WMU News

Competition draws top high school seniors

Feb. 1, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- About 700 of the brightest high school seniors in Michigan and 10 other states will gather at Western Michigan University over two Saturdays, Feb. 10 and 17, for the 17th annual Medallion Scholarship Competition.

These academic stars from some 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.

The scholarship competition is one of the biggest events of its kind in Michigan. Since the Medallion Scholarship Competition began in 1984, about $76 million in four-year scholarships has been offered to more than 11,000 students.

The 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.

Only the cream of the crop of each year's high school graduating classes is invited to attend the 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 better.

The prestigious Medallion Scholarships cap off the annual event and are among the largest merit awards in American public higher education. To date, these top awards have amounted to about $6 million and have been given to 260 students, including 19 students in 2000.

Each student who participates in the competition and enrolls at the University is guaranteed a WMU Academic Scholarship, which is equivalent to receiving about 12 credit hours of free tuition each year for four years.

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 339 who have perfect 4.0 GPAs and 167 who have ACT scores of 30 or higher, the highest being 35.

More than 1,000 parents of students participating in the 2001 competition also will be on campus to take part in information sessions and other activities.

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 Student Recreation Center and to attend a WMU women's basketball game.

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, dean of admissions. Also welcoming these admitted students will be Dr. E. Thomas Lawson, chairperson of the Medallion Committee and of WMU's Department of Comparative Religion, and Sara Hays, assistant director of admissions.

In the morning, representatives of more than 40 departments and offices will be available to provide information about services and resources being offered to the students.

Throughout the rest of the day, students will participate 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.

Besides the Bernhard Center, events will take place in Sangren Hall, Wood Hall, the Fetzer Center, Schneider Hall and the Lee Honors College.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 616 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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