Distinguished Scholars Program 2018

Saturday, February 3, 2018

About the Program

The Distinguished Scholars Program is an invite-only opportunity for you to show us your ability and talent and earn additional scholarship money to attend Albion College. With your participation, you may qualify to receive additional scholarship assistance; more than $250,000 was awarded to participants last year. One participant will receive a full-tuition scholarship to attend Albion College!


Plan to register for this event as soon as you decide to participate—space is limited. You are asked to complete and submit this form no later than Thursday, January 18, 2018. This guide will help you select your preferred presentation option. Please note that this is an invite-only event.

Schedule of Events

8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Registration for morning presenters (Science Center)
9:00 a.m. - 11:40 a.m. Morning presentations, small team activities, information sessions, campus tours, and opportunities to get to know your future classmates.
11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Registration for afternoon presenters (Science Center)
11:45 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Luncheon (Baldwin Hall)
1:20 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Afternoon presentations, small team activities, information sessions, campus tours, and opportunities to get to know your future classmates.

Options for Presentation

There are three options for presenting at our Distinguished Scholars Program. Select the vehicle that will best showcase your personality, abilities and potential. Faculty and staff members at Albion look forward to learning your original thoughts, projects, compositions, ideas, inventions, and interests. This interactive forum mirrors intellectual inquiry at the College and is a great way to begin your Albion journey.

Option 1: Math Problems and Interview

A set of seven math problems is provided to solve without outside assistance, calculators or computers. You should come prepared to present your solutions to at least four of these problems. Full solutions, with justification, are expected. Simply stating an answer is not sufficient.

Math Problems

When designing your presentation, it may be helpful to consider one or more of the following questions:

  • How did I solve these problems?
  • How did I come to the solutions of the problems?
  • What is my interest in mathematics?
  • Have I had any out-of-class experience with mathematical competitions?

This review centers on a discussion of your work. Your presentation and discussion will last about 15 minutes, with 15 additional minutes allotted for questions by the faculty members. Please bring five copies of your solutions with you to campus.

Option 2: Presentation and Interview

Present on a topic of your choice. You will want to pick a topic that illustrates your intellectual maturity. Inspiration for the topic might arise from a research project, a research paper, your intercultural understanding, or other interests. It is perfectly acceptable to present a research project you completed as part of your school work.

When designing your presentation, it may be helpful to consider one or more of the following questions:

  • What academic disciplines are you most interested in studying? What do you enjoy talking about? What subject(s) are you considering for a major?
  • What have I done to prepare myself academically (courses in school), or personally (special science camps, etc.) that developed my expertise on this subject?
  • How will my experience(s) translate into opportunity for me at Albion College?
  • What academic and co-curricular programs will enhance my interest, and where will I fit into the college community?
  • How will I enhance the quality of the Albion College community, the student body, and continue my "mission"?
  • What opportunities do I look forward to pursuing and how are they connected to what I have done already?

Please note that these are guiding questions and all are not appropriate for every presentation.

Your presentation will last approximately 15 minutes followed by 15 minutes of questions by the faculty members. Please prepare a 1-2 page handout that is a guide to your presentation, a summary of the presentation, or a summary of your specific accomplishments related to your presentation. Please bring three copies with you to campus.

Option 3: Formal Interview

In this option you will have a formal interview with Albion College faculty members. Each student participant interviewee will be asked the same set of questions. While preparing for your interview please keep in mind:

  • Please come to the interview ready to start off by speaking a bit about yourself (who you are, where you are from, what interests you, etc.)
  • Keep in mind that the interview is 25 minutes in length. Do not take 10 minutes to answer the first question as you will not have enough time to answer all of the questions that are asked of you.
  • Other than your introduction you can’t really "practice" for your interview. It is a conversation, like the ones you have every day, where you talk about your activities, your work, why you want to go to college, your passions, your interests and what you do for fun. All we ask is that you be yourself, be honest and be sincere.
  • Although one might think an interview needs to be a constant back and forth of questions and answers, a good interview will feel more like a conversation. Of course you will want to be ready for the tough questions that may touch on your academic weaknesses, a time you struggled, or where you see yourself in the next ten years but you don’t want to sound robotic in your answers. Have a few anecdotes prepared to support your experiences and use examples when you can, but if you think you sound like a recording, you probably do.
  • Even if you think you know everything about the campus, you will want to have questions prepared for after the interview. This shows that you have done your research and that you’re interested in learning more. Questions can be as general as "can you tell me more about the psychology program?" to more specific - "I hear you plan to grow your science department by 2018, what does that entail?" Often the answers to these questions will lead to others and this part of the interview also becomes a conversation.

Please note that these are guiding questions and not all are appropriate for every presentation.

*We cannot make scholarship decisions regarding athletic interests

Overnight Accommodations

Need overnight accommodations? Blocks of rooms are available at:

Selection Criteria

Albion College faculty members select scholarship recipients using the following criteria:

  1. The Quality of Your Presentation, Discussion and/or Portfolio of Works – Choose the option that will allow you to best demonstrate your intellectual curiosity, academic interests, achievement and future potential for growth at Albion College.
  2. Extra-Curricular Record – We recognize that students often combine superior scholarship with other interests, unique talents or achievements. Please come prepared to talk about yourself and your accomplishments – your motivation, your inspiration, and your passion for learning.
  3. We cannot make scholarship decisions regarding athletic interests.


Students selected as a Distinguished Scholar will be notified by Monday, March 12, 2018. Final results will be announced publicly for those recipients who have made the commitment to attend Albion College.

Important note: Participation in Distinguished Scholars Program fulfills the interview requirement for the Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program. Students should complete their Honors Program application before competing in this program.

Apply to the Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do We Offer our Distinguished Scholars Program?

  • This opportunity helps you understand our hands-on, interdisciplinary approach to the liberal arts and sciences. We hope you will begin to understand the value of this type of education as a result of your participation.
  • The process of selecting your method of participation, preparing for the event and then participating helps you experience the teaching and learning environment at Albion first-hand. You will also receive valuable feedback and encouragement from your panel of faculty members.
  • The most effective way for us to identify promising scholars is through in-person participation and dialog. This is your opportunity to show our faculty more about your future potential than will be apparent in your admission application and essay.

What programs will you offer for me and my parents when I am not presenting?

There will be a variety of activities during the day including student panels, a conversation with the VP for Enrollment on financing an Albion education, quiet spaces for practicing, a stress free zone in the Honors Observatory, campus tours and more. We also encourage our participants to meet other participants and socialize over light refreshments.

How will I find my presentation room?

You will be escorted from the registration area to your presentation room 10 minutes prior to your scheduled time. You will enter your room at the appointed time and have a total of 40 minutes. Your participation and the faculty members' questions will last a total of 30 minutes, allowing time to set up and pack up your materials.

What questions should I expect from the faculty members who attend my presentation?

In addition to questions about your presentation, be prepared to talk about your accomplishments and future goals. You may also ask questions about academic opportunities.

How many students participate in the Distinguished Scholar Program?

Generally 90-120 students compete for scholarships.

When will I be notified of the judges' decision?

You will receive a letter from the admission office by March 13.

I am now interested in the Honors program—what do I need to do?

Your presentation counts for your Honors program interview. Please indicate your interest on the registration you submit online.

Who can I talk with if I have questions about this program or my participation?

Your Albion College Admission Counselor can help you with questions. In addition, your counselor can put you in contact with a student mentor who can help answer your questions. Please contact the Office of Admission at or call 800/858-6770.

How Much Time Will I Have?

The presentation schedule is tightly managed - you will have a total of 30 minutes to present and respond to questions. The average presentation/article discussion/portfolio discussion takes about 15 minutes followed by 15 minutes of questions and comments by the faculty audience members. We allow 10 minutes for take-down and set-up for the next presenter. Be prepared to respond to questions about your interests and achievements. No student may exceed the 30 minute presentation time.

Who Is In The Audience During My Presentation?

Your audience will be a small group of faculty members and a room host. The faculty will follow a carefully selected set of evaluation techniques and record their impressions of your presentation. Faculty members and the room host will describe your performance at the final selection meeting.

How Do I Decide Which of the Two Options is Right for Me?

Choose the option that will best allow you to demonstrate your creative and intellectual abilities, and also one that will illustrate how you will be a positive addition to the Albion College community. Every participant is a high achiever, so you need to identify how to demonstrate your abilities and potential in a way that distinguishes you from others.

How Will I Be Evaluated?

Our faculty members look for specific content substance and expertise, and assess the overall quality of your performance, presentation and/or discussion. Our faculty members look at the following general characteristics of every competitor:

  • Overall impression
  • Quality of presentation
  • Depth of exploration
  • Willingness to create your own Ideas
  • Creativity
  • Ability to articulate key concepts
  • Ability to discern the central thesis and connect to personal interests
  • Synthesis and progression of concepts
  • Student responses to faculty questions
  • Intellectual curiosity
  • Passion for the subject
  • Potential for academic excellence and leadership
  • Unique or special characteristics