Joseph Baldwin Academy

What is JBA?

Joseph Baldwin Academy for eminent young scholarsPurpose of the Academy

The Joseph Baldwin Academy offers highly talented pre-college 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 in the residence hall
  • make new friends
  • attend classes
  • work with Truman State’s faculty

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 they will grow both academically and socially as they interact with other high-ability students from across the country.

Overview of the Academy

Named after the founder of Truman State University, the Joseph Baldwin Academy was created in 1985 to provide the benefits of a liberal arts education to students beyond its own undergraduates. The Academy provides courses in all areas of the liberal arts including:

  • humanities
  • fine arts
  • natural sciences
  • social sciences

The Academy’s challenging classes 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 professors, choosing some of the most exceptional teachers and scholars among Truman’s faculty and alumni.


  • Students who are currently enrolled in the 7th, 8th, or 9th grade may be nominated by their guidance counselor, school principal, gifted education teacher, or parents of home-school students
  • 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 Nomination Process for more 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

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

“JBA has been the first time I have been able to get to know people from different backgrounds than mine.  I had so much fun in and out of class.  I cannot wait to submit my application for next summer!”
—Student, 13 years old

“I look forward to JBA each year!  I only wish I could attend for more than 3 years!”
—Student, 14 years old

“I believe JBA is an amazing space for young minds to start finding themselves and what they want to do with themselves and to see what college could be like. I like the fact that it gives the kids control of their time and gives them some independence.”
—Stephanie, Parent

“JBA is a wonderful program. I highly recommend it to anyone with children eligible. It has been wonderful seeing our daughter challenged and grow so much in the two years she has attended. JBA is all she talks about all year round and is very sad she is too old to return next year.”
—Tracy, Parent

“The sense of responsibility for themselves is extremely beneficial.”
—Stephen, Parent

“JBA is a place where our young teens get to develop independence and social skills while exploring new academic/enriching curriculum. My children have all loved their time at JBA and grown as young adults while there.”
— Elaine, Parent

“My daughter had the time of her life at JBA. It was apparent that she was in a positive environment where she could grow in ways that she may not have been able to in her typical school/social environment. It pushed her in ways she would not necessarily have had the opportunity to experience otherwise.”
—Laura, Parent

“An excellent opportunity to experience a college lifestyle and find their people who share similar interests and love of learning. The life lessons gained were equally important to the academic opportunity offered by JBA. It has been a literal life line that gives some light at the end of the middle and high school tunnel. JBA gives my student an idea of what the future holds and how fun it can be!”
—Jamie, Parent

“The confidence and independence gained through JBA is unmatched. The program is so well balanced between the education/classes and the social aspects. JBA is the best investment in your kids development you can make.”
—Stephanie, Parent