KALAMAZOO—Nearly 800 of the brightest high school seniors from Michigan and around the country are gathering at Western Michigan University this winter for the 31st annual Medallion Scholarship Competition.
About half of them competed Saturday, Jan. 25, and the remainder will compete from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1.
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 500 students, including 20 last year, amounting to more than $8 million.
This year's competitors will vie for about 20 Medallion Scholarships worth $50,000 each over four years. Medallions are the most prestigious merit-based scholarship WMU awards to incoming freshmen. The 2014 recipients will be attending school beginning in fall.
All participants offered awards
Medallion Scholars will be selected from the competition's top 40 finalists, who will be invited to return to campus in February to interview with the Medallion Selection Committee. The 20 students chosen to receive 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 and a freshman-mentoring program.
Finalists not awarded Medallion Scholarships will receive a top-tier Deans' Scholarship worth $6,000 over two years. Each remaining competitor will receive a one-time Dean's Scholarship worth $3,000.
To be invited to compete for a Medallion Scholarship, students needed to have a 3.70 grade point average by the end of their junior year as well as an ACT composite score of 26 or an SAT-combined math and critical reading score of at least 1170. They also had to apply to WMU by Dec. 6.
Many activities on event day
On competition day, the students' performance will be measured through essay writing and a group problem-solving activity.
Student and parent registration for the event will take place from 8 to 8:45 a.m. in the Bernhard Center and be followed by a welcome program from 9 to 9:30 a.m.
Students will take part in competition activities from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. During that time, their parents will attend informational sessions on financial aid and campus housing and dining services.
From 1 to 2 p.m., students and parents will have lunch and visit the Academic Showcase, where they will be able to meet faculty members from each of WMU's seven academic colleges. Optional tours will be taking place from 1 to 3 p.m.