UF tops National Merit rankings

More National Merit scholars enrolled at UF last fall than at any other public school.


Published: Tuesday, January 4, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 4, 2005 at 12:40 a.m.
They're smart and arrive each fall to the University of Florida in increasing numbers.
More National Merit scholars launched their post-high school educations at Florida's flagship university than at any other public institution in the country last fall, according to the non-profit organization awarding the scholarships.
UF also is the top-ranking public institution in recruiting National Achievement Scholars, a program recognizing high-scoring black students.
UF recruited 259 National Merit scholars for the 2004-2005 school year, second only to Harvard University, a private institution. Harvard's freshman class included 312 National Merit scholars, students scoring in the top one-half percent of the seniors in their state on a qualifying exam.
Just more than 8,200 students each year become National Merit finalists and receive scholarships based not only on their test scores but also on their academic record, high school curriculums and grading system, written recommendations, activities and leadership, and an essay. Every finalist receives at least a $2,500 scholarship either from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, private companies or from participating colleges and universities.
The students' decision to attend UF gives administrators confidence that the university's reputation among top-notch educational institutions nationwide continues to grow.
"UF's remarkable educational and social opportunities attract some of the nation's most talented undergraduates," said Joe Glover, interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.
Last fall, 40 students recognized as National Achievement scholars attended UF, ranking it fourth overall out of 166 schools across the country and first among 76 public institutions.
As with the National Merit scholars, Harvard tops the National Achievement list with 85, followed by Ivy-league rival Yale University with 61 and California's Stanford University with 57.
UF's No. 2 overall ranking among the top institutions recruiting National Merit scholars improved from fourth with 224 National Merit scholars in 2003. In 2002, UF ranked fifth overall with 186 National Merit scholars.
Janine Young Sikes can be reached at (352) 337-0327 or sikesj@gvillesun.com.

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