Wichita State University became a Merit Scholarship sponsor this year (2013). To become a sponsor, a university needs to attract at least three finalists per year for the four most recent competition years.
This year, seven incoming National Merit Finalists will attend Wichita State University: Tyler Ames (Pocatello High School), Bridget Carroll (homeschool), Hannah Gabel (Olathe South High School), Deborah Denny (Lyons High School), David Jantz (Newton High School), Claire Mullen (Trinity Academy), and Garrett Viets (Shawnee Mission West High School).
The National Merit Scholarship Program, which started in 1955, aims to not only honor exemplary United States high school students, but also to provide them with outstanding resources for college and career opportunities.
Students who choose Wichita State find academic support and connections with faculty as they work toward a degree and a future career.
Nathan Templon, a National Merit Finalist from Collegiate High School, is one such student.
"The National Merit program convinced me to attend Wichita State, which was one of the best decisions of my life," Templon said. "At Wichita State, I have met amazing people and continued chasing my dream of reaching for the stars through aerospace engineering."
Wichita State offers highly competitive scholarships to National Merit Finalists in order to afford students the opportunity to pursue on-campus research, involvement and other interests.
"The freedom of not working full time to pay for college has given me time to be involved on campus through Rocket Club and Student Ambassadors, as well as pursue a minor in Computer Science," Templon said.
National Merit Finalists are offered scholarships to universities across the country, so it's an honor when they choose Wichita State. A total of 15 scholars were enrolled at WSU during the 2012-2013 academic year.
Sheelu Surender, associate director scholarships, works directly with National Merit Scholars who choose Wichita State. She maintains relationships with these students as they begin their transition from high school to college, giving them ample resources to keep them successful.
"We are excited to have such a strong class of academically talented students select to attend Wichita State," said Surender. "These exceptional students will enhance the academic profile of the university and raise the bar of academic excellence at WSU. We look forward to great contributions from them in the years ahead."
Bridget Carroll, a homeschool student from Stillwater, Okla., remembers her college search and the impact WSU made during that process.
"Wichita State University has magnetic statistics," said Carroll. "The number of teachers with advanced degrees and awards in their fields is staggering. However, these great facts are not the reason I decided to attend WSU -- it was the personal attention of the faculty and staff.
"In high school, I was contacted by a lot of universities wanting to tell me how worthwhile they were. WSU was just as impressive, but only WSU went above and beyond any other college to find what I needed and how to meet those needs. Instead of moving on to the next student after I was admitted, the admission staff continued to ask me if I had any questions and never failed to make sure I had everything I needed to make my decision."