North Central College - Naperville, IL

3 sets of twins among record group of 98 Presidential Scholars

Print Email Share

(From top and left) Max and Zach, Kayla and Marissa, Nicole and Natalie
(From top and left) Max and Zach Barvian, Kayla and Marissa Bartz, Nicole and Natalie Mildice

If you think you’re seeing double in some of the classes this fall at North Central College, it’s not your imagination.

This year’s record crop of 98 Presidential Scholars includes three sets of twins. The Presidential Scholarship is North Central’s largest financial award based on academic merit.

How is it that three pairs of siblings who happen to be among the brightest scholars in their high school classes all ended up choosing to attend North Central together?

“My choices came down to here or Loyola University Chicago, and I liked the environment here a lot better,” says Kayla Bartz of Quincy. Kayla and her identical twin sister, Marissa, are 2011 graduates of Quincy Senior High School.

“We didn’t set out planning to go to college together,” Marissa says. “We both picked North Central on our own.”

Kayla and Marissa are living on campus in the same residence hall on the same floor, but with different roommates. Kayla’s major is undeclared, while Marissa is thinking about history or chemical microscopy, North Central’s newest major.

Identical twins Max and Zach Barvian will be sharing a car and commuting between campus and their parents’ home in nearby Plainfield. The Plainfield Central High School graduates learned about North Central through their participation in the College’s Lederman Scholars Program, which gives academically gifted high schoolers the opportunity to earn college credit for their studies.

“I took calculus and American government here,” says Zach, who plans to major in political science. Max, who plans to major in computer science, adds, “I liked the small class sizes and the overall environment.”

Fraternal twins Natalie and Nicole Mildice of New Lenox will be living together as roommates on campus.

“We’re best friends,” Nicole says.

Even so, the twins appeared headed for different destinations after graduating this year from Lincoln-Way Central High School.

“We were going to go to separate schools. I had already decided I was going to go to Purdue,” says Natalie, who plans to pursue a pre-medicine curriculum at North Central.

But Nicole, who plans to study radiation therapy, had already looked at North Central and liked what she saw. She convinced her sister to give it a look and as soon as Natalie visited campus she changed her mind.

North Central College began offering Presidential Scholarships to academically talented and highly motivated students in 1978. Each year, Presidential Scholars make up nearly 15 percent of the incoming class. Scholarships are based on a combination of a student’s high school grade-point average from core academic classes and ACT/SAT test scores and are renewable for up to four years.

Presidential Scholars are invited to join the College Scholars Honors Program, which connects participants through a network of peers, faculty and honors alumni, forming a community of excellence. College Scholars are able to learn from each other in small, discussion-based honors courses, conduct and present independent research and receive one-on-one advising for prestigious national scholarships like Rhodes, Fulbright, Truman and Goldwater awards.