Undergraduate Admissions - The University of Iowa

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The Presidential Scholarship Program

The Presidential Scholarship Application is now closed.

Since 1980, the University of Iowa's Presidential Scholarship Program has recognized outstanding high school seniors with scholarship awards. The Presidential Scholarship is awarded on the basis of an individual's demonstrated record of:

  • exceptional academic ability 
  • integrity in scholarship, service, and leadership
  • intellectual curiosity
  • commitment to community
  • respect for difference

Read more detailed information about selection criteria 

The Presidential Scholarship is awarded to 20 students with the expectation that these scholars will make significant and lasting contributions to the University of Iowa community. Once students join us on campus, they are invited to participate in scholar development activities, which are designed to connect them to a variety of extraordinary intellectual, professional and social opportunities. These unique opportunities may include, but are not limited to:

  • funding and support for undergraduate research
  • social and service experiences inside of the university, our local community, and the State of Iowa
  • discourse with fellow scholars, distinguished faculty, and university leaders
  • advising on national and international scholarship, fellowship, and grant competitions

Presidential Scholarships are $40,000 ($10,000 a year for up to four years or until the completion of a bachelor's degree, whichever comes first), provided students maintain a 3.00 University of Iowa cumulative grade-point average and full-time continuous enrollment at the university.

The 2015 Presidential Scholars will be announced by March 7, 2015.


To be eligible for this scholarship, you must be admitted to the University of Iowa and have:

  • a 3.80 cumulative high school grade-point average (on a 4.00 scale); and
  • an ACT composite score of 30 (or a combined SAT critical reading and math score of 1330) or higher.

Application Deadline

Completed online scholarship applications (parts A-F) must be submitted by December 12, 2014. Submitting a paper application is not an option.

Required Materials

Review all directions before starting the online application. Prepare your documents BEFORE starting the online application. Retain an electronic copy of your short responses and essay. The application does not have a save and return later feature.

  • Personal Information
    This includes general contact and address information for you and your high school. You will also need your University ID number. Your 8-digit university ID number is located in your Admissions Profile which you access via ISIS with your HAWK ID and password.
  • Activities & Awards
    Using the format provided create a list of school, community, and employment activities from grade nine to the present. Indicate in the description offices held or awards you received for that specific activity. Indicate year(s) of participation by selecting the appropriate grade box(es). You may also indicate awards you have received that are not connected to a specific school/community activity. You are limited to providing details about 15 activities or awards.
  • Short Answer Questions
    Select two of the three topics provided below. Develop your responses using a word processing program like Microsoft Word. You will need to copy and paste your responses into the online application. The length of each response should not exceed 2020 characters, roughly 350 words.
    • Everyone belongs to a community of some sort. As a member of your family, your class, your team, or your neighborhood or church, you will share some experiences with everyone, but not others. Tell us about a time in your life where your connection to your community was strengthened by its differences instead of its similarities.
    • Tell a story about yourself that provides us with some insight into the kind of person you are. For example, the story can relate a personal experience; an unusual test of character; your involvement in volunteer work or a humorous anecdote.
    • Tell us about a time you were able to do something better after a difficult start because of your connection to another person or group of people.
  • Personal Essay
    Develop your essay using a word processing program like Microsoft Word. You will need to copy and paste your essay into the online application. The length of your essay should not exceed 4200 characters, roughly 750 words.
    • Tell us about an idea you find fascinating. Describe how this idea has changed/altered/impacted the way you think and live. You might discuss a scientific theory, a piece of creative work, a social movement, a political dynamic, an ethical dilemma or a topic that is not represented here. Whatever you choose to explore, your essay MUST answer the question AND help your readers understand the basic idea of your chosen concept.
  • High School Transcript
    Obtain a high school transcript showing grades 9-11. Upload your transcript into the Presidential Scholarship online application in one of the following formats: Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx), Rich Text (.rtf), Adobe (.pdf), or image (.jpg) format. We understand that any uploaded transcript is considered unofficial. We can use the unofficial document for our scholarship review. Please do not ask your high school to send a transcript directly to the University of Iowa in support of your scholarship application. Your online scholarship application submission must include an uploaded unofficial transcript.
  • ACT/SAT Reminder
    Request for your official ACT or SAT test score(s) to be sent directly to the university from the testing agency. Self-reported test scores can not be used for this scholarship program.
    An ACT composite score of 30 (or a combined SAT critical reading and math score of 1330) or higher is required.
    University of Iowa Institution codes: 1356 | ACT 6681 | SAT. Test scores noted on your high school transcript are not considered official