Skip to content

Breakthrough Scholars Program

Selection Process

How Breakthrough Scholars Are Selected

Every year, Clemson University invites a select group of students to be part of the University’s Breakthrough Scholars Program.

Breakthrough Scholars demonstrate academic excellence, a passion for research and discovery, leadership ability, and the potential to make an impact and create more inclusive spaces within their local and global communities through Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).

Scholars are selected after a review of Clemson University and Honors College admission applications that are completed on or before the priority deadline, followed by interviews and other activities with student finalists during a Breakthrough Scholars Program Weekend every March.

A Breakthrough Scholar posing next to a research poster she developed.

Scholar Criteria

Successful applicants tend to demonstrate:

  • A passion for STEM through their interests, experiences, and extracurricular activities
  • A desire to expand their perspectives and awareness of issues related to diversity and inclusion.
  • Strong standardized test scores, exceptional grades (especially in math and science courses), and thorough and thought-provoking essays.

To be considered for the Breakthrough Scholars Program, an applicant must be from South Carolina and submit two applications online:

Only those applicants who meet the priority application deadlines outlined in the Honors College application timeline will be eligible for consideration for the Breakthrough Scholars Program.

Applications that do not meet the final Honors College deadline for priority applicants will not be considered for the Breakthrough 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 Breakthrough Scholars Program recommends that students complete their Clemson University and Honors College applications well before these deadlines.

Application Timeline

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

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 BSP.

2023 Deadlines

Early February 2023

Notification of selection as a Breakthrough Scholars Program Finalist and invitation to compete during Breakthrough 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.

March 31 April 1, 2023

Breakthrough Scholars Program Weekend


Mid-April 2023

Notified of status.

Interview Weekend

Breakthrough Scholars Program finalists are notified of their selection in February and are invited to compete during Breakthrough Scholars Program Weekend in the spring.

Finalists will receive more information about Breakthrough Scholars Program Weekend, including a program of events, with their invitation. 

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