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 Stories for April 1, 1998:

Selection Process Nears Completion For Regents’, Chancellor’s Scholars

by Fran Marsh, Public Affairs
posted Apr. 1, 1998

Interviews have just been completed for the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship Competition – the granddaddy of all campus efforts to ensure financial assistance to worthy entering freshmen in financial need.

The annual undertaking enlists over 60 professors as interviewers. Some are members of the Academic Senate’s Committee on Undergraduate Scholarships and Honors, which sponsors the scholarships.

Out of nearly 30,000 highschoolers who apply for admission from across the state and nation, about 1,000 are interviewed for the competition. Approximately 200 are selected and will enroll at Berkeley.

The Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship is the highest scholastic honor Berkeley awards to entering undergraduates. Winners with financial need receive full support for four years; those without financial need receive $1,000 honorary scholarships.

“This is Berkeley’s most prestigious scholarship,” said Judith Frank, assistant director of financial aid, undergraduate scholarships. “Recipients are among the most sought-after students in the country.”

Some 800 current scholars are on campus. They are selected for outstanding academic performance, SAT and SAT II scores, letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, academic potential, economic background, evidence of overcoming hardship and academic or personal qualities that would make a distinctive contribution to the campus.

Each candidate undergoes a highly competitive review. Successful semifinalists are invited for interviews in March by a Berkeley faculty member. Northern California candidates come to the campus for an interview, a campus tour and lunch; Southern California candidates are interviewed by a faculty member in Los Angeles where they also have an opportunity to meet with current scholars. Southern California interviews at the law offices of Fullbright & Jaworski are made possible in part by the generosity of alumnus Harry Hathaway, UC Berkeley Foundation vice chair.

Physics Professor Gilbert Shapiro has interviewed candidates in Los Angeles for several years. In a typical two-day visit, he talks with 15 students personally and conducts seven phone interviews.

“I like meeting these young students,” Shapiro says. “I ask them why they are interested in Berkeley, what they want to become. I want to know what makes them outstanding, how they are different from the others.”

“Faculty interviewers are essential and valuable,” said Professor Catherine P. Koshland, chair of the Committee on Undergraduate Scholarships and Honors. “Faculty put a personal face on Berkeley for prospective freshmen and can make a difference in a student’s decision to accept Berkeley’s offer of admission.”

The faculty’s involvement does not end with the selection process. Once on campus, each scholar receives a faculty sponsor and becomes part of the scholars’ association, which organizes meals with faculty and other social events.

The Regents’ Scholarship Program began in 1964 and is funded by the Office of the President. The Chancellor’s Scholarship Program, begun in 1981 as a counterpart to the Regents’ Scholarship, aims to increase the number of scholarships for outstanding Berkeley undergraduates and is funded by Berkeley endowments. New endowments are being solicited as part of the “Promise of Berkeley” campaign. The program is administered by the Undergraduate Scholarships Office.

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