courses they need to take to complete their regular four-year program, and the semesters in which they will be taken.
  2. The four or eight courses that will comprise their Take Five program.
  3. The courses they will take including the Take Five courses, if admitted (i.e. 1 and 2) and the corresponding semesters during which they will be taken.

Since the integration of Take Five courses into the regular curriculum is expected, where possible, admitted students may need to replace graduation or major requirements with some of their Take Five courses, pushing those requirements into their tuition-free fifth year. However, students must still complete at least 128 credits prior to the beginning of their tuition-free year.


What Type of Application Succeeds?

A successful application is one that presents a focused statement of purpose and a corresponding cohesive schedule of courses. Pursuit of the proposal should reflect a potential for intellectual growth. In addition, students must demonstrate an inability to undertake such studies during their first four years due to the constraints of their undergraduate curricula. There is no G.P.A. requirement, although the quality of the academic record is considered carefully. There must also be evidence that the applicant conferred with appropriate faculty about their proposal.


What Types of Applications are Unsuccessful?

The following kinds are likely to be rejected: those that portray an interest in a variety of non-related subjects simply because the opportunity to investigate them has not been available (i.e. to remediate gaps); those that convey an interest in extending present studies in the major when graduate school would be a better alternative; those that reflect a desire to complete certificates, pre-med requirements, or are careerist in nature; those that are vague and poorly written.


Who Decides?

The Take Five Review Board decides which proposals are accepted. The Board consists of a Take Five Scholar in his or her fifth year, a college dean, and a faculty member from each of these four areas: humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering. Ex-officio members include the Take Five Scholars Program Administrator and Administrators from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Eastman School of Music.


Can I Study Abroad as Part of My Take Five Program?

Yes. The Take Five Scholars program allows students to spend an additional semester or year at UR, tuition-free, pursuing a series of courses around a particular theme for the purpose of intellectual enrichment. If the focus of the Take Five project lends itself to overseas study, then you may propose to include a semester or even a full year abroad. Early planning is essential, since study abroad should be completed prior to your fifth year. As you formulate your Take Five proposal, attend a Take Five information session and consult with the Take Five program adviser in the College Center for Advising Services.


What Else Should Students Know?

  • Fifth year grades count in the GPA, for Latin Honors, for Distinction, and for Dean's List.
  • Diplomas are received at the end of the fifth year.
  • Only tuition is covered. Students are responsible for all other costs.
  • Fifth-year students are not eligible for on-campus housing.
  • Students may walk in one or both commencements.
  • Students are officially members of the class in which they graduate. If they prefer to be considered alumni of their original class, they may indicate so directly to the Alumni Office.
  • It is unlikely that a Take Five Scholarship would be awarded to a student who had chosen to accelerate the completion of his or her degree.