U.S. Presidential Scholars Program

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Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. Applying
  2. Eligibility
  3. Applications
  4. Notification and Timeline

1. Applying

How do students apply for the program?

Application is by invitation only. We invite students to apply based on their scores on the SAT or ACT exam or their nomination by a Chief State School Officer, the year of their graduation from high school, and whether they are U.S. Citizens or Legal Permanent U.S. Residents. Students who qualify will automatically receive applications in January of 2015. Students who were not U.S. citizens or Legal Permanent U.S. Residents on the day they took SAT or ACT exam but will be U.S. citizens or Legal Permanent U.S. Residents by the application due date, or who requested that The College Board or ACT not release their scores to outside entities, should contact the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program at (319) 688-4345 to ensure their scores are considered in the determination of the candidate pool.

Is this a Scholarship Program?

No, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program is a recognition program. Students chosen as U.S. Presidential Scholars receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D. C. in June and the U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House, in commemoration of their achievements. During their visit to Washington, Scholars have access to important national and international figures, including government officials, educators, authors, musicians, scientists and other accomplished people. Scholars are provided opportunities to: wrestle with issues that concern America and the world; participate in volunteer activities such as community service, to benefit those in need and make a difference in our Nation's Capital; attend recitals, receptions and ceremonies held in their honor; and visit area museums and monuments. But perhaps the greatest benefit to the Scholars, and the one they most often remark on, is the chance to exchange ideas with similarly motivated and accomplished peers, and to forge friendships that last a lifetime. The following comment from a recent Scholar captures the intent of the national recognition events: "You can't imagine how much it has meant to me to be a part of the U.S. Presidential Scholars family. The ... support I felt from my country during Recognition Program strengthened my drive to serve and to make the world a better place. The officials we met spoke so often [about our] being the nation's future, that I felt they were entrusting us with the country, and saying, 'Take good care of it.'"

How do I apply to be a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts?

YoungArts™, the core program of The National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts), nominates up to 60 candidates for consideration as U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts following participation in YoungArts™ week. If you are interested in applying to the YoungArts™ program, contact YoungArts™ directly at 1-800-970-ARTS, INFO@youngarts.org or www.youngarts.org. The registration deadline for the 2014-2015 program year is October 17, 2014.

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2. Eligibility

I'm not a U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent U.S. Resident.

If you will not have either U.S. citizenship or legal permanent U.S. residency by the application receipt deadline, you are not eligible for the program. If you were not a U.S. Citizen or a Legal Permanent U.S. Resident on the day you took the SAT or ACT exam, but you will be by the application due date, you must notify the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program of your change in status if you wish to be considered in the determination of the candidate pool.

I'm not graduating from high school this year.

If you will not receive a high school diploma between January and August of 2015, you will not be eligible to participate in the 2015 program year.

I am a Candidate and I attend boarding school. Or, I am a Candidate and my mailing address and state of legal residence differ.

Please contact us so that we can verify that you have been identified as a Candidate from the correct state (your state of legal residence).

I am a Candidate and I live outside of the U.S. and its territories.

If you have lived in this location for 2 years or more, you will more than likely be identified as an "American Abroad." Please contact us to ensure that you are classified correctly.

I believe I am eligible to apply for the academic component, but I am not listed as a Candidate.

This is possible, since we rely on the data provided by students themselves at the time they took the SAT and ACT exams to identify the universe of eligible candidates. The College Board and ACT, Inc. transmit this information to us. Our process does not include obtaining updates for all high school students whose citizenship, legal U.S. residency, or graduation status may have changed between their taking the ACT or SAT test and our application deadline. Each year, still other students may be omitted from the list of eligible applicants because they entered information incorrectly on the test forms, or because they requested that ACT or The College Board not release their scores to outside entities, in addition to those who attained U.S. citizenship, legal U.S. residency, or altered their graduation date after they registered for the test. If you are a US Citizen or Legal Permanent U.S. Resident graduating in 2015, the current program year, and received what you believe to be a qualifying test score for your state in one sitting, please call us at (319) 688-4345, and be prepared to provide us with information on your state of legal residence, full name, gender, the date you took the test, and a copy of your test report. If you have attained citizenship or legal U.S. residency since you registered for the ACT or SAT, you will also need to provide proof of your citizenship or legal U.S. residency status. We will verify the information and documentation you provide to us and determine whether you are eligible to apply. If we determine that you are eligible, we will provide you with access to the application, which you may complete and submit online, or download, complete and mail in hard copy, and which must be received by us at the Coralville, IA address by February 26, 2015. If the application receipt deadline has passed by the time you contact us, you will not be able to apply, even if you would otherwise have been eligible.

Is the writing component of either the ACT or SAT assessment considered when determining eligibility for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program?

No. Since the writing component is not a required part of both assessments, we do not use that score to determine eligibility for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Eligible candidates are determined using the Math and Critical Reading scores for the SAT, and the English, Math, Reading and Science scores for the ACT.

Some states now offer statewide, weekday, in-school administration of the ACT. Will my scores from a statewide test administration be considered?

Yes, scores from statewide test dates will be considered in the same way as scores from national test dates, provided the test date falls between September 2012 and October 2014.

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3. Applications

When will letters of invitation be mailed for the 2015 Program?

We will mail letters of invitation to all students who meet the qualifying requirements on January 22, 2015.

When is the application deadline?

All applications, Secondary School Reports, and transcripts must be received in our Coralville office by 5:00p.m. (Central Time) on February 26, 2015. If you choose to submit your application online, the same deadline applies. Any incomplete materials or materials received after the deadline will be disqualified and not considered for review. Again, we strongly recommend using a courier mail service (such as FedEx or UPS) with a guaranteed delivery date when mailing your application. Please note that the U.S. Postal Service's Priority Mail service is not guaranteed.

I wish to complete and submit the application in hard copy, rather than online.

You can download and print the forms online. At the bottom of the page, you will find a "Download Forms" box with links to PDF and Word versions of the application, along with important submission requirements and a copy of the press release form.

If I want to mail my completed application, what address do I use?

To submit your application materials, please use the following address.

Special service/courier recommended

U.S. Presidential Scholars Program
327 2nd St., Suite 103
Coralville, IA 52241

All application materials, including school materials, must be sent to the above Coralville address. Do not send any portion of your application to Washington, DC. To do so risks missing the deadline for receipt of all materials in Iowa, and the disqualification of your application.

All applications, Secondary School Reports, and transcripts must be received in our Coralville office by 5:00 p.m. (Central Time) on February 26, 2015. Any incomplete materials or materials received after the deadline will be disqualified and not considered for review. We strongly recommend using a courier mail service (such as FedEx or UPS) with a guaranteed delivery date when mailing your application. Please note that the U.S. Postal Service's Priority Mail is not a guaranteed service.

Will I be disqualified if there are attachments to my application?

Yes, your application will be rendered ineligible if you attach additional materials to your application, alter the application, or fail to follow the instructions in any way. While this measure may seem harsh, it is imperative to the fairness and impartiality of our review that all applicants submit the same type and amount of information in the same format. We must be able to ensure that the reviewers' selections are based on the applications' content and quality alone, rather than on any additional information, images, resumes, articles, letters of recommendation, or other materials provided by some candidates and not others. Please read all instructions carefully and follow them exactly to avoid our having to disqualify your application for technical reasons. If you have any questions, please contact us.

If your school attaches additional materials to the Secondary School Report or to the transcript, these extraneous materials will not disqualify your application. However, we will remove all extraneous information, including letters of recommendation; they will not be included with your file for review.

Does my school have to send a school profile?

No. We recommend that your secondary school include a secondary school profile, if possible, but you will not be adversely affected by the absence of a school profile.

Who should complete the Secondary School Report?

The Secondary School Report must be completed by a school official at the student's current school. If the student has attended the school for less than two years, a second Secondary School Report may be submitted in addition by the student's previous school. Students are strongly encouraged to select a school official who knows them well to complete this part of the application. This may be a teacher, counselor, or principal.

Do school officials have to complete the Secondary School Report or can they substitute other items, such as letters of recommendation?

School officials must complete the Secondary School Report. We do not accept substitutions for this form.

Does the teacher I choose as my most influential teacher have to be the person who fills out the Secondary School Report?

No.

I am home schooled. Who should complete my Secondary School Report? Do I also need to submit a transcript?

Either an authorized official from the local education agency that certifies your schooling, or one of your parents/guardians who acts as your school official, must complete the Secondary School Report form. If a parent/guardian completes the form, they must complete it as a school official and not a parent/guardian. And yes, you must also submit a transcript indicating what you have studied and your grades or equivalent measurements.

I'm done with my application but my school hasn't given me back the Secondary School Report and transcript.

You may have your school send its part of the application separately. However, if your application is not complete, including the Secondary School Report and transcript, by the RECEIPT deadline, you will be disqualified. It is your responsibility to make sure that your school gets its documents to us on time. We will strictly enforce the deadline, regardless of who sends the materials. As noted above, all applications, Secondary School Reports, and transcripts must be received in our Coralville office by 5:00 p.m. (Central Time) on February 26, 2015. Any incomplete materials or materials received after the deadline will be disqualified and will not be considered for review. We strongly advise that you use a courier mail service (such as FedEx or UPS) with a guaranteed delivery date when mailing your application; note that U.S. Postal Service's Priority Mail service is not guaranteed.

I am a school official with multiple candidates. Can I send all of the applications in one package?

Yes, but please be sure to put each individual's application materials in separate envelopes within the package.

Do I have to stay inside the lines on the application?

Yes. You must adhere to the space and font requirements specified in the application instructions.

Can I cut and paste my printed answers into the application?

Yes.

How and where should I send in my application?

We strongly recommend that you use a courier mail service (such as FedEx or UPS) with a guaranteed delivery date when mailing your application. We will strictly enforce the receipt deadline of 5:00 p.m. (Central Time) on February 26, 2015 so we strongly recommend that you use one of these services. Also, please note that if you use U.S. Postal Service overnight mail and utilize the Internet tracking system, the delivery date noted in the system may not reflect the date the package was received in the Coralville, IA, office, but only the date it arrived at the Coralville, IA, postal facility. Note also that unlike FedEx or UPS delivery, the U.S. Postal Service's Priority Mail service is not guaranteed.

You must mail your application, including all your application materials, such as, your Secondary School Report, transcript, and school profile, to our Coralville address.

Special service/courier recommended

U.S. Presidential Scholars Program
327 2nd St., Suite 103
Coralville, IA 52241

Do not send any portion of your application to Washington, DC.

An emergency may prevent my complete application from arriving by the deadline.

We do not grant extensions except, at our discretion, on a case-by-case basis in cases of grave personal illness or natural disaster. Unless we grant an extension, all of your application materials, including your Secondary School Report, transcript, and school profile, must be received at our Coralville address by the receipt deadline, February 26, 2015.

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4. Notification and Timeline

Will everyone get a letter, or only those chosen as Semifinalists/Scholars?

Everyone we invite to apply, and who then submits an application for consideration, will get a letter notifying them of their status. Semifinalists and non-Semifinalists will be notified in mid-April. Scholars and non-Scholars will be notified in May.

When will the names of Candidates/Semifinalists/Scholars be posted online?

The names of the 2015 Candidates will be posted after applications are mailed in January 2015. The names of the Semifinalists will be posted in mid-April. The names of the 2015 U.S. Presidential Scholars will be posted in early May. We do not yet have exact dates for these postings.

Is National Recognition Program scheduled yet?

National Recognition Program is tentatively scheduled for June 21-24, 2015. However, these dates are subject to change and will be solidified after U.S. Presidential Scholars are announced.

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Last Modified: 08/12/2014