Presidential Scholarship Competition - Frequently Asked Questions

Saturday’s Competition

How does the Presidential Scholarship Competition work?

All student participants will write an essay and have an individual 20-minute interview with two of our faculty or staff members on Saturday. The essay will be written from a set of 3-5 prompts. Students will have one hour to write. We will provide bluebooks and pencils for the essay. Students do not need to submit an essay prior to attendance and will be notified of their essay, interview time, and locations at check in on Saturday.

What should I wear on Saturday?

Students should wear professional attire. Dresses, skirts, dress slacks, blouses, sweaters for females and slacks, khakis, jackets, ties, sweaters for the males. Wear comfortable walking shoes. It may be snowing, so please dress warmly.

How are the winners selected?

Students are evaluated and selected from their performance both in their interview and on their essay. We are looking for such qualities as leadership potential, ability to communicate effectively, and commitment to excellence.

When will I hear back about the results?

We attempt to announce the results of the competition within four weeks. Students will receive both a phone call and a letter informing them of the results.

Parents, Families, and Guests

May my parents attend the weekend activities?

We warmly welcome parents and families to join student participants in the weekend activities. On Friday, parents and families are welcome to participate in all of the scheduled events. On Saturday, students and families will have separate schedules.

Is there a program for parents while students are competing?

On Saturday, parents are invited to join us for the welcome breakfast. Following breakfast, students will begin the competition and parents will have the opportunity to hear from our financial aid office, academic dean, and a panel of current students. Tours and Mass will also be available, and the Raven Store and Holy Grounds will be open throughout the day.

Friday’s Visit Program

What should I wear on Friday?

Casual attire is welcome for both students and parents. It may be snowing, so please dress warmly.

When do I check in on Friday?

Students who are not scheduled for a music audition are asked to check in from noon-12:45 p.m. on Friday in the lower level of the St. John Paul II Student Center.

I signed up for a music audition, when should I check in?

Students scheduled for a music audition are asked to check in between at 11:00-11:30 a.m. on Friday. Auditions are available only on Friday. Students will receive their audition time(s) and location at check-in. It is critical that you indicate your audition preferences when you RSVP. Following check-in, the music faculty will meet with all auditioning students to discuss the audition process and music opportunities on campus.

Will there be an opportunity to attend a class on Friday?

Unfortunately, we do not offer this option on Friday due to the number of guests. However, faculty members from the majority of our academic departments will be available Friday afternoon for you to visit in order to learn more about specific programs. This Academic Open House is available on Friday afternoon only. You will receive location information at check-in on Friday.

Is Mass available on Friday and Saturday?

Mass will be available several times throughout the weekend. Times and locations will be posted in the program schedule.

Will there be an opportunity to learn about the Honors Program, Gregorian Fellows Leadership Program, STEM Fellows, and Constitutional Fellows?

Yes. Students who have been accepted into these programs will have the opportunity to meet the program advisors.

Travel Plans

How do I get to campus if I’m traveling alone?

For students traveling alone, we will provide transportation to and from Kansas City International Airport (airport code—MCI) and the Kansas City Amtrak Station. Pick-up and drop-off times are available only for flights/trains leaving or arriving between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.

I plan to travel with my parents, is there a shuttle service available from the airport or Amtrak station to campus?

We ask that students traveling by plane or train with their parents to rent a car. Due to our large volume of guests, the college does not provide a shuttle service for students traveling with parents. Please visit or contact the Office of Admission for shuttle recommendations.

Lodging, Meals, and Parking

May I stay overnight on campus?

Yes, we encourage it! Student participants are invited to stay overnight in a residence hall on Friday and will meet their student hosts in the lower level of the St. John Paul II Student Center at 8:00 p.m. Of course, if students are more comfortable staying with their parents in a hotel, they are welcome to do so.

What should I bring if I am staying overnight in the residence halls?

We will make every effort to make the overnight experience comfortable. We ask that students bring a blanket or sleeping bag, pillow, towel, and any personal toiletry items. Due to the volume of guests, we are unable to provide these items to our overnight guests—this includes individual mattresses.

Where do I store my luggage on Friday?

During the day on Friday, students are welcome to safely store their luggage in one of the available rooms in the St. John Paul II Student Center until they meet their overnight hosts. Please bring all luggage (and instruments) to check-in. The admission staff will be available to assist students.

Where do parents, families, and guests stay?

There are several hotel options in both Atchison, KS and St. Joseph, MO. Please visit our accommodations page or contact the admission office at 913-360-7476 for suggested accommodations.

Where can I park and do I need a parking pass?

Feel free to park in any available parking space on campus. A parking pass is not required this weekend.

Should I bring money for meals?

While on campus, all meals for students and families are complimentary.

I have a food allergy. Who should I contact?

Students with food allergies should include this information when they submit their registration form.