FAQs for Prospective McNair Scholars

Is McNair a scholarship program? Why are students in the programs called Scholars?

McNair is not a scholarship program, but a graduate school preparation program.  The national McNair community adopted the term “Scholar” when the first programs were approved by the US Department of Education in 1989.  

In what year (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior) should I apply for the McNair Program? 

Ideally, students should apply to McNair in spring of their sophomore year for admission to the program the following fall term.

Can I apply for admission in a spring term?

No.  Students are only admitted to McNair to start in the fall semester.

Can I apply if I am transferring into Iowa State in the fall?

Yes.  Students who are transferring to Iowa State from a community college or other college or university are eligible to apply to McNair. 

Can I still apply if: 

        a.    I do not have research experience?  

             Yes.  Research experience is not required.

        b.    I do not have a faculty mentor confirmed yet? 

             Yes. You need not have a faculty mentor identified or confirmed.

        c.     I plan to study abroad in the fall?  

             No.  You must be a full-time student on campus for your first year in McNair.

Do I choose a faculty mentor or will the program choose someone for me?

You will be responsible for choosing your faculty mentor and organizing a meeting between a member of the program staff, you and your prospective faculty mentor. 

If I am currently working on research with a professor, will I need to get a new mentor once accepted in the program?

No.  If you are already working with a professor on research, you may continue working with that professor if they agree to officially serve as your McNair faculty mentor.

What are other ways McNair might support me as a program Scholar?

McNair will also support you in writing and revising the curriculum vitae and resume, personal statements for REUs and internships, and the statement of purpose for your graduate school application.

What activities can I expect to be involved in?

Research, teamwork and collaboration, and building community all contribute to the success of our McNair Scholars and core values of the McNair Program at Iowa State. These activities are built into the program schedule. Scholars are expected to participate in program events and activities which include attending and presenting at a local and national conference, working with other Scholars on a class research project, and attending a fall brunch, mid-semester recess, and an end of the year closing ceremony. 

How many students do you admit each year?

The Iowa State McNair Program admits from 10-15 new students each fall.