Contact Us

Harrison, Amanda
Manager, Honors and Scholars Programs

Anderson Hall, Room 112 on a map

Community-Based Research Scholars 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016 United States

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Frequently Asked Questions

Community-based research involves collaboration between researchers and community members in the design and implementation of research projects aimed at meeting community identified needs.
In their first year at AU, students will acquire foundational research skills and will conduct a substantive community-based research project as a class. Students will study the relationship between community and social issues, and will engage directly with community partners.

A living-learning community creates an environment in which you can more easily build relationships with other talented students, share academic interests and experiences, and adjust to college life in D.C. together. You will live together in Anderson Hall, and you will live on the same floor as other CBR Scholars. The foundational courses provide a stimulating, small-group learning experience. Each course is limited to 19 students, which promotes more discussion and interaction than is possible in large lecture classes. Your fall 3-credit course also fulfills the AU Core Complex Problems seminar requirement. All courses are taught by outstanding members of the AU faculty who are respected scholars in their fields.

There is a supplementary application, including three CBRS-specific essay questions, that students must submit along with the common application in order to be considered for admission to the program. We are looking for high-achieving students who demonstrate the ability to participate in research early in their college career and who have a passion for social justice and community service.

To be considered for the Community-Based Research Scholars program at American University, applicants will need to answer 3 essays in 300 words or less. Below are some questions that have previously appeared on the CBRS application:

1. What needs to change in your local community? Identify and describe one challenge faced by a group of people in your local community. Identify at least one non-profit that is working to address this challenge. In your opinion, what could be improved about what we know about this issue or how could we improve the non-profit or governmental response to this problem?

2. Consider a time you felt like an outsider. What were the circumstances, how did you feel, what did you learn about yourself and others from the experience and what might you do differently if you found yourself in the same situation in the future? 

3. Consider a time that you made an assumption about someone or a group of people that you later found out was not true. Describe the situation, why you think you assumed what you did, and how it changed your future interactions with that person or people of that group. 

4. Strong CBRS students are intellectually curious, empathetic, passionate, and dedicated to making a difference. Share an example(s) of an experience(s) in your life that demonstrates at least two of these qualities and how they have prepared you to participate in the CBRS program.

5. What do you wish we asked you about? Write an essay on a topic that you are passionate about that you think will help you stand out among the applications we receive for the CBRS program. You can write your own prompt or use one from another context. 

6. Write about a choice you made or action you took that illustrates your shift from childhood to adulthood within your community or family.

Students admitted to American University must be eligible for merit-based or need-based aid as determined by the Office of Financial Aid. The terms of your financial aid are listed in your admission letter.
In the fall semester, you will take a 1-credit lab and a 3-credit Complex Problems course that fulfills your AU Core requirement. In the spring semester, you will take a 3-credit community-based research course. For more information, please visit the course descriptions. Six of the seven credits you take in the program can be applied to the undergraduate certificate in community-based research.

Courses meet an AU Core requirement and will also count towards the requirements for a Community-Based Research Certificate.

 Anderson Hall.

CBRS students may room with other first-year CBRS and/or Honors students.

In their first year, CBR scholars will be expected to attend a fall orientation, community service events, and a Writer as Witness event. CBR Scholars will also volunteer for 20 hours per semester at a local nonprofit organization.

CBRS is a one-year living-learning community for first-year students. In the second year and beyond, you have the option to be a peer mentor, serve on the student advisory board, apply to be a Program Associate (PA) or Teaching Assistant (TA) as well as the option to enroll in the undergraduate certificate for community-based research to enrich your community-based research and service skills.

No. Merit scholarship is contingent upon meeting the requirements outlined in your scholarship letter.
Please contact with any questions regarding the program.