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Nationally competitive scholarships are prestigious and highly competitive scholarships available to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students. Although these scholarships are difficult to win and require substantial preparation, USD students have great success.

While housed in the Honors Program, support for nationally competitive scholarships is offered to all USD students—undergraduates, graduates, alumni—and we work with all students throughout the application process, including competing for university endorsements when required.


As you go through the application process, we will:

  • Meet with you to determine which scholarships best suit your interests and qualifications
  • Work with you one-on-one on your application essays and personal statements
  • Advise you on requesting letters of recommendation
  • Prepare you for interviews


It's never too soon to start thinking about pursuing these opportunities, and some are open to students as early as the first year. We encourage you to consider the following:

  • Grades are important but are not the only criteria
  • Pursue an ambitious curriculum
  • Get involved through research, internships, service-learning, study abroad and student organizations
  • Develop close relationships with faculty in several disciplines
  • Search for leadership opportunities
  • Broaden your horizons

The Honors Program curriculum, extra-curricular requirements and programming all help students meet these criteria. If you are interested in joining Honors, please contact us at for more information.

Award Descriptions

Contact Us

For questions or more information contact Melissa Berninger or To request a presentation or workshop, please fill out this form.

Name Department & Office Contact
Melissa Berninger
  • Director of Honors Program
Old Main 120A