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How to Apply

Acceptance to join the STEM Scholars is a two stage process (Application + Interview):

Stage 1: Online application (links below). Applications are reviewed and a subset of applicants are offered a Stage 2 Interview. Receiving an interview does not guarantee admission into the program.

Stage 2: After the interviews, a subset of the interviewees are offered acceptance to join the STEM Scholars.

Application Information

APPLICATIONS FOR Fall 2023 are OPEN now. I encourage you to apply after the Spring 2023 semester (May-August) to have the most up-to-date records.

  • Graduation + (PLUS)

    For high school seniors who are coming to Iowa State, there is an early application deadline May 1st for students to be part of the GRADUATION+ (Grad PLUS) program. To apply, click the Learn More link below and follow the instructions under “Ready to Join.”

    Note: if you are incoming first year student but missed the Graduation+ deadline, you can apply to the General Application Cycle.

    Learn more
  • General Application Cycle

    For current ISU students or incoming first year/transfer students, SPRING 2024 APPLICATIONS are accepted until 5 pm on Friday, January 19th.

    Interviews take place the following week after applications close.

    Apply online

Cydnie Paul

Important Mandatory Events:

New Student Orientation: Details of this required event for accepted students will be shared in a welcome email.

Fall and Spring application cycles will be dependent on the program’s ability to support more students. We will accept a smaller number of applicants for Spring semesters.

STEM Scholars Program (SSP) is a “strength-based” community of scholars. Although we recognize the very real need of students, we believe that selecting members based on their strengths (potential to contribute to this community and society) rather than their need for support (e.g., financial and academic challenges), creates a culture where individual student success and reciprocal support of one another go hand in hand.

Using a written application and invited interviews we look for the following in our prospective members: 1) “distance traveled” – barriers and challenges they have negotiated, 2) passion for science, and 3) demonstrated commitment to service.  We use SATs and GPAs not as a threshold to include/exclude students but as an entrée to discuss an applicant’s life circumstances. Measures of strength may also include a candidate’s resilience, persistence, willingness to seek and give help, and ability to re-strategize and re-group in the face of failure.

Who is “eligible”?

Any ISU undergraduate who supports the mission and goals of the STEM Scholars. The program is tailored to support students from Underrepresented populations (minority, low income, or first generation) and Transfer students, but the programming works for all populations.


The biggest strengths of SSP is the active participation of its members in support of each other’s success. Some specific minimum membership requirements are listed below, but they just represent a baseline of participation. SSP members contribute to the community in a myriad of ways not listed here, both large and small, from tutoring their peers to making new students feel welcome. Members often say “you get out of it what you put into it” which aligns with our observation that the most active and engaged BSP members often have better long-term success in achieving their goals. We ask that all members consider how they can use their unique strengths, skills, ideas, and interests to contribute to the STEM Scholars community.

Minimum SSP Member Requirements:

  1. Attend the STEM Scholars Orientation meeting
  2. Meet with Dr. Corey Welch (Director, STEM Scholars) at least once each semester
  3. Attend evening workshops 1-2 times/month. List of types/topics of workshops will vary by semester.
  4. Take 1-unit course taught by Dr. Welch: LAS 245 “Surviving and Succeeding in a STEM Major” (offered each semester; Class meets on Mondays 4:25-5:30  pm) within your 1st two years at ISU. ENROLLING in the class can be done during enrollment or by showing up to the first class and turning in add-course form. YOU DO NOT have to be enrolled in the course to apply to the STEM Scholars for membership nor do you have to apply after taking the class. I encourage you to take this class as it will be highly useful to you at ISU and beyond. 
  5. Participate in the Peer Tutor program for entry level STEM courses (Biology 211, 212, 255; Chemistry 177, 178, 331, 332; Math 143, 165, 166; Physics 111, Computer Science 127; tutoring are offered each semester); Help develop additional peer tutoring for other courses you are taking.
  6. Strongly encouraged, but not required: Spend at least 1 summer/semester doing paid research, an internship, or other related professional activity aligned with your major.
  7. Be supportive and a contributing member to the STEM Scholar community.
  8. Respond to periodic emails and surveys from STEM Scholars Staff during your undergraduate years and after graduation from ISU.