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University Scholars

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The University Scholars Program selects highly motivated and accomplished students to participate in professional and personal development and to serve as ambassadors for the University Honors Program. 
The program provides curious, deep thinkers with opportunities to learn for learning’s sake. University Scholars participate each semester in small-group seminars, the Exploration Series, with their fellow Scholars, and they represent LAUNCH: Honors to prospective students and their families, Honors freshmen, and the broader university. Scholars receive a $8,000 scholarship ($1,000 per semester) and serve as role models for the Honors community.

Want to learn more about what University Scholars do? View our current Scholar profiles.

Selection Process

Each spring semester, eligible students are invited to apply for the University Scholars program.  The extensive written application consists of a personal data page, 3 one-page essays, a short story (following a prompt), a resume, an unofficial transcript, and a recommendation form. After completed applications are reviewed, up to 40 applicants are selected for an intensive, half-hour interview with a panel of faculty, current University Scholars, and LAUNCH staff. Following the end of the spring semester, 10 to 12 interviewed students are invited to join the program.

Eligibility
To be invited to apply for the University Scholars program, students must
  1. Be in the second semester of their first year at Texas A&M University-College Station (i.e. freshman entering in Fall 2016)
  2. Have established a cumulative GPR of 3.2 or better AND be in the University Honors program OR
  3. Have established a cumulative GPR of 3.5 or better AND be admitted to the University Honors Program for Fall 2017 (decision by mid-March)

AnchorCriteria
The selection committee looks for candidates who demonstrate:
  • intellectual curiosity and adaptability,
  • a depth of critical thinking and self-awareness, 
  • poise, maturity, and professionalism,
  • awareness of national and global issues, and
  • the ability to engage in rigorous conversation.

AnchorTimeline
  • Applications typically open late January.
  • Application deadline is typically late February.
  • Finalists are notified in mid-March.
  • Interviews: Monday, April 3, 2017 - Thursday, April 6, 2017
  • Final Decisions: After Monday, May 16, 2016
Informationals are held November through February. Specific dates, when scheduled, will be listed here.

Thursday, January 26, 6:45 PM in Henderson 103

Wednesday, January 25, 5:00 PM in Henderson Hall 103

Thursday, January 26, 6:45 PM in Henderson Hall 103

Thursday, February 2, 6:00 PM in  Henderson Hall 103
The University Scholars program evolves to fit the changing needs of our students and campus. In fall 2014, the program launched the Exploration Series seminars as a way for students to explore cultural and scientific topics in the news, in academia, and in the Bryan-College Station community. These seminars are small discussion groups of about 5-8 Scholars who meet weekly with the program coordinator and with guest professors and other experts. Past seminar topics include education, intelligenceartcomedymusictelevision, animal conservation, and transportation, as well as climate change, religion, space, and food. Some University Scholars have taught their own seminars on topics including Agatha Christie, influential equations, and the psychology of superheroes.

Sophomores in their first semester with the program participate in the “Futuring Yourself” writing workshop. Over the course of the semester, the sophomores craft their personal statements, incorporating straightforward but constructive feedback from their fellow Scholars. The goals of the course are to acquaint students with the honesty necessary for personal insight and for communication with their peers, to strengthen students’ narrative writing skills, and to allow room for deliberate self-reflection.
Is University Scholars the right fit for me?
Do you want to explore new fields “just because”? Do you love to share your Honors story with other students? Do you want to challenge yourself to consider your values from new perspectives? University Scholars can answer “yes” to all of these questions. The program looks for candidates who demonstrate intellectual curiosity, depth of critical thinking, poise and professionalism, awareness of national and global issues, and ability to engage in rigorous conversation.

Is University Scholars a scholarship program?
University Scholars is primarily a leadership and professional development program that fosters creative thinking. The program, therefore, is more than a scholarship and is inappropriate for students interested solely in funding. However, University Scholars do receive a $6,000 scholarship, distributed as $1,000 per spring and fall semester, sophomore through senior years. Students continue to receive the scholarship so long as they remain in good standing with the University Scholars Program.

Can I be in both University Scholars and the Corps of Cadets/a sorority or fraternity/etc.?
Yes, absolutely! University Scholars are leaders across campus, including in the Memorial Student Center, Student Government Association, Corps of Cadets, sorority and fraternity life, and countless student organizations. 

Do I have to be in the University Honors program?
You do not need to be in the University Honors program in order to apply for University Scholars. However, students accepted into the Scholars program are expected to complete the Honors Fellows graduation distinction. We recommend that students interested in applying to University Scholars also apply to University Honors during their freshmen year. Applications for University Honors are available each December. If you did not apply to University Honors, we still encourage you to apply for Scholars, with the understanding that accepted Scholars become members of the University Honors program as well.

I'm in a departmental or college honors program, like Engineering Honors or Business Honors. Does that count?
University Scholars must pursue the University Honors program. We have this requirement because the Scholars program is housed under the umbrella of University Honors and because Scholars serve as ambassadors for University Honors. Many University Honors students are also in college and department honors programs and are able to fulfill multiple distinctions.

Can Blinn TEAM students apply for University Scholars?
Yes! Blinn TEAM students who meet the eligibility requirements are strongly encouraged to apply.

May I receive help with my application?
We strongly suggest that you review your essays with the staff at the University Writing Center and consult the Career Center about how to improve your resume. You are allowed to have friends, professors, and classmates proofread and critique your application. However, your entire application must be your own original work. Plagiarized applications will not be considered for selection, and action may be taken with the Aggie Honor System office.

What should I expect in the interview?
You will be interviewed by a panel of current University Scholars, the program coordinator, other LAUNCH staff, and faculty. Each interview panel consists of approximately five members. The interview will last half an hour, and the questions will be based on the information you provided in your written application. The interview is highly intensive, designed to resemble admission interviews for graduate and professional schools.

I was selected for University Scholars! What’s the next step?
Please sign and return your Acceptance Form as soon as possible. During the summer before your sophomore year, be on the lookout for emails from the program coordinator about your fall Exploration Series course and other participation expectations. In August, you will be recognized at the annual Honors Welcome ceremony.

I wasn’t selected for the program. What do I do now?
We hope that all candidates gain experience in defining their goals and examining their values through the selection process. We encourage you now to pursue other opportunities for excellence within our programs. If you would like to dive into your academic learning, consider Undergraduate Research Scholars or Undergraduate Teacher Scholars. If you would like to develop your leadership skills, look into Undergraduate Leadership Scholars orUndergraduate Service Scholars. You can also represent the Honors & Undergraduate Research community as aResearch Ambassador or as a member of Honors Student Council. Finally, the University Scholars program coordinator also serves as an Honors advisor and is happy to work with all Honors students on their degree plans and post-college goals.

Can I receive feedback on why I wasn’t selected for an interview or for the program?
Yes, but only after the conclusion of the interview process in April. Contact the University Scholars coordinator to arrange an appointment or to receive feedback via email.

At right: Univeristy Scholars from the Class of 2017 - Farid Saemi, Rachel Rosenberg, and Phillip Hammond  - represented University Honors at the Engineering Teacher Summit in 2016.

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University Scholars demonstrate their leadership and academic excellence in areas of campus life including Memorial Student Center committees, undergraduate research, and the Honors Housing Community. The program fosters personal reflection and narrative writing skills that prepare Scholars to be successful in applying to nationally competitive fellowships (like the Astronaut, Marshall, and Goldwater scholarships) and to graduate, medical, and professional schools.

  

 

 
At left: University Scholars Amanda Couch '14 and Nahua Kang '14 attend the annual Honors Welcome ceremony, where the new class of Scholars is introduced. 

Overall, University Scholars represent the core values and mission of LAUNCH at Texas A&M University and are expected to be leaders within the Honors community as well as the campus at large.

Please contact the University Scholars program coordinator, Benjamin Simington, for more information.