University of Wisconsin–Madison



UW-Madison deadline: November 19, 2021
Foundation deadline:
February 1, 2022

*Candidates must be nominated by UW–Madison and may not apply directly. Students interested in applying should contact the Undergraduate Academic Awards Office for more information about the application process. Contact: 608-265-2428,


The Truman foundation supports graduate study for college juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to “making a difference” through public service in government, education, the nonprofit or advocacy sectors, or elsewhere in the public service. Approximately 60-65 scholarships are awarded each year.


The scholarship provides $30,000 for graduate study leading to a career in public service, and offers students assistance in applying to graduate school, in addition to networking and internship opportunities. As a condition of receiving Truman funds, scholars are required to work in public service for three of the seven years following completion of their degree program.


  • Junior at time of application (1 additional year of undergraduate study following application year)
  • Top 25% of class (GPA≥ 3.5)
  • Plan to pursue a master’s, JD, PhD, or a professional degree in public service* field
  • Extensive leadership
  • Involvement with service/government/activism
  • Coursework/activities in field related to career interests.
    *Public service is defined as government at any level, uniformed services, public-interest organizations, nongovernmental research and/or educational organizations, public and private schools, and public service- oriented nonprofit organizations such as those whose primary purposes are to help needy or disadvantaged persons or to protect the environment.


  • Extent and quality of community service, activism or government involvement
  • Leadership record
  • Academic performance
  • Writing and analytical skills
  • Suitability of proposed program of study for a career in public service


To be considered for nomination, submit a complete campus application to the UAA Office by the campus deadline (see section below). The campus nomination committee reviews applications and endorses up to four candidates. Nominees may revise their application materials before the national deadline in early February. The Truman Foundation announces finalists in late February, and interviews them in early to mid-March. The names of scholars are posted on the Truman web site in late March.


To be considered for nomination, submit the following by 11:59 p.m. on the campus deadline. The transcript(s) and letters of recommendation may be emailed or mailed to the Undergraduate Academic Awards Office,, Room 502C, 445 Henry Mall, Madison, WI 53706.

  1. Application Form. Submit the official online Truman Scholarship application. For access contact the UAA Office (, 265-2428). You can preview a sample application here.
  2. Three letters of recommendation.  One must be from a professor in your field who can attest to your potential for graduate study, one must be from someone who can discuss your commitment to a career in public service (professor or volunteer/internship supervisor is a good choice), and the third must be able to discuss and verify the experience you write about in your leadership essay.  Please give your recommenders the appropriate recommendation forms, available through the online application (sample recommendation forms). Ask recommenders to email letters to The letters must be received by the campus due date.
  3. Transcript(s) from all colleges attended (for the campus competition an unofficial transcript or a copy of your UW-Madison student record is fine, as are photocopies of transcripts from other institutions). Transcripts should be sent to


For official information on the Truman Scholarship (which supersedes any information provided here), please see the Truman Foundation website.


Essay tips
Letters of recommendation tips
Recommendation forms
Previous Truman Scholars