MAILED: Dec. 12, 2000
The five new National Merit scholarship recipients who enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire last fall, as well as the increased number of 2001-2002 admission applications coming from students in the top quarter of their high school graduating classes, indicate the university continues to attract exceptional students.
Five freshmen awarded National Merit scholarships, which pay full in-state tuition, chose to enroll at UW-Eau Claire last fall: Andrea Anderson, Robbinsdale, Minn., mathematics; Rachael Caldie, Green Bay, mathematics; Ashley Cole, Mauston, psychology; Justin Lundberg, Eau Claire, music; and Jessica Verschay, Marinette, biology.
These most recent recipients of the prestigious scholarships bring to 22 the number of National Merit scholars currently attending UW-Eau Claire. Recipients have their full in-state tuition paid for four years.
High school students first qualify as National Merit semi-finalists by being among the top 16,000 performers nationally on the PSAT. The scores those semi-finalists receive the following year on the SAT, as well as recommendations and class rank, are used to determine the finalists.
UW-Eau Claire has officially participated in the National Merit scholarship program since 1982, and since 1994 an average of five new National Merit scholars have selected UW-Eau Claire each year, said Joey Gibbon, UW-Eau Claire interim associate director of admissions. An institution becomes an official participant in the program by having three National Merit scholars enrolled for three years in a row.
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation names 7,900 scholarship recipients annually, Gibbon said. She added that UW-Eau Claire is one of only two UW System schools (the other being UW-Madison) participating in the National Merit program.
Gibbon cited the universitys tradition of excellence in academics, coupled with its varied opportunities for students to pursue interests outside or complimentary to their academic majors, as important reasons why top scholars pick UW-Eau Claire.
People tag these students as just being academically smart, but the National Merit scholars we get at UW-Eau Claire are extremely well-rounded students, Gibbon said. UW-Eau Claire offers them both strong academics and opportunities to pursue their outside interests, such as music, athletics, and service opportunities, she said.
Theyre looking for the whole package just like anybody else, she said.
UW-Eau Claires Honors Program is another attraction for top students, Gibbon said. The honors program offers special, smaller-sized classes and extracurricular activities designed to motivate and challenge students who excel academically.
Gibbon noted that while UW-Eau Claire continues to successfully recruit National Merit scholars, the university is increasingly attracting other top students as well. Applications for admission to UW-Eau Claire for the 2001-2002 school year are up 9 percent from this time last year, and the number of those applicants who are in the top quarter of their high school graduating classes has also increased, Gibbon said.
Were getting good quality, as well as increased numbers of applicants, she said.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Dec. 12, 2000