Leading Scholar Awards

Leading Scholar Award

The Leading Scholar Award recognizes resident and non-resident high school seniors who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and scholarly achievements both in and outside the classroom.

The resident value: Three Michigan resident students will be awarded scholarships equivalent to regular full-time tuition, plus room and board and $1,000 towards fees and other expenses each year. In addition, 27 in-state students will receive scholarships valued at $8,000 per year.

The non-resident value: Three out-of-state students will receive a value equivalent to regular full-time nonresident tuition. In addition, 7 out-of-state students will receive scholarships valued at $17,000 per year. Students receiving the Leading Scholar Award or the $17,000 National Scholars Award are not eligible to receive the Military Family Education Award or additional National Scholars Program Award funds. 

Non-resident Alumni Legacy awardees who are selected as one of the three full value Leading Scholar Awards will receive a scholarship equivalent to regular full-time resident tuition. Non-resident Alumni Legacy students who are among the seven awardees will receive an $8,000 (per year) Presidential Leading Scholars Scholarship.

The essay question for first-year students entering in fall 2015: Students must select from one of the following three essay prompts.

Essay Option 1: Michigan Tech students aspire to five core value statements: we inspire community, scholarship, possibilities, accountability, and tenacity. Reflecting on your leadership activities within your community or school, please tell us which one value statement you relate to the most and why.

Essay Option 2: Michigan Tech is a front runner in 3D printing research. One of our professors, Chelsea Schelly, recently said, “When you produce something yourself instead of purchasing it, that changes your relationship to it.” How would you harness the power of 3D printing to make a positive impact on your community, state, or the world?

Essay Option 3: You are required to spend the next year of your life in either the past or the future. Tell us what year would you travel to and, as a leader, how you would effect change.

Who Should Apply

Academically talented high school seniors with leadership experience are encouraged to apply. In general, applicants should meet the following academic guidelines:

  • 3.30 or higher cumulative GPA at time of application (on a 4.00 scale)
  • ACT composite score of 23 or higher or an SAT combined critical reading plus math score of 1070 or higher.

How to Apply

  • Students must apply for admission to Michigan Tech by October 15. 
  • To submit your essay response, log in to our online application page.
    • If you have already applied for admission, use the same Login ID and PIN that you created for your application for admission to access the Leading Scholar Award application. After you’ve logged in, select the Leading Scholar Award button.
    • If you haven’t submitted your application for admission, you’ll need to apply online first. After your application has been submitted, you’ll be able to submit your Leading Scholar essay by clicking on the Leading Scholar Award button
    • Forgot your login information? Give our office a call at 888-688-1885 or email mtu4u@mtu.edu and we can look it up for you. The two applications are linked so it is important that you use the same login information.
  • A recommendation from a teacher or mentor is required. During the Leading Scholar application process, you will be asked to provide an email address for the one person who can speak the best of your leadership and scholarly accomplishments. Be sure to have an email address for your teacher/mentor when you begin the application process.

Application Deadline and Other Important Dates

  • October 15: Leading Scholar applications and teacher/mentor recommendations are due by 11:59 p.m. (eastern time). You must also have an application for admission on file by this date. Nominators have until October 18 to submit their nominations.
  • November 15: Finalists are selected by the University Scholarship Committee
  • December 8 and 9: On-campus competition for finalists and family members
  • January 1: Award recipients are notified

What We Are Looking For

The University Scholarship Committee is interested in getting to know you. Students will be evaluated on not only the leadership experiences highlighted in their essay, but in the way the information is conveyed through writing. The quality and content of the teacher/mentor nomination will also be taken into consideration. We receive over 900 applications for this award--with 40 students selected as finalists. The essay and teacher recommendation plays a large role in the selection process.

Essay Tips

  1. Do your best to think of a question and response that will best convey your leadership experiences to us. We want to know who you are, get a glimpse of your personality, and learn about the positive qualities that you will bring to Michigan Tech.
  2. Don't think about what we want to read--think about what you want to write about.
  3. We encourage your essay to focus not only on your accomplishments, but on the type of person you have become as a result of those achievements.
  4. Try to avoid writing a resume and instead focus on how you have used the skills you have gained to positively influence a leadership outcome or experience.
  5. We strongly encourage you to write your essay (maximum of 3000 characters) in Word or a similar program which allows you to copy and paste into the online application system. At this time, our application system does not allow you to save your work to complete it at a later date. Nominations are limited to 5000 characters.
  6. With these suggestions in mind, ensure that your essay is well written, free of errors, follows the instructions, and is submitted on time. The application system will close at 11:59 p.m. (eastern time) on October 15--late submissions will not be accepted.

Additional Scholarship Details

See our Financial Aid Leading Scholar page for additional details.

If you have questions regarding the Michigan Tech Leading Scholar Award, contact the financial aid staff at 888-688-1885, or email leadingscholars@mtu.edu.