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Dear friends:

The Presidential Scholar is the highest United States federal honor for graduating high school seniors.

The scholar program was established in 1964 by an executive order of the President Lyndon B. Johnson,

' to recognize and honor some of our Nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors in the areas of academic and artistic success, leadership, and school and community involvement...'

In 1979, the Program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts.

In 1998, the Distinguished Teacher award was renamed as the Presidential Scholars Program Teacher Recognition Award to serve as a means for rewarding good teachers for knowledge, skill, and performance.

Thus, there are mainly two components.

The majority of the Scholars are selected on the basis of broad academic achievement. Approximately twenty additional students are selected on the basis of their academic and artistic scholarship in the visual arts, the performing arts, or creative writing.

The academic component of the program selects students who have scored exceptionally well on the College Board SAT or the ACT Assessment.

About 2,600 students are automatically considered for the honor, based on their SAT or ACT scores.

Test scores in each of the states/jurisdictions are reviewed, and the total SAT score is compared to the ACT Sum of Scores. Each student's highest test score (in a single test administration) is identified; duplicates and/or lower scores are dropped. In each state, scores are ranked from high to low. Approximately twenty females and twenty males are selected as candidates from each state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and from families of U.S. citizens living abroad.

For the arts component of the Program, students are initially selected based on their artistic ability. Students must register for the Arts Recognition and Talent Search (ARTS), a national program identifying and recognizing young people demonstrating excellence in the arts. Upon completion of the ARTS program, the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts will nominate approximately 50 students who meet the Presidential Scholars candidacy requirements.

Candidacy materials are mailed to students for participation in the program. Application is by invitation only; therefore, students may not apply individually to the Program, nor may their schools nominate them.

To confirm their interest, academic and arts candidates complete and submit candidacy materials, including essays, self-assessments, secondary school reports and transcripts for review.

Then, a review committee evaluates candidates on their academic achievement, personal characteristics, leadership and service activities, and an analysis of their essay. Approximately 500 candidates are named semifinalists and forwarded to the Commission for further review. All arts nominees submitting candidacy materials are automatically advanced to the semifinalist stage.

In April, the Commission on Presidential Scholars reviews the applications of all semifinalists. The Commission selects up to 121 academic scholars and up to 20 arts scholars. All scholars are honored for their accomplishments during National Recognition Week, held in June in Washington, D.C.

Presidential Scholars are guests of the Commission during National Recognition Week and enjoy an expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with government officials, educators, authors, musicians, scientists and other accomplished people.

To commemorate their achievement, the Scholars are awarded the Presidential Scholars medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House.

All Presidential Scholars are asked to identify those educators who have most influenced them. The selected educators are also invited to attend National Recognition Week. There, they are honored at a special reception to recognize and thank them for their efforts, and they are presented with the Teacher Recognition Award.

During the past 37 years, this unique federal program has honored nearly 4,000 Presidential Scholars, who have demonstrated leadership, scholarship, and contribution to school and community.


Nine students of South Asian origin, most of them Indian Americans, are among the Presidential Scholars for the year 2002.

One of them is Neha Mehta from New York.

Presidential Scholar

Neha Mehta

If you have friend whom you want to recognize for his or her extra-ordinary talent or achievements,

please let us know.

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