LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 8, 2013) — Top high school seniors from across the state gathered at the University of Kentucky just before the holidays for the annual Governor’s Scholars Program/Governor’s School for the Arts Day.
More than 400 students attended. The event gives high school students who spent the past summer at GSP or GSA the chance to reunite with friends while learning how UK can help them achieve their goals for the future.
Molly Pennington, a senior at Franklin County High School in Frankfort, was thrilled to be reunited with Mandy Riddle and Danielle West, both seniors at Ballard High School in Louisville. The three girls were part of a larger, tight-knit group of Governors Scholars at Murray State University last summer.
"We're like a family," Riddle said. "We did everything together. There were maybe 15 of us crowded around a table with room for only eight seats at every meal."
Pennington has applied to UK, where she says she would like to pursue a course of study that will prepare her for a career in medicine or international relations. West, who plans to major in education, says she can't wait to be a Wildcat next fall.
It wasn't just about catching up with each other, though. Students received admissions and financial aid information along with news that their completion of the GSP/GSA programs automatically means they can receive the GSP/GSA Provost Scholarship, contingent upon admission to UK.
This scholarship provides a $1,500 award, and is renewable for four years. GSP/GSA students who are admitted to UK and earn a minimum 1250 SAT (M+CR) or 28 ACT and a 3.30 unweighted high school grade point average will receive a Presidential Scholarship, which provides in-state tuition and mandatory registration fees for up to four years of undergraduate study. In addition, staff told them about competitive scholarships to apply for by the Jan. 15 deadline.
Jacob Ingram, a mechanical engineering sophomore from Nicholasville, took that advice to heart when he came to GSP/GSA Day as a senior at West Jessamine High School back in 2010, and it really paid off. Ingram was awarded the Otis A. Singletary Scholarship, the most prestigious academic scholarship offered by the University of Kentucky, which includes full tuition, living expenses, and a stipend for a full four years.
Ingram, who applied to nine colleges, was not at all sure he wanted to attend a large university, and he says he was "pretty well set" on attending a school out of state. His experience at GSP/GSA Day helped change his mind, and it was a big influence on his decision to apply to UK.
"It was really the first time I realized that UK could offer the same sort of community experience I had in the Governors Scholars Program," Ingram said. "UK is invested in creating a real academic community on campus. At the same time, we have some highly competitive academic programs here."
While visiting the campus, Ingram had the opportunity to meet with professors from the Honors Program and the College of Engineering, talk to current students, even sit in on a few classes.
"It was by far the most personal admissions experience I had, including at smaller schools," he said. "As (Director of Academic Scholarships) Sandy Copher told me: 'UK can be as big or as little as you want it to be.' That really stuck with me. You have flexibility. If you want, you can hang out with your five or six friends in your dorm. Or you can embrace the 19,000."
This year, Ingram was at GSP/GSA Day, helping to staff tables at the registration center and distribute materials to visitors as they checked in.
Students and their families then visited booths at a special academic fair designed to give them a greater understanding of academic, research, and various extracurricular opportunities available to them at UK.
Later, Associate Provost of Enrollment Management Don Witt spoke to the entire group assembled in the concert hall of the Singletary Center. He told them about the opportunities that await them at UK and about the top-notch faculty that they would interact with every day as UK students.
Students and their families also heard from other speakers, including Mary Ellen Wimberly, a current UK student who serves as president of the GSP/GSA Alumni Club, a growing student organization on campus. The attendees enjoyed a lunch and campus tours during the afternoon before returning back to their hometowns.
For more information on undergraduate admissions at UK, visit: www.applyuk.com.
To watch videos on how to apply for admission, financial aid, and/or scholarships at UK, visit: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBB5CDD3B0C08D246.