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What is JBA?

Purpose of the Academy

The Joseph Baldwin Academy offers highly talented students a head start on their future university careers by allowing them to live like college freshmen for three weeks: they move into a residence hall, adapt to living with a roommate, eat residence hall food, make new friends, attend classes, and work with Truman State’s faculty. We believe that many middle school and junior high students are not being challenged enough in their regular classrooms. The primary goal of the Academy is for our students to leave with an increased appreciation for the pleasures of education, intellectual engagement, and the college experience. Along the way we expect that they will grow both academically and socially as they interact with other high-ability students from across the country.

Overview of the Academy

Truman State University created the Joseph Baldwin Academy in 1985 in order to provide the benefits of a liberal arts education to students beyond its own undergraduates. Since then, the Academy has grown in size from 4 classes with 60 students to 20 classes with around 400 students in 2019. The Academy provides courses in all areas of the liberal arts, including the humanities, fine arts, natural sciences, and social sciences. All of the Academy’s classes are challenging, for they are designed to be the approximate equivalent of a semester-long university course offered during the regular academic year. The faculty members of the Academy’s classes structure their courses to suit the interests and abilities of the talented students who make up our student body. The Dean has personally selected the JBA faculty members, choosing some of the most exceptional teachers/scholars among Truman and alumni.


Students who are currently enrolled in the 7th, 8th, or 9th grade may be nominated by their school counselor or principal. Students must be identified as a high achiever as indicated by GPA, IQ, enrollment in gifted courses, high standardized test scores, or equivalent measurement (see Admissions on this site for details). If you are a student who meets these requirements and would like to attend the Academy, but have not been nominated by your school, please contact us at jba@truman.edu.

Important Dates

Please note that the deadline for applications has been extended to:


  • All nominations from principals and counselors are due October 18, 2021.
  • All student applications are due December 3, 2021.

Comments From Recent Academy Graduates and Parents:

  • “JBA was the best 3 weeks of my life and everyone was so nice and accepting.” (Kendall, age 13)
  • “You provide a brilliant experience.” (JBA 2021 Parent)
  • “… I continued to come back each year because of the incredible staff and sense of community.” (Victor, age 15)
  • “It taught a lot of independence and problem solving.” (JBA 2021 Parent)
  • “The Truman College Campus was a great place to stay. It was spacious and welcoming when I first got there, and after I stayed there for three weeks it was an easy place to understand.” (Andrew, age 13)
  • “We were very pleased with the program and feel it was a very valuable experience.” (JBA 2021 Parent)

Feel free to contact us with any questions that you may have at jba@truman.edu or 660-785-5384.