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Graf-Meiland Scholarships for Rising Seniors - Awards for academic excellence &/or interdisciplinarity

Each year the Honors Program recognizes rising seniors whose academic and co-curricular achievements exemplify the Program's engaged liberal arts philosophy as Otto Graf and Jack Meiland Scholars. These awards honor the late Professors Otto Graf, who served as director of the Honors Program for eighteen years, and Jack Meiland, who championed interdisciplinarity in the Honors curriculum. Scholarships can range between $2000-5000 depending on available funding and the number of scholarships granted. Awards are disbursed after decisions are made in March; if the award affects a student's existing financial aid package, the award will be disbursed in the fall of the following academic year.

You do not need to apply separately for the Graf and Meiland competitions. The Meiland Scholarship will be awarded to the applicant of the joint competition whose academic work best exemplifies the principles of creativity and interdisciplinarity espoused by Professor Meiland.

Access application link in the Application Instructions section below.


Students should be rising seniors (graduating in FA23, WN24, or SU24) and either pursuing an Honors major or an approved Honors in Engaged Liberal Arts (HELA) project. Applicants are neither required to have started in Honors in their first or second year nor to have completed the Sophomore Honors Award; students who joined Honors via their major or HELA are welcomed to apply. Acknowledging traditional timelines are changing, if you have questions about eligibility please contact and case by case decisions will be made.

Selection criteria

Selection criteria for the scholarship include:
  1.  Evidence of exceptional depth engagement with and understanding of issues within one's academic specialization. This may include excellence in upper-level courses within one's major, research accomplishments, plans for an Honors thesis or HELA project, etc. There is no minimum GPA, but most successful applicants will have strong grades in their area of specialization.
  2.  Evidence of broad intellectual curiosity. This may include taking a highly interdisciplinary approach to key issues in one's field - especially issues that span across multiple areas of the liberal arts (humanities, social sciences, natural and life sciences) - or pursuit of separate areas of intellectual engagement in another major, minor, language proficiency, etc.
  3. Co-curricular accomplishments that supplement or complement one's academic pursuits and demonstrate sustained commitment, leadership, and concern for the well-being of others.


The application will open at noon the third Monday of January and will close at noon the last Monday in February. Finalists will be invited to virtual interviews with the scholarship selection committee in March. Scholarship winners will be announced by late March.

  1. At least 4-5 weeks ahead of the application deadline:  Speak with your letter writers regarding their willingness to write letters of recommendation for you to give them ample time to submit their letters. Once they have agreed to write a letter, enter their contact information into your online application to provide a link to them to upload the letter (see instructions below under Letters of Recommendation).
  2. Before the application deadline:  Finish and submit your application. Late applications will not be accepted. 

Application Instructions

Application is open from noon on 1/16/23 and closes at noon on 2/27/23.

Applicants should be prepared to submit the following items via online application:

  1. Contact information for 2-3 recommenders including first name, last name, and recommender email address. This will be your first task on the application. (See Letters of Recommendation section below.)

  2. A brief video (~5 minutes total) introducing yourself and your future plans to the committee. Instructions below.

  3. Three 250 word essays in PDF form explaining how your engaged liberal arts education is preparing you for academic/career goals in the 3-5 years after graduation. Instructions below.

  4. A PDF of your updated resume or CV (typically 1-2 pages).   

  5. An unprotected PDF of your U-M transcript. To obtain an electronic copy of your UM transcript, order an official copy to your email address from the Registrar's Office via Wolverine Access.  Open the security-protected PDF.  Right-click and select "print to PDF" to create a non-secure copy of the PDF.  Use Adobe to remove the authenticity page. (The transcript has now become de facto unofficial.)

  6. Copies of any non-UM transcripts, if you are a transfer student. Please use Adobe to combine these into a single PDF to upload to your application for nomination. Note that transcripts are typically not needed for study abroad or dual enrollment credit in high school. Please consult if you have any questions about this step.

    Access application here.

Letters of Recommendation

It is strongly recommended that applicants contact their letter writers approximately four weeks ahead of the deadline to give them ample time to submit their letters.

Applicants should arrange for at least two and no more than three letters of recommendation from writers who know their academic and/or co-curricular accomplishments. At least two of these should come from faculty or staff who can speak to your academic pursuits. Non-UM faculty with whom one has pursued research or other academic projects are also acceptable. One letter may come from someone who knows you primarily in a co-curricular pursuit, especially one who can speak to your commitment, leadership, and concern for others.

Once the application has opened, you should click on the link to begin your application. Scroll to the bottom of the application to find the instructions for inviting recommendations. Enter the name and contact information of your letter writers, being sure to type the email address correctly. Make your FERPA selection in the checkbox. When you hit ‘save’ next to each recommender, the application management system will send an automated email to your letter writer inviting them to upload their letter directly to your application. When you’ve completed this step for each of your recommenders, you can scroll to the bottom of the application and hit ‘Save as Draft.' You can then return to your application as many times as needed before you submit the final application.


For letter of recommendation writers:  Consult this document for letter writing advice and submission instructions.

Video Introduction

This short video will be an introduction to the committee that provides a framework for reading your application.

To create this video you’ll need to register with using the following steps:

    1. Go to:

    2. Select “Register”

    3. Fill out your information

    4. Check your email

    5. Click on the link to create your unique password. You will login moving forward utilizing the link above. 

    6. Enter Assignment Code Pg72Upz3puO6. This will take you to the specific instructions.

The video will ask you to respond to the following prompts:

    Question #1:  Tell us about yourself. What do you want the committee to know about your background, identities, and core values as we read your application materials?

    Question #2: What are your plans after graduation? Tell us about your career goals and future endeavors so that we have a framework for understanding how your U-M education is preparing you for the future.

You will have approximately 3 minutes to respond to each question. At the end of the recording, you can review your answer and re-record it if you’re not happy with your answer. Don’t worry too much about production value! We just want to get to know you.

When you have finished the two recordings, follow these steps to create a URL of the video to include in your Graf-Meiland application:

    7. Once you've completed your interview, go to the Review section on your Student View page.

    8. Find the correct interview if you have created multiple by selecting the drop down menu above the comment box.

    9. Below your interview select Share.

    10. Click on the Link tab. Click Generate Link.

    11. Copy the link that populates into the box.

    12. Re-open your Graf-Meiland Application and paste it into the appropriate text box in your Graf-Meiland application.

Essay Prompts

In the Graf-Meiland application itself, you’ll be asked to answer three questions about your academic journey at U-M.

Essay #1: The Story of Your Transcript Part One (250 words)

Tell us the story of your transcript. This should NOT be a semester-by-semester account of what courses you took and why. Neither should it simply be the story of how you chose your major (although that will probably be an important part of the story.) Rather, this should be the story of how you discovered and pursued your major intellectual project in college - a story that might start with pre-requisite courses or electives, be influenced and nurtured by courses in your major(s)/minor(s), and will culminate in your Honors thesis or HELA project in senior year. The intellectual project may be more narrow than your academic discipline or subdiscipline, or it may be a larger topic that spills over into multiple disciplines.

Essay #2: The Story of Your Transcript Part Two (250 words)

Now tell us a different story about your transcript, one that illustrates the breadth of your intellectual curiosity. You might tell us about things you’ve learned in elective courses or distribution courses outside of the main intellectual project described above, or how you’ve supplemented that project with insights from broadly interdisciplinary perspectives. The narrative may include assignments or projects and not just courses.

Essay #3: The Story of Your Resume (250 words)

Finally, walk us through the most meaningful co-curricular elements of your U-M education on your resume. Again, this should NOT be a complete account of what you’ve done that repeats your resume in prose form. Rather, it should provide contextual information that we can’t read on the resume itself. What are your most meaningful commitments outside of the classroom? Why are they meaningful? Why are they worth your time/energy? Do they augment your main intellectual project or contribute to the breadth of your interests and pursuits?


Submitting Your Application: When you have completed your video introduction and pasted the link in your application, completed the essay questions in the application text boxes, and attached the supplemental PDFs (2-page resume, UM and non-UM transcripts), please hit “Submit” at the bottom of your application.

Remember, all applications must be submitted by 12 noon on the final Monday of February in order to be considered.


Questions? Email


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