I went through the application process this year and was in the hunt for merit aid (only full rides). Of all the schools I applied to, Davidson was one of the few that I applied to for reasons other than merit aid. When I was applying, the info from former applicants on this site was invaluable. So heres my take on the whole thing. I hope it helps someone.
So, the Belk is a full ride scholarship (tuition, room, and board for all four years) and it comes with two $3000 stipends. Its incredibly easy to apply to with no additional essays. All you have to do is apply to Davidson by December 1st and have your school nominate you. Then, after your entire application is reviewed, out of 800 nominees, about 60 are selected as semifinalists. Semifinalists undergo telephone interviews. 30 are then designated finalists and invited to campus for a Celebration and Selection Weekend.
Though the timeline varies from year to year, this year it went like this:
-December 1st: Deadline to apply.
-February 2nd: Was notified I was a semifinalist.
-February 10th: Phone interview. This was with 5 people - a mixture of admissions officers, a Belk scholar, and maybe a professor. Im not 100% sure. Also, they sent us two questions to think about beforehand:
1)Some believe that the tone of public discourse has become too uncivil to find solutions to the pressing issues we currently face. Others believe that incendiary rhetoric can inspire people to affect great change. In your opinion, what is the current state of public discourse? What, if anything, would you change and why?
2)How do you imagine/expect/hope that the Davidson experience will change you as a person? And how do you imagine your being here might change others?
-February 16th: Was notified I was a finalist.
-March 24th-26th: Finalist Weekend. On the 25th was a 35 minute interview with 6 people. Three Belk scholars (two were current seniors, another was an alumnus), the daughter of John Montgomery Belk, a Professor, and the Dean of Admissions.
-March 31st: Notified I hadnt won.
Okay, I attended quite a few merit weekends and I have to say, Davidsons was the best. They knew what they were doing and the finalists were outstanding. Practically all of them had multiple full ride offers from other colleges, had been accepted to HYP, and etc. And again, of all the colleges that offer merit aid, if you want an intimate setting and the special treatment, Davidson is the way to go.
More on merit weekend: Youre paired up with a current Belk scholar and if youre unfortunate enough to get a senior, then that senior will be evaluating you the entire time and may even be one of your interviewers (one girl actually ended up being interviewed by her host). The interview is the most important thing. What they do is split the finalists into groups (5 or 6) and basically, when you interview, theyll measure you up to the people in your group. One person from each group becomes a finalist and then they pick the second best from each group and measure him/her against the second bests from the other groups. Also, theyll be selling Davidson like crazy and they do this better than other colleges because they specifically highlight what they offer in regards to your individual interests. And theyre big on stealing applicants from HYPSM and top ranked liberal arts colleges because of all the other colleges Davidson asked (multiple times) what my other top choices are.
During the interview, I was asked the following questions:
1) Knowing what you know now, what event would you change and why?
2) Name an algorithm, theory, fact, incident, that makes you want to learn for the sake of learning.
3) What are some of your philosophies on life?
4) Recall a debate youve lost, why did you lose?
Anyway, 8 scholars were chosen this year (4 girls and 4 boys). 2 were selected as alternates.