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American Today


Community of Scholars Gives Students a Taste of College Life

While their friends converge on the pool this summer, more than 60 high school seniors  are expected to converge on AU, trading tanning lotion for textbooks while they study in the Community of Scholars program.

The program, coadministered by Washington Semester and the School of International Service, offers advanced students who are rising high school seniors, three college credits for study.  Students can choose from six courses: foreign policy, international relations, U.S. politics, journalism and media, global environmental politics, and criminal justice and forensics. Building on the 2008 pilot program, which drew 15 students from the D.C. area, the 2009 program, which runs from July 13 to 31, will include a residential component, enabling students from across the country and around the world to more easily participate.

Peter Howard, AU’s director of precollege programs, expects 60–100 high school students to enroll in the intensive program, “We want to keep it intimate,” said Howard. “The classes are small so students can work closely with the professor and the scholar-mentors, and really get to know them.”

“We want to inspire students; we hope they’ll learn something, not just about their subject area, but about themselves and what it’s like to be a college student,” Howard said. “The courses we offer correspond with the strengths of the university, and we hope students will be inspired to seek academic futures in those fields.”

In addition to academics, undergraduate scholar-mentors will lead participants in a community service project, take them on museum and monument tours, and accompany them to a Nationals game. Visits to the Career Center and Bender Library will round out this taste of college experience.

“We’re giving them the opportunity to study in Washington, to take the Metro to Capitol Hill to meet with policy makers, to have the full D.C. experience,” Howard said. “We want them to come away saying, ‘There’s no better place to do this than at AU.’”