Student Nomination Process

Only Missouri residents who are high school sophomores and who attend a public or private Missouri schools may apply. Home schoolers are also encouraged to 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:

Please use this chart to find the amount of nominations your school receives.

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. The Slate survey cannot be saved; it must be completed and submitted in one sitting.

  • 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.
  • Standardized test score. MSA requires an aptitude test score for all nominations. However, if your nominee(s)’s ability to take a standardized 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: The media we consume occasionally speaks to us in ways that transcend mere entertainment. In 250-350 words, describe a character from a book, film, song, etc. who you identified with in meaningful ways. What made your connection to this character so significant? If you were plopped into this character’s narrative, what would you do differently?
    • Essay 2: There are many issues facing society that require the attention of smart, conscientious people. Select an issue that has personal importance to you. In 250-350 words, describe why that issue matters and how you propose we bring about positive 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.
  • FormattingAll materials must be attached in PDF format.
    • Each essay and letter of recommendation must be uploaded as individual files. Please title these documents “Last Name, First Name_Document Type”

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 16, you may contact us to confirm.

Nominate a Student

If you still have questions about using Slate, please follow this link: How to Nominate a Student



Thanks to the support of the State Legislature and Governor Parson, the 2024 Academy will be free to all scholars!

Questions? Please contact us at


We’ve left the criteria of “compelling case” up to each school. Please consider nominating students for whom attending MSA would make a substantial difference in their lives.


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, standardized test score, letters of recommendation and student essays.