Juniors committed to careers in public service are eligible to apply for this scholarship.


Friday, November 3, 2023, 5pm: Pre-Application Form due

January 4, 2024, 5pm Central Time: On-campus application deadline

January 2024: On-campus interviews and selection of nominees.

Nominees will receive additional information about the final submission deadline and process.

Purpose, Funds, and Requirements

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship provides up to $30,000 toward tuition, fees, books, room and board, and other approved expenses for graduate school or professional school in preparation for a career in public service. “Public service” here is quite broadly defined, and includes such diverse fields as biology, economics, and public health. An award is deferrable for up to four years. This scholarship is restricted to U.S. citizens.

All recipients are required to work in public service for at least three of the seven years following completion of a Truman Foundation-funded graduate degree (the penalty for failure to do this is an obligation to repay funds received, with interest). But here again “public” is broadly construed, and includes government at any level, public interest organizations, NGOs, public and private schools, and many other organizations.

In addition to the funds for graduate school, scholars also attend the Truman Scholars Leadership Week, where they meet and work with distinguished Truman alumni and others, and are invited to attend the eight-week Summer Institute in Washington DC, which includes seminars, workshops, and meetings with policymakers. The Truman Foundation will also arrange internships with government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

Candidates should have an extensive record of public and community service, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, and be committed to a career in public service. The application should trace a path that is authentic, and indicates passion for and depth of understanding of public service.

Check out this brief video to learn more about the Truman Scholarship and the impact Truman Scholars have in the world!

Application Process

Juniors who wish to apply for a Truman Scholarship should read the materials posted at the Truman website (including instructions about recommendations) carefully, and submit a Pre-Application Form anytime before November 3, 2023, at 5:00pm Central Time. It is recommended that you submit the pre-application as soon as you know you want to apply, rather than wait for the deadline of November 3. Once your pre-application is received, the Office of Student Fellowships will register you at the Truman website and you will receive an email message with login credentials and can access the current application.

Between the submission of your pre-application and the on-campus deadline of 5pm Central Time on January 4, 2024, you will fill out the actual Truman Scholarship application online. You will be required to consult with Marynel Ryan Van Zee, Director of Student Fellowships, during this period and you may share application materials with her for feedback and suggestions for revision.

To meet the on-campus deadline, you must do three things by 5pm Central Time on January 4, 2024:

  1. Email a PDF of your completed application (except for the letters of recommendation) to fellowships@carleton.edu – when you ‘save’ your application in the Truman Scholarship application system, you will be able to generate that PDF;
  2. Request an electronic copy of your transcript from the Registrar and have it sent to fellowships@carleton.edu; and
  3. Make sure your recommenders have submitted the three required letters of recommendation (each addressing one of the three Truman criteria) to fellowships@carleton.edu

Shortly after January 4, applicants will be invited for interviews and up to four nominees may be chosen. Members of the interview committee will then work with the nominees to revise applications. Marynel Ryan Van Zee will prepare the nomination and make the official submission to the Truman Foundation by their deadline.

Shortly thereafter, the Truman Finalist Selection Committee reviews all submitted applications and selects from those approximately 200 finalists. Regional Review Panels then interview each finalist and select the Truman Scholars. In most years, there will be one Truman Scholar from every state in the Union, plus a few additional “at large” selections.

Campus Representative

Marynel Ryan Van Zee, Director of Student Fellowships, 131 Laird, x4300/mryanvanzee