Prestigious Scholarships

Prestigious scholarships are offered based on national, and sometimes global, competition against other students from the best academic institutions in the world.

These scholarships are high in prestige as well as remuneration. These are intensely competitive scholarships and are very difficult to win. Candidates must excel in all areas considered for a given scholarship (and to be competitive, most require applicants to have a GPA of 3.8 to 4.0). 

While specific requirements vary with each scholarship, advanced preparation is required to create a competitive portfolio. Students typically need at least a year or two to amass the credentials required to apply. As you might expect, prestigious scholarship applications require a serious commitment of time and energy to complete. They should be prepared well in advance of the stated deadlines. Many of the scholarships require an institutional nomination and only allow each institution to nominate a few applicants each year.

The Lee Honors College staff can provide assistance and advice to students interested in pursuing prestigious scholarships. Many of these scholarships require finalists to participate in oral interviews, and the honors college staff and alumni can help finalists to prepare for them. We also recommend Penn State's Writing Personal Statements website for excellent advice on writing personal statements for these scholarship applications.

Although they are difficult to win, Western Michigan University students have been the recipients of many prestigious scholarships, and we are confident that many more of our students will win them in the future. If you are considering applying for a prestigious scholarship, please contact Dr. Irma Lopez or Anthony Helms for more assistance.

Some of the best-known prestigious national scholarships available for undergraduate students include:

  • The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship: Applicants must plan a career in science, engineering, technology or mathematics (medical not allowed, except medical research). Students may be sophomore or junior standing, and must have a GPA of at least 3.0 and be a U.S. citizen, resident alien or U. S. national.
  • The British Marshall Scholarship: This scholarship is intended to finance young Americans of high ability to study for a graduate degree in the United Kingdom. Applicants must be U.S. citizens with a GPA of at least 3.7. 
  • The Rhodes Scholarship: This scholarship provides full financial support to pursue a degree at the University of Oxford in England. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and between 18 and 24 years of age. 
  • The Harry S. Truman Scholarship: Applicants must be college juniors with a strong record of campus and community service who want to pursue a graduate degree in preparation for a career in government, education, the nonprofit sector, or the public interest/advocacy sector to improve societal or environmental conditions. Open to full-time students who are juniors (or third year students with senior standing) and are U.S. citizens.
  • The Morris K. Udall Scholarship: Applicants must be committed to careers related to the environment or must be Native American or Alaska Native with a demonstrated commitment to a career related to tribal public policy or must be a Native American or Alaska Native with a demonstrated commitment to a career related to Native health care. 

More information, including important deadlines, about these and other highly competitive undergraduate scholarships can be found in the prestigious scholarships list. For additional information on State Department sponsored programs such as the Fulbright Program (see past scholars) and the Boren and Gilman Awards, please email Michelle Metro-Roland, director of faculty and global program development at the Haenicke Institute for Global Studies.

Past prestigious scholarship winners from the Lee Honors College include:

  • Michael Gregor: Udall (2008)
  • Tristan Brown: Gates Cambridge (2006)
  • Tristan Brown: Udall (2004)
  • David Hoogerheide: Goldwater (2003)
  • Ben Appleby: Udall (2002)
  • Jackie Styrna: Udall (2001)
  • Heather Gott: Udall (2000)
  • Sara Woodward: Truman (1999)
  • Marc Humphrey: Goldwater (1996)