U.S. Presidential Scholars Program

Ohio’s superintendent of public instruction is seeking nominations for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students. The program was established in 1964 by executive order of the president to recognize and honor some of our nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors. The program expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. It expanded again in 2015 to honor students who show ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields. Each year, up to 161 students are named as Presidential Scholars.

Program Eligibility

Ohio’s superintendent of public instruction may nominate up to 20 seniors (10 men and 10 women) for the general component of the program. Nominees for this component must meet these criteria:
  • Be Ohio high school seniors who are, or will be, U.S. citizens or legal permanent U.S. residents by the application deadline. (Students who were not U.S. citizens or legal permanent U.S. residents at the times they took SAT or ACT exams 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 (507) 931-8345 to ensure their scores are considered when determining the candidate pool.);
  • Graduate or receive a diploma between January and August 2017, the current program year;
  • Score exceptionally well on either the SAT (College Board) or the ACT (American College Testing Program), based on tests taken during the two-year window that began September 2014 and runs through October 2016 (for the recognition cycle concluding in June 2017) and nominated by the superintendent of public instruction based on outstanding scholarship.

Ohio’s selected scholars will be invited to apply to be national Presidential Scholars by the U.S. Department of Education. National reviewers will be considering these categories when evaluating nominees at the semifinalist and Scholar (national) levels:

  • Involvement and service (in school and community);
  • Leadership and character;
  • Writing samples;
  • Academic achievements; and
  • Discretionary points for extraordinary achievement, heavy workload, family responsibilities or obstacles overcome.

Selection Timeline and Process

Oct. 17    Deadline for nominations to the Ohio Department of Education (no exceptions)  
Nov. 21-25    Schools and nominees informed of results  
Mid-January    Nominees invited to apply to the U.S. program
February    Completed applications due to the U.S. program office
May    U.S. Presidential Scholars announced


Nomination Forms

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Learn more about the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.
Contact Information
Dwight Groce
(614) 387-3200

Last Modified: 9/23/2016 11:04:42 AM