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The Reflection

WMU’s historic Medallion Scholarship competition brings out the best, brightest

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Every year The Lee Honors College at Western Michigan University co-sponsors the Medallion Scholarship Competition. The Medallion Scholarship is considered, by the Office of Admissions, to be the most prestigious merit-based scholarship available to undergraduates at WMU. Every year there are about twenty scholarships awarded, each valued at about $60,000 total, or $15,000 per year. For reference, the main campus tuition for first-time, full-time students that are Michigan Residents is $21,849, and for out-of-state residents is $37,861.

In order to be eligible for the scholarship competition the Office of Admissions must have received the student’s application by October 16, 2017. The student must also have a 3.7+ weighted GPA on a 4-point scale by the end of their junior year, a 26+ ACT composite score or 1240 on the new SAT. Students eligible

2017 Medallion Scholars after the induction ceremony. For a full list of names click here. Photo courtesy of WMU.

to attend the Medallion Scholarship Competition are automatically invited.  Before the competition date students are asked to submit a 2-minute or less video and fill out an activity log as well.


This year the competition took place on November 18, 2017. About 60 students will be selected to be semi-finalists, and one third of those people will go on to be crowned Medallion Scholars. The other 40 students however, are still awarded a scholarship. Titled the ‘President’s Academic Excellence Scholarship’ it’s valued at $25,000 total.

The Medallion Scholarship program was established in 1983, about 20 years after the Lee Honors college was founded. The scholarship competition was the brain-child of a University Trustee Meritus, J. Michael Kemp. He believed that “it was equally important to recruit academic scholars to compete in scholarship and academic recognition as it was to recruit athletes to compete in athletic competition.”

During the competition students go in groups through three different stations. One station is an essay, one is group problem-solving, and another simply a panel of current Medallion Scholars where the students are given the opportunity to ask questions.

“The Medallion competition was challenging but there was a sense of camaraderie between the participants afterwards, ” said Kelly Newell, Gull Lake High School senior and Medallion contestant. “We empathized with each others struggles and we were able to shake off some of our nervousness by just talking and being together.”

Sometimes the receiving of the Medallion Scholarship is a determining factor on where a student attends school.

“…before I was offered the scholarship, WMU was not my first choice,” said Caitlin Wiley, a current undergraduate student at WMU. “ I was thinking about going to Michigan State University or U of M, since I was accepted into the honors colleges at both universities and knew that they were both good options…”

Caitlin Wiley on her study abroad in Argentina. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Wiley

Wiley is in her senior year and is double majoring in Spanish and Global and International Studies, with a minor in Latin American Studies. During her time at Western Michigan University Wiley has done many prestigious things and has participated in many Student Organizations.


Caitlin Wiley and her sorority sisters, who also happened to be Medallion Scholars, at the Medallion Induction Ceremony.

“The Medallion has definitely opened doors for me that I didn’t expect com

ing into college,” Wiley said. “Every time I tell my professors that I’m a Medallion scholar they recognize that the Honors College has selected me as a student with a lot of potential.”

The Lee Honors College of Western Michigan University was established in 1962 and is one of the oldest honors colleges in the country. It is comprised of close to 10% of WMU’s undergraduates, approximately 1,800 students. Students who qualify for the college are automatically invited into the school, similar to how the Medallion Scholarship itself works.  Dr. Gary H. Bischof is the dean of the college. The college provides many grants to students for study abroad, research, or other activities.


[caption id="attachment_23989" align="alignleft" width="300"] Tova Carter poses for mug shot.[/caption] This year is my first year on newspaper, and my final one at Gull Lake high school. I’ve always wanted to do newspaper but never seemed to have the time. I enjoy writing and have a passion for news.  


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