The National Dean's List is the largest, most prestigious publication in the country recognizing gifted students selected by their deans, comparable faculty members or other educational organizations.
There is an actual prestige attached to this award you get recognition by getting your biography published in a book. You can get signed up for the student referral service and it is basically a service you have to pay to help you reinforce your qualifications when applying for graduate or professional school or employment. All you do is fill out what universities and companies you are interested in going to. It is $7.50. Also you have the chance to receive a $1,000 scholarship out of the $50,000 scholarships awarded each year and you can get special discounts on Gateway computers.
Basically, it can be based on your GPA for the subject you are majoring in and your academic achievements from the school you go to or from the community. Taking it from a person who has been nominated this year and not so many academics just a good GPA every semester, I think that is why I got nominated.