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 California State University, Fullerton




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To maintain its excellence, our program incorporates an extensive, three-step process to thoroughly evaluate candidates. This process has been consistently reviewed and refined over our program’s 30-year history and continually provides a holistic view of President’s Scholar candidates. The main components of the evaluation process are:

  • Quantitative evaluation based on the President’s Scholars Application Index
  • Qualitative and quantitative evaluation of a candidate’s application, transcript and recommendations
  • Qualitative analysis of an applicant’s personal interview


To initiate a request for review, applicants must meet the minimum criteria, complete the online application and have their official transcripts sent to the President’s Scholars Program. The minimum requirements for application to the President’s Scholars Program are:

  • Receive acceptance to California State University, Fullerton as a first time freshman
  • Be a resident of the State of California
  • Hold a minimum 10-12 Academic, Weighted GPA of 3.75
  • Earn above average SAT Scores in all three components of the SAT I OR above average scores on the ACT Exam
Though all candidates must meet the above criteria to apply for the program, meeting them does not guarantee acceptance to the program. If a student is a National Merit Scholar Finalist or Semifinalist, they are granted an interview with the selection committee however this does not guarantee acceptance to the program. Any student must meet all minimum criteria and submit all required materials, regardless of their status as a National Merit Scholar Finalist or Semifinalist to be considered for acceptance into the program. There is no guaranteed acceptance into the program.

Through our campus partnerships, students are given the opportunity to complete a single application to request a review by the President’s Scholars, University Honors and Business Honors programs. Prior to initiating this application review, all students are screened based on their estimated President’s Scholars Application Index.

This index is comprised of the student’s weighted, academic, 10-12 GPA and their cumulative SAT I (or ACT) scores. Students whose estimated President’s Scholars Application Index falls below the minimum will be prevented from applying to the President’s Scholars program, however may still apply for the University Honors and Business Honors programs if they meet the respective criteria.

Request for Application Review

The online application is a streamlined process which allows students to highlight their academic and extracurricular activities to provide the President’s Scholars Screening Committee with an overview of their accomplishments. An added benefit of the electronic application is the ability to make the screening process “Blind” meaning no identifying information is shared with the committee, and every student is given an equal opportunity. Though demographic information is collected, it is not made available to the reviewers at any time.

When completing the application, students will proceed through a series of screens featuring the following sections:

  • General background information (kept confidential and “blind” to reviewers)
  • Academics
  • High school extracurricular activities
  • Community service activities
  • Essay


Once the application is completed, students must enter contact information for an adult, education professional from their high school who will recommend them. Students are required to enter their recommender’s full name, phone number and e-mail address as well as their high school's address. Upon successful submission of a request for application review, an e-mail will be sent to the recommender which allows them to submit an electronic evaluation form for the candidate.

After applying online, students must have their official transcripts sent to the President’s Scholars office.  High School Administrators should send the transcript to:
President’s Scholars Program
PO Box 6810
Fullerton, CA 92834-6810

Application Review

Once an application has been submitted and the President’s Scholars Program office receives a candidate’s official transcript and recommendations, the candidate’s file is completed. To ensure equal opportunities for all applicants, no file is reviewed until the submission deadline in January . After this deadline, the three-step evaluation process begins.

STEP 1: All students are ranked according to their official (not estimated) President’s Scholars application index. This quantitative evaluation maintains our program’s commitment to academic excellence while providing an objective ranking system. This index features a unique formula which prevents any single component from drastically inflating or deflating a student’s index.

Please note that often times student transcripts do not reflect the GPA used by the California State University system, thus each transcript is reviewed by the CSUF Admissions and Records office. This office provides the President’s Scholars program with the official GPA, which is then incorporated into the President’s Scholars application index.

STEP 2: The applications of the highest ranking candidates are rigorously reviewed by a 20-person committee. This committee is made up of CSUF faculty, staff, administrators and donors as well as current President’s Scholars and President’s Scholars alumni. Each qualifying application is read by three different individuals to ensure no single reviewer can drastically influence a student’s score. Moreover, all identifying information (such as name, address, demographic information etc.) is hidden from evaluators to ensure a “blind” review. Reviewers are only able to see a student’s academic record, high school and community service activities, essay and recommendations. Any identifying information on applications, transcripts or recommendations is removed to ensure an unbiased evaluation from all committee members.

STEP 3: Each qualifying candidate’s application score is combined with their President’s Scholars application index. Students are then re-ranked according to their combined score and the top candidates are interviewed by the committee. During the interview, students are evaluated on their communication skills, ability to think on their feet, professionalism and overall poise. This step in the evaluation process sets the Cal State Fullerton President’s Scholars program apart from many scholarships. Unlike other merit based programs which only consider a student’s historic performance, the screening committee considers an applicant’s potential, passion and engagement. This evaluation mirrors our program’s commitment to our scholars, highlighting our holistic approach to scholar support.

Though extensive and rigorous, this screening process has proved effective for over 30 years in selecting California’s best and brightest as recipients of the President’s Scholarship. Because our program recognizes that true President’s Scholars are more than just high-achieving; they are well-rounded, future leaders who are willing to engage their community and give back, we put extensive effort into maximizing the effectiveness of our evaluation.

For many scholars, the screening process itself exemplifies the dedication President’s Scholars receive from the campus. Embedded in excellence and focused on creating opportunities, our program thrives because we continue to support the best of the best. Accomplishing our goal begins with selecting the right scholars – and year after year, we do.

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