NMU Presidential Scholars Competition

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. 

The Fall 2022 competition has concluded.

Save the Date!

The 2023 Presidential Scholars Competition will be held on the following dates for high school students graduating in 2024, planning to enroll at NMU in Fall 2024 and transfer students with 30 more credits planning to enroll at NMU in Fall 2024. 

Virtual Competition
October 29 - 30, 2023

In-Person Competitions
November 5-6, 2023
November 12-13, 2023

The fall 2022 information below is designed to provide an overview of the competition.  Some details may change for the November 2023 competition.

Who can participate?

You may participate in the fall 2022 scholarship completion if you meet these criteria:

  • You have submitted the competition registration form by the registration deadline.
  • Have applied and been admitted to NMU for fall 2023 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 Seniors Transfer Students
You are a US citizen or permanent resident who will graduate in 2023 and enter college in Fall 2023.

You are a US citizen or permanent resident enrolled full-time at a community college in the fall 2022 semester, with planned NMU enrollment in Fall 2023.

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 2022 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 2023, have a high school GPA of 3.50 or higher, and are entering college as a degree-seeking student in fall 2023.

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

Apply to Particpate

In-person Competition Dates for 2022

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 6 - 7, 2022:  Small groups on Sunday afternoon/evening and interviews scheduled for Monday morning.  
Registration deadline: October 24 at 8 a.m. Eastern Time.

View a tentative agenda for the November 6 - 7, 2022 Competition

November 13 - 14, 2022:  Small groups on Sunday afternoon/evening and interviews scheduled for Monday morning. 
Registration deadline: October 31 at 8 a.m. Eastern Time

View a tentative agenda for the November 13 - 14, 2022 Competition


Registration for the Fall 2022 Competition is closed.

Virtual Competition

October 30 - 31, 2022:  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.
Registration deadline: October 17 at 8 a.m. Eastern Time.

View a tentative agenda for the virtual October 30 - 31, 2022 Competition

Note: The virtual competition is intended for students who cannot travel to campus for various reasons. We highly recommend the in-person competition for a chance to experience campus, but if this is not possible, then the virtual competition is an option.


Registration for the Virtual Competition is closed.

Jamrich Hall in Summer

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 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: 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

  • 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.

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

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.

Honors Hour - Learn about the Honors Program

This is an information session on Honors Program with hors d'oeuvres. Registration is required.

Students will learn more about the Honors Program with a presentation, then have time to enjoy hors d'oeuvres and mingle with Honors Program staff and students.

This is during check-in on Sunday afternoon from 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. in the Northern Center. Honors Hour will end before the beginning of the Welcome Session at 6 p.m.

Thank you for your interest in the Honors Hour during Presidential Scholars. We have hit our registration capacity for this event, but the NMU Honors Program would love to meet with you! Please stop by our table during Monday's Breakfast & Information Fair in the Northern Center's Grand Ballroom. 

Presidential Scholars Competition - Frequently Asked Questions

For the Fall 2022 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 intended for students who cannot travel to campus for various reasons. 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).

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 2022, if you signed up for the November 6 - 7  competition, you have until that competition deadline to change the date (October 24 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)

Pacific Time

(CA, WA, OR)


6:00 p.m.

5:00 p.m.

4:00 p.m.

3:00 p.m.

Student Small Group

6:15 p.m.

5:15 p.m.

4:15 p.m.

3:15 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 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 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.