CTE U.S. Presidential Scholars Program

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964, and, since that time, the program has honored more than over 7,000 outstanding high school seniors.  The mission of the program is to recognize and honor outstanding high school seniors, and thereby encourage high attainment among all students.

Per the original Executive Order establishing the program, students are selected on the basis of outstanding scholarship.  For most of the program’s existence, nominees have been invited to apply for recognition based upon SAT or ACT scores.  As the program has grown, candidates have been invited to apply in other ways as well.  Last year, the first group of outstanding students who demonstrate excellence in CTE were included for recognition.

Since 2013, Chief State School Officers have been invited to nominate candidates from their states for the General component of the program.  The Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction is asking for our help in nominating up to five candidates for the U.S. Presidential Scholars in CTE.

All high school seniors that are CTE Concentrators (3 Credits or more of CTE) and graduating between January and June of 2019, who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents and who attend public, parochial, or independent schools, as well as those who are home-schooled, are eligible.  The candidates will go through the application process, and as in the past, the 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars will be selected by the Commission on Presidential Scholars and receive the Presidential Scholars Medallion at a ceremony in their honor in Washington, DC.


Consider the following questions as you contemplate the selection of your nominees:

  1. What about the student makes him or her stand out as having outstanding scholarship?
  2. What about the student shows strong ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields?
  3. Were there special challenges or hurdles this student has overcome while still achieving high academic success?

In addition, it may be useful for you to know that the reviewers will be considering the following categories when evaluating the nominees at the semifinalist and Scholar evaluation levels:

  • Involvement and Service (in school and community)
  • Leadership and Character
  • Writing samples
  • Academic achievements
  • Discretionary points for extraordinary achievement, heavy workload, family responsibilities, or obstacles overcome.