Event draws top students to vie for $60,000 scholarships

Contact: Jeanne Baron

WMU Medallion Scholarship Program.KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Some 900 academically talented high school seniors from Michigan and around the country will gather at Western Michigan University for the Medallion Scholarship Program's 34th annual competition. Half of the students will be on campus for the Friday, Dec. 2, session while the remainder will compete Saturday, Dec. 3. Parents and family members take part in a concurrent program on those days.

Medallions are the most prestigious merit-based scholarship WMU awards to incoming freshmen. In addition, they are among the largest merit-based scholarship programs in American higher education. This year's competitors will vie for at least 20 full Medallion Scholarships worth $60,000 each, but all participating students receive scholarship funds.

Semifinalists not awarded Medallion Scholarships receive a top-tier award based on their state of residency. Michigan residents can receive a $25,000 President's Academic Excellence Scholarship and out-of-state residents a $50,000 Presidential Gold Plus Scholarship.

The remaining Michigan competitors receive a $2,500 Dean's Scholarship and the remaining out-of-state competitors a $10,000 Presidential Gold Scholarship.

Cream of the crop

To be invited to compete for a Medallion Scholarship, students had to 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 (old SAT) or 1240 (redesigned SAT).

They also had to apply to WMU by Nov. 1. During the competition, students write essays and participate in a group problem-solving activity. About 60 semifinalists are selected based on those two judged events, along with their ACT or SAT scores, high school GPA, and biography submissions.

The semifinalists are invited to return to campus in January to interview with the Medallion Selection Committee. The 20 students chosen to receive full Medallion Scholarships automatically become members of WMU's acclaimed Lee Honors College. Those who accept membership receive benefits such as priority registration for the fall 2017 semester.

For more information, contact Sarah Drabik, WMU freshmen recruitment coordinator, at sarah.drabik@wmich.edu prior to competition day. For more information about the Medallion Scholarship competition, visit wmich.edu/medallion. For a schedule of events, visit wmich.edu/medallion/program-schedule.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.