Truman Scholarship

How to apply



The Truman Scholarship is a highly competitive, merit-based scholarship for college juniors committed to careers in public service. Successful applicants are leaders and agents of change who are able to articulate the connection between their past achievements and future goals. The award includes funds for graduate school and Truman Foundation programming that enriches Scholars’ academic and professional experiences and connects them with the Truman Scholar alumni network. The Truman Foundation has a broad understanding of public service; Truman Scholars can generally be planning a career at any organization whose website would end in .edu, .gov, .org, or .mil rather than .com. All graduate study plans are eligible except MBA degrees. Wesleyan can nominate four general nominees plus up to three transfer nominees each year; only those nominated at the campus level can be considered for the Truman Scholarship at the national level.


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 and 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
  • 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.

Truman Scholars must work in public service for three of seven years following their graduation from a scholarship-funded graduate program. Should a scholar be unable to work in public service during this period, they may be required to pay back their funding.


The award includes $30,000 to be applied towards graduate studies in the United States or abroad in a range of disciplines related to public service. Truman Scholars receive career and graduate school counseling, leadership training programs, and internship opportunities within the federal government. 

Selection Criteria

  • Potential to lead
  • Commitment to a career in public service
  • Likelihood of success in graduate school

Application Components

  • Online application including:
    • Lists of jobs, internships, civic engagement, and activities
    • Paragraph-length questions about leadership, public service, and your graduate school and career plans
    • A 500-word policy proposal on a topic of your choice
    • Three letters of recommendation, one each for leadership, academics, and service
  • If you are selected after the national deadline, you will be invited to a regional interview with a panel of Truman application reviewers

How to Apply

To submit an application to Truman’s national selection committee, applicants must first be nominated by Wesleyan University. 

  1. First, read up on the Truman Scholarship on this page and on the Truman Scholarship website.
  2. Interested students should reach out to,  ideally in the summer between sophomore and junior year.
  3. By early November, applicants must complete Wesleyan’s Intent to Apply form for Truman, which is a Truman Scholarship pre-application form.
  4. Applicants will complete an application for the campus deadline (including letters of recommendation).
  5. If selected at the campus level, applicants will revise their campus application for the national deadline, which will be in early February during the candidate’s junior year.