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C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience

In the spring of 1748, a brave 16-year-old Virginian set forth on an adventure beyond the western mountains. Equipped with little more than his compass and quill pen, the young surveyor George Washington gained an education on that journey that would last him a lifetime.

survey Quill & Compass Scholarships

These scholarships are specially designed for students interested in exploring history, political science, and American studies here at one of the most historic colleges in the nation. The scholarship’s name symbolizes our distinctive approach to studying the past. The quill pen represents Washington College’s famed excellence in teaching writing, and particularly the literary craft of history. The compass represents the many opportunities we offer our students to explore the world beyond campus–especially our surrounding region of the Chesapeake Bay, one of America’s richest historic areas. All admitted applicants who intend to major or minor in History, Political Science or American Studies are encouraged to apply. The Quill & Compass program currently offers $6,000 scholarships ($1,500 annually for four years), along with unique opportunities to participate in travel and other special activities free of charge. 

Recipients can choose from a myriad of adventures including sailing the Chesapeake Bay on an 18th-century schooner, learning the arts of leadership as practiced by the great figures of American history, researching at the storied Library of Congress, and venturing on scholar-led road trips to both famous and little-known sites where history happened and continues to happen.

Quill & Compass scholars have priority opportunities to study in small seminars with leading historians, artists, and journalists; conduct original research under the one-on-one guidance of a faculty mentor and present their findings at national conferences; gain hands-on experience designing museum exhibitions, and learn the skills of an oral historian through our nationally acclaimed StoryQuest program.

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Application Instructions

Applications for the 2019-2020 academic year are due March 9, 2020.  For assistance with the application process, please contact Hana Albrecht in the Admissions Office at 410-778-7700 or


The Quill and Compass Scholarships at Washington College are made possible through the generosity of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Colonial Dames of America, Chapter I, and other supporters and friends.