Student Financial Services Center

Leading Scholars Award

Criteria:  merit based; US domestic residents; members of the current year's graduating high school class; recommended by a high school teacher by October 15 of senior year

Curriculum:  any baccalaureate curriculum

Value for Michigan Residents:  regular full-time tuition, room and board, and $1,000 to put towards fees and other expenses

Value for Non-Michigan Residents:  regular full-time non-resident tuition

Note:  In the spirit of philanthropy some or all of a scholarship may be funded by a generous donor to the university.

More Information 

Leading Scholars Awards are offered to incoming resident and non-resident students with exemplary leadership attributes and outstanding scholarly achievement.

Scholarship overview:  This scholarship program is open to first-year students enrolling in their first fall semester at Michigan Technological University.  As a part of the selection process, students will submit an essay and teacher/mentor recommendation.  Approximately 40 finalists will be invited to campus in December where they will participate in group processing activities, faculty evaluations, and a writing exercise.  More importantly, this visit is designed for students to meet university administrators, faculty, and students and learn more about the Crazy Smart programs we offer at Michigan Tech.

The resident value:  Three Michigan resident students will be awarded a scholarship equivalent to regular full-time tuition, room and board and $1,000 to put towards fees and other expenses each year.  In addition, 27 students will receive a $10,000 (per year) Presidential Leading Scholars Award.  Students receiving the Leading Scholars Award or the Presidential Leading Scholars Award are not eligible to receive additional Presidential Scholars Program funds.

Presidential Leading Scholars Award levels for students who first enrolled at Michigan Tech prior to fall of 2019 can be viewed here.

The non-resident value:  Three out-of-state students will receive a scholarship equivalent to the value of regular full-time out-of-state tuition.  In addition, 7 students will receive a $20,000 (per year) National Leading Scholars Award.  Students receiving the Leading Scholars Award or the National Leading Scholars Award are not eligible to receive additional National Scholars Program funds. 

Non-resident Alumni Legacy and Military Family Education awardees who are selected as one of the three full value Leading Scholars Awards will receive a scholarship equivalent to regular full-time resident tuition.  Non-resident Alumni Legacy and Military Family Education Award students who are among the seven recipients of the National Leading Scholars Award will receive a $10,000 (per year) National Leading Scholars Award.

National Leading Scholars Award levels for students who first enrolled at Michigan Tech prior to fall of 2019 can be viewed here.

Length and renewal criteria:  The awards are for four years (eight semesters).  Leading Scholars Award recipients must maintain a minimum 3.25 cumulative grade point average to have the award renewed for the second, third, and fourth years.  Recipients of the Presidential Leading Scholars Award or the National Leading Scholars Award must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.50 for renewal.  Continuous, regular, full-time undergraduate enrollment (12-credits or more) and acceptable social behavior must also be maintained.  Students must live in the University's residence halls for their first and second academic years to maintain this scholarship.  Students graduating from high schools within Houghton, Keweenaw, and Baraga counties (and have commuter status) are exempt from the residence hall requirement.

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.

What we are looking for:  Students will be evaluated on their leadership experiences highlighted in their essay.  In addition, the quality of the teacher/mentor recommendation will be evaluated.  We receive over 1000 applications for this award.  Therefore, the essay and teacher recommendations play a large role in the selection process.  The awards are made to superior students who have demonstrated high academic achievement and potential for excellence in any program at Michigan Tech.

Deadline for applications and teacher/mentor recommendations:  The deadline is October 15 for both the essays and the recommendations.

Award notifications:  Selection of finalists will be made by the University Scholarship Committee by mid-November.  Award recipients will be selected by January 1.

Essay question for students enrolling in the fall of 2019:  "Leaders have the ability to ask outstanding questions that make people think and inspire action.  What question do you feel you should answer for this scholarship application?  Tell us your question, and provide your answer--be sure to draw on your leadership experience or include your future leadership goals in your response.  There is no wrong answer (or question), so have fun--and don't be afraid to think outside the box."

Application instructions: 

  1. Apply for admission to Michigan Tech.
  2. When you have successfully submitted your Application for Admission, you will see a button you can click to begin your Leading Scholar Application.
  3. If you have already applied for admission please return to the application website and log in using the login ID and PIN you created.  You will see a button directing you to apply for the Leading Scholar Award.  Your Leading Scholar Award Application and Application for Admission are linked, so it is important that you use the same login information.  If you forget your login ID and/or PIN, please contact the Admissions Office at 888-688-1885 or email and they will look it up for you.
  4. To apply for the Leading Scholar Award you will need to have a teacher, counselor, or other mentor's contact information ready to input.  The nominator/mentor will receive an email with instructions detailing how to submit his or her recommendation.  Their recommendation asks that they explain what makes you outstanding and to give specific examples of leadership skills and abilities that you possess.  
  5. We strongly encourage that you write your essay (maximum of 3000 characters including spaces) 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.  Recommendations are limited to 5000 characters.
  6. Further instructions on how to apply for the award are available on the Leading Scholar Application submission website.

Essay tips:

  1. Relax when you are thinking about your essay.  We truly want to know who you are, what your personality is and all of 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 you to not focus your essay-writing on your accomplishments, but rather on the type of person you have had to become to reach those goals.  
  4. Try to avoid writing a resume and instead focus on how you have used those skills to positively influence a leadership outcome or experience.
  5. With suggestions 1 through 4 in mind, ensure your essay is well written, free of errors, follows the instructions, and is submitted timely.  Late submissions will not be accepted.  

If you have questions regarding the Michigan Tech Leading Scholar Award, please contact the Financial Aid Office at 1-888-688-1885 or email