Scholars Recognition Day

Some of the top high school students in the nation visited the UO for Scholars Recognition Day

At the base of the Cascade Mountains in the south end of the fertile Willamette Valley, with warm, dry summers and the coast just an hour away, the UO’s location makes it a popular destination for potential students.

By Melissa Foley, UO Office of Strategic Communications. Damian Foley contributed to this article.

More than 100 of the top young minds in America assembled at the University of Oregon campus on January 10, as the UO hosted Scholars Recognition Day.

The students came from throughout Oregon and as far away as Florida and New York to attend the invitation-only event, which is designed to introduce high-achieving students to the outstanding programs offered at the UO.

Scholars Recognition Day provides prospective students and their families the information they may need when selecting a college. The day’s programs included an information fair, academic breakout sessions, lunch with faculty members, campus and housing tours, and interest sessions for the Robert D. Clark Honors CollegeCollege Scholars Program and the Global Scholars Language Immersion Programs.

Students who enroll at the UO are following in
the footsteps of 11 Pulitzer Prize winners,
seven governors, and two Nobel Laureates.

“Now, more than ever, students and their families are more granular in their college search process,” said David Van Der Haeghen, assistant director of admissions for top scholar recruitment. “Some families want to know absolutely everything they can about the university; they come prepared with spreadsheets and investigate and rank everything about a school. Others may visit and just decide they like the atmosphere on campus. The process is as much an art as a science.”

Last year, 70 of the 135 Scholars Recognition Day attendees enrolled at the UO, giving the event an exceptional yield rate of more than 50 percent. Additionally, last fall’s incoming freshman class set new UO records with their average high school GPA (3.6), SAT, and ACT scores.

University of Oregon alumni include 11 Pulitzer Prize winners, seven governors, and two Nobel laureates, meaning any student who enrolls is following in some impressive footsteps. But Van Der Haeghen is well aware that the university selection process often involves more than just what is offered in the classroom—the location is often just as important.

“We encourage out-of-state students to visit the university and learn what the University of Oregon does in its own unique way,” he said. “But we also want them to spend time in the community—take a run along the river, hike one of the buttes, ride the bus, visit downtown, go to a concert—and learn how they will also be involved in the community beyond the university.

“We also encourage our local students to visit the university to help dispel some of their preconceived notions about what they think they know about the UO, and make sure they truly understand the university.”