Digital cinema students

About the Competition

The Presidential Scholars Competition is designed for high school seniors to compete for 15 "full-ride" and approximately 200 additional scholarships. 

Our Fall 2021 competition will have two in-person competitions and a virtual competition option. (Students chose one to attend)

In-person, on campus:  November 7-8, 2021 and November 14-15, 2021. 

Virtual: November 15 - 16, 2021

Students choose one competition session date to attend.


Art student setting up senior exhibit

Who can participate?

You may participate in the fall 2021 scholarship completion if you meet these criteria:

  • You are a high school senior, graduating in 2022, and entering college in fall 2022.
  • You have applied to and been admitted to NMU for fall 2022 prior to the competition registration deadline.
  • You meet this academic criteria:   High school GPA is 3.50 or higher (cumulative, 9th-11th grade)

*If a student is in an early college credit program, they are eligible to compete if they are in their final year of high school, have a high school GPA of 3.5 and will be entering college as a degree-seeking student the following year. Please see Early College Credit for more information. 


sugarloaf overlook

Apply to Participate

We will be offering multiple competition date options. You will select one session option, but will need to participate in all components in order to be considered for the scholarships.

In-person Competition Dates for 2021

November 7 - 8, 2021:  Small groups on Sunday afternoon/evening and interviews scheduled for Monday morning. Tentative schedule of events.
Registration Deadline: October 25 at 8 a.m. Eastern Time

November 14 - 15, 2021:  Small groups on Sunday afternoon/evening and interviews scheduled for Monday morning. Tentative schedule of events.
Registration Deadline: November 1 at 8 a.m. Eastern Time

Virtual Competition Date
The virtual competition is intended specifically for students who cannot physically travel to campus.
November 15 - 16:  Virtual small groups on Monday evening and virtual interviews scheduled for Tuesday morning, afternoon or evening. Tentative schedule of events.
Registration Deadline: November 1 at 8 a.m. Eastern Time

On the scholarship competition application form you will be asked to select your first choice date. Once we confirm your eligibility to compete, we will email you at the email address you provided on your competition application.

Students will also need to submit a resume of their leadership/involvement experiences.

Students participating in the Leadership portion of the competition will also complete an essay on one of their leadership activities when applying for the competition.

Jamrich Hall in Summer

The Presidential Scholars Competition allows high-achieving students to compete for 15 full-ride scholarships.

Major Awards

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 (Quad II double residence hall room and the meal plan equivalent to the 2021-22 Gold Constant Plan; winners may choose to pay differential for other options; students living in on-campus apartments, Spooner Hall, or not required to live on campus receive varying amounts toward living expenses)
  • Harden Scholarship recipients are also automatically admitted to the NMU Honors Program (no obligation).
  • Number offered: 15


Additional Scholarships 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
  • Requires indication and additional information on registration form.

What does the competition consist of?

Students will receive a score for each part of the competition. Scored components include an interview, leadership/involvement resume, and small group activity. More details will be available when registration opens. 

Additional opportunities to learn more about NMU will be offered during our in-person competition such as campus tours and a parents information sessions. These opportunities are not offered for the virtual competition.

Virtual Competition Information:  NMU will be using Zoom as the main platform for the virtual competition.  Access to Zoom, a camera and microphone on either a PC or smart phone will be needed to participate in the virtual competition.

*By participating in NMU's Virtual Presidential Scholars competition, student participants agree that any technical difficulties they experience may be out of NMU's control and could negatively impact a student's competition results. The Admissions Office has taken preventative measures to minimize the risk of this by offering information on how to troubleshoot issues,but please be aware that the situation may be out of our control. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your participation, please contact the program coordinator, Kate Hooper.


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

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.

Presidential Scholars Competition - Frequently Asked Questions

There are a few major differences with the 2020 competition. The first is that the competition was 100 percent virtual. Due to COVID-19, we were unable to welcome visitors to campus for the competition like we have in previous years.

For the Fall 2021 competition, we are excited to welcome students and their families back to campus. We have two in-person competition dates for students to choose from, all taking place on Sunday/Monday of the competition dates. Along with our in-person competitions, we will be offering other ways for students to experience NMU while they are on campus, such as campus tours and opportunities to talk to other departments.

We are also offering one virtual competition option for students who may not have the means to travel to campus.  The virtual competition will be the small group and interview only - no other programming will be offered (I.E. - virtual tours or virtual meetings with departments). The virtual session is  on a Monday/Tuesday.

Not necessarily. After your registration has been submitted, we will send you another email confirming two things: that you are eligible to compete and to verify which of the competitions you will be competing in. This message will go to the email address you put on your registration form, so please make sure this email address is correct!

You can change your competition date and interview time before the deadline for each competition. For example, for fall 2021, if you signed up for the November 7 - 8  competition, you have until that competition deadline to change the date (October 25 at 8 a.m.) 

Please contact program coordinator, Kate Hooper, if you need to make any changes to your event registration at or 906-227-2650.

No, you will only compete in one session, but you must complete all the activities in that session to be considered for the scholarships. Choose which session works best for you and your schedule.

All of the times listed on the agendas will be in Eastern Daylight*/Standard Time. Please make note of this detail so you can make the proper travel arrangements to campus.


If you signed up for the virtual competition, please check the chart below to see what time you should log into the events.



Eastern Time

(MI, IN, OH)

Central Time

(WI, IL, MN)

Mountain Time

(UT, CO, AZ)

Pacific Time

(CA, WA, OR)


5:00 p.m.

4:00 p.m.

3:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m.

Student Small Group

5:15 p.m.

4:15 p.m.

3:15 p.m.

2:15 p.m.

Interview Time Slots

Morning: 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Afternoon: 12:00 p.m.-5:00 pm.

Evening: 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Morning: 7:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

Afternoon: 11:00 a.m.-4:00 pm.

Evening: 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.

Morning: 6:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.

Afternoon: 10:00 a.m.-3:00 pm.

Evening: 3:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.

Morning: 5:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m.

Afternoon: 9:00 a.m.-2:00 pm.

Evening: 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.


*NOTE: Again, the times listed on your agenda are EASTERN STANDARD TIME. Please adjust the time accordingly depending on which time zone you live in so you do not miss the competition. There is no make-up date scheduled.

All students will be awarded points based on the leadership/involvement resume submitted with the registration form, their participation in the Small Student Group Session and the Student Interview. The points from all three of these activities will be added together to make up one competition score.

Participants from all three competition dates will be ranked based on their total competition score. The participants with the 15 highest total scores will be awarded the Harden Scholarship.  The 60 next highest scores will be awarded the Waldo Scholarship and the next 140 will be awarded the Kaye-Munson scholarship.

Students who indicate on the competition’s registration form that they want to be considered for one of 10 Leadership Scholarships will be required to submit a short essay detailing one of the activities on their leadership/involvement resume. Facilitators will also be paying close attention to these student's leadership qualities through their performance in the Student Small Group Activity. 

Students are competing for one of 225 scholarships, with awards ranging from $1,000 to a “full-ride.”

Not at all - the competition is open to students interested in any program or that are undecided, as long as they meet the eligibility requirements.

You will only participate in the competition one time - during the fall of your last year in high school. If you win a scholarship, the scholarship can be renewed for eight semesters or until a bachelor’s degree has been earned, whichever comes first, as long as you maintain full-time enrollment, a 3.0 cumulative NMU GPA or higher and meet Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy requirements.

Consistent with our admissions policy, we will use whichever GPA is most beneficial for the student. We will consider your highest GPA in determining eligibility for the competition.

Bring yourself and a good attitude!

For the virtual competition, access to Zoom, a camera and microphone on either a PC, tablet or smartphone will be needed to participate in the competition and to participate in the optional activities. If you need to download Zoom, you can do so here: During the student small group session, please also have a scrap piece of paper and a pen or pencil handy.

If you are participating in one of the in-person competitions on campus, a confirmation packet with an agenda and other information will be mailed to you a week before the competition you are registered for. Make sure your mailing address is correct on the registration form to receive this packet. If you do not receive information the week before the competition, please contact the Admissions office at (906) 227-2650.

For our virtual competition, you will receive an email containing Zoom links to all of the required and optional events. This message will go to the email address you put on your registration form, so please make sure this email address is correct! If you do not receive the email with your links on the Thursday before the competition, please contact the Admissions Office at (906) 227-2650.

We will be hosting a Zoom test event before the Student Small Group Session so that you can check your connection and make sure your device’s camera and microphone are working properly. However, we do understand that device and connectivity issues may still happen. If a technological issue does occur during the competition, immediately contact Kate Hooper, the program coordinator, at

Parents should not be attending the Student Small Group Session or Student Interview Sessions, both in-person and virtually. We will have a special Parent Panel for parents of our competitors who will be competition on campus, so parents can ask questions and learn a little bit more about NMU.

Parents can always reach out to the NMU Admissions Office with questions, or you can view your visit options here:

International and Global Campus Students are not eligible to compete in the Presidential Scholars Competition.