The Presidential Scholarship has been one of the most esteemed awards at ACU since 1993. As the program gets more competitive the requirements are also evolving.
Chief enrollment officer Kevin Campbell said the main thing that was different this year from prior years was that applicants were not required to write an on campus essay. Instead ACT and SAT scores were used, saving both time and the stress placed on applicants.
“They were just sitting in a room instead of experiencing our campus,” Campbell said, “we know that the ACT/SAT writing score provides a comprehensive look.”
The interview process was also tweaked this year. In the past students would have two separate interviews with different faculty. This year the students had one interview with two faculty members.
Campbell said this process was smoother and less intimidating.
Part of the reason for these changes was that the number of applicants for the Presidential Scholarship has continued to rise in recent years. Five years ago there were approximately 300 who applied and this year there were almost 500.
Because of these growing numbers the requirements for submitting an application may change in the future in order to limit the pool of applicants. Campbell said they are working on finding the right balance of maintaining the competitiveness of the competition without making it seem so strict that students don’t think they have a chance of receiving the scholarship.
Freshman Lindsay Urban, psychology major from Austin, is one of 34 students who received a half-tuition scholarship and said the interview process was well organized.
“We were allowed time to prepare ourselves and were introduced to the atmosphere of ACU prior to the interview being conducted,” Urban said. “I really liked that the interview consisted of a few complex questions rather than many superficial ones.”
Urban also appreciated that she was awarded the scholarship based not only on her academic achievements but also her extracurricular activities.
“I was academically successful in high school but definitely was not at the very top of my class. I focused more on being involved in clubs, sports, community work and being a leader at my church home,” Urban said. “ACU took my work in these other areas into account when a lot of other universities only care out your rank and test scores.”
Of the 394 students who interviewed for a presidential scholarship this year, 60 were offered an award. Of these 60, 34 were offered half-tuition, 21 were offered 3/4, and five were offered full tuition. Of those offered a scholarship, 75 percent chose to attend ACU.