McConnell Scholars

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The McConnell Scholars Program is a prestigious enrichment program aimed at Kentucky residents who have demonstrated outstanding leadership potential and are committed to the principles of scholarship, leadership and service.

Recipients develop leadership skills through liberal arts seminars, "great book" discussions, domestic and international internships and a variety of networking opportunities. Past participants have met world leaders including two sitting presidents, two Supreme Court Justices, six Secretaries of State, and numerous U.S. Senators, ambassadors and leaders of foreign nations.

The program is open to all 2016 high school graduates with a minimum 3.35 GPA. The following must be provided:

  • One essay (not to exceed 500 words) - Consider the following quotation from The Autobiography of Harry S Truman: “Readers of good books, particularly books of biography and history, are preparing themselves for leadership. Not all readers become leaders. But all leaders must be readers.” Please react to President Truman’s quotation by discussing at least three important leadership or life lessons you have discovered in your readings of books, newspapers, essays or poetry.
  • Resume - to include high achievements, community service, and employment history
  • Two letters of recommendation - one of which must be from a high school teacher
  • All materials should be uploaded using the University of Louisville’s online scholarship application form
  • Application and materials are due Dec. 15

There are 10 awards given each year, and the program has produced more than 200 successful alumni.

The amount of the award will be determined by a selections committee, but typically will include full tuition, and an allowance for room, board and books. Additionally, each scholar will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., an extended study abroad to China and annual leadership retreats throughout Kentucky. In addition, each Scholar may apply for funding to support individual travel and internship plans.

On-campus interviews last two days and are typically held the last week of February.

Note: Applicants must at least minor in political science.

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