National Scholars Program

Selection Criteria

NSP Alumni return for Q&A panel at the 2014 NSP Weekend .

Meredith Myers during her 2006 NS Weekend faculty panel interview

To be considered for the National Scholars Program, applicants must complete both the online Clemson undergraduate admissions application and the online Calhoun Honors College application in the timeline noted here.

Selection to the NSP is highly competitive. Approximately 40 applicants are invited to compete for an invitation to join the NSP each year, out of more than 1300 Calhoun Honors College applicants.

A successful candidate will present, through his or her written record, personal interview and participation in other National Scholars Weekend activities:

  • a documented record of academic excellence, as reflected in SAT or ACT scores and the high school transcript,
    • between 2000 and 2014, the nearly 600 finalists invited to compete for an invitation to the NSP have presented an average SAT of 1500 (verbal/critical reading and math) or an average ACT of 34, and a class rank in the top 1% (51% were ranked #1 in their high school classes);
  • a documented record of intellectual curiosity and engagement;
  • a detailed record of the depth and significance of his or her most meaningful extra- and co-curricular activities, including leadership, service and research experiences; 
  • meaningful, thoughtful and informed responses to essay and interview questions; and
  • outstanding and detailed letters of recommendation. 

Due to the small size of the National Scholars Program, the selection committee must make difficult choices from among many highly qualified candidates at both the Finalist and Scholar stages of the process.

US map of home states of National Scholars