Leadership Scholar Program gives Marines edge
“Enormous responsibilities and pressures (will) be placed on our young Marine leaders … The lines separating the levels of war, and distinguishing combatant from noncombatant, will blur, and adversaries, confounded by our conventional superiority, will resort to asymmetrical means to redress the imbalance,” said Gen. Charles C. Krulak, the 31st commandant of the Marine Corps, in a 1999 Marines Magazine article, “The Strategic Corporal: Leadership and the Three Block War.”
“In order to succeed under such demanding conditions (Marines) will require unwavering maturity, judgment and strength of character,” added Krulak. “Most importantly, these missions will require them to confidently make wellreasoned and independent decisions under extreme stress – decisions that will likely be subject to the harsh scrutiny of both the media and the court of public opinion.”
Marines shoulder these responsibilities on a daily basis during nation-building efforts in Afghanistan, partnering efforts with U.S. allies, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations around the world.
Despite Marines’ success tackling these challenges head-on over the past decade, translating military experience and responsibilities into civilian qualifications may be a daunting process for separating or recently separated Marines competing against their civilian peers for school seats at colleges and universities. This is where the Leadership Scholar Program comes into play.
The LSP helps give Marines a leg up in the increasingly competitive admissions process by working with participating universities to advocate for Marines and bridge the gap between military service and civilian qualifications.
Marines must be a high school graduate with an armed forces qualification test composite score of 70 or higher and a general technical score of 115 or higher in order to qualify for the LSP.
The program is also only available for application to undergraduate programs and requires Marines be honorably discharged by the start of the school semester for which they are applying.
A board of evaluators at the LSP determines applicants’ acceptance into the program based on their potential for success in an academic environment.
The applicant’s record of service, chronological record, administrative remarks page, basic training record, basic individual record, awards page, education record, joint service transcripts, high school transcripts, college transcripts if applicable and a letter of recommendation from the Marine’s commanding officer or officer in charge will be considered when making the decision.
Each participating university determines its individual application requirements in addition to the LSP requirements, as well as how many LSP applicants it will consider. Marines can apply to any university to which they believe they qualify, however, school application fees still apply. Some universities guarantee admission to an established number of participating Marines per year and even go so far as to provide scholarships to Marines accepted as part
of the LSP.
While some schools may work to provide veterans with scholarship and grant opportunities, Marines are responsible for arranging to pay for their education and can use their military benefits, such as the Montgomery G.I. Bill, Post-9/11 Bill or the Yellow Ribbon Program.
Interested Marines are encouraged to begin looking into the program and forming their educational plans early. A proactive and timely approach to the university and LSP application processes will allow Marines to transition from military service to life as a student with minimum interruption in their schedule.
Those interested in finding out more about the LSP, including which schools are participating, can visit their installation education center or the program website at www.leadershipscholarprogram.com. For information regarding possible waivers to application requirements, consult Marine Corps Order 1700.32.
Stroud is a combat correspondent with the Okinawa Marine staff.