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Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars | Apply


Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars Program
Hughes, Room 100

Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars Program
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8119
A teacher in front of a classroom of students.


The award-winning Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars (FDDS) program has emerged as one of the nation’s best graduate and professional school preparation programs.

Our mission is to elevate the intellectual curiosity, social responsibility, and success of enterprising students for post-baccalaureate education, impactful citizenship, and lifelong achievement.

We bring together students of high potential and groom them for leadership in government, law, business, health, communications, education, and international service.



Scholarships: Every Scholar receives full tuition, as well as mandatory fees, books, on-campus housing, and a generous meal plan. This scholarship is renewable for a total of four years of undergraduate study, provided scholars satisfy academic performance and program requirements.

Customized Career and Academic Planning: Each Scholar creates and implements a personal and professional development plan, tailored to his or her short-term and long-term goals.

International Engagement: Scholars can leverage our local and global resources to better understand challenges in North America, South America, Africa, and other areas of the world.



The program is only open to first-year undergraduate students who have an expressed interest in attending graduate and/or professional school. The program annually admits a cohort of 5 high-achieving Scholars from a wide range of backgrounds. You may apply during your final year of high school or within four years of receiving your high school diploma/GED. You also must apply separately to the Honors program. Interested students who would like to be considered for the program must complete both applications by January 15.

Undergraduate Admissions and the FDDS Faculty Advisory Committee will assess candidates based on their academic performance, leadership experience, standardized test scores, recommendation letters, personal qualities, and demonstrated commitment to positive social change. While we encourage applications from all ambitious, well-rounded students, the most competitive applicants will:

  • have a minimum 3.3 GPA (unweighted) or 3.5 GPA (weighted);
  • have a minimum 1190 SAT (critical reading/math) or 26 ACT;
  • aspire to obtain a graduate and/or professional degree;
  • demonstrate a commitment to the betterment of the human condition and a lifetime of giving; and
  • be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.

Students interested in medicine/dentistry, entrepreneurship/business, and technology/computer science are strongly encouraged to apply. Finalists will be interviewed on campus. Travel costs, including lodging and meals will not be covered by American University.


Students must complete an application form by December 15.

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