Ten students standing on stairs inside Combs warehouse for Lincoln Scholars group photo

Lincoln Scholars Program

For students who have the capacity and a deep desire to change the world

Lincoln Scholars are exceptional young individuals who aspire to pursue lives of work and service to change our world for the better—nothing less. 

Each Lincoln Scholar’s experience will be an intentional, self-initiated journey toward the accumulation of knowledge and a deep understanding of the human condition, as well as an exploration of their roles as agents for positive change in the world. Ten Lincoln Scholars will be selected from each entering first-year class. 

Available to first-year applicants, the Lincoln Scholars Program offers 10 students full-tuition fees, room and board, plus and three summer enrichment experiences. 

Lincoln Scholars at Centre College

For the Betterment of the World

Robert Schalkoff – Director of the Lincoln Scholars Program, shares his thoughts on the program and describes what type of experience scholarship winners can expect.

What Do Lincoln Scholars Receive? 

Prior to matriculating at Centre, first-year Lincoln Scholars participate in an introspective workshop on leadership, a colloquium on Abraham Lincoln, and a four-day experience with North Carolina Outward Bound. These summer enrichment experiences contribute substantially to each scholar’s personal and intellectual development. 

Rising sophomore and junior scholars will select two out of the three themes. Each four- to five-week summer experience will expand the scholars’ perspective, lead to personal and intellectual growth, strengthen leadership skills, and further increase their capacity to become change-makers. Ambitious proposals for alternative experiences may be considered with approval of the Lincoln Scholars Program director. 

Rising seniors will complete a high-caliber summer experience. It will closely align with their major, potential career or graduate study, and/or pursuit of prestigious postbaccalaureate scholarships. Scholars will work closely with the program director and Center for Career & Professional Development to develop and complete this endeavor. 

The Scholarship Includes: 
  • Four-year, full tuition, fees, room and board, plus
  • Individual mentoring from the director of the Lincoln Scholars Program 
  • Three fully funded summer enrichment experiences 
  • Special programming and seminars 
Rising Sophomore and Junior Summers are Designed Around Three Themes: 
  • With Outstretched Hands—Serving Humankind 
  • Engaging Big Ideas and Challenges 
  • Grit and Tenacity in the Making 

Who Should Apply? 

Named for the 16th president of the United States, the Lincoln Scholars Program honors Abraham Lincoln’s rise to greatness from his humble birth in Kentucky and the influence of John Todd Stuart, Centre Class of 1826, who encouraged Lincoln to study law and became his first law partner. High school students who possess a deep desire to improve our world, and the intellect and capacity to do so, should apply. 

Competitive Candidates Will Also Demonstrate: 
  • Strong character and leadership potential as a change-maker 
  • Significant past involvement in personal or extracurricular activities, such as the arts, athletics, community life, service, and paid or unpaid work 
  • Persistence and drive to achieve goals 
  • Creative problem solving and innovation 
  • A GPA that reflects high achievement in challenging coursework 
  • Test scores are not required to be considered for the Lincoln Scholars Program 

How to Apply 

Students may apply for more than one premier scholarship program, but a student will only be selected as a finalist for one program. In the case that a student is a strong candidate for more than one premier scholarship program, our selection committee will place the student in the finalist pool in which the applicant will be the most competitive. 

  1. Apply for admission by December 1. We use the Common Application exclusively, and there is no fee to apply. Applicants may select any application plan (an early plan isn’t required) but all application materials must be submitted by December 1 to be eligible.

    Common Application
  2. The deadline to submit a Scholarship Application for the Lincoln Scholars Program is December 1st.  
  3. Applicants will be notified of their status in early February. Approximately 30 finalists will be invited to participate in a special selection process taking place virtually, with optional on-campus visit days in late February/early March. 10 recipients will be named by mid-March. 


Although a scholarship nomination is not required in order to apply for premier scholarships, the admission office welcomes nominations to help us identify and learn more about potential scholarship candidates. A nomination can be completed by a school counselor, core-course teacher, community-based organization liaison, employer, or independent college counselor. The priority deadline for nominations is December 1st, but we accept nominations through December 8th. 

Scholarship Nomination Form

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