Application Deadline Approaches for Presidential Scholars Program

Derrick Jackson of Dunkirk is in the Presidential Scholars Program at the College of Southern Maryland.

Students Asked to Apply by April 7 for Prince Frederick Campus Program

High-achieving students in Calvert County could qualify for an elite collegiate program right here in Southern Maryland. The deadline is April 7 to apply for the Presidential Scholars Program at the College of Southern Maryland's Prince Frederick Campus. The program is a way for academically superior students to start benefiting in a material and academic way for their hard work in high school. Students who are accepted into the program profit in a variety of ways.

Presidential Scholars receive a scholarship that covers 25 percent of their tuition their freshman year and 50 percent their sophomore year. They have the opportunity to attend monthly luncheons with speakers as well as other activities designed just for Presidential Scholars. They participate in several in-depth critical thinking projects and have access to key networking and mentoring opportunities. In addition, the program leads to an associate degree in arts or sciences, with guaranteed transfer to more than 50 colleges and universities.

Derrick Jackson of Dunkirk, however, says that his favorite benefit is just being able to say he is a Presidential Scholar. “It just sounds like an amazing academic award,” Jackson said.

Jackson, a straight-A student who graduated from Northern High School in 2016, was initially a little disappointed to not be heading off to a four-year university straight out of high school. His family couldn't afford it, but it didn't take long for Jackson to become convinced that CSM with its small class sizes and more opportunity to interact with his professors was a better fit for him.

Jackson learned about the Presidential Scholars Program from Shadei Jones, a pre-engineering coordinator who helped Jackson with his initial schedule. “She was really impressed with my GPA,” Jackson said. And when Jackson's father heard about the scholarship assistance that went with the program, he was impressed, too.

It was gratifying to Jackson to “actually get something back for all the work I did in high school,” he said. Jackson applied and was accepted.

In addition to the resume-building title of Presidential Scholar, Jackson also appreciates the guest speaker part of the program. “I think that's really cool,” he said. People who are successful in their careers come and talk, and students are encouraged to discuss and learn from the presentations. The speaker program provides plenty of opportunity for networking and also a way to connect with other Presidential Scholars, other particularly hard-working, focused students. “It's like an instant connection,” Jackson said.

“I think the most important thing is the experience that they attain in the Presidential Scholars Program,” said Dr. Lydia Williams, executive director of student services at the Prince Frederick Campus, discussing the program’s benefits. “The caliber of the guest speakers has been impressive. And it saves the scholars money on the attainment of the bachelor’s degree.”

Applicants to the CSM Presidential Scholars Program must be a resident of Calvert County, ranked in the top 15 percent of his or her graduating high school class, take the majority of their CSM classes on the Prince Frederick Campus, have demonstrated college readiness through a certain level of SAT or ACT scores, file a FAFSA and be a full-time CSM student. The preferred deadline to apply is April 7 of the year you will be entering the program.

To apply, a student needs to fill out an online application, submit high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores, write a one-page essay and turn in a letter of recommendation from a teacher or counselor.

Scholarship support for the Presidential Scholars Program is provided by the Florence B. Trueman Scholarship Fund of Calvert County. At this time, the program is only available at CSM's Prince Frederick Campus.

For a full listing of guaranteed transfer agreements for Presidential Scholars to more than 50 partnering universities, visit For more about the program or to apply, visit or call Williams at 443-550-6021.