The Presidential Fellows are, first and foremost, scholars in their respective fields. They are selected for the fellowship based on records of academic achievement and are expected to continue this commitment to learning and success as they continue through their graduate coursework. 

The fellows are all full-time graduate students, who are expected to prioritize their academic work and succeed in their graduate courses. They work with a faculty advisor on academic pursuits and graduate coursework.

Each year the fellows set academic expectations and goals as a cohort to promote shared academic priorities and intra-group learning. Faculty advisors lead an academic committee within the fellowship that works year-round to incorporate academic discussions and concepts into the fellowship’s weekly meetings and activities. By incorporating these academic goals into cohort activities, fellows are encouraged to grow together and learn from each other's respective fields and perspectives.  

Fellows are also encouraged to seek out opportunities that tie their academic work to other activities, including projects in their placements across the university, fellowship projects and professional development goals.