Monmouth / About the College / News / Full Story

This idea has merit

Barry McNamara
01/25/2011
Monmouth College is now offering the largest merit scholarship in its 158-year history.

The $25,000 Midwest Scholars Award, which will essentially cover the cost of tuition for its recipients, will be presented this year for the first time to a select group of incoming students. Because the award is renewable for up to three additional years, it could actually be worth a total of $100,000 to each recipient, provided a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher is maintained.

“The Midwest Scholars Award recognizes exceptional students who have an interest in studying in the Midwest,” said Don Capener, MC’s vice president for strategic planning. “They will be recognized inside and outside of the classroom as the leaders of their class.”

Midwest Scholars will be automatically invited into the college’s Honors Program. Recipients will also be offered opportunities to participate in honors courses, do research with faculty, experience special internships and lead community service projects. Some of those opportunities are related to the college’s Honors Program, but some are not.

“The Midwest Scholars initiative is meant to energize recruiting efforts for honors students who want a high-octane intellectual challenge,” explained Capener. “It will be closely tied to Honors Program activities.”

Coordinated by English professor Craig Watson, the Honors Program is intended for a select group of exceptional students. At the end of their four years in the program, these students graduate “with honors,” based on a 3.5 minimum GPA and a grade of B- or better in all honors courses. Most Honors Program graduates apply for competitive national scholarships or graduate programs pertinent to their academic and service achievements, and they are very successful.

“This seems like a strategic time to marry these high-end recruitment initiatives – a well-established, older program and this new merit scholarship,” said Watson.

To become a candidate to receive a Midwest Scholars Award, students must: complete a general application for admission to Monmouth College; submit two letters of recommendation; write a 750- to 1,000-word essay; and submit a résumé that includes their extracurricular activities. The application deadline is March 18. More information is available at www.MonmouthCollege.edu/midwestscholars.

Scholarship finalists will be invited to campus on March 26 to participate in Midwest Scholars Day. Activities will include group discussions, a campus tour and presentations on various academic disciplines. Candidates will share their reactions to ideas presented during personal interviews with a select group of faculty members and alumni who are leaders in their field.

Winners will be selected based on application materials, past achievements and performance on Midwest Scholars Day. They will be announced April 15.

“We expect some of the finest high school students in and out of Illinois to apply for a Midwest Scholars Award,” said Omar Correa, MC’s vice president for enrollment management. “We are excited to offer such a prestigious award and support Monmouth’s Honors Program with outstanding candidates.”