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group of laughing students in an SIS classroom that participated in the Community of Scholars program

Jump-start your future in global affairs

The Community of Scholars program is a rigorous college-credit summer program designed for students entering their junior and senior years of high school. The Community of Scholars offers academically outstanding students the chance to broaden their understanding of international relations by enrolling in a 3-credit college class designed just for them. Students admitted to this program will sample the undergraduate experience and take advantage of what the School of International Service (SIS) has to offer. 

Community of Scholars will introduce you to the advancing field of global affairs through college-level coursework. Whether in class at AU or online, instructors will provide dynamic lectures and engage students in discussions as well as simulations, such as a mock National Security Council debate. By the end of the program, you might find yourself developing a national security strategy or conducting a conflict assessment of an ongoing insurgency. You will visit government agencies and non-profit organizations to see how leading policy-makers put ideas into action. You will experience the excitement of Washington at work and see first-hand what others only read about.

See Program Details for more information, including dates and tuition information. 


Community of Scholars is offered in two distinct formats: an on-campus program with traditional classes as well as an online version conducted via Zoom. In either format, students enroll in a 3-credit college class taught by highly respected faculty at AU's School of International Service.

Full program details (including course offerings and tuition costs)

The program is designed for students who will be rising junior and senior high school students by summer. This means that current sophomores and juniors are eligible to apply. Rising sophomores, current freshmen, may apply to the online version of Community of Scholars and will be accepted on a case-by-case basis. We welcome international students who have demonstrated adequate English proficiency (please see the FAQ question related to international students). 

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. 

The Community of Scholars program will give you a first-hand opportunity to sample life in the nation's capital. AU's main campus is nestled in leafy Northwest Washington, DC, adjacent to Embassy Row and just minutes from downtown. Outside of class, you will witness DC in action by attending briefings at institutions such as the U.S. Department of State, World Bank, Embassies, and the United States Institute of Peace.

The program includes numerous additional structured activities, such as an evening monument tour, the "Capitol Steps" play at the Ronald Reagan Building, and several group meals, including a festive "International Night" with food, decorations, and music from around the world.

Each day you will have free time to enjoy campus life, whether it's visiting with a friend at SIS's Davenport Café or relaxing on the AU quad. You will have access to all AU facilities, including the library, fitness center, swimming pool, outdoor track, and soccer and baseball fields.

See what life as a student in DC is like

Program Benefits

During this intensive summer program, you will:

  • Pursue your academic interests in International Relations
  • Earn 3 college credits
  • Explore international institutions in Washington, DC
  • Learn about international careers
  • Meet other students who are passionate about creating meaningful change in the world

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Yes. Students, residential and commuting, have access to AU's fitness center and pool, Bender Library, the Katzen Arts Center, the track, and the volleyball 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.

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.

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