(Seguin) -- The top graduate in the Seguin High School Class of 2016 has earned herself a spot in the prestigious UTSA Top Scholar Program. SHS Valedictorian Katharine Stephens will be among the top-ranked students to participate in The University of Texas at San Antonio's elite program.
Developed and supported by the UTSA Office of the Associate Provost for Diversity and Recruitment, the Top Scholar program is said to serve "as an essential building block in UTSA's top-tier efforts to proactively recruit high-caliber, first-time students from the state of Texas.
Stephens says she follows in the footsteps of a former SHS graduate who also accepted a full ride to the area university.
"Actually, I didn't know much about the program, except that Sara Dibrell, who graduated a couple of years ago from Seguin High School, was a part of it. I knew Sarah. I knew she was incredibly smart. So I applied for it, but it wasn't until I went in for my interview at the second round -- as they were selecting people for the program next year -- that I actually found out a lot about the program. It just really impressed me because the scholarship is a big deal obviously, but more than that, they work with you individually to help you reach your goals. So it's really exciting," said Stephens.
Stephens says being a part of the program will provide her even more tools and support to prepare for her future.
"There's a specific counselor that will work with you to pick your classes, decide your major and your career. They give you a stipend and have a travel abroad experience," said Stephens.
Eligible students must be Texas residents who are entering college for the first time. UTSA officials say the most competitive students score 1400 or higher on the two-part SAT, 2100 or higher on the three-part SAT, or 32 or higher on the ACT. An average two-part SAT score for participating students is 1434.
While there were other college options on the table, Stephens says at the end, being a part of the program helped seal the deal with UTSA.
"Mainly really because of the Top Scholar Program. It had been on my list when I was deciding colleges, but until I actually went to visit, it was pretty close to the bottom of my list honestly. But when I went there and I met with the program coordinators and the other people in the program, I just knew it was the right fit for me," said Stephens.
The UTSA Top Scholar Program officially launched in the fall of 2013.