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    Rector Scholarship Application

    The Rector Scholarship awards the highest academically qualified students in the applicant pool with a full-tuition scholarship for all four years of your study at DePauw.
    The Rector Scholars Program has a long history at DePauw, as the first Rector Scholars enrolled in 1919. Rector alumni include Fortune 500 Chief Executive Officers, Nobel Prize recipients, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, television producers, creative artists and internet entrepreneurs. They have made exceptional contributions to their communities and their professions, and serve as outstanding role models for current scholarship recipients.
    The application process for the Rector Scholarship has two parts that must be completed by midnight, Tuesday, January 15, 2019:
    1. Submit an application
    2. Ask your high school counselor or teacher to submit a nomination form
    To complete your application, select one of the essay questions and submit a 1,000 to 1,500-word response that the Rector Faculty Selection Committee will evaluate based on clarity of thought and organization of the essay. A select group will be invited to campus for the March 16, 2019 Admitted Student Day to interview with faculty and administrators. Outcomes from these interviews will be provided to the DePauw University President who will announce final selections for Rector Scholars by the end of March.
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    Choose ONE of the following essay questions and complete a 1,000 to 1,500-word response. 
    Please note that these questions can be answered from multiple viewpoints. Your essay will be evaluated based on the clarity, completeness and depth of your response rather than on the specific position(s) you take.

    Essay 1

    According to the US Department of Education, the number of students enrolled in American colleges and universities now stands at over 20 million, an all-time high [1]. However, over the 20-year period from 1995 to 2015 the average annual rate of tuition and fees at post-secondary institutions in the USA has increased 195% at public and 226% at private universities (US News and World Report, July 29, 2015). College graduates can count on higher salaries, more employment opportunities, and even improved interpersonal skills and a greater life expectancy. Though most Americans apparently still feel that attending college is necessary, students often struggle with the costs of attending college, which have risen much faster than income levels. In 2012, total student debt topped $1 trillion dollars (Wall Street Journal, March 12, 2012). Such debt can be crippling and some people have begun to question the value of a university degree. In his book, College (Un)bound: The Future of Higher Education and What it Means for Students, Jeffrey Selingo, editor at large of the Chronicle of Higher Education argues that American higher education has "lost its way" and "is broken" and that universities need to quickly adapt new technologies, such as online courses. In a CNBC interview on August 13, 2013, Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, stated his belief that "college is completely unnecessary if you are really smart and driven." He continued, "I think the evidence speaks for itself when you look at great companies that are being created, how many of those people actually finished college."
     
    Write an essay on the value of a college education. Should we assess the value of education in financial terms? What factors should be considered in making such an assessment?


    [1] National Center for Education Statistics, Table 105.20.

    Essay 2

    An intercultural community-building expert once argued that “…you really can’t have diversity in a society like ours. The best you can have is mixture. And mixture is not diversity. Mixture is just mixture. Diversity is when you start transforming relationships so that you have unique gender and cultural voices also creating policy, also sharing power. And so we’re a long way from diversity” (the expert is quoted in Goldberg, 2005).

     

    White privilege scholar Peggy McIntosh argues that if we want diversity (and not mixture), we need to understand the way privilege works. She defines privilege as “…an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day” (McIntosh, 2006). So, for instance, as a white woman, she says that:

    1. I can, if I wish, arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

    2. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area that I can afford and in which I would want to live.

    3. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.

    4. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

    5. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

    6. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

     

    The assets McIntosh carries around in what she calls her “invisible knapsack” help her open doors, secure advantages and move forward, based on no virtue, talent or work of her own.

     

    Oppression works in a similar, and opposite way. Through no fault, blame, or action of the person, doors are hard to open, advantages are harder to reach and momentum is harder to achieve and sustain.

     

    Based on this insight about what privilege and oppression are, how would you approach your first year at DePauw University, challenging your own privilege and oppression and trying to learn from others?

     

    As you write your essay, refer to both the ways you are privileged and oppressed. Give specific examples of how you would approach your first year. For example, which classes would you take, what activities would you participate in and what experiences would you cultivate or avoid? You can also consider how you would interact with new people you meet. For example, how would you decide when to listen and when to talk?  How do you think all of these decisions will support your growth as a person? At the same time, how would your activities and decisions support a society that is based on real diversity, not mixture?

     

    Keep in mind that McIntosh urges those with privilege (by race, gender, sexual preference, physical ability, etc.) to understand that they don’t have the answers to oppression, simply by virtue of never having experienced it, so avoid assuming that you can ‘fix’ or ‘save’ anyone less privileged than yourself.

    Essay 3

    On January 8, 2002, President George W. Bush, signed into law, to great fanfare, the No Child Left Behind Act, which had passed both houses of Congress by great majorities. The law was meant to reform education by establishing standards and measurable goals in each grade. Since 2002, there has been a dramatic rise in the use of standardized tests in American education due to the law's mandate requiring annual testing of children in all 50 states. Proponents state that the tests, though imperfect, do provide useful information and prevent students from being shuffled from grade-to-grade without actually learning the material. However, according to recent studies, in the 12 years from 2000 to 2012, American students slipped from a ranking in mathematics of 18th in the world to 27th, with a similar decline in science and no improvement in reading. [1] Critics of standardized testing argue that they are unnecessary, lucrative for academic publishers and costly for school systems, and are an ineffective way of judging student and teacher success. They point out that in many cases, the test has become the curriculum.
     
    Considering the potential benefits and drawbacks of mandated standardized tests in American education, is their use a good idea?

     
    [1] See the 2012 results of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) as reported by The US Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics.
     

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