The Trustee Scholarship Award is an academic-based, full-tuition scholarship given to approximately 20 incoming freshmen each year who have a minimum score of 31 on the ACT or a minimum score of 1390 on the SAT. In the past, potential award recipients were notified and got to choose when to come to campus for his or her interview. This year, scheduling an interview looks a little different.
Much like Bison Days, all the potential trustees are invited to come on the same weekend and are given a time for the interview. During the interview, students are asked about their interests and what they are going to study. Students that intend to pick a major in the field of science are given preference, but the award is not exclusive to those majors. Senior Bailey Shelton is a nursing student who received the award in 2015.
“The biggest [advantage] for me is that it is great to not have to worry about paying for classes,” Shelton said. “That is the largest part that I don’t have to pay for. So I don’t have to worry about the financial stress and burden. But it is also a good motivator to keep my GPA up and make sure that I am qualifying for it every semester.”
The scholarship candidates visit Harding on Mondays from Feb. 4 to April 1 for interviews in the morning followed by a lunch with faculty and current honor students, according to Jim Miller, chair of the communication department.
“They have more contact with people when they come to campus to interview, and that’s a good thing,” Miller said. “Previously, they didn’t have as much contact with faculty members or other honor students who are currently enrolled.”
Miller is one of 12 committee members who interview the candidates.
“I believe that students get a world-class education from Harding, and these students can go, in many cases, a lot of different places,” Miller said. “They’ve got a lot of choices. They have a lot of opportunities, and we want them to see that the education they get at Harding can be second to none.”
The award is renewed each year if the student lives on campus and maintains a 3.25 GPA. The scholarship does not cover housing or any other fees. Junior Jarrod Griffin is a general studies major with an emphasis in Bible and a minor in finance. Griffin has some hesitations about the new Trustees Days but believes it could be fun for incoming students.
“You are generally pretty nervous before the interview,” Griffin said. “I think some people might get more nervous meeting people [that are also potential scholars].”
Shelton also thought that seeing all the applicants in one weekend would have made her nervous. She liked being able to focus on her interview instead of comparing herself to others. However, Shelton also thought that having all interviewees on campus the same weekend would help develop friendships before starting school.
According to Miller, two scholarship candidates who met during one of the Trustee Days have already agreed to be roommates in the fall.