Prospective Augie students welcomed at competition

Gavin Nicoson

On Saturday, Nov. 12, Augustana College held the first of two annual academic scholarship days. The event provided an opportunity for prospective students to visit Augustana’s campus, compete for up to $4,000 in scholarship awards and meet with faculty from a variety of departments. Saturday’s competition was held specifically for high school seniors and their families, with a similar event held in February.

The awards offered through Augustana’s scholarship competitions, as well as the details of each competition, change annually and are specific to students’ chosen majors. Senior Gwendolyn Flannery, visit day chair for admissions, said that these more focused scholarships offer multifaceted benefits.

“We have scholarships that every student is eligible for based on their GPA, but these scholarships are based on actual departments, so they’re wanting to encourage students who are interested in biology, business, languages, any field of interest, to come and be a part of it,” Flannery said.

While the academic scholarships are acquired in these competitions, students can earn merit-based, fine art scholarships separately. On these visit days, students can audition for theater and music scholarships as well as in portfolio reviews for the visual arts.

Because competition formats can range from essays to exams, Augustana’s online resources encourage students to focus less on preparation and more on enjoying the atmosphere of the visit day.

Augustana’s “Coming to the Open House and Scholarship Competition?” web page says, “there’s no studying, no essay to outline before, nothing to do in advance,” when it comes to a scholarship competition.

“We don’t want students to feel like they have to prepare coming in for this day,” Flannery said. “If we told them, ‘you’re going to have a 60-point biology exam,’ that would freak them out. It’s a chance for students to come in and show what skills they have.”

 Senior Katie Cooper helped welcome families to Augustana’s campus as a student ambassador. 

“We welcomed well over 200 families to campus today for the scholarship competition,” Cooper said. “The numbers this year have been pretty spot on with previous years. Apart from ‘It Begins with A,’ this is one of our larger events every year.”

With COVID-19 mitigation measures relaxed and registration numbers up, this year’s event was a chance to gauge interest in Augustana’s expanding engineering department. 

“I think it was great to see the number of students in the Physics and Engineering group this year. The addition of the Bachelor of Science and Engineering program likely played a large factor in that,” Cooper said.

For more students each year, scholarship days offer an exciting opportunity to visit Augustana’s campus and see their existing strengths rewarded. 

The appeal for students, though, goes beyond academics. Flannery said that visit days offer much more than just a financial opportunity.

“Students don’t know what to expect, but they’re excited to be on campus,” Flannery said. “They’re excited to eat in the dining hall. In the morning, they have an opportunity to go to an activities fair with student programs as well as financial aid, sports and athletics.”