Frequently Asked Questions

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. He has said:

“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. 

For the 2021 President's Prize, any full-time graduating senior who will receive their first undergraduate degree in autumn 2020, spring 2021 or summer 2021 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 mid-July

  • Online application form 
  • Resume 
  • Respond to the following prompts in no more than 3 pages, minimum of 10-point font, with 1-inch margins, with minimum single-spacing: 
    • 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 280 characters or less?

ROUND TWO - due late-September

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.   
  • A clear and detailed project statement.
  • Preliminary support form from a faculty member, submitted online.
  • One professional recommendation letter 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. Presentations will be scheduled in October.

Finalists will complete an interview with the President’s Prize Selection Committee, from which recipients will be selected. Recipients will be notified by the end of November.

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

For the round two application, the recommendation letter should be from an individual not related to the applicant who is best able to assess and address their preparedness to undertake the proposed project.  Letters may be submitted by Ohio State faculty/staff or others not affiliated with the university at the discretion of the applicant.


For the round two application, students will be asked to identify a faculty member to submit a Faculty Interest Form. The faculty must complete the form, which will demonstrate their 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. A link to the online form will be emailed to the faculty member following the student's submission of the round two application materials.


All application materials are required to be submitted online on or before the stated deadlines. The application deadlines for the 2021 prize are being finalized and will be listed here soon:

  • Round one applications:  mid-July 2020
  • Round two applications:  late-September 2020
  • Round two presentations: mid-October 2020 (select round two applicants will be invited to deliver presentations to the review committee)
  • Final interview: late-October to early-November 2020 (finalists will be invited to interview based on culmination of all previous application and presentation materials)

Candidates are required to submit their applications via the application portal. Application materials will only be accepted online.

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.

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

Key Dates


The application is currently closed. Stay tuned for updates or contact with questions.