Presidential Scholars Competition

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

The scholarship competition dates for high school seniors graduating in 2016 (who will be new freshmen in fall 2016) are November 1-2, 2015, and November 15-16, 2015.

Students select one of these two competition dates and register as noted below. Registration will open in August 2015. 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)
    • 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)
  • *Term of award: 8 consecutive semesters total, as long as student maintains minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 at NMU.
  • Harden Scholarship recipients are also automatically admitted to the NMU Honors Program.
  • Number offered: 20

Additional Scholarships

  • Waldo Scholarships: $2000/yr (Number of awards varies.)
  • Kaye Scholarships: $1000/yr (Number of awards varies.)
  • Munson Scholarships: $500/yr (Number of awards varies.)
  • These scholarships are in addition to the automatic merit scholarships awarded upon admission.
  • *Term of awards: 8 consecutive semesters total, as long as student maintains minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 at NMU.

NMU Leadership Scholarships

  • Amount of award: $2000 per year
  • *Term of award: 8 consecutive semesters total, as long as student maintains minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 at NMU
  • Number offered: 10

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 combined score in math and critical reading of 1090 or higher) AND a cumulative (ninth, tenth, and eleventh grades) high school GPA of 3.50 or higher. Students who have not taken the ACT/SAT must do so no later than October in order to be eligible for the competition. Students must 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.


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