Frequently Asked Questions

Ohio State has established this prestigious prize because we are deeply committed, across all disciplines, to make important and positive contributions through service to the community, the nation and the world.  

At Ohio State we engage our students. In turn, we expect our graduates to engage with the world.  This prize is a measure of the university’s unbreakable commitment to public service — or “Education for Citizenship.” The President’s Prize provides new, tangible ways for our new graduates to use knowledge and ingenuity as forces for good in the world.  The prize rewards students who demonstrate a purpose-driven desire with the opportunity to maximize this philosophy as they begin their professional careers or continue their educational journey by working to transform the lives of others — in their communities, across the country and around the world. 

President Michael V. Drake’s 2020 Vision for Ohio State is built on three foundational principles: to nurture access, affordability and excellence; to encourage community engagement; and to champion diversity and inclusion.   

“We can solve the critical issues of our time; our collective efforts can and will transform lives.” 

At Ohio State, students possess great personal energy, ambition for impact and an ability to work with others to achieve individual and collective goals. Time and again, our students demonstrate their leadership, concern for the welfare of others and a profound consciousness of inequities. Simply put, their bold ideas and visions for change have the potential to make the world a better place.  For these reasons, the President’s Prize was created to further empower Ohio State students to transform the world. 

There is not one specific topic or problem. Students should submit a project idea that has the potential for bold impact and furthers the university’s mission of addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

The prize is made possible through generous philanthropic contributions. It is entirely supported by unrestricted endowed funds that are dedicated to advancing the university’s priorities as determined by the president and university leaders.

This prestigious award is akin to a Fulbright, Rhodes or Truman Scholarship. Recipients will be offered unique opportunities and experiences directing large-scale projects with funding assistance. President’s Prize winners also will have the ability to form lasting connections with notable Ohio State faculty, alumni, donors, staff and friends. 

Any full-time graduating senior who will receive his/her first undergraduate degree in autumn 2017, spring 2018 or summer 2018 is eligible to apply. 

The project proposal is not required to relate to a student’s area of study, but proposals will be judged in part for articulating realistic visions. You will be required to work with a faculty mentor but this person does not need to be connected to your undergraduate college, department or major. 

Local projects are those intended to make an impact in Ohio. National projects will impact communities within U.S. states and territories. Global projects will focus their impact in countries outside of the United States.

A project may be a one-year initiative or longer, but the prize’s financial support is limited to the first year post-graduation.

Yes, the idea must be original and the winner will be funded as an individual recipient.  But, it is perfectly acceptable to connect with an outside agency, company or partner during the execution/duration of the project.

No. Each student may submit and/or participate in only one project proposal.

There are two application rounds for the President's Prize. The following materials must be submitted as part of the application process.

ROUND ONE - due in summer 2017

  • Online application form 
  • Resume 
  • Respond to the following prompts in no more than 3 pages, 10-point font, with 1-inch margins: 
    • Problem statement – describe the issue you want to explore. Include why you are passionate about this topic and your motivation to address the issue. 
    • What do you want to accomplish through your project? Please include specifics about the resources and relationships (human and otherwise) you will need to be successful, and any obstacles you anticipate.   
    • How does your work align with and further the university’s mission? 
    • How would you describe your project on Twitter in 140 characters or less?

ROUND TWO - due in autumn 2017

Semi-finalists will be required to provide:

  • A preliminary project budget of up to $50,000 with a clear statement of how the funds will be used. Budgets for winning proposals will be refined during the planning period after selection of the prize recipients.   
  • Signed preliminary interest/commitment form from a faculty mentor with whom the student is proposing to work with over the course of the project.   
  • One letter of professional recommendation from an individual, not related to the student, who is able to assess the student’s preparedness to undertake the proposed project. 
  • A copy of the student’s academic transcript. 

Successful round two applicants will be asked to deliver a professional presentation about their project to the review committee of faculty and staff representatives. Finalists will be selected based on the strength of their application and presentation.

Finalists will complete an interview with the President’s Prize Selection Committee, from which recipients will be selected. Committee members include the provost or designee, vice president for Student Life or designee, the senior vice president for Advancement or designee, a representative of the University Senate and a representative of the president’s office.

No. All materials must be submitted online through the application portal by the stated deadlines.  Materials submitted after that date will not be considered.

If the student advances to the second round, the letter should be from an individual not related to the applicant who is best able to assess and address his/her preparedness to undertake the proposed project.  Letters from family members will not be accepted.

Yes.

If the student advances to the second round, he/she will be asked to identify a faculty member to submit a Faculty Interest Form. The faculty must complete the form, which will demonstrate his/her support of the proposed project. It does not require a commitment to work with the student for the 12-month duration of the prize award. The online form will be part of the second round application.

No.

All application materials are required to be submitted online on or before the stated deadlines. The timeline for the 2018 prize is still being finalized, however general information is listed below:

  • Round one applications:  July 14, 2017
  • Round two applications:  October 6, 2017

Candidates are required to submit their applications via the application portal. Application materials will only be accepted online. Interested students are encouraged to attend information sessions in spring 2017 for additional details about the application process.

There are two application rounds for the President's Prize. Following round one, a review committee of faculty and staff will read application materials and identify semi-finalists. Semi-finalists will be notified and invited to apply for round two. Following round two, the review committee will read application materials, and invite select semi-finalists to deliver a professional presentation about their project. Finalists will be selected based on the strength of their application and presentation. Finalists will complete an interview with the President's Prize Selection Committee who will select the two recipients.

Visit the Application page for full details.

Yes. All complete submissions received by the application deadline from students who meet the eligibility criteria will be reviewed. 

No, applicants selected for the second round will be able to review but not update their initial submissions.

Recipients will be full-time, benefits-eligible employees of The Ohio State University for 12 months, receive a salary of $50,000 and up to $50,000 for operational expenses for their yearlong projects. More information on project funding will be provided to students who are invited to submit second-round applications for the President’s Prize.

Please address any questions to the President's Prize general email address: presidentsprize@osu.edu. It will be checked daily and all applicable emails will be answered.

Key Dates

  • October 6, 2018

    Invited applicants must submit round two application materials by 11:59 p.m.

Apply

The round one application deadline has passed. Round two applicants should use the "apply here" button to submit their materials by the deadline: October 6, 2017 at 11:59 p.m.