Our View: Recruiting scholars yields great benefits

Our View

In short: UA is a top recruiter of National Merit Scholars and that helps all students get a better education.

The University has moved into the top 10 in more than sports. UA was the 10th-ranked public university in terms of National Merit Scholars for the fall 2009 freshman class, with 103 scholars as UA freshmen.

This dedication to recruiting top scholars is a vital asset to the development and improvement of the University. The 2009 class of National Merit Scholars was a substantial increase from the 83 who enrolled in 2008, and this trend looks to continue.

The University’s commitment to drawing top students should pay dividends for the UA campus. With more National Merit Scholars and other high-performing students, the campus becomes an attractive destination for top students not just from around Alabama but also around the rest of the country. Top students want to be around others like them, and top professors want to teach them.

Not only was UA ranked 10th among public universities, it was ranked 24th among all universities in the United States, public or private. Even when compared to places like Harvard and Yale, Alabama can hold its own when it comes to top students. These students aren’t just the cream of the home state crop. They come from as far as California.

Perhaps the University’s advantage is that it offers substantial scholarships to high-performing students, attracting those who may not be able to afford the prohibitive costs of traditional academic powers like Princeton and Stanford. To these students, Tuscaloosa is the land of opportunity.

The specific targeting of National Merit Scholars is just one small example of how UA is targeting top students. Over 1,100 students in the 2009 freshman class had higher than a 4.0 GPA in high school, and an incredible amount were accepted into the Honors College. Countless other scholarship opportunities attract the best and brightest from around the South and elsewhere.

When we start recruiting those who achieve in the classroom, we become a top destination for more than just football players. We become a more respected academic institution, and the value of every single degree this University hands out increases dramatically.

Let’s hope we can make a run at the top ranking next year.

Our View is the consensus of The Crimson White’s editorial board.