A female student writing on notebook and male student holding paper, both smiling.

Presidential Scholars

Success Ready

The Montclair State advantage is now even stronger.

Leveraging its resources as a national doctoral research university, Montclair State is launching an exciting new program for high-achieving New Jersey high school graduates. Starting with the fall 2018 entering freshman class, the University’s new Presidential Scholars Program will give accomplished, motivated students the added challenge of special academic and career preparation opportunities, and the added support of a $5,000 scholarship for each of their four years of study.

Montclair State is preparing New Jersey’s high-achieving students for real-world success, with rigorous academics in a welcoming, diverse community; easy access to career-ready internships in New York and New Jersey; and now, a new program that rewards and challenges accomplished students with high aspirations.

A Distinctive Approach to Academic Excellence

The Presidential Scholars Program is designed to identify and cultivate New Jersey’s high-achieving students and to help them make the most of their undergraduate experience. Throughout their four years of study, Presidential Scholars will participate in academic, cultural, research-driven, and career-focused programs and activities that take the college experience to the next level and prepare them to be competitive candidates in their next step after graduation – whether that’s graduate school or the workforce.

Frequently Asked Questions: For Presidential Scholars and Their Families

What is the Presidential Scholars Program?
The Presidential Scholars Program is a recognition of students’ hard work, dedication, and academic success. In addition to the $5,000/year scholarship award, this program is designed to guide students through high-impact career and academic preparation experiences that will make employers and graduate schools take note. Each year, Presidential Scholars will have the opportunity to participate in experiences that build on the ones from previous terms, satisfying their desire and willingness to learn.
Why students choose the Presidential Scholars Program at Montclair State University?
It’s a comprehensive, guided approach to enhancing their education and helping Presidential Scholars make the most of their college experience. The opportunities students will have as a Presidential Scholar will make them more marketable, more academically prepared, well-rounded citizens of our global world. The Program is an integrated community of high-achieving students who will create a network of connections and friendships that will extend far beyond the campus boundaries.

What’s more, this community is exclusive. Less than 10% of the incoming class is invited to become a Presidential Scholar.

What types of experiences will be available to students?
The Presidential Scholars Program selects meaningful experiences—many of which students don’t typically discover for themselves until junior and senior year—and introduces them to Presidential Scholars early. Some of the experiences that will be available in Year One of the program include:

  • Exclusive Overnight Orientation just for Presidential Scholars
    At this extended overnight orientation, Presidential Scholars will get additional exposure from faculty and staff and have more time to connect with their high-achieving peers and explore the campus.
  • The Presidential Scholars Common Book
    To create an engaged community of Scholars, each participant in the program will read the Common Book. This book is discussed and analyzed in the First Year Writing course and featured prominently throughout the year’s activities. This year’s Common Book is The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert. The Common Book will be distributed and introduced at orientation.
  • Integrated Learning Communities
    An integrated learning community is a set of courses that students take together. In an integrated learning community, faculty teaching the courses and staff supporting the Presidential Scholars Program work together to make connections between the courses. This high-impact learning experience allows students not only to develop deeper relationships with their classmates, but to enhance their intellectual environment and critical thinking skills.
  • Career Development Plan
    We know Presidential Scholars are a focused, driven group of students, so they will have unique access to Career Services professionals who will work with them to develop comprehensive, four-year career development plans starting on Day 1. These plans will help students map out actions, experiences, and next-steps that build upon each other to prepare them to be competitive applicants in the job market upon graduation.
  • Leadership Development Certificate Program
    Besides enhancing students’ resumes, the Leadership Development Certificate Program (LDCP) was designed to provide students with both personal and professional development opportunities. There are four tiers to the program; each year a student participates in the program represents a tier. After completing each tier, the student receives a certificate demonstrating their mastery of the competencies they’ve learned.

    Through the Leadership Development Certificate Program, students learn:

    • To communicate effectively with peers and professionals
    • To think critically through self-reflective journals
    • To set and work towards a goal each semester with peer feedback
    • To foster an open-minded approach to understanding and appreciating diversity
    • To engage with the Montclair State University community
    • The importance of continuous character development and learning
  • Faculty & Expert Lecture Series
    Our high-achieving Presidential Scholars will have the opportunity to deepen their learning through a series of lectures and discussions led by faculty and experts from beyond the university. The series focuses on complex, real-world problems and encourages students to think about innovative solutions. This year’s fall lecture series will focus on issues related to climate change, as highlighted in the Common Read.
  • Alternative Spring Break
    Spring Break is a time for relaxation, but it’s also an opportunity for resume building and giving back to the community. Through the Alternative Spring Break program, Presidential Scholars can opt for a multi-day experience of service learning and community engagement. Students will stay in university accommodations during the program and will participate in projects that give back to the surrounding community.
  • The President’s Banquet
    At the end of the first semester, Presidential Scholars are invited to celebrate their accomplishments during their first few months at the university. The Banquet, hosted by Dr. Susan A. Cole, President of Montclair State University, provides an opportunity for students and faculty to come together to reflect on the fall term and reflect on their future goals.