WMU News

Medallion competition draws top high school seniors

Feb. 4, 2003

KALAMAZOO--About 800 of the brightest high school seniors in Michigan and 13 other states will gather at Western Michigan University over two Saturdays, Feb. 8 and 15, for the 19th annual Medallion Scholarship Competition.

These academic stars from more than 300 high schools will converge on the WMU campus to compete for more than $4 million in four-year scholarships to attend WMU beginning this fall. Accompanying the students will be more than 1,000 parents, who will take part in informational sessions and other activities.

The Medallion Scholarship Competition is one of the biggest events of its kind in Michigan. Since it began in 1984, about $80 million in four-year scholarships has been offered to more than 13,000 students.

The annual event allows students to compete for Medallion Scholarships worth $32,000, Board of Trustees Scholarships worth $24,000 and WMU Academic Scholarships worth $4,800. This year's awards will be offered by March 31.

The prestigious Medallion Scholarships cap off the competition and are among the largest merit awards in American public higher education. To date, these top awards have amounted to nearly $7 million and have been given to 314 students, including 27 students in 2002.

Only the cream of the crop of each year's high school graduating classes is invited to attend the Medallion Scholarship Competition. To be invited, students had to apply to WMU by Dec. 31 and have at least a 3.8 grade point average and American College Test score of 25 or higher.

In determining recipients for the three types of scholarships offered, the selection committee considers grades, courses, test scores and performance in the on-campus competition, as well as leadership activities, recommendations and, in some cases, personal interviews.

The students invited to compete this year include 412 who have perfect 4.0 GPAs and 171 who have ACT scores of 30 or higher--the highest being 35.

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, WMU dean of admissions. Also welcoming these admitted students will be Dr. E. Thomas Lawson, chairperson of the Medallion Committee and professor of comparative religion, and Jodi Ward, competition coordinator and assistant director of admissions.

In the morning, representatives from more than 30 University departments and offices will be available to provide information about services and resources they offer. Throughout the rest of the day, students participating in the competition will take part 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.

The parent agenda 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. In addition, parents will have an opportunity to tour the Eldridge-Fox residence halls and the Student Recreation Center.

Other venues for competition-related activities include Sangren Hall, Wood Hall, the Fetzer Center, Schneider Hall and the Lee Honors College building.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 269 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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