WMU News

Scholarship competition draws top high school seniors

Feb. 4, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- More than 700 of the brightest high school seniors in Michigan and 10 other states will gather at Western Michigan University over two Saturdays, Feb. 12 and 19, for the 16th annual Medallion Scholarship Competition.

These academic stars from more than 300 high schools will converge on the WMU campus to compete for $4 million plus in four-year scholarships to attend WMU beginning this fall. The event is one of the biggest scholarship competitions of its kind in Michigan.

Since the annual competition began 16 years ago, nearly 11,000 students have participated and some $76 million in four-year scholarships has been offered.

Capping off the competition are the prestigious Medallion Scholarships, which are currently worth $32,000 over four years. These awards are among the largest merit scholarships in American public higher education. In 1999, 23 students earned these top awards and, to date, 241 students have shared about $6 million in Medallion Scholarships.

Also available as part of the competition are $24,000 and $4,800 scholarships. Each student who participates in the event and enrolls at WMU is guaranteed a $4,800 award, the equivalent of approximately 12 credit hours of free tuition each year for four years.

Only the cream of the crop of this year's high school graduating classes is invited to attend. Students had to apply to WMU by Dec. 31 and had to carry at least a 3.8 grade point average and have an American College Test score of 25 or better. The selection committee will consider grades, courses, test scores and performance in the on-campus competition as well as leadership activities, recommendations and, in some cases, personal interviews. Awards will be offered by March 31.

Among the participants this year are 290 students who have perfect 4.0 GPAs and 150 who have ACT scores of 30 or higher. The highest ACT score is 36.

More than 1,000 of their parents also will be attending to participate in information sessions and other activities.

The parent agenda for the day will feature sessions on the Lee Honors College, financial aid, housing and study abroad as well as discussions with current scholarship recipients and parents of current recipients. Tours of Eldridge-Fox residence halls and the Student Recreation Center also will be conducted. In addition, parents will have an opportunity to attend such University events as a men's basketball game, a hockey game or a performance by Gold Company, WMU's internationally known vocal jazz ensemble.

Event registration will take place from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. in the first floor lobby of the Bernhard Center. At 9:30 a.m. in the center's East Ballroom, the Medallion Scholarship Competition participants will be welcomed by John Fraire, dean of admissions. Also welcoming these admitted students will be Dr. E. Thomas Lawson, chairperson of the Medallion Committee and of WMU's Department of Comparative Religion, and Sara Hays, assistant director of admissions.

In the morning, representatives of more than 40 departments and offices will be available to provide information about services and resources being offered to the students.

Throughout the rest of the day, students will participate in essay writing and group problem solving activities. They also will attend panel discussions featuring some of the current Medallion Scholarship recipients and representatives of the Lee Honors College.

Besides the Bernhard Center, events will take place in Sangren Hall, Wood Hall, the Fetzer Center, Schneider Hall and the Lee Honors College.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 616 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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