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WILMORE, Ky. — Asbury University recently hosted two groups of high school students competing for Asbury’s top academic scholarships — the Henry Clay Morrison Scholarship (50 percent tuition) and the John Wesley Hughes Scholarship (100 percent tuition).

On two weekends in February, students arrived for registration on Thursday evening. By Friday evening, they had toured campus, attended classes, completed scholarship interviews with an admissions counselor and staff member, explored a financial-aid open house and attended a formal banquet.

Asbury University student centerMatthew Wright is a high school senior from Dayton, Ohio, who competed for a scholarship this week. One of the things that Wright finds intriguing about Asbury is the number of opportunities students have to gain experience in their own fields of interest.

“Some of the opportunities you have at Asbury aren’t available at some of the big schools, like certain internship opportunities,” Wright said.

Wright says he has been impressed by the quality of Asbury’s academics, but even more impressed with Asbury’s emphasis on staying true to the will of God.

“They don’t just talk about academics, even though I know Asbury has great academics because of national college rankings,” Wright said. “It’s more of an emphasis on how you’re going to grow here as a person. And here, it’s not them saying, ‘We want you to come and give us money.’ It’s more like, ‘We want you to follow what God wants, and we hope that means you come here.’”

Despite the fast-paced, competitive atmosphere, students still found time for fun, enjoying orientation games, free milkshakes in the University café and activities with current students.

Kelsey Huck ’14 has hosted scholarship competitors every year she’s been at Asbury. She says she enjoys getting to know students, as well as the opportunity to “show Asbury off.”

Asbury University student life“Some of them just want to chill and go to bed early, and that’s fine, but usually I just include them in what my friends and I are going to do,” she said. “I want them to get the genuine experience.”

Huck’s favorite excursion with a scholarship competitor was a midnight picnic with a group of friends, followed by stargazing.

“She just loved it,” Huck said. “She was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is the college world!’ I had to tell her we didn’t do it every day. But it was a lot of fun.”

Huck says she does her best to make students comfortable during what can be a stressful time. Once, she noticed that one of her guests looked nervous and tired, so she suggested watching a movie. After the movie, the student was relaxed enough to sleep well.

“I just don’t want them to stress about it,” she said. “You’ll end up at the college you need to be at — so don’t stress too much.”

Valarie McKinney, Asbury’s Visit Coordinator, says that scholarship weekend gives the campus great opportunities to get to know high-school students.

“From the Admissions office, this is one of our favorite events, because we get to know the students so well through the interview,” McKinney said. “We get to hear their heart, and where they’re coming from, so it’s just a great time all around.”

Scholarship results will be available during the first week of March, and students will be contacted by their admissions counselors.