By Sloane Barlow and Audrey Richardson
On a brisk Friday morning, over 500 high school students and their supporters came to the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center to take part in the first of two Alumni Distinguished Scholarship events, to learn more about the Michigan State community and to compete for scholarships.
Prospective students who were admitted to the Honors College for fall 2023 by early December of last year received an invitation to the event. To start off, students participated in an intensive general knowledge exam. Later this spring, the University will select a set of finalists to interview before awarding the scholarships. In addition to the exam, the prospective students submitted short essays as a part of the competition in early January.
“Our goal is to bring talented students from across the country to come and experience Michigan State, first and foremost,” said Bess German, assistant dean of the Honors College. “And also, to provide students with an opportunity to compete for scholarships.”
While students took the exam, parents listened to leaders of the Honors College showcase what Michigan State can offer.
From the perks of a flexible curriculum to our nationally ranked program supporting education abroad, German described the wide variety of advantageous opportunities offered by the Honors College and MSU.
“You can do a lot here if someone opens the door for you,” she said in a presentation.
Current Honors College members spoke, sharing their experiences that they’ve been offered through the program. Neuroscience senior Erin Mahan shared her perspective on how to approach a large number of academic opportunities at Michigan State.
Mahan encouraged potential Honors College students to “try different things, because you only have four years at Michigan State.”
After the presentation, parents waited in the lobby to greet their students after the exam.
“I was impressed,” said Todd Bontranger, parent of prospective student Allison Bontranger. “They answered some questions about the professorial assistantship, about the Honors College, and in particular Lyman Briggs, which she (his daughter) applied for as well.”
Students made their way to the famous Brody Dining Hall and other dining halls on campus for lunch.
After getting a taste of dining at Michigan State, students and parents filed onto buses to take tours of the residence halls, as well as to tour a college or two of their choice for academic presentations from faculty and staff.
Perry Jackson, a high school senior from Tecumseh High School in Ohio, was happy he attended the event.
“I think it’s just a really nice community, and I really feel like I could fit in here,” he said. “It’s nice to know that there are people to be with on the first day and to make friendships.”
Afterward, students were welcomed by MSU Interim Provost Thomas Jeitschko, as well as Honors College Dean Christopher Long, at the Honors College presentation.
Long encouraged students to attend Michigan State, describing its friendly environment and dedication to education.
“I’ll give you three big reasons why to go here; the people, the place, and our purpose,” he said.
Erin Sawyer, psychology senior and Honors College student leader, reiterated Long’s statement.
“The staff, the students, and the faculty within the Honors College are striving for the same goal of cultivating a really rich and welcoming educational environment,” she said.
The Alumni Distinguished Scholarship event was a major deciding factor when she chose Michigan State, Sawyer said.
“I want to give back to that community,” she said. “Even if they don’t choose Michigan State, giving them information about the college, the admissions process, and helping them along their way is what’s important.”
In closing remarks, electrical engineering senior Samuel Rabick said it best: “I love Michigan State, I hope you love Michigan State, and I hope it’s the right fit for you.”
Following the Honors College presentation, students attended a resource fair to explore extracurricular activities such as campus-wide clubs and other academic opportunities, as well as the many support services offered at the Honors College. Faculty, staff, and students answered questions and welcomed all potential students to join the community this fall.
German said the event was a success.
“It felt really good to have an in-person day competition that wasn’t overwhelmed by the pandemic,” German said. “The biggest highlight is that the campus comes together to welcome these prospective students.”
The second date for the Alumni Distinguished Scholarship competition is this Friday at Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center.