CORVALLIS - Oregon State University is receiving record numbers of applications from top high school students interested in its University Honors College and its two top scholarship programs.

Applications to the honors college have more than doubled since last year, and the number of students applying for OSU's Presidential Scholarships and Laurel Scholarships is up 35 percent.

Robert Bontrager, director of Admission and Orientation at OSU, attributes the increase in interest to intensified recruiting efforts.

"The university has made significant additional efforts to target top students this fall and it appears to be paying off," he said. "President (Paul) Risser got involved in recruiting, we've had OSU students calling prospective students, and we held a "High Achiever Night" in Portland for top high school students that was very successful." Coordinated efforts between OSU Honors College and Admission and Orientation have been effective and well-received by students, he added.

OSU historically has been able to attract top Oregon high school students, Bontrager pointed out. The grade point average of entering freshmen has been higher at Oregon State than other institutions in the Oregon State System of Higher Education for several years.

Jon "Joe" Hendricks, director of OSU's University Honors College, said the applicants to his college this year are a diverse group. "A total of 22 percent of our applicants were under-represented minorities last year and it appears we will do nearly as well this year, which is an encouraging trend," he said.

OSU's Honors College also will begin opening its doors to community college transfers fall term. Hendricks hopes to attract high achievers who have finished their coursework within the community college system. Admission to the honors college is based on a combination of grade point average, SAT scores, and a personal essay.

Presidential and Laurel scholars have grade point averages of 3.75 (out of 4.0) or higher, and SAT scores of 1,100 or higher, Bontrager said. More than 800 students applied for the scholarships, with about 100 to be awarded. Presidential scholarships are worth $3,000 a year for four years, and laurels, $2,700 annually for four years.

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Bob Bontrager, 541-737-4088