Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars Program


For Prospective Students:
Phone: 202-885-6500
Fax: 202-885-1025

For Current or Continuing Students:
Phone: 202-885-8000

Contact Information

Established in 2009, the vision of the Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars (FDDS) program is to be the premier academic community for American University's most ambitious student and alumni leaders dedicated to excellence, social justice, and the sustainable advancement of under-resourced and underserved communities.
Bringing together the best of AU – world-class education, leadership development, and active citizenship – the FDDS program will elevate the college-to-career experience of our most enterprising Honors students and propel them into successful careers in domestic and international health, business, government, law, communications, and education. To this end, American University has designed programs and established partnerships that precipitate a mutually respectful community of scholars where our students and alumni share in a greater purpose to develop to their full potential; to contribute to the intellectual, social, and political environment of the institution; to proactively prepare for graduate and professional school; and to address the world’s most pressing economic, environmental, and social challenges.

The FDDS program offers a scholarship that provides full tuition, fees, books, room, and board. It is renewable for a total of four years of undergraduate study, provided scholars maintain a minimum cumulative 3.2 GPA. Students applying as freshmen who would like to be considered for the scholarship must complete the FDDS Program application by January 15. Preference will be given to first-generation students as well as those committed to working in communities of color in the United States. While we encourage applications from all ambitious, well-rounded students, the most competitive applicants will have a minimum:

  • 3.2 GPA (unweighted) or 3.4 GPA (weighted) and
  • 1150 SAT (critical reading/math) or 25 ACT.

For more information, contact the Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars Program at 202-885-6213 or  

To Apply

To apply, indicate your intention to submit a FDDS application within the academic section of the Common Application. You will then be required to submit five short answers on the Writing Supplement.

FDDS application questions:

  1. Based on your knowledge of his life and legacy, why would Frederick Douglass believe that you are uniquely deserving of a scholarship bearing his name?

  2. How will you use your career to make a difference and improve the quality of life for underserved, under-resourced populations?

  3. Outside of your career plans, describe the type of person you hope to become.

  4. Describe a challenge you've faced in your life. What did you learn from the experience that has made you a better person?

  5. Describe any experience conducting academic research, exploring the arts, or participating in high school sports. What research, artistic, or athletic interests would you explore at American University?

Frederick Douglass Scholars Program

Frederick Douglass

Bringing together the best of AU—academic excellence, leadership development, and international engagement—to prepare talented students for the top graduate and professional schools.

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