In 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established by executive order of President Lyndon B. Johnson to recognize and honor the nation’s top graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrated talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.
Scholars are selected annually by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by the President, based on academic achievement, personal characteristics, leadership and service activities, and writing ability. Every year, thousands of candidates qualify for the program based on outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, and through nominations made by Chief State School Officers or the National YoungArts Foundation.
The first step to becoming a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts is to apply and be selected for the National YoungArts Foundation’s annual program for 15- to 18-year-old artists. To be further considered for nomination by YoungArts, applicants must be high school seniors and meet all of the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program requirements.