Selectors seek students who demonstrate a strong commitment to a career in math, science, or engineering; display intellectual curiosity and intensity; and possess potential for significant future contributions in their chosen field. Students who plan to study medicine are eligible only if they plan a research career rather than a career as a medical doctor in private practice. Typical fields of study include, but are not limited to, applied science, astronomy, biochemistry, biology, chemistry, computer science, entomology, environmental science, genetics, geology, mathematics, microbiology, neurobiology, physics, zoology, and all fields of engineering. Succinctly, reviewers want to invest in students who demonstrate strong evidence of contributing to the technological advances of the United States. Illinois may nominate up to 4 students for the Goldwater Scholarship. While the average success rate of nominees is 25% nationally, an average of 73% of University of Illinois nominees have been selected as Goldwater Scholars since 1990. Read more about recent Illinois Goldwater Scholars. We encourage interested Goldwater students to also apply for an Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) award, of which one University of Illinois student will win each year.
Bryan Plummer and Monique Richards describe some characteristics of a competitive Goldwater applicant.