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Application Process

Overview of the Application Process

The Penn State McNair application process ensures that interested undergraduate students satisfy all program eligibility requirements. Each fall semester (September – November), Penn State McNair recruits a variable number of new scholars to fill slots vacated by graduating senior scholars.

New Scholar Recruitment

To inform undergraduates currently attending the University Park campus about Penn State McNair, the McNair professional staff conducts planned information sessions during the fall semester. Program staff also engage in making presentations to classes, campus organizations, and special academic support programs.

Penn State faculty and staff are also encouraged to nominate and refer students to the program by using the form below:

  • McNair Scholars Program Nomination Form (DOC) | (PDF)
    The following form is available in Adobe PDF and accessible Microsoft Word (DOC) format.  The accessible Word document is designed to be used specifically with screen reader technology. Please use the PDF version of this form unless you require the use of screen reader technology.

Penn State McNair Information Sessions

The 2018 Penn State McNair information sessions are TBD. Please check back for a current list of upcoming sessions. It’s highly recommended that if you cannot attend an information session, please contact the Penn State McNair program office at 814-863-1095 to make an appointment to speak with a member of the professional staff, or send an email to  to learn about the program and the application process.


Completing the McNair application requires a time investment. McNair staff must ensure that interested students are a good fit for the program. We do not provide an online application. Interested students will need to attend a McNair information session or meet in person with McNair staff to be provided with electronic application materials. The 2018 application deadline is Friday, November 9.

A completed packet consists of:

  • A completed program application form
  • A statement of purpose
  • One copy of your official or unofficial college transcripts from all institutions attended, including Penn State
  • A copy of your family’s income tax form from the previous year
  • A copy of your financial award letter
  • Two letters of recommendation (must be from faculty)


After the application deadline, all submitted applications are vetted by McNair staff to determine eligibility and fit. Eligible candidates are then notified by email to make an appointment for an interview with the Penn State McNair Admissions Committee, which consists of McNair staff, representatives from the Office of Graduate Educational Equity Programs, College Multicultural Leaders, and Penn State faculty and staff. After interviews, final selections are made, and McNair staff will notify all candidates of their application status by late November - early December.

Successful candidates become McNair Scholars in December and start program activities immediately.

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