Presidential Scholars Competition

Paying close attention in classThe Presidential Scholars Competition is designed for academically talented high school seniors to compete for ten "full-ride" and ten full-tuition scholarships.  In addition to the 20 large scholarships, approximately 200 smaller scholarships--which can be added to scholarships awarded at the time of admission) will be awarded to participants.

The scholarship competition for high school seniors graduating in 2017 (who will be new first-year students in fall 2017) has already occurred. Competition dates for those who will be high school seniors in 2018 (who will be new first-year students in fall 2018) will be October 29-30, 2017 and November 12-13, 2017. Registration will open in August of 2017.

Students do not need to wait for a notice or invitation and may select one of these two competition dates and register as noted below (note registration deadlines). 

As a result of this competition, the following scholarships will be awarded:

Harden Scholarships

  • Amount of award: "full-ride" includes
    • tuition (in-state or out-of-state rates) at full-time 12-16 credits per semester rate
    • most required fees (University fee, student activity fee, one-time student athletic event fee and MacBook Pro fee for Art and Design majors)
    • room and board (living in the residence halls with the meal plan)
  • Harden Scholarship recipients are also automatically admitted to the NMU Honors Program.
  • Number offered: 10

Presidential Scholarships

  • Amount of award: full tuition scholarships, including
    • tuition (in-state or out-of-state rates) at full-time 12-16 credits per semester rate
    • most required fees (University fee, student activity fee, one-time student athletic event fee and MacBook Pro fee for Art and Design majors)
  • Number offered: 10

Additional Scholarships (Approximately 200 awarded)

  • Waldo Scholarships: $2000/yr (60 awarded.)
  • Kaye-Munson Scholarships: $1000/yr (140 awarded.)
  • These scholarships are in addition to the automatic merit scholarships awarded upon admission.

NMU Leadership Scholarships

  • Amount of award: $2000
  • Acceptance to the Student Leader Fellowship Program
  • Number offered: 10

Renewal Criteria for all scholarships listed above:

  • First-year students may receive scholarships for up to 8 semesters, or until completion of first bachelor's degree, whichever comes first.
  • Must maintain a cumulative 3.0 NMU G.P.A. and full-time enrollment.
  • Must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy requirements.

Who can apply to participate?

To apply for the scholarship competition, students must have an ACT composite score of 24 or higher or an SAT total score of 1160 (redesigned SAT, March 2016 and later) or an SAT combined score in math and critical reading of 1090 or higher (old SAT) AND a cumulative (ninth, tenth, and eleventh grades) high school GPA of 3.50 or higher (4.0 scale). Students who have not taken the ACT/SAT must do so no later than October of their final high school year in order to be eligible for the competition. Students must register for the competition AND apply for admission and submit transcripts and test scores prior to the competition deadlines so we can determine eligibility.

What does the competition consist of?

Students will receive a separate score for each of the four parts of the competition.

  1. Students will take part in group activities with other participants where they will demonstrate their leadership, negotiation and interpersonal skills. These are problem solving exercises and students will be observed and scored by an NMU staff member and a current NMU student.
  2. Students will have a one-on-one interview with an NMU faculty or staff member (each participant will be asked the same questions).
  3. Students will be assigned points based on their cumulative high school GPA (ninth through eleventh grades).
  4. Students will be assigned points based on their ACT/SAT score (NMU will use the student's highest test score through October testing dates.)

Students participating in the Leadership Scholarships portion of the competition will also complete a brief resume of leadership experiences and complete an essay on one of their leadership activities when applying for the competition.


View the tentative schedule of events.

Apply to participate

We will be offering two different competition dates.  You will only need to attend one of the two competition dates but your participation is required in all sessions.

  • Sunday evening, October 29, and Monday morning, October 30, 2017
  • Sunday evening, November 12, and Monday morning, November 13, 2017

On the scholarship competition application form you will be asked to select a first choice date.  Once we review your GPA and ACT/SAT score and determine if you are or are not eligible to compete, we will email you at the email address you provided on your scholarship application. 


If you have any questions about the Presidential Scholars Competition please call the Admissions Office at 906-227-2650 or email the program coordinator at