|May 10, 2001
Volume 31 Number 16
|A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico|
From the President's Desk
President's Scholars Program
As the university scholarship campaign comes to a close at the end of June, I want to talk about one of the scholarships that is supported by the campaign. The President's Scholars competition is one of the most important scholarship opportunities for high-achieving incoming freshmen. We created it six years ago shortly after I came to Chico. It has grown from two $5,000 scholarships to ten $12,000 scholarships. In addition, we offer twelve $1,000 scholarships.
High school seniors who have applied and been accepted to CSU, Chico and have a 3.7 high school grade point average (or a 3.5 high school GPA with a 1200 total SAT score or a 27 composite ACT score) are eligible. I send each of them personal letters inviting them to participate in our competition.
The competition took place this year on Saturday, March 3. Students and their families gathered in Shurmer Gym for a continental breakfast early in the morning and were then escorted by honors students to Tehama Hall, where they took a series of three examinations testing critical thinking, science and reasoning, and communication skills.
At the same time, their parents were escorted around campus by student tour guides. Parents heard an informative and entertaining presentation by CSU, Chico's Outstanding Teacher for 2000, Cris Guenter, and took tours of various academic areas of the university. The tours included the Anthropology Laboratory, The Orion, engineering laboratories and projects, a psychology laboratory, a glassblowing demonstration, the University Art Gallery, the recording arts studio, agriculture programs, the natural sciences museum, the electron microscope, the Instructional Media Center, and business laboratories. During the lunch hour, students and parents took a tour of the campus or heard about our Honors Program.
We have found over the years that students who actually see our beautiful campus, talk to our knowledgeable and helpful staff, interact with our talented students, and meet with our dedicated and enthusiastic faculty -- enroll at Chico at a much higher rate than those who do not. And President's Scholars Day is
no exception. More than 60 percent of those who come to campus for this day of testing and campus tours actually enroll at CSU, Chico (compared to our general FTE show-up rate of about 29%).
When we first began President's Scholars Day, we consciously planned an event that would bring these students to campus, unlike other campuses with similar programs that give money to high-achieving students without having them compete for it. Evaluations of our program from both parents and students tell us how much they enjoyed visiting the campus and meeting with faculty and deans.
Students come from throughout the state and from other states as well. This year we had students and parents from Washington, Texas, Idaho, Oregon, and Nevada as well as Northern California, the Bay Area, and Southern California.
I meet regularly with the winners once they are students. I have an "open door policy" -- and they often take advantage of it, coming in just to talk or to ask a specific question.
In the six years of the President's Scholars program, we have welcomed unique and extremely talented students to campus. Zach Whitten, one of our first scholars, is one of an elite group awarded a $20,000 fellowship from the state of California, an award given to students who commit to teaching for four years at an under- performing school. Zach was one of only 250 from throughout the state.
Our program is ideal for attracting and retaining high-achieving students who are seeking scholarships and financial aid in ever greater numbers. Each year the number of competitors increases. I believe it is due in large part to the increased recognition of the excellent academic program this university has.
My hope is to be able to offer a significantly larger number of these president's scholarships -- and to increase them to $20,000 each ($5,000 per year for four years).
As we recognize the academic achievements of these students and recruit them to our campus, they in turn attract other high-achieving students. This cannot help but build the reputation of CSU, Chico as one of the best public universities in the state.
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