By Dalton Carver
News and Opinion editor

For some incoming students, Scholarship Day is a way to be recognized for their academic excellence in high school. For others, it’s a way to learn more about the college they may attend next fall.

Scholarship Day is a celebration event to recognize new, incoming freshman for the next year’s class.

“It’s very different from any of our other visit days,” said Leslie Grant, senior admissions counselor. “The students have been accepted to SC and are coming to be recognized for their academic achievements.”

This year, 73 high school seniors are expected to attend the event. “This is our largest Scholarship Day in the fourteen years that I’ve been here,” said Grant. “Of those 73, 69 will also be enrolling for classes in the afternoon.” This enrollment signifies the seniors’ commitment to coming to Southwestern College next fall.

Rodney Worhsam, Director of Admissions, also sees the day as being important. “This is kind of our admissions Super Bowl,” he said. “It’s our biggest recruitment day of the year.”

The occasion is a full-day ordeal. “We have six sessions offered in the morning,” said Grant. “They are everything from financial aid to visiting with an alumni panel.”

The panel is comprised of recent graduates who return and talk about their experiences at the college. There is also a students-only panel, where current attending students speak to college hopefuls by themselves. Other sessions include information about Builder Camp, the freshman experience class, internships, and a final session with faculty about available majors.

Following the sessions, a banquet is provided for the guests. This is a time to recognize the students’ academic achievements with a certificate and a gift. Speakers and presenters, including President Merriman and Vice-President Dawn Pleas-Bailey, are also to be at the event.

However, the key to recruitment success was discovered only a short time ago. The option to enroll directly after Scholarship Day was implemented four years previously. It provides the option for students to seal the deal on Scholarship Day. “We have found that with students being busy, the opportunities for students to come back for visits have been more difficult,” said Worsham. “President Merriman, Andy Sheppard and Marla Sexson came up with this idea.”

After previous events, feedback has been positive. In addition to having personal time with faculty, parents appreciate the fact that Scholarship Day is organized and simple “What families like is that they’re done,” said Worsham. “There’s that peace of mind, that their son or daughter is going to be taken care of.”

Dalton Carver is a sophomore majoring in communication. You can email him at or tweet him @dalty_james.