- Organisation: The Truman
- Opportunity Type: Scholarships
- Deadline: February 6, 2024
- Prize: $30,000
The Truman Scholarship is a very competitive national award. The Foundation reviews over 800 applications for our 55 to 65 Scholarships awarded annually. These applications do not include students who compete on their own campus for one of a school’s four nominations.
Although the award is competitive, we believe that the application process can be valuable regardless of outcome. The process of applying includes exploring and refining your past experiences and future goals. You will be asked to consider various paths in service and encouraged to be ambitious. Along the way, you can expect to strengthen your writing, your relationships with mentors and your knowledge of your chosen field. These skills do not vanish when your Truman journey ends. Applying for a competitive award, like Truman or many others, helps you to prepare more competitive graduate school applications and be more comfortable in stressful interview formats. You may also meet friends, mentors and future collaborators along the way.
Approaching the application process as a tool for learning, rather than something to be won, not only ensures the process if more valuable, but makes you more likely to be successful. Candidates who approach the process with openness and authenticity often fare better than their counterparts who are more focused on the competitive aspects of the process.
To that end, we provide as much information about the process as possible. Everyone should have the information necessary to produce their best application.
Candidates must be:
- US Citizens, US National residents of American Samoa, or expecting their citizenship by the date of the award;
- Currently enrolled at a US-based accredited institution;
- In their penultimate year of school (for candidates graduating in four years or more) or in their final year of school (for candidates graduating in three years or fewer);
- Nominated by either their current institution of study or their former institution of study for transfer or community college applicants. Schools are limited to four nominees plus three additional transfer nominations; and,
- Planning to attend graduate school in pursuit of a career in public service. The Foundation encourages time between undergraduate and graduate school, so candidates need not commit to going immediately.
Candidates can be:
- pursuing any major likely to lead to a public service career;
- any age;
- interested in any graduate degree other than the MBA; and,
- considering either domestic or international programs for their graduate education.
Public service means employment in: government at any level, the uniformed services, public interest organizations, non-governmental research and/or educational organizations, public and private schools, and public service oriented non-profit organizations such as those whose primary purposes are to help needy or disadvantaged persons or to protect the environment.
Some institutions use our application as part of the campus process, others use their own forms. Regardless, at some point your Advisor must provide you with access to our online system.
Additional information about the application itself can be found in the Advice and Guidance section. We generally recommend working on the application over a period of several days if not weeks. Strong applications require significant research and revision. Most successful applicants report writing and rewriting several drafts.
You can either work on your application within the online system or work in another program and copy your responses into our form. You can invite your Advisor to review your application at any time. Sharing access with them does not interfere with your ability to view and edit your own application. Discuss with them when you are best able to receive feedback. Once the application is ready for the Foundation’s review, your Advisor will allow us access to your materials. Again, you will still have the ability to review and edit your materials up until the deadline.
You must also secure three letters of recommendation and a transcript from any institution you attended. These items should be given to your Advisor; they have instructions for how to upload them in the system.
We must receive all materials by 11:59 p.m. in your time zone on the evening of the deadline. The deadline is the first Tuesday in February.
The Wednesday after the deadline, the Foundation begins processing applications. After this point, you cannot make edits to your materials and additional items will not be accepted unless an extension has been granted.
Members of the staff will individually check each application to ensure it is complete and legible. We will also review all supporting materials to ensure they meet our requirements. If there is an issue with any of your materials or application, we will contact your Advisor to correct the issue. Please stay in close contact with your Advisor during this time. By Saturday morning, you will either have received an email from us indicating your application is complete or you will already be in touch with us regarding an issue with your materials.
Please do not contact the Foundation to confirm receipt of materials prior to the Sunday following the deadline. If you have not received a confirmation by then, please contact Tara Yglesias.
Log-in ends with Foundation staff rechecking the number of applications against various records to ensure none are missing. The applications are then divided by state of residence and then bundled into regions. Each region usually contains two or more states.
Finalist Selection Committee
Approximately ten days after the deadline, the Foundation will convene our Finalist Selection Committee (FSC) to review applications and select Finalists for each region.
FSC readers are a mix of graduate school admission professionals from programs preferred by Truman Scholars, distinguished Truman Scholars, representatives of other competitive scholarship programs, and at least one Truman Advisor. The Executive Secretary and Deputy Executive Secretary also serve on the reading committee.
Prior to meeting, FSC readers receive a series of sample applications that they must read and score. These scores are then tabulated and discussed during our reader training and calibration exercise on the first day. The Foundation uses this meeting to ensure that the readers are following the guidance established by the Foundation. We also use the sample applications as a way to guide discussion on selection criteria as well as other items such as conscious and unconscious bias.
Immediately following this meeting, readers split into groups of three or four. Each group is given one to three regions to read over the course of the weekend. The readers begin with another calibration exercise where everyone in the group reads the same small group of applications and scores them. They then discuss their scores to ensure that they are scoring in similar ranges and able to follow the guidance established by the Foundation.
After calibration, the readers divide the remaining files in the region. Each file is read by at least two members of the group, sometimes it is read by everyone in the group. Once all the files in a region have been read, the group convenes to select the top files in the region as Finalists. These applicants are selected based on their leadership and service records, as well as their likelihood of success in graduate school. Many of the files are strong in similar ways. In the most competitive regions, the distinction between an applicant who advances and one who does not can be very small.
Throughout the weekend, the Foundation will contact Finalists to let them know they have been selected for interview. By the end of the weekend, all applicants will have received an email either requesting they attend an interview or thanking them for participating in the selection process to this point.
Regional Review Panels
Interviews are conducted by Regional Review Panels (RRP) at various locations across the country. RRP panelists are usually Truman Scholars who come from a variety of public service backgrounds. Panel may also include members of our Board of Trustees or other distinguished public servants.
Finalists convene as a group and spend the day together. Each Finalist will have a 20 minute interview with the panel at some point during the day. The interview can be very challenging. Questions begin as soon as the Finalist enters the room and the time goes by very quickly.
After all the interviews for a state are complete, the panel begins to deliberate. By the end of the day, they are expected to have one Scholar selected from each state. Some panels will make additional recommendations from the region if they believe them to be strong enough. In rare cases, no one from a state meets the criteria for selection.
Once the Foundation receives the recommendations of the panels, they determine how many Scholarships can be offered in a given year. Based on that number, they can accommodate some, but generally not all, of the additional recommendations of the panel.
Finalists will receive their results via both physical letter to the permanent address provided in the application as well as email. Every effort is made to notify prior to the public posting in mid-April.
Please review these dates before applying. These dates are firm; the Foundation will not accommodate requests for changes to these dates.
- Truman Application Deadline: February 6, 2024
- Submit materials by 11:59 pm, your time zone
- Foundation Confirms Receipt of Materials by: February 12, 2024
- Finalists Notified: February 18, 2024
- Finalist Confirmation Due: February 22, 2024
- Must be received by 9:00 am ET
- Finalist Posting: February 23, 2024
- Regional Review Panels: March 2024 through early April 2024
- Scholar Posting: April 19, 2024
- Truman Scholars Leadership Week: May 21-26, 2024
Please consult Regional Review Panels for a more detailed listing of our interview dates and locations. Candidates must attend the interview date that corresponds to the home address provided in their application.
See the website for further details.
Notes to Candidates
- February 6 – Deadline for Foundation receipt of nominations
- February 22 – Deadline for Foundation receipt of Finalist Interview Confirmation
- February 23 – Posting of Finalists on the Foundation’s website
- April 19 – Truman Scholars announced on the Foundation’s website
Preparation of Materials and Notification of Status
Only on-line submissions will be accepted. The Foundation will not accept printed materials. Applicants should:
- Respond precisely to the application questions. Confine responses to the spaces provided.
- Briefly explain any activities, courses, or honors that readers are not likely to understand.
- In Items 2 and 3, list your activities in descending order of significance or importance (e.g., start with the one that you believe has been your most substantial contribution).
- Use Items 7-10 and 14 to reveal your values, interests, and motivation for a career in public service. The Foundation will protect sensitive information. See the website for examples of exemplary responses.
- Propose a detailed plan for study in Item 11. Name the graduate institutions of greatest interest that are likely to accept you. (Scholars may change their study plans as long as the new plans are consistent with preparation for a career in public service.)
- Prepare a convincing Policy Proposal. You will have limited space to examine a significant policy issue or problem that is in your intended area of public service as described in Item 9. Present your proposal in the form of a memo to the government official who you feel has the most direct authority to resolve the issue (e.g., President, Cabinet Officer, Governor, Chair of a Legislative Committee). Use no more than 500 words.
- Your memo needs to define the problem, lay out your proposed solution, and identify major obstacles to the implementation of your solution. Provide statistical data to put the issue in context and to support your recommendations. Cite major sources. The proposal must be confined to the space provided. Any references or footnotes must be presented in the space available, but do not count against the 500 word limit.
- Alert the Foundation to any unusual circumstances that have limited your activities or affected your grades. Note such restrictions in Item 14 or ask your Faculty Representative to cover them in the Nomination Letter.
- Make the application and policy proposal neat and easy to read. They should be impeccable in terms of appearance.
- Work closely with your Truman Faculty Representative. You should gain valuable skills for putting together outstanding applications and for presenting yourself well in interviews. The Faculty Representative can help you develop plans for further study.
The deadline for submission of this application to the Foundation is 11:59pm in your time zone on February 7, 2023. Your campus will likely have an earlier deadline for submission of materials to your Faculty Representative. You must coordinate with your Faculty Representative to ensure that your materials are received by the Foundation by this deadline.
Privacy Act Advisory Statement. Pursuant to the requirements of the Privacy Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-579), please be advised: Public Law 93-642 authorizes solicitation of this information that will be used to select Truman Scholars. The information may also be used to publicize your selection as a Truman Scholar. Furnishing the information is voluntary; failure to do so will prevent your consideration for a Truman Scholarship.
Debarment and Suspension Certification. In accordance with Executive Order 12549, Debarment and Suspension, as a condition of appointment, each Truman Scholar must certify that he or she is (a) Not presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from covered transactions by any federal department or agency; (b) Has not within a three-year period preceding this award been convicted of or had a civil judgment rendered against him or her for commission of fraud or a criminal offense in connection with obtaining, attempting to obtain, or performing a public (Federal, State, or local) transaction or contract under a public transaction; violation of Federal or State antitrust statutes or commission of embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, making false statements, or receiving stolen property; (c) Is not presently indicted for or otherwise criminally or civilly charged by a governmental entity (Federal, State, or local) with commission of the offenses enumerated in the preceding paragraph; and, (d) Has not had one or more public transactions (Federal, State, or local) terminated for cause or default within three years preceding the date of the Award Letter.
Information collection certification. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. The Foundation has estimated the average burden of the collection to be fifty hours per respondent. Comments concerning the accuracy of this burden estimate should be directed to the Foundation.
SOURCE – www.truman.gov