So you're coming to the Open House and Scholarship Competition
Winter is coming and with it, a visit day that offers prospective college students an opportunity to win scholarship money. These days are called Scholarship Visit Days and here’s all the info you need to know before going to one.
What's a scholarship visit day?
Scholarship visit days are unique opportunities to not only visit the schools you've applied to, but also compete for scholarship money that could make the difference in which college you choose.
They're essentially win-win situations for prospective students. Best-case scenario, you win thousands of dollars in scholarship money. Worst-case scenario, you got to get another look at a college you're interested in.
Schools all over the country have scholarship visit days, and each one has their own way of doing things. At Augustana, students compete for $4,000 in scholarships ($1,000 renewable for four years). Augustana also offers fine arts scholarships on these days, but those amounts differ for music, art and theatre.
How should I prepare for a scholarship competition?
To be frank, there really isn't a way to prepare. In fact, you don't need to prepare at all. There's no studying, no essay to outline before, nothing to do in advance. Just show up on the big day with a smile and be ready to explore the campus like you would on any other college visit.
The only exception is if you're competing for a fine arts scholarship at Augustana. Those students will need to do some stuff beforehand to prepare their portfolio.
What should I bring to the competition?
Bring what you would to any other college visit. If you feel like bringing a notepad and pen to write things down, then go for it. Or if you decide to just bring yourself, that's perfectly fine too.
What will the day entail?
You can expect to find similar opportunities as you would at any other visit day. You'll be able to interact with students and professors, eat lunch in the dining hall, and get a tour of campus.
Where this day differs is, you guessed it, the scholarship competition. The exact nature of the competition varies from department to department.
For example, when I participated in the biology scholarship competition, my group just took a test to determine our knowledge of the subject at that moment. But students in the English session were probably assessed differently.
There's no way to prepare for this, simply because you have no idea how you'll be assessed and what you'll be assessed on. Thus, all you can do is show up and do your best.
If you happen to be someone who loves the arts, you can, in addition to academic scholarships, compete for fine arts scholarships as well. In these cases, you'll present a portfolio or audition and may be asked to interview as well.
In the weeks following the visit, expect to receive some sort of notification on whether or not you won the scholarship.
If you win an academic departmental scholarship, you’ll keep that scholarship throughout your four years at Augustana ($1,000 per year) as long as you declare and stay declared in that major.
If you win a fine arts scholarship, you don't have to major in that field in order to keep the scholarship money. However, you will still have to be involved whether it be through student performances or lessons.
But whether you win or not, you’ll hopefully learn even more about the school and get a better idea if it’s truly a good fit for you or not. Yes, winter may be coming, but we hope that by attending an Augustana Scholarship Visit Day you’ll end up deciding to come to Augustana too.
Justin is a rising senior, double majoring in biology and neuroscience with a minor in creative writing. This summer, he conducted research at Baylor College of Medicine, where he investigated the use of several brain imaging scans to detect early structural and functional differences in young mice with Alzheimer's, with the hope of eventually developing an early diagnostic tool for the disease.