Presidential Scholarship Competition ?

<p>Anyone else here been through the Presidential Scholarship Competition and want to share info about the event, number of scholarships available, etc ???</p>

<p>My daughter was invited to attend this year (Dec 5 & 6), and we were looking to get any background on the competition (other than what was posted in the 2012 thread).</p>


<p>Here is some info I got from Mercer via email:</p>

<p>Actual interview session is only 15-20 minutes long
Interviews are with a group of Mercer faculty
Being invited to interview for specific scholarships (Tift was mentioned specifically) during the competition will mean an additional 15-20 minute interview for that scholarship
Most scholarships offered through the competition (excluding Tift, which is only $1000) will replace any merit grants already issued</p>

<p>Do you have any insight into how many scholarships are awarded in the spring versus the fall? My daughter is invited for the fall, but she has a conflict. Also, I was told the Tift was one full tuition scholarship.</p>

<p>No idea. I can’t even get a clear answer on how many scholarships the fall session has available.</p>

<p>There is a “Bessie Willingham Tift Scholar” that is a full tuition, but there are also a bunch of $1000 Tift scholarships available (there are currently 120 Tift Scholars on Mercer campus - which you could extrapolate to 30 per year? )
From <a href=“”></a></p>

<p>DD is a Stamps Scholar- Full Cost of Attendance & 4000 per year stipend. She is also a Presidential Scholar and a Service Scholar and a Tift Scholar. You must go to fall interviews to get any of these. There are 35 Presidential( Full tuition), 5 Stamps, 20 Service(4000) & 30 Tift. 200 people go to the weekend. Tift scholars are women. There are also engineering & music scholarships. D D was offered full music scholarship but did not need it. I’ll be glad to answer questions</p>

<p>We just returned from this event and there were over 400 students there and 250 were interviewing for the 5 stamps spots!! </p>



<p>Thanks for the info. This matches up with what we heard at the event.</p>

<p>There are also some unknown number of partial tuition scholarships available (from what they said). They also alluded to the fact that students who make it to round 2 of Stamps competition are automatically are full tuition scholarship folks.</p>

<p>I was surprised (as GeorgiaMama was) that there were 400 kids at this year’s event. I am not sure how they can really get a clear evaluation of people by talking with them for 15 minutes. </p>

<p>Scholarship amounts awarded from this event will be sent by mail to arrive by Christmas. Hoping for a good number in the mail for my daughter, as Mercer is her first choice.</p>

<p>They call first & let you know that they are Presidential Scholars & they are finalists for Stamps. They also give you some idea of number of finalists(about 50). Then they call & tell you that they are on final list for stamps then they have Skype interview with Mr. Stamps. The interview with Mr. Stamps was low pressure. Things may have changed a little year to year. Best of luck! </p>

<p>Did anyone hear back from the Engineering Competition?? Know when calls will go out for Presidential?</p>

<p>Package arrived this morning from Mercer by Fedex. My daughter got a Presidential Scholarship (full tuition).</p>

<p>Best Christmas present ever !</p>

<p>Nice touch, Mercer University! Our son got a package from FedEx also! </p>

Awesome. news…My daughter has her interview this weekend 12/6/15. Can anyone provide additional insights about the interview itself and how to prepare

My daughter is attending this weekend as well! Mercer is at the top of her list so she is excited!

Hello All,

So I’ll give an insight into this competition, and try to analyse it for any future prospective students based on the other similar threads which go back a few years.

I recently attending the Mercer Presidential Scholarship, for 12/5/2015. I will start out by saying that the Mercer has an extremely dedicated admissions staff. All students are given a beautiful leather folder, as well as free breakfast and lunch.

When invited, students will have the choice of registering for the opening ceremony. My advice is that this is a waste of time. There were something like 400-500 (I could be wrong) students in a tent, who listened to a brief 10 minute speech from the President and Director of Admissions, ate some small snacks, and the program ended. I personally was extremely surprised with the enormous amount of students invited. I did not expect this when I registered for the competition, and found out that the opening ceremony carried no benefit (i.e. showing interest). Thus, especially for students within Georgia or a close drive away (3 hours or less perhaps), I would advise students to drive in early morning for the actual competition.

The next day, there is a check in for the students who didn’t come to the opening ceremony, and breakfast in the student dining halls. One will then make way to a huge auditorium, which will eventually become full. It is here where one will recognize that Mercer has invited a huge number of students. There was a speech by an English professor, and then students were sent to mock classes. There are various topics for the classes, but each students schedule has the one they have to go to. My interests and major lied in Engineering and Computer Science and IT, but I got a class that was analysing poetry taught by a Mathematics professor (which is apparently common at Mercer). I found the class highly boring. Some other class titles sounded a lot more interesting, but I had to go with my schedule.

After this, there is essentially free time to do whatever one wants (with options for residence hall tours, or campus tours), or just chilling. Interviews will be held at this time, and it will say your time on your schedule (ranging from 11:00 to 2:15 I believe). The interviews are around 15-20 minutes long, and are at designated locations which are specified on the particular schedule of the student. There are many friendly Mercer students who have been given the task of helping students find there way, as well as a student-driven golf-cart for easy transport.

After the interviews, comes the closing ceremony. I left prior to this, as I didn’t feel it necessary, and wanted to start the drive home.

(continued below)

So I’ll say this.


  • Mercer took a lot of care of the students, providing support through guides (the Mercer Students), as well as investing money into the competition (the leather folders students receive).
  • It is a good experience for future interviews at more selective or smaller competitions


  • The main problem is that the Presidential Scholarship is fundamentally flawed (I would argue). Other threads seem to show that the Mercer Presidential Competition used to only invite 100-200 students. This seems to be a fair number for such a competition. When I received the invitation to interview at the Presidential Scholarship challenge at Mercer, I was very honoured and proud (to say the least). There's a lot of hype by the admissions staff about being selected to interview at such a competitive competition, throughout the program. Unfortunately, this is simply not true. There were something like 400-500 students, and the parking at Mercer was full, as well as the auditorium halls. Now obviously, 10% of 5000 is 500 (keep in mind that the top 10% of Mercer's applicants are invited - apparently). But the program just has too many people.
  • The opening reception the night before (Friday night), was unnecessary in every way. I would not advise booking a hotel unless you are coming from a 3+ hour drive.
  • I will say that I had amazing interviewers, and felt that my interview was amazing as well. I did very well, and seemed to impress my interviewers. Unfortunately, it did not seem that these interviews came into play too much. I understand this as there were something like 400-500 students, and the interviews were conducted in a period of 3-4 hours if I'm not mistaken. (Of course, there were also multiple interviewees, but still seemed to be some strain on the interviewees, as my interviewees were something like 10 minutes (or perhaps more) late to receive me from the waiting room.
  • There is just far too many people. It seems like students loose the value of their invitation as soon as they see how many students were invited.
  • Mercer's admissions in general is based upon statistics rather than extracurriculars, essays, etc. I had wonderful recommendations sent, as well as stellar essays (I'm talking about general admissions essays, not Presidential essays - see below). These did not make a difference. Additionally, due to the high volume of attendees at the competitions, I did not feel that my interviewers read my essay nor resume well. (When students are invited to Presidential, they get an email to submit an essay (with certain prompts) and a resume, for consideration of higher scholarship awards). I wrote one of the best essays in my life (not bragging, but I am a great essay writer), and did not feel that my interviewers read it well due to the high volume of attendees (not their fault in any way, as they had no input in this, and they were just employees with a job to do)

I would have to argue that this invitation really isn’t a honour to receive. For those who are making a decision whether to attend or not, I would say this. How high is Mercer on your list? This competition is likely based on HS statistics, so if you are a student with a high GPA (4.0+) (ask your Mercer University admissions counsellor about your Mercer calculated GPA) and an SAT score of 2100+ or ACT of 32+, then it may be worth a try. Obviously, the higher, the better. The interview will not really mean much other than a cherry on top, for the top candidates. It is my strong opinion that based on what I saw, this was the case.

Also, How much are you willing to pay? I really liked the people of Mercer University, but do not feel that is worth as much as it is in tuition. I started off with an 18K merit scholarship, and was awarded the Jesse Mercer Scholarship of 24K. The scholarships were not stackable, so I only ended up with 24K. This would leave approx. 10K in tuition plus another 13K or so for housing (required for students) and meal plans. Thus, I would be paying something like 23K, and probably even more (transportation, other needs).

Now let me make this clear, I don’t mean to come off as condescending in any way in my post, and if I did, I apologize. The Mercer University Admissions staff are dedicated individuals, and they really took care of me. My 24K merit award was sent in a beautiful box (its a nice big Mercer box) with a Mercer Cup and High quality long sleeve T-Shirt which said Mercer Presidential Scholarship 2015. This was probably sent to all attendees, which says a lot about Mercer’s investment in this program. Nevertheless, it should be realized that lots of revenue may come to Mercer through tuition, and thus, the Presidential Scholarship is a lot about recruitment. 500 students who may never have visited (like myself) were brought to Mercer’s campus. Only a handful (and very likely pre-selected or given special consideration) were given full-tuition, and so the others came for recruitment.

I have decided to write this post to give an insight into the competition. It is my hope that future parents/students will find this useful. If you are a student that received full-tuition (or something to make it affordable without student loans), many congrats! I hope that Mercer will be a place you will thrive, if you so choose to attend.

To those who are iffy or are unsure about attending, I would say this, contact your admissions counsellor, and ask them clearly regarding how many students are attending. If there are over 400, and your stats are good but not stellar, then I would say it would be a waste of time (unless you really want to go).

Also, many students are there for just one reason, the Mercer Guaranteed Admissions Program (GAP),specifically in Medicine. While at this point, interviews are not announced, people still want to get their scholarships so that the GAP can be affordable, if they do get in to the program. I’ll also add something about this program. It’s a great opportunity to get guaranteed admissions into a top Medical school in Georgia. But I was told by a BME Professor that it is not as easy to hold onto the program once students are in. Essentially, the GAP is just a guarantee, but nothing a Mercer student can’t work for (as the final program requirements would essentially make the student an already competitive applicant for medical schools). If you get it, that awesome, and I hope that you become a successful physician! If not, don’t let this deter you, keep working, and your bound to succeed.

I wish all of you the best, and I hope that I have been a help to you guys in the future. I may be able to reply to any questions, but I feel like people will be reading this next year (12/5/2016), when I’m in college.

Finally, I will say that all information was analysed through rather qualitative means or anecdotal information, as well as primarily, my personal experience. Please forgive me if I said anything wrong or that offended anyone in any way. All the best as I sign off.

My daughter received the Adiel Sherwood Scholar award today from Mercer University. Does anyone know where this award lines up in the tiers of scholarships? We have no idea what this one is as we haven’t heard of it. Does this one allow her to still be eligible for the Stamps Scholarship or is she knocked out? Does anyone know when they will hear from the Tift Scholarships? Thanks


Only a handful (and very likely pre-selected or given special consideration) were given full-tuition,
and so the others came for recruitment.


phdenve - My daughter attends Mercer on the Presidential Scholarship, and I can say that we were never given any special consideration. Like you, I was surprised at the number of people at this “exclusive” event. I was not hopeful after attending, but pleasantly surprised when we received our package via Fedex.

I also don’t understand how they can award something based on a 15 minute interview, but who really knows what their criteria are.

IMHO Mercer has to try to pull the high GPA kids with full-tuition scholarships to keep up their average GPA, and to keep all the HS high-achievers from going to UGA or Georgia Tech on Zell Miller Scholarships.

It is nice to see other people share their insights into the competition, as I felt my daughter and I went into it pretty blind as to what to expect.


My daughter received the Adiel Sherwood Scholar award today from Mercer University.
Does anyone know where this award lines up in the tiers of scholarships?


Congrats to your daughter. According to the web link below, it is a $22K / year scholarship

I have seen the following posted here and on the Internet:
Stamps - around $50K / year
Presidential Scholarship - $34K / year
Jessie Mercer Scholarship - $24K / year
Adiel Sherwood Scholarship - $22K / year
Merit Scholarship - up to $18K


Does this one allow her to still be eligible for the Stamps Scholarship or is she knocked out?


From my experience, once they award you something you are out of the running for Stamps.


Does anyone know when they will hear from the Tift Scholarships?


I think we got a letter in the mail around 2 weeks after we got the main award from Mercer. There are a lot of Tift scholarships given out (as the Freshmen girls get a sticker for their dorm room door and there are quite a few on my daughter’s dorm hall.

@TheCaptain67 Many congrats to your daughter for being a Presidential Scholar! Mercer is really expensive without the Presidential Scholarship, and the Return on Investment (ROI) just doesn’t justify the tuition. The full-tuition award is something that can really help in that regard, especially since housing and meal plans (as well as other costs) already amount to a minimum of 13K (being conservative).

I agree with your opinion on pulling the students from places like GT and UGA. I think that is a strong point in the awards.

Thanks for your insight on the scholarship awards as well. I’m sure it will help parents/students in the future reading this thread.

Like your daughter, I was pretty blind going into the competition. I wanted to put a post out so that future students can at least have some idea of what goes on. I guess for me, there was so much hype about this being an “exclusive” event, that I really fell prey to that and ignored some information that was already on the threads (like 400 students).