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Hunt Leadership Scholars Program


Application Information

While most of the scholarships I received from other universities were purely academic, the Hunt Scholarship showed me that SMU wants to reward students for their achievements outside of the classroom as well. I knew SMU was the right choice for me after receiving the Hunt because SMU is a school that values involvement and expects its students make an impact on their community. I view the Hunt Scholarship as SMU's investment in the leaders of tomorrow.

--- Emily Towler, Hunt Leadership Scholar, Class of 2016


  1. Demonstrated Extraordinary Leadership:

    This is normally reflected through serving in top leadership positions of high school organizations. This requirement may also be reflected through significant leadership accomplishments in areas outside the high school setting. Examples of such leadership may include: Senior or Junior class president or Student Council president, Editor-in-Chief of school newspaper, founders of organizations, senior leadership in scouting or service organizations, Boys State or Girls State representative.

  2. Submission of the Hunt Essay and YouTube statement (see below), and a completed first-year application for admission to SMU.

  3. Rank in top 25% of graduating class.*

  4. Composite SAT 1290 on Math and Critical Reading or ACT 29

  5. Completion of a strong college preparatory curriculum, typically including AP courses, IB courses, and honors classes.
Students who lack one of the criteria 3, 4, or 5 may be considered if outstanding abilities in other areas are identified in addition to demonstrated extraordinary leadership.

* If the school does not rank students, then the expectation is a strong academic record.

How to Apply:

In addition to submitting an application for admission to SMU, students applying for the Hunt Leadership Scholarship must submit an additional essay and YouTube video statement.

Essays should be submitted online in Word document or PDF form. Links to YouTube video statements should be copied and pasted into the application form.

The selection committee will have access to your full application for admission, including letters of recommendation. Should you feel that your existing letters of recommendation do not address your leadership skills, you may email one additional letter of recommendation to or mail the letter to:

SMU Office of Undergraduate Admission
P.O. Box 750181
Dallas, TX 75275

The deadline to apply is January 15, 2016.

Timeline and Selection Process:

Up to 25 entering first-year students each year are selected as Hunt Leadership Scholars. Leadership is the primary criterion for selection. Approximately sixty finalists are invited to interview at SMU (the interview is required for consideration for the Scholarship) on a designated day in March. Scholarship recipients are notified in the first week of April.

In 2014, over 800 applicants for the Program were considered. Those invited to interview had shown truly exceptional leadership and service to their high schools and communities. They combined effective, dedicated, and energetic service and the ability to lead others with a spirit of inquiry and a strong sense of social responsibility. Beyond these factors, there are no stereotypes or typical characteristics for the Hunt Leadership Scholars. Their academic intentions span the University -- Philosophy, Premed, Political Science, Undecided, etc. – and they have widely varying interests, activities, and backgrounds.