On Feb. 12 at 6 p.m., a group of nervous high school seniors gathered in the English History Center for a four-course meal as they were welcomed to the weekend that would determine their futures at The Master’s College. It was President’s Scholarship Weekend and at stake was a $14,000 scholarship awarded to the 10 most deserving students. This is the most distinguished academic scholarship awarded to incoming freshmen.
Every student attending the dinner on Thursday night had already been honored by qualifying for such a prestigious opportunity. Each had maintained at least a 3.85 GPA in their four years of high school, scored at least a 1400 on the SAT I and achieved a score of at least 32 on the ACT. However, this scholarship seeks to honor more than just academic success. Each student was now faced with perhaps an even harder test: an interview set to determine his or her merit as a leader in character.
This interview is conducted by a group of adjudicators who are selected months in advance. Judges include people such as TMC Director of Development, Luke Cherry, Associate Dean of Students, Dave Hulet, English professor, Grant Horner and Director of Commuter Life, Steve Ross among other faculty and staff. Based on these closed interviews as well as information gathered through applications and questionnaires, the adjudicators select the 10 recipients as a committee.
However, the weekend is not solely about these interviews.
“It’s a chance for the students to get to know the school as a group of individuals,” said Jordan Seehusen, Event Coordinator of TMC’s Admissions Department. “We want the students to not just see us as an interview… [and to] get a sense of The Master’s College apart from the scholarship.”
President’s Scholarship Weekend offers prospective students a better understanding of the significance of the scholarship. Another objective surrounding the event is to show that TMC offers the best education for a successful career.
Seehusen notes that The Master’s College is often most celebrated for its adherence to biblical principles. This unfortunately can overshadow TMC’s reputation for academic excellence. As part of The President’s Scholarship Weekend, students get to sit in on classes and experience firsthand that the course offerings facilitate a high quality education in their chosen area of study. The biblical foundation then serves as an asset when TMC is compared alongside other schools.
Through the testimonies of current students, along with college President, Dr. John MacArthur and Executive Vice-President, Dr. Lee Duncan, the applicants learn that the value of the college goes beyond academic excellence.
When asked why she chose The Master’s College over other reputable schools, freshman Paige Jacobsen, a former recipient of the President’s Scholarship, replied, “I knew that I wanted a college that was biblically sound … I figured that as long as [the courses] were based on the Bible … the teaching would be more true than, say, Harvard.”
Prospective students seem to be most struck with the one-on-one interaction as well as the personal interest they are given while visiting. Jacobsen also cites the sense of community and the genuine interest people took in her personally as major determining qualities.
“Both of my interviewers were very welcoming and were very conversational,” she said, “They made me feel at ease.”
The admissions department also seeks to quiet the nerves of the applicants by inviting them to a game night and giving them a welcoming gift. This year the gift was a leather-bound journal and a Master’s College t-shirt.
Each student who does not receive the President’s Scholarship will be offered the Distinguished Scholar Scholarship, which offers a renewable award of up to $11,000 per academic year.
By Emily Rader