What is the Truman Scholarship?

Internal Deadline:

November 8, 2023 at 12:00 PM 

Contact the Office of Fellowships for support at least one month before this deadline.

The Truman Scholarship Foundation awards up to $30,000 toward graduate school expenses to college juniors with demonstrated leadership potential who aspire to a career in public service. In addition to receiving funding, winners participate in the Foundation’s scholar enrichment programing.

Immediately following their junior year of college, scholars attend a mandatory Truman Scholars Leadership Week in Missouri. During the week, scholars attend seminars and workshops with distinguished Truman alumni and other public service leaders; work on community service projects at local Kansas City nonprofits; learn about different paths to public service; conduct a group policy project; and begin to prepare for their graduate school education.

Additionally, following their graduation, scholars are invited to participate in a ten-week long Summer Institute in Washington, DC, where they undertake internships with government agencies and nonprofit organizations. During their time in DC, scholars join in seminars and workshops, attend meetings with Washington policymakers and Truman alumni, and have opportunities for community building among their cohort. Following the Summer Institute, scholars may elect to stay on in Washington, DC for a full year through the Truman-Albright Fellows Program. For this program, scholars are placed in public service jobs mostly within the federal government.

Award Details

A woman writing on paper in front of a computer

How do I apply?

Carefully read the Truman Scholarship Application Steps page for detailed guidance on the application itself and the steps you should take to prepare a competitive application. 

Information for Recommenders

Each of the three recommendation letters for a Truman candidate focuses on one of three qualities – leadership, service, or academic achievement. Please ask the candidate which letter you are being asked to write and note this focus in the first paragraph. The prompt for each letter is as follows:

  • Leadership - Please confirm the candidate's leadership example in the application essay. Address the candidate’s personal characteristics (confidence, persuasiveness, diligence, conviction, vitality, poise, and so forth) which you feel contribute to the candidate’s leadership abilities.
  • Commitment to a career in public service: Please discuss the candidate’s suitability with particular emphasis on commitment to a career in public service. Address in particular the public service activity the candidate has highlighted in the application essay.  Please address the candidate’s values, interests, goals, and/or ambitions which represent commitment to a career in government or elsewhere in the public service.
  • Intellect and prospects for continuing academic success: Discuss the candidate's suitability with particular emphasis on academic scholarship, intellectual capabilities, and prospects for success in graduate school, and if possible, for the program highlighted in the application. Discuss the candidate’s intelligence, academic performance, analytical abilities, and other characteristics which you think contribute to further academic success.

You may find helpful these Suggestions for Writers of Recommendation Letters.

Format and submission: Please type your letter on institutional letterhead (virtual is fine), including your contact information, and sign it (electronic signature is fine). Then send the pdf via email attachment to Eric Myers at ermyers@amherst.edu by November 8, 2023. He will upload your letter to the Truman Scholarship online application system.

Have questions? Please contact us.

Christine Overstreet, Director of Fellowships
212 Converse Hall


Physical address: 100 Boltwood Avenue, Amherst, MA 01002

Mailing Address: AC #2214, PO Box 5000, Amherst, MA 01002