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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Community of Scholars program?
Designed for rising junior and senior high school students, Community of Scholars at American University's School of International Service is an opportunity for academically-outstanding high school students to take a 3-credit course that blends a week of online learning with two weeks of traditional on-campus classes. The program introduces students to the advancing fields of U.S. foreign policy and international conflict resolution. Students learn from highly regarded AU faculty in small, interactive classes while obtaining college credit. Students will experience how national and international leaders put theory into practice through guest speakers, site visits, and an introduction to the institutions of Washington, DC. 

Why is the program a "hybrid?"
The three-week Community of Scholars program is called a "hybrid" because it blends a week of online learning with two weeks of traditional on-campus classes. This hybrid format allows students to sample the distinct features of each learning platform.

What are the dates of the Community of Scholars program?
The dates for the program are July 3 to July 21, 2017. The online component is from July 3 to July 9, and the on-campus component begins on July 10. Students residing on campus should arrive between 3 and 5 pm on Sunday, July 9. Commuting students may attend the opening dinner on July 9, although they are not required to be in class until Monday, July 10, at 9 am.

How does one apply?
The online application is available on the Apply Now page of this website. Your application is not complete until we receive your transcript, teacher/counselor recommendation form, and deposit. These materials should be mailed to the following:

Page Hogan
Director of Pre-College Programs
School of International Service
American University
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8071

Alternatively, the application materials may be emailed to

How selective is the program?
Community of Scholars is designed for individuals who have a strong interest in international affairs, a clearly articulated statement of purpose, a strong academic background (minimum GPA of 3.0), and a supportive letter of recommendation from a teacher or counselor.

Who is eligible to apply?
The program is designed for students who will be rising junior and senior high school students by the summer of 2017. This means that current sophomore and juniors are eligible to apply.

Are international students allowed to participate in the program?
We welcome international students who have demonstrated adequate English proficiency. Students must obtain a minimum score of at least 80 on the Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL-IBT).

Are there any scholarships available for your program?
Financial aid is not available for this program with the exception of limited scholarships to local Washington, DC, public schools, subject to the availability of funds. Students are encouraged to seek out and apply independently for private scholarships that may be awarded by local organizations such as businesses, religious organizations, and civic groups.

How should the recommendation form be submitted?
Teachers or counselors should return to the student the recommendation form in a sealed envelope. Alternatively, they may email the form to

Do I need to submit an official transcript?
No. A photocopy of a transcript is sufficient.

What is the cost of the program?
The tuition is $2,990 for the three-week program. This includes three credits of college tuition, lunch, Metro fare and other expenses related to off-site visits to government agencies and other sites, afternoon workshops, classroom materials, and access to AU’s facilities. The cost for housing and meals for the two-week segment is $1,625.

Is a deposit required?
Students must submit a nonrefundable $250 deposit to secure placement in the program. Checks should be written out to "American University." If a student is not accepted into the program, the deposit will be refunded. Deposit checks should be mailed to the following address:

Page Hogan
Director of Pre-College Programs
School of International Service
American University
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8071

When is the tuition due?
The balance of the tuition is due by June 1, 2017.

What is the cancellation policy?
Upon written notification of cancellation received by Community of Scholars at least 30 days prior to the start of the program, all funds, except the deposit, will be returned. If an application is rejected or space is not available, all payments, including the deposit, will be refunded.

When will I find out if I am accepted?
Once all application materials are received, students will be informed within two weeks if they are accepted into the program.

What happens during the online week?
Several weeks before the online segment begins, students will receive an email instructing them how to create a username and temporary password to enable them to log in to AU's Blackboard web portal. Students will access readings and lectures and engage in discussion with their professor and peers via Blackboard. Assignments will vary depending on the class in which the student is enrolled. All online material is accessed at home at hours that suit students' own schedules. Students are not required to log in at the same time.  

What is a typical class size?
Class size in previous years has ranged from 15 to 22 students.

What is the schedule for the on-campus segment?
Classes will meet every day followed by lunch and an afternoon activity, such as a workshop, guest speaker, or visits to government organizations, including the State Department and embassies. Download the Sample Schedule for more detailed information.

How much free time will there be?
Free time is schedule each day for students to relax and enjoy campus life; however, students are responsible for using their time wisely so that reading and other assignments are completed on time. It's important to note that students do have an additional week once they return home to submit a final paper or project.

Are commuting students allowed to attend the afternoon and evening activities?
Yes. With few exceptions, commuting students are allowed to attend afternoon, evening, and weekend activities.

Will students visit Washington, DC, sites during the program?
Yes. Students will attend several briefings at government agencies, embassies, and other organizations. In addition, students will visit the Smithsonian museums on the weekend and explore the monuments while on a chartered evening monument trolley tour.

What is the community service project?
Students will gain service hours by participating in a community service project lasting approximately half a day. A letter acknowledging these service hours will be sent to students following the completion of the program.

What is the housing for students?
Residential students will be housed in doubles or triples in a centrally-located, air-conditioned campus dormitory. All linens—sheets, blankets, and a towel—will be provided. However, if you have room in your luggage you may prefer to pack your own towel and linen sets. The front desk of the dormitory is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The front doors of the dormitory are kept locked at all times; students swipe their AU IDs every time they enter.

How are the students supervised in the dormitories? 
Experienced resident assistants (RAs) live in the dorms with students and serve as chaperones. Additionally, there is a resident director assigned to the dormitory.  Additional chaperones are attend off-campus activities.

What are the dining options on campus?
Using their AU ID cards, residential students will use "Eagle Bucks" to pay for their meals. The Eagle Bucks are included in the housing fee. The funds may be used to pay for meals at all the campus eating places, such as Terrace Dining Room (TDR), Eagle's Nest, and Starbucks, as well as a few restaurants adjacent to AU's campus. Students will not have to use their Eagle Bucks for any group meals organized by the program. Commuter students will pay for their lunch from their own funds. However, there will be at least three group meals where lunch is provided for all students, including the opening day lunch with professors.

Do students have access to AU's facilities?
Yes. Students, residential and commuting, have access to AU's fitness center and pool, Bender Library, the Katzen Arts Center, the track, and the volley ball and tennis courts. To use the fitness center, a form needs to be signed by parents of minors and submitted ahead of time. This form will be made available once a student is admitted. 

Will enrolling in AU credit bolster my applications for college?
Successfully completing Community of Scholars program will allow you to demonstrate that you have stretched yourself and taken initiative beyond what is normally expected from high school students. On your college applications, you will be able to list your course and “check off” that you took a college course for credit.

May I list my AU college credit class on the Common Application?
Yes. The Common Application, an undergraduate college admissions application used by nearly 500 colleges and universities in the U.S., includes a section for students to list any college credit classes (other than AP and IB) that they have taken. The application will ask for American University’s CEEB code (5007) as well as the name of the course.

How do I obtain a transcript after completing the program?
Once all work is completed and graded, students will be given an official transcript documenting their credits. To obtain additional transcripts, or to have transcripts sent to colleges or universities, students must fill out a transcript request form found here. Completed forms should be emailed to, faxed to 202-885-1016, or mailed to the following address:

Office of the Registrar
American University
201 Asbury
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8064

Contact Us!

Telephone: 202-885-2442

Fax: 202-885-2494


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"I liked the hybrid program a lot. It allowed the class to come to AU already equipped with the background information we needed."

- 2016 Community of Scholars Student


"The entire experience, from my professor's teaching to meeting fellow students, was great. The course broadened my appreciation for foreign policy and international relations."

- 2012 Community of Scholars Student


“I had a lot of fun, learned a lot and found it very worthwhile.”

- 2015 Community of Scholars Student


"This was an absolutely amazing experience. Thank you for a wonderful learning experience."

- 2014 Community of Scholars Student