Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia is a four-year, private, independent, historically black female liberal arts institution founded in 1881 as Atlanta Baptist Female Academy by Sophia B. Packard and Harriet E. Giles. Packard and Giles were commissioned by the Baptist church to provide educational opportunities for newly freed black women. In 1884, the name was changed to Spelman Seminary in honor of Mrs. Laura Spelman Rockefeller and her parents, Harvey Buel and Lucy Henry Spelman, who were longtime activists in the antislavery movement. Postsecondary education was first offered in 1897, and in 1924 the name Spelman College was adopted. The school is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate degrees. According the school's website, "Spelman is part of the largest consortium of historically Black institutions of higher learning in the world. Its four partner institutions include Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College and Morehouse School of Medicine.”
The Spelman College Presidential Scholarship
The Spelman College Presidential Scholarship is a highly prized award given each year to five incoming freshman students. This is not a need-based scholarship. It is a four-year merit scholarship that pays full tuition, academic fees, and campus room and board. Book fees are not included.
Application and Retention of the Presidential Scholarship
Although the Spelman website does list criteria students must achieve to be considered for the scholarship, according to Arlene Cash, Vice President for Enrollment Management at Spelman College, there is no formal application process for this award. Every new freshman student is automatically considered for the Presidential Scholarship.
The basic trigger for consideration is a high-school grade point average of 3.5 or above. Then, as explained by Vice President Cash, the students are considered based on academic promise, outstanding leadership abilities, involvement in the community and extracurricular activities. In short, the selection committee is looking for students who exemplify an overall standard of excellence in culture, civic activities and in every aspect of life.
To retain the scholarship for the full four years, a student must have a 3.0 grade point average at the end of the freshman year and a 3.2 GPA for the next three years.
Applying to Spelman
Since the application to the college is what starts the process for consideration for this scholarship, students are strongly encouraged to present the best application possible. Going to the Spelman website and downloading an application results in a 16-page booklet that includes step-by-step details on applying and the application itself. The actual application is six pages long and there are two two-page sections for a counselor and teacher to submit recommendations. As part of the application, students must also have test scores from either the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or the American College Test (ACT). International applicants who do not have English as a primary language are required to submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores. Finally, students must submit an essay that discusses their commitment to education and service to others.
Spelman College Office of Admissions 350 Spelman Lane, Box 277 Atlanta, GA 30314 800-982-2411 (toll-free) 404-270–5201 (fax) http://www.spelman.edu/
Patrice Robinson is a retired professional educator and administrator. She worked in the public schools for more than 30 years. She holds a bachelor's degree in the teaching of English, two master'sdegrees (one in English and one in education) and a doctorate degree in education.