Background Image Caption: The President's Scholars program is funded entirely by donors and attracts high school students with superior academic credentials like Adam Bakonis to Cal State Fullerton.

Striving for Excellence

Attracting the Best and the Brightest

Each year a group of California high school students being wooed by Ivy League colleges decide to attend Cal State Fullerton instead. These students, among the best and brightest of their graduating class, are attracted to Fullerton because of its academic reputation and its President’s Scholars program.

The program began in 1979 with 10 scholars and now numbers about 100. Funded entirely by donors, it provides full scholarships covering all student fees and annual stipends for textbooks for four years. President’s Scholars receive automatic admission to the University Honors Program, priority registration and consideration for on-campus housing. Two particularly valued perks are complimentary parking permits and laptop computers.

Scholars attend special seminars and meet periodically with the CSUF President. In return, scholars must be enrolled full time, maintain a 3.5 grade-point average, and contribute to university and community activities. The scholars are active in community service, including fundraising walk-a-thons, preparing Thanksgiving dinners at the Ronald McDonald House, and counting ballots on election nights.

Adam Bakonis, a scholar majoring in finance, says, “It’s very motivating to be around the other President’s Scholars, to see their accomplishments, to see the work they do, and to see that the goals they have set for themselves are really high. It’s not intimidating. I don’t feel that there is a competitive edge to it at all. Everyone is there to help you out.”

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