Fall 2021 Presidential Scholars Program

Who We Are

The NIU Presidential Scholars are a prestigious cohort of high-achieving students who contribute to the diversity of NIU’s student population and demonstrate a commitment to our shared values.

The Award Levels

The NIU Presidential Scholars Program recognizes outstanding high school students for their hard work and academic accomplishments. Eligible students are guaranteed a minimum merit scholarship of $5,000 per year (for up to four years) and have the opportunity to compete for a Presidential Scholarship. This competitive scholarship provides full tuition, fees and on-campus room and board, along with a book stipend, for up to four years. Approximately 10 students will receive this award each year.

Dates And Deadlines

  • November 1, 2020: eligible students will be invited to apply on a rolling basis. Letters will be sent approximately two weeks after being admitted.
  • December 1, 2020: application for admission and all required documents for admissions must be received by December 1. Late submissions will not be considered.
  • January 5, 2021: deadline to submit the scholarship application. Late submissions will not be accepted.
  • February 1-15, 2021: applicants notified of status. Finalists may be invited to interview.
  • February 1-15, 2021: interviews scheduled.
  • March 1, 2021: recipients notified.

Eligibility Requirements

  • First-time, full-time, incoming freshman student for fall 2021.
  • Minimum 3.8/4.0 cumulative (weighted) high school GPA.
  • Domestic residency.

How to Get the Presidential Scholarship

The university considers the following factors:

  • Academic achievement
    • Exceptional academic achievement is extremely important.
    • Incoming freshmen with a cumulative high school grade point (weighted) average of 3.8/4.0 will be invited to apply.
    • Many applicants will have completed AP, IB or advanced coursework and will have demonstrated a keen interest in acquiring knowledge within and outside of the classroom.
  • Community, civic and co-curricular involvement
    • The Presidential Scholarship application includes short personal statements and allows you the opportunity to present your unique experiences and accomplishments in these areas.
    • Our Presidential Scholars demonstrate their commitment to understanding their role in society, contributing to the greater good and modeling this commitment through leadership and sustained community involvement.
  • In addition to completing a basic questionnaire, you must respond to each of the following personal statement prompts in 125 words or less:
    • What has the COVID pandemic taught you about yourself, and what kind of impact has it had on your outlook, expectations, plans, values or resolve?
    • Reflect on an important service opportunity you have had. What attracted you to this opportunity? How did your actions improve the lives of others, and prepare you to contribute meaningfully to the NIU community?
    • Leadership is a quality that brings people together to achieve significant common goals. Describe one experience where you were able to achieve a meaningful leadership goal. What specific challenges did you face, and how were you able to marshal your resources to overcome them?
    • Injustice is experienced on personal and societal levels by all. What social justice issue most resonates with you, either personally or societally, and how do you understand your role in helping overcome this issue?
    • What are your academic goals at NIU? How do you plan on improving your academic skills, knowledge, and credentials between now and your NIU graduation?

Renewal Requirements

The Presidential Scholars are subject to yearly renewal requirements:

  • Continuous full-time enrollment (fall and spring semester each academic year).
  • Minimum 3.3 cumulative grade point average per academic year.
  • Enrolled in an undergraduate (non-professional) program of study.
  • Active participation in the University Honors Program, including satisfactory completion of University Honors graduation requirements.

Contact Us

Financial Aid and Scholarship Office
Swen Parson Hall 245

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