As the associate director for national prestigious scholarships I have the opportunity to work with Auburn’s best and brightest students as they pursue nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships such as the Rhodes, Gates-Cambridge, Fulbright, Goldwater, Udall, and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships to name a few.
Established in the fall of 2008, the Office of National Prestigious Scholarships has the primary responsibility to identify, recruit, mentor, and develop students to compete for these awards. Though each scholarship has different requirements, generally speaking, all require a demonstrated commitment to academic excellence, typically measured in an overall grade-point-average of 3.7 and above; an intellectually curious and engaged mind; a strong undergraduate research record; a sustained commitment to extra-curricular activities such as athletics, community and / or faith based service; and a strong desire to make the world in which we live a better place.
In my position within the Honors College I play an active role in recruiting the best and brightest students to the Auburn University campus. When meeting with prospective students and their parents, I am often asked the following:
First, a superior academic record as measured by a strong grade-point-average – typically 3.7 and above; second, someone who possesses an extraordinary dedication to scholarship, brilliance of mind, and unquestionably strong powers of critical thinking. All of these qualities should be present in anyone who wishes to pursue a nationally competitive scholarship. Ideally, all of these qualities should be present in all Auburn University undergraduates. Yet, in addition, and just as important, successful scholarship applicants must possess a nobility of character, a genuine passion for life and for knowledge, a caring disposition for other people especially those less fortunate than themselves, and an ability to relate to all kinds of people – some coming from very different places than themselves, and to be able to share their thoughts and explanations with tremendous warmth, sensitivity and humanity. In a sense, successful scholarship applicants are those students who embody the Auburn Creed.
Mr. Edgar Gentle (AU ’78) and Auburn’s 2nd Rhodes Scholar adds “many Auburn students can compete successfully for these scholarships if they will only take the time to apply and prepare.”
And he is correct! In the past three years Auburn students have been selected as Rhodes, Gate-Cambridge, Fulbright, Udall, Rotary, National Science Foundation, and Goldwater Scholars. In addition, Auburn student athletes have been selected as the H. Boyd McWhorter Southeastern Conference Scholar Athlete of the Year Award (the first time in the history of the award that the top male and female scholar athlete were selected from the same institution); the Brad Davis Southeastern Conference Community Service Award; and the Walter Byers NCAA Scholarship.
Should you be interested in pursuing one of these coveted scholarship opportunities, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Paul Harris, Ph.D. (AU ‘97 and Fulbright Scholar to Germany 1994-1995)