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About the Competition

The Presidential Scholars Competition is designed for high school seniors and transfer students to compete for a limited number of "full-ride" scholarships and approximately 200 additional scholarships. 

Registration for the Fall 2024 Presidential Scholars Competition will open in early August.

Who can participate?

You may participate in the Fall 2024 scholarship competition if you meet these criteria:

  • You have submitted the competition registration form by the registration deadline.
  • Have applied and been admitted as a degree-seeking student to NMU for Fall 2025 by the date of the competition for which you will be participating in.
  • Have not competed in NMU's Presidential Scholars Competition previously. 
High School SeniorsTransfer Students
You are a US citizen or permanent resident who will graduate in 2025 and enter college as a degree-seeking student in Fall 2025.You are a US citizen or permanent resident enrolled full-time at a community college in the Fall 2024 semester, with planned NMU degree-seeking enrollment in Fall 2025.
Your cumulative high school GPA is 3.50 or higher prior to the start of your senior year.Your cumulative college GPA is 3.50 or higher prior to the start of your Fall 2024 enrollment.
If you are in an early college program, you are eligible to compete if you are in your final year of high school, will graduate in 2025, have a high school GPA of 3.50 or higher, and are entering college as a degree-seeking student in Fall 2025.

Please see Early College Credit for more information. 
You have completed 30 or more community college (college level) credits after high school completion.


Presidential Scholars

In-person Competition Dates

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.

November 3 - 4, 2024:  Small groups on Sunday afternoon and interviews scheduled for Monday morning.  View sample event itinerary here.
Registration deadline: October 21 at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time. 

November 10 - 11, 2024:  Small groups on Sunday afternoon and interviews scheduled for Monday morning. View sample event itinerary here.
Registration deadline: October 28 at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time. 


Registration for the Fall 2024 competition will open in early August.


Presidential Scholars

Virtual Competition Dates

October 27 - 28, 2024:  Virtual small groups on Sunday afternoon/evening and virtual interviews scheduled throughout the day on Monday. The virtual competition will be conducted through Zoom, and reliable internet access will be needed. View sample event itinerary here.
Registration deadline: October 14 at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time. 

Note: The Virtual Presidential Scholars Competition is offered to students who live 500+ miles away from NMU's campus. Please contact your admissions counselor for questions about the competition.


Registration for the Fall 2024 competition will open in early August. 

Presidential Scholars

The Presidential Scholars Competition allows high-achieving students to compete for 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 2023-24 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: 16
    • 15 Hardens for First-time Freshman
    • 1 Transfer Harden for Transfer students

Additional Scholarships Awarded

  • Waldo Scholarships: $3000/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

The Leadership Scholarship Program is administered by the Center for Student Enrichment. In making these awards, the scholarship committee seeks to identify students who have significant leadership experience, a sound academic record, and demonstrate outstanding leadership potential. The committee considers various factors related to leadership involvement, including: quantity, quality, and nature of involvement; progression in the level of responsibility; and attitude towards leadership.

  • Amount of award: $2000
  • Acceptance to the Student Leader Fellowship Program
    • Number offered: 11
      • 10 for First-time Freshman
      • 1 for Transfer students
  • Requires indication and additional information on registration form.
Renewal Criteria for all scholarships listed above:
  • First-year and transfer 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.


What does the competition consist of?

Students will receive a score for each part of the competition. The cumulative high school or community college GPA is factored into the scoring, and the other scored components include an interview 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



Presidential Scholars Competition - Frequently Asked Questions

For the Fall 2024 competition, 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 which will be conducted over Zoom, with the small group competition Sunday evening, and virtual interviews Monday throughout the day. The virtual competition is offered to students who live 500+ miles away from NMU's campus. Please contact your admissions counselor for questions about the competition.

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 2024, if you signed up for the November 3 - 3 competition, you have until that competition deadline to change the date (October 21 at 8:00 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)

Pacific Time

(CA, WA, OR)

Alaska Time


Introduction4:00 p.m.3:00 p.m.2:00 p.m.1:00 p.m.12:00 p.m.
Student Small Groups4:15 p.m.3:15 p.m.2:15 p.m.1:15 p.m.12:15 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 their participation in the Small Student Group Session and Student Interview. We will also award points based on a student's cumulative GPA to recognize three years-worth of academic excellence in high school. The points from all three of these components 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 top 15 incoming freshman and top transfer participants with 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 226 scholarships, with awards ranging from $1,000/year 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. If you are an incoming transfer student who competed as a high school senior in the past, you are not eligible to compete. If you win a scholarship, the scholarship can be renewed for eight semesters for incoming freshman, six semesters for incoming transfer students, 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.

Make sure you test your Zoom before the competition 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.