If your student’s test scores have placed them among the top academic achievers in the nation, congratulations, that is something to celebrate! It also opens the door to many schools and scholarship opportunities. My son was fortunate to achieve the test scores and grades to be named a National Merit Scholar. From the moment the PSAT scores are announced junior year, these students will begin to receive an abundance of college propaganda and scholarship opportunities. Your student may be receiving the same attention for other test scores or even their high school achievements. I am focusing on the National Merit Award due to our experience, but financial awards and merit scholarship opportunities exists through other avenues as well, so if your student has the grades you may find this information beneficial. Honors housing is also available and scholars programs exist for scholarships outside the National Merit Program.
Again, this is my experience with the program and what a great fit it was for us.
If your student is recognized as a National Merit Semi-Finalist, be sure that the University of Oklahoma is on your list of colleges to visit. The University of Oklahoma is No. 1 among all public and private universities in the enrollment of freshman National Merit Scholars. OU is home to over 800 currently enrolled National Merit Scholars. The Fall 2015 class of 285 National Merit Scholars includes students from 39 states.
My son is among those who graduated high school outside of Oklahoma. He chose OU not knowing another person who would be attending. A little overwhelming, but from his first visit to enrollment day, he felt like he could call OU home. The National Scholars Program Team was there every step of the way. They arranged our initial visit beginning with a tour from a current National Merit Scholar and arranged meetings with professors and department heads in my son’s interest of study. Our assigned adviser joined us for lunch along with others working in the Scholars Department that day. From that initial phone call, we knew OU was dedicated to this program.
As a parent getting ready to send my first born off to college, I had the feeling my son would not be alone here, but have a caring team to call on if he needed anything. What I did not expect was the camaraderie he would build beginning day one with the others. My son chose to live on a National Merit Scholars dorm floor. Everyone on his floor is a recipient of this scholarship and almost no one on his floor knew his or her roommate prior to being assigned. The students on his floor have come from many different states and social economic backgrounds. It’s been a pretty cool experience watching my son form bonds with these students as they immerse themselves in their freshman year.
Another bonus is the upper class men and women in this program. They are leaders and mentors who are dedicated to making sure these students are feeling at home, getting involved and making the most of their academic experience. The students who share this award make up a group on campus. They have dinners and events and are proud of representing the university. Yet, they are diverse enough and have time to pursue their individual activities and groups.
My son is also involved with many things that are not related to the National Scholars Program and has made many friends outside this program. From my observations of the National Scholars Program students, I see a diverse, intelligent group of students proud of the bond they share, dedicated to each other and the university, yet diverse and independent enough to branch out and get involved outside the scholars program. The program has had such a positive effect on welcoming my son and a few of his new friends to college that they now want to be a part of welcoming future freshman to campus and ensuring they too will have as positive of an experience! My son has immersed himself into so many groups and programs. A more reserved student in high school, I now see my student getting involved in a university system that he is passionate about. I’ve watched my son grow this year far more than I ever expected and I know it is in part due to the program that brought him to OU. He knows he made the right decision in choosing OU.
This program has exceeded all expectations that we had. The staff can outline the numbers and give you all the information on the opportunity. What we did not see until school began was:
- The camaraderie these students would share
- The dedicated programs and pride OU has for their merit achievers
- The opportunity to transition to college not knowing anyone, yet being a part of some thing big
- There is a reason The University of Oklahoma is No. 1 among all public and private universities in the enrollment of freshman National Merit Scholars.
You can find more information on the University of Oklahoma’s National Scholars Program here.