Students to compete for $16,000 Multicultural Leader Scholarships

Contact: Jeanne Baron
Photo of a WMU sign.

Competition winners will receive a scholarship and membership in WMU

KALAMAZOO—Some 140 high school seniors will compete in the Multicultural Leader Scholarship competition at Western Michigan University from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, in the Bernhard Center.

WMU established the by-invitation-only event in 2012 to broaden diversity and multiculturalism on campus. Only qualifying students from select high schools are invited to compete.

During the competition, they will vie for membership in WMU's Martin Luther King Jr. Academy as well as one of about 50 Multicultural Leader Scholarships, each totaling $16,000 over four years. Since the event's inception, some 100 students have received nearly $1.6 million in scholarships.

Scholarship eligibility

To be invited to participate in the competition, students must:

  • attend a qualifying high school;
  • be a degree-seeking, first-time, domestic undergraduate entering WMU in fall 2014;
  • have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 at the end of their junior year;
  • have an ACT composite score of 18 or higher, or SAT combined score (math and critical reading) of 860 or higher;
  • be admissible to WMU; and
  • have completed an admission application by Friday, Feb. 7.

Competition activities

This year's competitors and their parents will begin checking in at 8 a.m. and attend a welcome presentation at 9 a.m.

From 9:30 a.m. to 1:05 p.m., the students' performances will be measured through essay writing and a group problem-solving activity. Their parents will spend the time attending informational sessions on financial aid, on-campus housing and dining, and the Parent and Family Programs office.

To end the day, students and parents will have opportunities to eat lunch with WMU students and faculty and staff members, meet with representatives from academic departments and student services, and take tours of the campus as well as various residence halls.

MLK Academy

Students who receive a Multicultural Leader Scholarship automatically become part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Academy. The academy is a comprehensive program that offers academic, social, and professional development support and services to its members.

Those supports and services are tailored based on the developmental milestones associated with being a college freshman, sophomore, junior and senior. This makes the MLK Academy an integral part of the students' academic life, learning experiences and personal growth from their first year on campus through graduation.

Membership benefits include being assigned an upper-class mentor, receiving mid-semester academic progress reports, having access to one-on-one tutoring, and having opportunities to participate in culturally diverse programming as well as celebratory academy events.

Additional information

For more information about the 2014 Multicultural Leader Scholarship Competition, visit