Established by Congress in 1975, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation awards scholarships to college juniors (at the time of application) who have outstanding leadership potential and intend to pursue careers in public service. Truman Scholars receive up to $30,000 for graduate or professional school, participate in leadership development activities, and have special opportunities for internships and employment with the federal government.
Truman scholars are required to work in public service for three of the seven years following completion of a Foundation-funded graduate degree program as a condition of receiving Truman funds. All DePaul candidates must be endorsed by DePaul University.
Each nominee for the Truman Scholarship must be:
- A full-time junior-level student pursuing a bachelor's degree. (A student with senior-level standing in the third year of college enrollment is also eligible).
- A United States citizen or a United States national from American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Resident aliens (green card holders) are not eligible.
- Nominated by the Truman Scholarship Faculty Representative at DePaul University.
The Truman Fellowship is highly competitive. In 2013 there were more than 600 applications but only approximately sixty awards. The Finalist Committee, which selects the winners, is made up largely of current and former directors of admission at public service-oriented graduate and professional schools, past Truman Scholars, and college presidents. The Finalists Committee uses a twelve-point scale in selecting Candidates for an interview. The following items are given a point value:
- Public service record and commitment to a career in public service. Students without an extensive public service background will not be successful candidates, regardless of GPA or other accomplishments. An outstanding record of public service includes sustained participation (at least two years) in three of activities listed below; a good record includes sustained participation in two of the activities.
- Government service or political involvement (i.e. working on a campaign)
- Employment in a government agency or non-profit
- Leadership record and communication skills
- Desire to influence public policies or education programs
- Intellect, academic record and fit with proposed graduate study (includes policy proposal). The applicant's grades in the junior year are particularly important. Ambitious curriculum and at least one course in political science, government, American history, or pubilc policy is preferred. In addition, a student should have one or more courses in her proposed career field.
- Quality of application: consistency of responses, presentation and writing, etc.
Priority is given to candidates proposing to enroll in graduate programs oriented to careers in public service (e.g., law, public administration, public health, international relations, economics, social services, conservation and environmental protection).
For more information on eligibility and selection criteria, visit Truman's website "Are you a Potential Truman Scholar?"