Public Interest Law Center

The Selection Process

Root-Tilden-Kern Scholars will be selected from among the group of students admitted for the Class of 2026. Each scholar selected receives a full-tuition grant (without regard to financial need). The grant is awarded for one year, but is renewed annually based on satisfactory academic performance and full participation in program activities and internships.

The program is committed to nurturing the development of outstanding public service leaders. Scholars are selected based on three criteria: commitment to public service, academic excellence, and potential for leadership. In assessing these criteria, the program looks at the whole person and considers previous life experience and professional work.

We strive to ensure that each class of Root-Tilden-Kern Scholars is diverse in terms of race, sex, class, ethnicity, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, immigration status, educational background, prior work experience, geographic origins, military service, and socio-economic background. People of color, LGBTQIA people, people with disabilities, indigenous peoples, undocumented people, first-generation college graduates, veterans, people with previous criminal convictions, and people who were raised in conditions of socioeconomic hardship are strongly encouraged to apply. The program believes that diversity is critical to fostering a strong public interest profession.

Preliminary screening of applications is done by current scholars and the directors of the program. Based on this screening, candidates will be invited to interview with a panel. Each interview panel is chaired by a federal judge, and consists of a faculty member, distinguished alumni, and current Root-Tilden-Kern Scholars. Based upon the recommendation of these panels, the program directors name the Root-Tilden-Kern Scholars. Scholarship offers are made shortly after the interviews.