Admissions hosted the first Tower Scholarship day on Saturday, Mar. 2. The Tower Scholarship program is a scholarship competition for prospective students in which they can win one of 13 full-tuition scholarships offered by the university. One hundred and fifty eight prospective students attended the event.

“The whole drive of the scholarship program is to drive more top students to campus,” said Chris Ellertson, associate vice president for enrollment and student retention. “The turnout was great. We got a lot more top students to visit than would usually.”

Prospective students that attended the scholarship day attended a full day of activities including a class lecture and scholarly response as well as an academics and faculty fair. Admissions based their offering of the 13 scholarships on the responses provided by the prospective students.

“We ended up with 158 students attending the scholarship day, which is too many to do individual interviews. And we thought that requiring an additional essay wouldn’t be robust enough,” Ellertson said. “So, we had Trinity professors teach classes to the prospective students, and we evaluated them based on their responses.”

The scholarship day also included many features similar to typical visits and Trinity 360, such as a campus tour and panels on student life at Trinity.

“Not only were we trying to evaluate them, but also showcase our faculty and what is available to them at Trinity,” said visit coordinator Alexa Johnston. “We also had a few breakout sessions about student life here at Trinity. We tried to combine the scholarly, evaluative aspect with a typical Trinity visit.”

Admissions also gave prospective students the option to attend a complimentary dinner downtown and tour of the riverwalk, and nearly 50 students chose to stay on campus with overnight hosts.

“For this event, we relied on our all-star hosts and members of Trinity Distinguished Representatives,” said admissions counselor Kealey Malott.

Funding for the Tower Scholarship program does not come from an increased scholarship budget. Rather, admissions decided to re-apportion funds from existing scholarship programs in order to fund the 13 full-tuition scholarships offered by the program.

“We ended up offering 13 full-tuition scholarships, but we expect that only a half-dozen or so will take them,” Ellertson said. “These are incredible students and they have a lot of options, so we don’t expect all of them to attend.”

Admissions intended this first Tower Scholarship day as a trial run, and has since decided to continue the Tower Scholarship program. The next scholarship day is set for March 1, 2014.

“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from faculty involved and from prospective students,” Ellertson said. “And not even the ones that won the scholarships. We got great feedback from students that didn’t win. Although we can’t really know the return on investment until we see the enrollment numbers in May, we think, based on the response, that the scholarship day was a success.”