Some of this year’s 2018 Marquis Fellows meet with President Alison Byerly in the President’s House.
Photo Courtesy of Catherine Corbin ‘18
Potential scholars strive for merit awards
A pool of approximately 120 prospective students exhibiting exceptional academic skills, a passion for contributing to community service and a knack for leadership will be headed to campus for one of two Marquis Awards Program Assessment Days.
For the second consecutive year, Lafayette College will host high school seniors for a dynamic assessment experience that will determine the recipients of the Marquis Scholar and the Marquis Fellow merit awards.
Offered to about 10-15 percent of students admitted for the incoming class, the Marquis Scholar award is worth $24,000 a year. The Marquis Fellowship is a newer merit award that yielded its first recipients in the class of 2018. Twenty to 25 admitted students are offered the Marquis Fellowship of $40,000 per year. Both scholarships include a $4,000 stipend to use toward an interim or summer trip with Lafayette faculty, according to the program’s website.
On either Feb. 21 or Mar. 7, potential scholarship recipients can expect a schedule that involves group interviews, team preparations and presentations and one on one interviews with faculty and/or alumni. Prospective students will also talk with students, which involves speaking and interacting with current Marquis Scholars and Fellows in a reception setting.
Roughly $1,800,000 is awarded annually to incoming students. Admissions wished to create a scholar selection process that expanded beyond the financial aid and admission departments to select the best possible recipients of the scholarship money, according to Dean of Admissions Matt Hyde.
“There was an opportunity to create more opportunity for the admissions team and the much broader community to be part of the selection of our scholars and our fellows,” Hyde said. “We wanted to be a little more deliberate about selecting our top scholars.”
As one of the first Marquis Fellow recipients in Lafayette College history, Emma Sherry ‘18 found the Marquis Award Program selection day both challenging and rewarding.
“I thought it was really indicative of the type of student that they were trying to attract,” Sherry said. “It’s a competitive environment, but also something that’s really creative and really about communication and fostering teamwork.”
As a result of the new Marquis Awards Program days, accepted students’ days tailored specifically to accepted Marquis Scholars have been eliminated. Students at the Marquis Award Program Assessment Days have not technically been accepted to the school.
Current member of the Marquis Scholar Steering Committee Christine Carpenter ‘17 reflected on her Marquis Scholar Accepted Student Day experience.
“You sat in on classes, you had talks given by EXCEL Scholars or different professors and faculty members,” Carpenter said. “The college really catered to you as an accepted scholar. The assessment days have a more competitive feel. I would like to see an acceptance day for the scholars like we saw in the past.”
Last year, the one-one one interviews were conducted in Farinon. This year, the interviews are taking place in faculty offices at various locations on campus, according to Carpenter.
“I think it’s a really great touch to have students go to a potential professor’s office and be interviewed in the building and department they could potentially be studying in,” Carpenter said.
Overall, according to Vice President of Enrollment Management Greg MacDonald, the admissions team is focused upon increasing the yield of merit-based scholars. The yield on merit-based scholars was at an all-time high last year.
“When you send somebody a very generous scholarship that they didn’t put any extra effort into getting, it’s not as valuable as them actually putting themselves on the line with some other outstanding individuals, as they do at these assessment day,” MacDonald said. “Potential students now have a lot more personally and emotionally invested in the process.”