Scholarship competition receives an overhaul

Ceilidh Mar

For most Lawrence students the Lawrence University Scholarship Competition brings up memories of letters of recommendation, stressing over GPAs, and a surfeit of essays. Today’s applicant has a different set of hurdles to jump.The scholarship competition is used in awarding many scholarships, including three main competitive merit scholarships: the Trustee Scholarship ($40,000 over four years), the Presidential Scholarship ($30,000 over four years), and the Alumni Scholarship ($20,000 over four years).

These highly competitive scholarships require a minimum GPA of 3.75 and test scores of 28 ACT composite or 1240 combined SAT, along with recommendations and extra-curricular activities. But instead of the previously required essays, Lawrence has implemented a new format that includes an on-campus interview.

This change is part of the ongoing search for the best system of awarding the scholarships. For the past five years Lawrence has been changing aspects of the application process, mainly in an attempt to determine whether the decisions for the awards should be based solely on the information presented in the application materials or on some form of on-campus competition.

This year’s scholarship competition utilizes a competitive interview with an interview team, eliminating the essay section of the application. The teams will consist of a faculty member, a current scholarship winner, and either a Lawrence graduate or an administrative staff member.

The new system started in mid-January with the first eight interviews, but most of the interviews will be held during the two upcoming Scholarship Competition weekends (Feb. 7-8 and 21-22).

These weekends are also set up to coincide with the on-campus conservatory auditions. This will make it easier for prospective students who plan on participating in both the competition and the auditions.

At the same time as these events, the admissions department will be planning receptions, parent-to-parent panels, and activities for the prospective students. If the competition goes well it could become a yearly event, involving both current students and the prospective students.

Admissions is looking for students to overnight host the Fridays of the competitions. Anyone interested should contact the admissions office at x6500.

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