Notes for Advisors

Conditions of Eligibility

Your nominee(s) by February 7, 2023 must have obtained at least two years of academic credit at a university, college, or community college and be full-time students with junior-level academic standing at four-year institutions.  Students should have an anticipated graduation date between December 2023 and August 2024.

You may nominate students with senior-level standing who will graduate after only three years of college enrollment. You may not renominate for this year's competition any candidates who were nominated previously for Truman Scholarships.

Number of Scholarships Available
The Trustees anticipate electing 60 to 65 Truman Scholars in 2023.

Number of Nominations
You may nominate up to four students for the competition. In addition, four-year institutions may nominate up to three juniors who spent their first one or two years at another institution.

Participation by Two-Year Institutions
Two-year institutions may nominate only former students who, by February 7, 2023, will be enrolled as full-time students with junior-level academic standing at accredited four-year institutions.

Types of Candidates Sought
The Foundation seeks future "change agents" who aspire to leadership positions in federal, state, or local governments or in the not-for-profit and education sectors where they can influence public policies and change public programs. Criteria for selecting Truman Scholars are mainly:

  • extensive records of public and community service,
  • commitment to careers in government or elsewhere in the public sector,
  • desire to influence public policies or education programs, and
  • outstanding leadership potential and communication skills.

In general, Truman nominees should be of such overall quality that you would feel comfortable in recommending them to serve as a student trustee, as a member of a dean or presidential search committee for your institution, or for some other positions of exceptional responsibility.

Definition of Public Service
The Foundation defines public service as employment in government at any level, uniformed services, public-interest organizations, nongovernmental research and/or educational organizations, public and private schools, and public service oriented nonprofit organizations such as those whose primary purposes are to help needy or disadvantaged persons or to protect the environment.

Scholar Accountability Policy
The Foundation has a service requirement. All Scholars are required to work in public service for three of the seven years following completion of a Foundation funded graduate degree program as a condition of receiving Truman funds. Scholars are also required to file timely reports with the Foundation on their current employment activities.

Degrees Given Priority in the Selection Process
The Foundation gives priority to candidates seeking one or more of the following degrees or equivalents: MPA/MPP, JD, MEd, MIA, MSW, MPH, and master's or doctorate degrees in fields in which most graduates go into public service. The Foundation does not give priority to candidates seeking MBAs or MDs unless they can demonstrate a strong public policy or public health interest.

Guidance for Candidates
The Foundation's website ( has a For Candidates section with tips and guidance for candidates.

Selection of Finalists for Truman Scholarships
To select Finalists, a committee will use the criteria contained in the candidate application materials (see Notes to Candidates for Truman Scholarships) and incorporated in a Nominee Rating Form. An edited version of the Truman Nominee Rating Form used to select Finalists is available on our website.

Announcement of Finalists
The Finalists will be posted on the Foundation's home page by 9:00 pm on February 24, 2023.

Announcement of Truman Scholars
The 2023 Truman Scholars will be announced on the Foundation's home page by 9:00 pm on April 19, 2023.

Frequent Problems in Applications
Candidates often fail to advance because of :

  • little evidence of leadership;
  • lack of sustained community service involvement;
  • poor use of Items 7, 9 and 14 to reveal their interests, values, and motivation;
  • failure to follow directions or suggestions on the Foundation's website;
  • seeking careers that do not fit the Foundation's definition of public service or that are not likely to affect public policies or education programs; and
  • graduate study proposals lacking specifics on what they plan to study, which institution they hope to attend, and some discussion of the major courses.

The Foundation encourages Faculty Representatives to help candidates learn how to prepare outstanding applications that present candidates accurately, comprehensively, and favorably.

Examples of Career Goals Sought by the Foundation
The Foundation seeks students who desire careers in such public service positions as:

  • managers, administrators, and analysts in federal, state, and local agencies;
  • legislators, aides to legislators, and staff for legislative committees;
  • teachers in public and private schools;
  • foreign service officers and staff in international development and assistance organizations;
  • professional staff in nonprofit and advocacy organizations to serve disadvantaged groups or to protect the environment;
  • analysts and researchers for think tanks and policy research and development organizations; and
  • attorneys for government agencies and legislative bodies.

Requests for Information Regarding Candidates and Special Circumstances
Truman Faculty Representatives are invited to correspond with the Deputy Executive Secretary by email (

Online Registration of Students
Truman Faculty Representatives must register each student so that the student can receive access to the on-line application. Once registration is complete, students will receive an email with log-in instructions.  Only those applications approved and submitted by the Faculty Representative are considered part of the four nominations allowed to the institution. An institution may register as many applicants as it wishes - and provide access to the on-line system - for internal competitions.

Submission of Nominations
All materials - the application, Faculty Nomination letter, additional letters of recommendation, and transcript(s) - should be uploaded to the on-line application. If the three additional letters of recommendation and the official transcript cannot be uploaded, please contact the Foundation for assistance.

Immediately after the deadline, the Foundation will conduct a hand review of all applications and will send an email confirming receipt of the materials to all Faculty Representatives by midnight, EST, on February 10, 2023. Faculty Representatives will be given the opportunity to correct any problems with an application before review by the Foundation.

Please do not contact the Foundation prior to February 10 to confirm receipt of any application. Given the short turn-around, the Foundation will not be able to respond to individual requests for confirmation prior to February 10.

The Truman Faculty Representative Nomination Letter
Enthusiastic, carefully-written letters from Faculty Representatives help good candidates advance to the interview - even if they have one or two weak points. Ordinary letters are a disservice, even to strong candidates.

An effective Faculty Representative Nomination Letter:

  • discusses both how the nominee meets selection criteria, in particular stressing his/her leadership and potential to be a "change agent," and how the nominee qualifies as an outstanding representative of the institution [e.g. worthy of being put forward as a student trustee, as a student member of a dean or presidential search committee, or for other positions of exceptional leadership];
  • makes the case why this candidate is outstanding in terms of leadership and academics and change-agent potential;
  • presents one or two examples of accomplishment or achievement of the candidate;
  • explains any apparent weaknesses in the candidacy; and,
  • identifies any unusual aspects of the school that might strengthen the candidacy (e.g., strict grading policy, limited opportunities for involvement in internships or in the community).

While there is no word or character limit for letters of recommendation, the Foundation strongly recommends that letters be confined to two printed pages.