Selection Process

Students at the 2021 Welcome Back Dinner and New Scholar Retreat

Scholar Criteria

Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible for this program

Successful applicants tend to demonstrate:

  • Both depth and breadth in their interests, experiences, extracurricular activities, and leadership roles.
  • A sense of curiosity that surpasses the classroom.
  • Strong standardized test scores, exceptional grades, and thorough and thought-provoking essays.

Please note that, although students considered for the National Scholars Program often receive other scholarship monies and recognition as National Merit Scholars, the NSP is a distinct entity. Students who are identified as National Merit Scholars do not automatically qualify for Clemson's National Scholars Program. Students who have questions regarding any other scholarships should contact the Financial Aid Office.

Current National Scholars graduated in the top 1% of their high school classes with an average old SAT score (or SAT equivalent) of 1510.

To be considered for the National Scholars Program, an applicant must submit BOTH the Clemson undergraduate admissions application AND the Clemson University Honors College admissions application online. ONLY those applicants who meet the PRIORITY application deadlines outlined in the application timeline will be eligible for consideration for the National Scholars Program.


Application Timeline

In order to be considered for the National Scholars Program, applicants must apply to Clemson and the Honors College by all priority deadlines as outlined on the Honors College’s admissions website.

Applications that do not meet the final Honors College deadline for priority applicants WILL NOT be considered for the National Scholars Program, but will be considered for admission to the Honors College. Unfortunately, no exceptions can be made to this policy. To ensure compliance with these deadlines, the National Scholars Program recommends that students complete their Clemson University and Honors College applications well before these deadlines.

It is the APPLICANT'S responsibility to ensure that these deadlines are met. Applications that do not meet these deadlines WILL NOT be considered for the NSP.

January 21, 2022:

Notified of selection as a National Scholars Program Finalist and invited to compete during National Scholars Program Weekend

ONLY finalists invited to interview will be notified of their status; there is no separate notification for those NOT selected as finalists.

February 25-26, 2022:

National Scholars Program Weekend


Late March:

Notified of status.


National Scholars Weekend at Clemson University, Clemson, SC

Interview Weekend

The National Scholars Program Finalists are notified of their selection in January and are invited to compete during National Scholars Program Weekend in February.

The final selection of the National Scholars is based on the Clemson University admissions application, the Clemson University Honors College application, and interviews and other activities that take place during National Scholars Program Weekend.

Invitations to join the National Scholars Program are sent soon after National Scholars Weekend. Finalists MUST participate in the weekend to be eligible for the scholarship.

Typical weekend assessment activities include individual interviews with a panel of faculty and alumni, a group interview with the NSP Director and one other faculty member (typically the NSP Faculty Fellow), and a group decision-making activity.