Student Nomination Process

Only Missouri residents who are high school sophomores and who attend a public or private Missouri schools may apply. All areas of the application must be completed in order for the student to be considered. Applications must be submitted by a school official.

Nuts & Bolts of the MSA Nomination Process:

You can find the amount of nominations your school receives here: 2023 DESE School Nomination Information

Complete an online survey for each nominee. You can view a copy of the information requested in the survey HERE. You’ll want to verify all student information, including name spelling and email addresses. Use complete names for school district and high school. n.b. The qualtrics survey cannot be saved; it must be completed and submitted in one sitting. #sorry

  • GPA. The student’s grade point average for three semesters for all courses must be based on a four-point scale as follows: A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1. There are no provisions for giving extra weight to “accelerated” or “honors” courses. Plus and minus grades are not to be counted in the computation. In order to have a standardized method for computing GPAs from schools throughout the state, all schools must use this method, regardless of what scale the school normally uses. Do not send transcripts.
  • Aptitude test score. MSA requires an aptitude test score for all nominations. However, if your nominee(s)’s ability to take an aptitude test and receive a score was interrupted due to the pandemic, you can still nominate them! See more info below.
  • Letters of Recommendation. Please upload two letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the student’s academic abilities and personal character. One of the recommenders must be a teacher. MSA has put together a letter for recommendation writers to explain the importance of strong letters for their nominated student. Download a copy on this page.
  • Student Essays. Please upload two essays written by your nominee using the below prompts. Essays must be 250-350 words each.
    • Essay 1: Are you more interested in the lessons of the past or the future? Imagine you are required to spend a year living and learning in a different time period.  In 250-350 words, describe the year and location you would choose and why you would choose them. Also include what specific lessons you would hope to learn over the course of the year.  The year you choose must be after 2067 or before 1967. 
    • Essay 2: There are many issues facing society that require the attention of smart, conscientious people. Pick a current issue and, in 250-350 words, describe why that issue matters and how you propose we bring about change.
    • Download a copy of the essay prompts on this page.
  • Email. Please note: many students’ school e-mail systems are set up to block any outside communication. Please also provide a valid personal email address for your nominee. The majority of MSA communication is via e-mail, and we want to be sure that your student receives all information we send.
  • Formatting. All materials must be attached in PDF format.
    • You must combine all the letters of recommendation and the student essays in one PDF document and saved as “Last Name, First Name_ Letters and Essays.”

You will receive a confirmation that your application has been received. Please do not email us to see if your application has been received. If you have not received confirmation by February 18, you may contact us to confirm.

Nominate a Student



Scholar fee info updated October 1, 2022

Pending final approval from the Missouri Governor, MSA 2023 will be free for students to attend!

Questions? Please contact us at


Regarding the minority nominations, we’ve left the criteria of minority status up to each school. DESE tends to only track minority data for African American and Latino students, and we realize that the school populations (and our MSA cohorts) have tended to be more diverse than that! Schools have a better sense of their demographics than MSA does so we’d like to offer some options that haven’t been there in the past.


School nomination allotment is based on school size or enrollment numbers as reported to DESE and on previous MSA nominations. We wished to clear up confusion that has shown itself in the past between smaller and larger districts. Smaller districts, with 1 high school, would receive nomination totals for that high school. Larger districts would receive allotments for their entire district rather than by school. MSA wished to streamline the process by breaking down nominations by high school rather than district. However, if your district wishes to continue to submit your nominations based on the total nominations of your district, you may do so. Please note that if the district decides to coordinate nominations, the total number cannot exceed the sum of the individual school totals.


MSA does not require an I.Q. test score for all nominations. Due to inequity in the cost of I.Q. tests and the ability of schools to cover said costs, I.Q. test scores are no longer required for nominations. Scholars will be scored based on four categories: GPA, aptitude test score, letters of recommendation and student essays.