Application Information

The President’s Scholarship will cover tuition and fees for eight (8) consecutive fall and spring academic semesters or graduation, whichever comes first.

If a student takes graduate level courses through the Four plus One (4+1) program at SMU, scholars can request for their President's Scholarship to cover graduate school classes as long as they are within their eight (8) semesters.  Permission must be granted in advance. The President’s Scholarship cannot be extended to a fifth year. General Fees do not include special fees that are included with some course work. The President’s Scholarship does not pay for books, computers, mandatory health insurance, or parking.

For more financial benefits click here 


To become a President's Scholar candidate, a student must have:  

  • A minimum of 20 high school academic units in a challenging curriculum, including AP/IB and honors courses, two years of a single foreign language, and advanced coursework in math and science
  • A high school rank in the top 10 percent of the graduating class*
  • A demonstrated commitment to engagement in school and/or community activities
  • To be considered, students must submit the application, including the President's Scholars Program Application Essay, by January 15th of the senior year. The selection committee will have access to your full application for admission, including letters of recommendation.
  • Exceptional achievement on the SAT or ACT (Please note: SMU has adopted a test-optional policy. Applicants to SMU won’t have to submit standardized test scores. Read the test-optional policy.)
    • The median student invited to interview in recent years had SAT scores of 1500 (critical reading and math)

Only students invited to interview will be notified. Students invited to interview usually exhibit a high degree of intellectual curiosity while pursuing the most rigorous high school coursework available and possess a record of exceptional school and/or community involvement. The median student invited to interview in recent years earned an academic un-weighted GPA of 4.0 (on a 4.0 scale).

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

January 15 Priority Deadline
You are encouraged to submit your completed application by the November 1 deadline, but you must complete and return your Application for Admission with separate essay requirement by January 15, which is the deadline for priority consideration for most SMU merit scholarships.

SMU faculty committees select finalists to be interviewed. Finalists will be notified via email.

All finalists are invited to campus for personal interviews.  Interviews are required for consideration for the President's Scholar award. Interview day for finalists will be the first Friday of March.

SMU covers all expenses for meals and lodging during the campus interview process.

In addition to meeting SMU President R. Gerald Turner at a reception and banquet, finalists meet with current President's Scholars, President's Scholars alumni, professors who teach in their area of academic interest, and others in the SMU community.

Recipients of President's Scholar awards are notified during the last week of March.


To be considered, students must submit the application form, including the President's Scholars Program Application Essay (topic below), by January 15th of the senior year. The selection committee will have access to your full application for admission, including letters of recommendation.

Admitted students who have fulfilled these requirements are automatically reviewed, and finalists will be invited to interview on campus on Thursday, February 29th and Friday, March 1, 2024. This interview experience will also include a comprehensive campus visit. Those students will be notified by email approximately one month prior to their interview date. Students who do not qualify for an interview will also be notified by email at that time.

President's Scholars Program Essay

In your essay of no more than three (3) double-spaced pages, please address all of the following topic. Essays must be submitted either as PDFs or Word Documents. Specifically considering the academic and institutional resources available on campus, how would you approach your four years on the Hilltop should you be selected to be a President’s Scholar. How would your commitments and activities advance the goals of the program?

To apply online, visit the SMU Admissions page.  For more information concerning admission, other merit scholarships and financial aid, or for an application, contact:

SMU Division of Enrollment Services
PO Box 750181
Dallas, TX  75275-0181