Five hundred students annually apply for one of Universitys Presidential Scholarships. Fifty are selected.
When it comes to University of Iowa undergraduate scholarships, the Presidential Scholarship is the best you can get. It pays $7,000 a year, giving in-state residents almost a free ride for tuition and books and taking a hefty chunk out of the higher tuition fee for out-of-state students, too. Better yet, its renewable for three more years.
But its more than the money. Receiving a Presidential Scholarship means that youre among the best scholars of the entering class.
Expectations for your college career immediately rise. Youre invited to a reception at the home of President Mary Sue Coleman shortly after school begins.
Its clear that if much is given, much is expected. Students respond to this challenge in many ways. Parent Times talked with two Presidential Scholars to see how their first year at Iowa worked out.
"When I found out I was selected as a recipient of the Presidential Scholarship, I felt like my choice to be a serious student had finally paid off," says Brand Newland, a pre-pharmacy sophomore from Blair, Neb. "All those nights and weekends I spent finishing and perfecting projects, studying for tests, and most of all, not doing things that would take away from getting the most I possibly could from high school, had at last resulted in something.
"Of course, I watched most of my classmates and friends leave school at school (or, more likely, leave homework in the back seats of their cars)," he explains. "They seemed to have quite a bit of fun. And I have to admit, at times I did question if I was doing the right thing. All along, though, I knew I was taking the high roadwhen I was named a Presidential Scholar, I finally had proof."
After wrestling with a difficult decision between the University of Nebraska and The University of Iowa, Newland decided he would like to attend Iowa but the difference between in-state tuition in Nebraska and out-of-state tuition at Iowa would have been too great. Nebraska already had offered him a number of scholarships and he had won a $1,500-per-semester National Merit Scholarship and a Peter Kiewit Foundation-sponsored scholarship of $20,000.
"I knew there was no way I could match that anywhere else," he says. "Still, I wanted to go to Iowa and I told myself that if I got the Presidential Scholarship, you could call me a Hawkeye. The rest is history."
Now his goal is to graduate from the College of Pharmacy in five years with honors and to enter the nutrition supplement industry.
"I lift weights as a hobby and I have used supplements for two or three years. I guess I would like to discover the next groundbreaking substanceas I like to say, the next creatine."
Newland was an orientation adviser during the summer. He pledged Phi Kappa Psi and was elected scholarship chairman before he was initiated, so he ran the fraternitys Nile C. Kinnick Scholarship competition during the summer, too. Hes a member of the Student Alumni Ambassadors and sits on its Hawks Nest Committee, which works with the student basketball section, and he volunteers at University of Iowa Health Care.
Eileen Lee of Des Moines is entering her second year at The University of Iowa but her junior year of college this fall. She entered the University not only as a Presidential Scholar but also as a sophomore, having taken enough advanced placement courses to qualify.
Shes a premedicine biochemistry major, interested in pediatrics, surgery, or genetic research. The latter interest comes from work with Jeffrey C. Murray, professor of pediatrics and biological sciences and director of the Universitys component of the Human Genome Project. Hill met Murray when she attended a University summer program, The Iowa Governors Summer Institute (IGI) through the Belin-Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. Murray oversees the curriculum.
When she returned to Iowa as a National Academy of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering (NAASE) scholar (also offered through the Belin-Blank Center), "I went back to him and he took me in," she says. "Im working on craniofacial anomaliesbirth defects."
The Presidential Scholarship made The University of Iowa a big attraction, she says. She admits that her preference had been the University of Chicago, which also admitted her, but the scholarship was the deciding factor.
"Its nice not to have to worry about money," she says.
Lee was in the 1999-2000 initial class of the NAASE, a University program that enrolls students of exceptional promise as first-year University students following completion of their junior year in high school.
"The NAASE people are really good at taking students from high school and integrating them into the college experience. They do a lot to help those who might not be emotionally or socially ready for college. Ive made a lot of close friends in NAASE."
This year, she says, she will be invited to attend NAASE events and intends to remain closely in contact with the program, although she is no longer a NAASE scholar. While last year she gave violin lessons and played with the University Symphony Orchestra, this year shes looking forward to a new recreational interestdancing classes.
For new Presidential Scholars coming to Iowa this fall, she has some advice.
"Dont assume that Iowa is just another state school. I did, and I regret it. I thought I could get away with doing less than my best. The only way to stay No. 1 is to pretend that youre No. 2 and work really hard."
by Anne Tanner