Jan. 19, 2006
Get a taste of what Morningside College has to offer
January 20-21 | February 10-11 | February 24-25 | March 17-18
Freshman Jonalee Jackes of Le Mars, Iowa, wasn’t planning on attending Morningside College – that is, until she attended one of Morningside’s Celebration of Excellence (COE) Scholar Weekends last spring during her senior year in high school.
“I just got this great feeling during that weekend that this was the place for me,” Jackes said. “Everything just clicked.”
Jackes knew she wanted a small college atmosphere and didn’t want to live a great distance from home, both requisites that Morningside could fill. But Jackes’ sister Jennica graduated from Morningside in 2003, and Jonalee was determined to blaze her own trail at a new and different college.
“I always told my family I wasn’t going to come here because I wanted to do my own thing. I didn’t want to be known as Jennica’s little sister,” Jackes said.
All that changed after she spent a weekend on Morningside’s campus.
“Attending the COE Scholar Weekend made it for me. I just loved the attention I received, the one-on-one. I didn’t feel like a number here,” she said. “I’m definitely a people person, and everyone here was so friendly. It made me feel right at home.”
Jackes said the Scholar Weekend activities, including a pizza party, bowling, and a comedy act on campus, added to the fun, relaxed atmosphere where prospective students could interact and get to know one another. One of those students eventually became Jackes’ roommate, and the two freshmen coeds have since become good friends.
“A scholar weekend is probably the most engaging opportunity a prospective student can participate in to determine if Morningside College is the best place for them to complete their next four years of school,” said Joel Weyand, director of Admissions at Morningside.
While Jackes admitted to being “very nervous” about her scholarship interview, she found the entire process to be much less intimidating than expected. She qualified for and received the Dean’s Scholarship Award and a Morningside Connections Grant. Both awards are renewable for up to four years, provided she maintains good academic standing.
Jackes said she had planned to major in psychology and was impressed by Morningside’s psychology department and its professors. But after a semester of classes and several consultations with her academic advisor, she discovered that corporate communications might be a better fit for her personality. All Morningside students are provided with an academic advisor who is specially trained to collaborate with students to help them understand Morningside’s different academic majors, evaluate career choices, and plan coursework that will capitalize on individual strengths.
Jackes’ first year is going well and she has become involved in several activities on campus. She is a member of the Morningside Dance Team and works as student ambassador with the Admissions’ office, where she shares her first year experiences with prospective students. She’ll also be part of this year’s COE Scholar Weekends, serving on a student panel, which offers an opportunity for COE attendees to ask questions about college life, academics, and extra-curricular activities.
Like Jackes, Kristina McGrain of Mapleton Iowa, also had a sister who graduated from Morningside. But unlike Jackes, attending her sister’s alma mater was not an issue. Morningside was one of her top choices for college, even before she attended a COE Scholar Weekend.
“I wanted to major in elementary education, and I knew that Morningside’s program had a good reputation,” McGrain said. “I also wanted to participate in the music programs, and I could do that here.”
McGrain applied for a Talent Achievement Award, one of several scholarships and grants offered to students who are admitted to Morningside.
“I started getting my audition tape ready early in my senior year of high school. My choir director at my high school was an alumnus of Morningside, so he knew what needed to be done,” said McGrain. She had also met Morningside’s choir director, Tim Watson, prior to attending the Scholar Weekend.
Still, McGrain said she was very nervous when it came time for the live audition. The outcome was positive, and, not only did McGrain receive a Talent Achievement Award in music, she also was the recipient of a Dean’s Scholarship Award and a Morningside Connections Grant. Nearly all Morningside students receive some sort of financial aid.
In addition to the financial rewards of attending a COE Scholar Weekend, McGrain said the time on campus provided her a taste for what college life was really like.
“I wanted to see what kids actually did on the weekends here,” she said. “I spent the night in Dimmitt, and it was awesome. I was introduced to a bunch of upperclassmen, and we went to a Musketeers hockey game. It seemed like everywhere we went, people would ask me if I was planning to come back in the fall.”
Opportunities still available
To be eligible for COE Scholarships and to attend a COE Scholar Weekend, a student must apply and be admitted to Morningside College. It’s not too late for high school seniors to apply for admission and be invited to attend a COE Scholar Weekend. The 2006 scholar weekends are scheduled for Jan. 20-21, Feb. 10-11, Feb. 24-25, and March 17-18.
The weekends offer plenty of opportunities for prospective students to focus on their own educational needs and goals. They can stay in the residence halls Friday night and enjoy a pizza party, while their parents are invited to a Friday evening reception to meet faculty and members of President John Reynders’ senior staff. Panel discussions and other informational activities and an activity fair fill up Saturday morning. Private evaluations and auditions that help to determine scholarship award amounts take place throughout the weekend, and the COE scholars are honored at a special Scholar Luncheon and Award Presentation on Saturday. Optional campus tours, additional talent auditions, and meetings with departmental faculty and coaches are available Saturday afternoon.
Morningside College offers a number of COE Scholarships, including: President's Scholarship Award; Dean's Scholarship Award; the Mustang Co-curricular Award; Talent Achievement Award, and more.
For more information, contact the Admissions Office at 1-800-831-0806, ext. 5111, or 712-274-5111.