WAAAUB Holds First Ever International Convention: Commitment to AUB and Enhancing Ties among Alumni  
AUBMC Receives US Accreditation
Seven New Members to Join the AUB Board of Trustees
Establishment of the Michael Atiyah Chair in Mathematical Sciences at AUB
AUB Nutrition and Food Science Department Named as WHO Collaborating Center
Academic Excellence Rewarded: AUB's Merit Scholarships
AUB Announces New Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service
Shahe Kazarian's - Reflections of My I (Published by Cadmus Project: 2007)
Faculty Profile: Patrick Lewtas
Professor Mrad Lectures Abroad
Staff Profile: Ramzieh Saad
Essay Competition Honors Arab World's 'Prince of Poets'
Donald Mitchell Examines Control Over City Streets
The Political Consequences of American Romanticism
Juan Cole Points at Failures in United States
Scholar Studies Impact of Terrorism on American Imports
Ambassador Evaluates Role of United Kingdom in the Arab World
A View of Islam in the Eighth Century
The Need for Dialogue Between Religions
Istanbul's Pleasures Revealed
National Identity Without Citizenship?
On-line Workshops Help Train Journalists
Student Artwork Exhibited at Jafet Library
Amulets and Talismans at the AUB Museum
Living with Animals: To Prevent Torture and the Impact of War
Women's Auxiliary Holiday Luncheon
Home of Hope Orphans Tour AUB Medical Center
Italian Opera Recital at Assembly Hall
Strengthening Ukraine and Lebanese Relations with Music
AUB Music Club Concert
From Sufi Chant to Oriental Jazz
AUB Choir and Choral Society Celebrate Christmas
Benefit Christmas Concerts Help Ayadina Center
Red Cross Club Forms Human Ribbon
January 2008 Vol. 9 No. 4

Academic Excellence Rewarded: AUB's Merit Scholarships

New batch of outstanding students receive full tuition scholarships

A top academic record-good school scores and ranking, plus top SAT scores can win a full three- or four-year tuition free scholarship at AUB. The University has long been committed to providing scholarships to as many students as possible. Students may apply for various financial aid packages, but in addition, for the past nine years, ten outstanding students have been awarded full tuition Merit Scholarships based on academic achievement alone.

These scholarships are granted to four entering freshmen and six entering sophomores selected on the basis of academic achievement as determined by their composite scores (SAT I and school grades) and their class ranking in their schools. These students are exempted from tuition fees until graduation, provided they maintain a grade point average of 85 percent.

Selecting students on merit alone means that some students, capable of paying for their AUB education, will be spared tuition fees. Some might question the granting of full-tuition scholarships to the son or daughter of a millionaire. Provost Heath explained: "We want wealthy students as part of our mix. . . I think that financial aid is an important part of how we fulfill our mission-attracting a diverse student body. One of the best things about AUB is that to the best of its ability it is trying to attract as broad a range of students as possible." AUB wants a student body which reflects society as a whole-the rich, the poor, the high and average achievers, Lebanese and foreigners, different ethnic and religious groups.

Merit Scholarships can and do attract students to AUB. The availability of such scholarships sometimes promotes high achievement, and the local schools are understandably proud of their Merit Scholarship recipients. One year three Jamhour students won Merit Scholarships. Winners have described the attraction. One student who had lived abroad all his life confessed to an arrangement to enter Yale University, but when offered the Merit Scholarship, he embraced "the only opportunity to allow [himself] a real 'rooting' in Lebanon." He feels "indebted to AUB for . . . the opportunity not to lose sight" of his country. Several other students were grateful to the University for enabling them to remain close to families and friends. Another said she would have had to give up her AUB admission, had she not received the scholarship.

The program began in 1999 with a Board of Deans suggestion that AUB actively seek to attract academically qualified students from both Lebanon and abroad. Since its inception, some 90 Merit Scholarships have been awarded. According to Provost Heath, program analysis shows it is working well as confirmed by the close correlation between the choosing criteria and performance at the University. So far no student has dropped out because of inability to achieve the 85 average. Merit Scholars regularly have entrance grades higher than the required SAT verbal and math scores. Those at the freshman level are regularly over 1300; the sophomores over 1400. "To get a score of 1400 when English is not your native language is impressive," Heath said.

The 85 average is easy for most Merit Scholars, although some French educated students said they had to adjust to the American system. One was grateful that the 85 requirement was "high enough to be of good academic standing, but not too stringent, [thus allowing] students who wanted to venture into uncomfortable or unknown territory a chance to do so without fear of losing their scholarships because of low grades."

It is not a problem to find qualified students: "On the contrary," Heath said. "We have many great students we can't give scholarships to. We could double the number and still have enough qualified students. Making the selection is painful. When it comes down to class ranking, we're talking about number one and number two."

Merit Scholars generally like AUB. They describe the "excellent academic level," the "flexibility of courses and schedules," the "cultural and religious diversity," the "richness of student life," and the beautiful campus. With a large number studying engineering, many also sample minors and electives. One psychology major is doing two minors (cognitive science and philosophy) and considered a third in either history or English literature. But she decided to use her remaining electives "to take a variety of courses in different disciplines, rather than use all [her] remaining electives in either history or literature..

Enthusiastic about AUB, these talented students are nevertheless realists. One noted "a tangible disconnect between the intellectual stimulation offered in classes, and the general atmosphere on campus," related, she says, to what one studies. "I know people who are under-stimulated because of their majors." Another Merit Scholar praised Professor Samir Khalaf's passion for teaching and "infectious" scholarship: ("He always made students feel more like colleagues engaged in scholarship with him rather than students receiving knowledge from him,"), but said this was "a quality AUB would be hard pressed to find in most of its academic staff."

Students give the Merit Scholarships high marks for changing their lives by enabling them to attend AUB and by challenging them to perform at a high level academically. Several noted a boost to self-confidence: "The Merit Scholarship increased my confidence in my capabilities and motivated me to use these capabilities fully in order to maintain a certain level of excellence in many areas, not necessarily related to the academic work."

After AUB, many Merit Scholars are bound for master's and PhD programs abroad. Some are already in the work place, one a strategic management consultant for a multinational firm based in Beirut. One freshman scholar's response to a question about post graduation reflects the ongoing paralysis of the country: "After graduation I intend to get the hell out of the country." Another was more optimistic: "After graduation," he wrote, "I intend to complete my pursuit of knowledge and education and hopefully help, one day, in making our world a better place."