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Recruitment and Selection - Overview

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Front Page / Bonner Program Resources Recruitment and Selection / Overview


Recruitment and Selection 

Overview  |  Guides  |  Campus Examples  |  Documents to Download

Ideally, recruitment of incoming first year Bonner students is integrated into the regular admission process at Bonner schools so that acceptance into the program becomes part of a student's decision to attend the school.  Below we give an overview of the Bonner Program's selection criteria and recruitment process.


Selection Criteria

 The following are the selection criteria used for the Bonner Scholar Program.  Bonner Leader Programs are encouraged to follow similar criteria, as noted below.  


Community Service Requirements

  • Demonstrate that he or she has held a role(s) with significant responsibility at home, in church, at school, or in the community.


Financial Requirements

  • Bonner Scholar Programs:
    • No less than 85% of the incoming class must have parental contribution below $10,000 (e.g., 17 out of a class size of 20) and the average parental contribution of this group must be at or below $6,000.
    • No more than 15% of the incoming students may have parental contribution above $10,000 (e.g., three out of a class size of 20).
  • Bonner Leader Programs: 
    •  No less than 75% of the incoming class must qualify for Federal Work-Study.



  • Achieve the gender balance that exists at the school as a whole (with no less than 40% of either male or female students).
  • Seek to increase the racial or ethnic diversity of the incoming class as compared to the school as a whole, with the goal to at least double the students of color representation in the Bonner Program compared to the school as a whole.


Academic Requirements

  • Meet the academic admissions requirements of the participating institution.
  • Specific GPA requirements for entering Bonners are up to each institution.  We have used the policy that a member should graduate in the top 40% of his or her high school class. Exceptions may be made on an individual basis, including exceptions for students who have earned a Graduate Equivalency Degree (GED).

  • Demonstrate a commitment to making connections between their service activities and their academic life.


Recruitment Process

 The recruitment process outlined below will assist you in: (a) identifying a qualified pool of committed student leaders, and (b) beginning the public relations process that will create widespread awareness of the program on your campus and in your regional communities.


The success of the Bonner Program depends in large part on an effective, well-planned recruitment campaign. It has been our experience that the best qualified class of Bonner Scholars/Leaders is recruited through hard work and foresight on the part of both the Admissions Office staff and the Bonner Program Director.


The college should seek students who show good citizenship, commitment to community service, and academic achievement, but who also demonstrate high financial need. Every effort must also be made to achieve gender balance and racial diversity in each new class of Bonners. Special recruitment efforts are needed to reach exemplary students who meet these qualifications.


Retention of Bonner Scholars/Leaders in the program and in school is an important goal of the program. Attrition, to a large extent, can be prevented if the students are chosen who are a good match for the program and for your institution; that is, students who have the desire and commitment to serve, learn, and grow in the program. Though it may be difficult to detect the qualities of a person that would make him or her a good candidate, careful evaluation in the beginning of the recruitment process will prevent a possible negative experience for both the student and the coordinator.


  • First- and second-year Bonner Scholars who withdraw from the program for any reason may be replaced. The following restrictions apply: 
    • Bonner Scholars must be replaced before the start of their third year;
    • All Bonner Scholar replacements must have parental contribution below $12,000 (revised Fall 2012);
    • Bonner Scholar replacements must be in the same class as the student they are replacing.
  • The process used for selecting replacement students must be approved by the Foundation.
  • A Change of Status Form for every replacement Bonner Scholar must be submitted and approved by the Foundation prior to the student being sent an acceptance letter by the program.
  • Students cannot replace Bonner Scholars mid-semester or mid-summer.
  • Replacement Bonner Scholars are only eligible to receive Bonner Scholarship support for the remaining term of the student they are replacing.
  • The loan reduction fund will be pro-rated for replacement Bonner Scholars (see Section 4.4.4).