Selection Criteria. The three main selection criteria for the scholarship are based on exceptional intellectual or artistic performance and promise, past and proposed metacurricular involvement and the student’s academic plans and community impact proposal.  As the fifth year provides an exceptional opportunity for both the scholar and the campus, applicants should describe in detail the potential impact of the fifth year on their lives and the impact they will have on the campus community: how they, the campus community and possible other communities will be better for having been a scholar.

The application process for the program will include an application review process and at least one round of interviews for select candidates.  Through this process candidates will be given the opportunity to describe the impact Carnegie Mellon has had on their lives, as well as their plans for contributing to CMU.  An academic and community impact proposal will be included in this plan.  Dual-degree or double major programs will be allowed as a part of the program.

Eligibility. Any student in their penultimate year of normal study (typically the third year) will be eligible to apply.  Students will need to be on track to complete their degree requirements in the normal time and must complete all these requirements prior to beginning the program.

Selection Process.  Applications for the program will be solicited in November of the penultimate year of study.  Candidates will be asked to submit a written personal statement concerning their qualifications for the Fifth Year Scholar program.  Personal interviews will be conducted for finalists.  The selection committee will include students, associate deans, and staff. Decisions will be announced in late April.

Candidate Proposals.  It is expected that each candidate will develop plans for the fifth year that will encompass their academic and professional goals and a detailed proposal for a significant contribution to the campus or Pittsburgh community.  As community contribution is an integral program component, scholars are expected to study in Pittsburgh during their fifth year. Proposals which involve studying abroad or leaving the Pittsburgh vicinity for the fifth year are generally not viable, but will be considered on an individual basis. 

Specifics of Community Impact Proposals. This proposal should reflect the student’s perception of a compelling area of need or intriguing project and should allow him or her to pursue his/her interest.  This project will be a great opportunity for a campus wide initiative or a program specific to the student’s college, and may encompass a research project, community involvement/service project, personal development activities, etc.

Plan and Project Implementation Following Scholar Selection. Being accepted to the Fifth Year Scholars program does not guarantee implementation of a student’s academic plan or community involvement proposal.  Rather, it is the student’s responsibility to assess the feasibility of his/her plans in consultation with the associate dean in his/her college or the coordinator of student academic services in his/her department, and personnel relevant to the success, feasibility and implementation of his/her proposals.  Additionally, candidates accepted to the program will, by completing the “Checklist for Potential Fifth Year Scholars,” determine the feasibility of his/her plans and proposal prior to officially accepting the scholarship offer.