Event draws top students to vie for $50,000 scholarships

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News
Photo of competitors at a previous Medallion event.

This year's Medallion Scholarship Competition is Jan. 24 and 31.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Some 800 academically talented high school seniors from Michigan and around the country are gathering at Western Michigan University this month for the 32nd annual Medallion Scholarship Competition.

The program runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., with half of the students attending on Saturday, Jan. 24, and the remainder on Saturday, Jan. 31.

The competition is one of the biggest events of its kind in Michigan. Since it began in 1984, some $87 million in four-year scholarships has been offered to more than 15,000 students. Full Medallion Scholarships have been given to more than 500 students, including 23 last year, amounting to more than $8 million.

This year's competitors will vie for at least 20 full Medallion Scholarships worth $50,000 each over four years. Medallions are the most prestigious merit-based scholarship WMU awards to incoming freshmen. This year's recipients will be attending WMU beginning in fall 2015.

All participants offered awards

Medallion Scholars will be selected from about 40 semifinalists, who will be invited to return to campus in February to interview with the Medallion Selection Committee. The 20 students chosen to receive full Medallion Scholarships will become members of WMU's Lee Honors College.

The honors college enhances the undergraduate learning experience by providing such benefits as smaller class sizes, individualized academic advising, special co-curricular opportunities and a freshman-mentoring program.

Semifinalists not awarded Medallion Scholarships receive a top-tier Dean's Scholarship worth $6,000 over two years. Each remaining competitor receives a one-time Dean's Scholarship worth $3,000.

To be invited to compete for a Medallion Scholarship, students must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.70 at the end of their junior year and at least an ACT composite score of 26 or SAT-combined math and critical reading score of 1170. They also had to apply to WMU by Dec. 5.

Many activities on event day

On competition day, the competitors will write essays and participate in a group problem-solving activity. These judged events will be used, together with students' ACT or SAT scores, high school GPA, and student biographies submitted online, to select the semifinalists.

Student and parent check-in for the event will take place from 8 to 8:45 a.m. in the Bernhard Center and will be followed by a welcome program from 9 to 9:30 a.m. that will include remarks by WMU President John M. Dunn.

Students will take part in competition activities from 9:30 a.m. until about 1 p.m. During that time, their parents will attend informational sessions on topics such as financial aid, campus housing and dining services.

From 1 to 2:30 p.m., students and parents will have lunch and visit the Academic Showcase, where they can meet with faculty members from the University's seven academic colleges as well as the Lee Honors College and Graduate College. Optional tours will take place from 1:30 to 3 p.m., and a trip to WMU's world-class aviation campus in Battle Creek will be offered from 2 to 4 p.m.

For more information about the 2015 Medallion Scholarship Competition, visit wmich.edu/medallion or contact Scott Hennessy, associate director of admissions, at scott.hennessy@wmich.edu or (269) 387-2000.

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