The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, the federal memorial to the former president, awards merit-based $30,000 scholarships to college students who plan to pursue careers in government or in public service, and who wish to attend graduate or professional school to help prepare for their careers. Truman Scholars participate in leadership development programs and have special opportunities for internships and employment with the federal government.
The Foundation defines public service as employment in government at any level, uniformed services, public-interest organizations, non-governmental research and/or educational organizations, public and private schools, and public service oriented nonprofit organizations such as those whose primary purposes are to help needy or disadvantaged persons or to protect the environment.
Eligibility and Qualifications
- Applicants should be full-time junior (that is, normally in the third year of college enrollment.) If the applicant is a resident of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa or the Northern Marianas, the applicant must be a senior.
- Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals.
- Applicants should hope to be “change agents,” in time improving the ways that government agencies, nonprofit organizations or educational institutions serve the public. They should want to work in government, education, the nonprofit sector or the public interest/advocacy sector. A strong interest in getting a master’s degree, a doctorate, or a professional degree such as a law degree or a Master of Public Administration, Master of Public Health, Master of Social Work, Master of Education, Master of Public Policy, or Master of International Affairs is also preferred. Scholars may attend graduate or professional school in the United States or in a foreign country.
Truman applicants should be extensive participants in two or more of the following s ets of activities: student government and/or campus-based extracurricular activities; community service-related activities that are not organized by a school or a fraternity/sorority; government internships, commissions or boards, advocacy or interest groups, nonpartisan political activities, military/ROTC, or partisan political activities and campaigns. Involvement with organizations or activities related to the applicant’s career interests is helpful as well.
High grades and a sufficiently strong curriculum to gain admittance to a first-rate graduate institution are required. One or more courses relating to the applicant’s career interests are necessary.
Application Procedures and Selection Criteria
Penn may nominate up to four students; the Truman Foundation does not accept applications directly from the candidates. Students who are studying abroad during their junior year may apply. The following items are required by CURF:
- Completed Truman Scholarship application
- Three letters of recommendation
- Policy proposal
- (Unofficial) transcripts of all colleges attended
Applications are due to CURF January 2, 2015.
The Penn Truman Committee will screen the applications and nominate up to four applicants. Those applicants may then be asked to improve their applications up until the final national submission deadline of February 4.
The Truman Selection committee will identify up to 200 finalists who will be interviewed in late Feburary or early March. Winners will be announced very soon thereafter.
Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships