Truman Scholarships


Background:  The United States Congress established the Harry S. Truman Scholarshipcompetition in 1975 to honor the nation’s 33rd president. Thescholarship provides $3,000 for the senior year and $27,000 forstudents preparing for careers in government or public service.

The Scholarships:  About 70 scholarships are awarded annually to college juniors; thecompetition is based on state of home residence, and at least onescholarship is awarded to each state and to the American territories. Afew at-large scholarships are awarded. Although the scholarship isprimarily for graduate studies leading to a career in public service(interpreted broadly), $3,000 is provided for the senior year incollege.

Application:  The application consists of a transcript (students must be in the upperquarter of their college classes, but a 3.6 or above GPA is expected),information about activities, a series of paragraph-long responsesabout leadership experiences and career goals, an essay on an issue ofpublic policy, and three letters of recommendation, plus theuniversity’s letter of endorsement. A good application generally takes20 to 40 hours to prepare and review.

Who Should Apply:  Students (U.S. citizens) with excellent grades, documented leadership,public service activities (especially working on campaigns or forsomeone in politics), and a record of community service who wish toearn a degree that will lead to a career in the public or privatenonprofit sector should consider applying for a Truman Scholarship. Thefoundation is looking for “change agents.”

References:  Three letters of recommendation, plus a university endorsement, writtenby the Truman Faculty Representative, are required. One letter mustdiscuss the candidate’s potential for graduate study; one, potentialfor public service; one must address the leadership experience thecandidate has described. The university’s letter of endorsement isformed in part by the on-campus interview with the Truman SelectionCommittee, in part by discussion with the candidate.

For More Information: Visit www.truman.gov for more details.

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