Skip To Main Content


Watch this quick video to learn how to start your Catalyst Application.


We strongly encourage you to read below about the application components and evaluation/financial criteria. 

The 11th Grade Catalyst Application is currently open. 


Application Components

Phase 1: Apply 

  • Student & Family Background
  • Extracurricular Involvement
  • Short Response Questions
  • Two Recommenders (no letter needed)
  • ***Submitting Financial Information***
    • Students and families will be asked to share some basic financial information to determine if you fit the profile for need-based aid scholarships from colleges.

Phase 2: Semi-Finalist Interviews at School Site

*Note: Not every student who applies will be admitted to the program.  Many students apply for a finite number of spots with NKCS Catalyst.

Phase 3: Program Acceptance Notifications - in September 2023

Phase 4: Parent-Student Orientation - October 2023


Evaluation Criteria

NKC Schools' Catalyst program serves high-performing, historically underrepresented students across the district's four high schoolsTo be accepted into the program, students must demonstrate that they are economically disadvantaged and have limited financial means. Catalyst focuses on this student group because the selective colleges we advise students to apply to provide generous need-based aid scholarships to admitted students who demonstrate financial eligibility.

Selective colleges typically consider the cutoff for a student to receive significant need-based financial aid to be that they come from households earning less than $65,000 annually for a typical family of four who has minimal assets. Catalyst uses a similar criteria to determine whether or not a student’s financial profile makes them a good fit for the program. Nevertheless, this financial criteria is not a strict cutoff. We encourage students who feel they have faced significant financial hardship to consider applying as well.

In addition to the financial criteria mentioned above, we mirror colleges in taking a holistic approach to evaluating prospective Catalyst Scholars. We look for students who:

  • Possess a strong academic profile and seek challenging courses. (At least 3.5 or higher weighted GPA)
  • Strive to embody our core pillars: intellectual curiosity, perseverance, adaptability, citizenship, and leadership.
  • Demonstrate extracurricular involvement and leadership potential.
  • Preferred, but not required: First-generation college background - this means that the student will be among the first generation in their family to attend and graduate from college.