Contact Us

Amanda Harrison
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

There is a supplementary application found in the Future Eagle Portal, including three CBRS-specific essay questions, that students must submit along with their general application in order to be considered for admission to the program. We are looking for academically strong 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.

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 on same floor as other CBR Scholars along with a Program Associate (PA) assigned to your fall CBRS course. PAs are older students who have completed the program. They are your live-in resource for academic and social support.

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.

CBRS is a one-year living-learning community experience for first-years, sophomores and transfer students.

After that, CBR Scholars 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 deepen your community-based research and service skills.

No. Admission to CBRS does not come with any additional merit aid. However, program participants do have access to funding for conference travel to present CBRS-related research.

For first-year students: 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. 

For sophomores and transfer students: in the fall semester, you will take a 1-credit lab. In the spring semester, you will take a 3-credit community-based research course. For more information, please visit the course descriptions. 

For first-year students, the Complex Problems course meets the AU Core requirement. For both first-years and sophomore/transfer students, all other courses will also count towards the requirements for a Community-Based Research Certificate or as electives.

Incoming first-year students will live on the CBRS and Honors floor in Anderson Hall.

Sophomore and Transfer students will live on the CBRS and Honors floor of McDowell Hall.

CBRS students may room with other CBRS and/or Honors students.

CBR Scholars will be expected to attend a fall orientation and retreat, as well as a limited number of other program events throughout the year.

All CBR Scholars also engage in community-based learning (either as a volunteer or in a public service Federal Work-Study position) for 20 hours per semester at a local nonprofit organization.

Please contact with any questions regarding the program.