Alumni Distinguished Scholarship Competition

The Alumni Distinguished Scholarship (ADS) competition is one of the oldest of its kind in the nation. This 66-year, longstanding tradition has helped to bring thousands of high achieving students to find a home at Michigan State University.

Approximately 120 scholarships will be awarded following the competition, and ADS participants will also be considered for several hundred additional scholarships later in the spring. The Alumni Distinguished Scholarship itself is awarded to the top 15 candidates based on intellectual performance and other achievements. Renewable over eight semesters, the scholarships include tuition, fees, room and board, and $1,000 annually.

Invitations to compete in the examination were sent to the most outstanding students who applied for admission by November 1. A special welcome message for you from the MSU President, the Director of Admissions, and one of our student leaders is posted below. 

The Virtual Event Experience

Thank you for registering for the 2021 Alumni Distinguished Scholarship Competition. We look forward to welcoming you, albeit in a different way this year, to our annual tradition that connects our prospective students to our vibrant campus community. ADS participants will have access to:

  • Live and interactive sessions with MSU faculty, staff, and students to help you to get to know MSU’s greatest assets - its people!
  • Avenues for you to meet other talented prospective students considering MSU to start to build your network
  • Access to an online hub for resources and competition events connecting you to information that will help you to feel at home at MSU
  • An online and secure testing experience

Schedule of Live Events

The Alumni Distinguished Scholarship competition provides an easy way for high achieving students considering MSU to get in-depth information about majors and programs, the Honors College, support offices on campus, and student organizations. In addition, students will be welcomed to the MSU community as new members. Live events will be repeated on both weekends of the competition.

Please note: As you build your own schedule, please choose which weekend days work best for you. Space is limited for the live events. If a session you attempt to attend is full, please attend the next scheduled live event.

Schedule of Events image - see text below image for details

Schedule with all times listed as Eastern Standard Time:

  • Thursday, January 28 and February 4*
    at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. is Honors College Webinar and Panel Discussion
  • Friday, January 29 and February 5*
    from 4 to 5 p.m. is the Academic College and Department Sessions
  • Friday, January 29 and February 5*
    from 5:15 to 7 p.m. is the Resource Fair and Student to Student Events
  • Saturday, January 30
    from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. is the ADS Examination
  • Saturday, January 30 and February 6*
    from 2 to 3 p.m. is the ADS Parent Info Session and Panel with Q&A

    *Links available in the Virtual Fair site

    A guide for participating in the Virtual Fair is available here.

    Please create a unique login to register for the Virtual Fair.

Student & Faculty Engagement Opportunities

Connect with current MSU students and faculty. We can’t wait to see you!

  • All events will be listed the Virtual Fair site; participants and family members create a unique login
  • Once in the Virtual Fair, click on the Webcast Agenda from the Menu for a schedule of all live events and visit pavilions for more information
  • There will also be an ADS online community at Discord in the Virtual Fair Student Connections Pavilion.

Button linking to Virtual Fair

Parent & Guardian Resources

Parents and family members are welcome to participate in the events of the ADS week, learning about the ways that their students will benefit from a supportive campus community. With the exception of the student online community and the ADS exam, parents may participate in all aspects of the program. 

Button linked to Parent and Guardian Resources page

ADS Competition Exam Info

The Alumni Distinguished Scholarship exam will be taken on January 30, 2021 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. You will have access to the test site by January 24 and you are required to complete the practice exam by January 29 at 9:00 p.m.

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If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out at or (517) 355-8332. You can also review our FAQs.