September 7, 2014, Cairo – The American University in Cairo (AUC) welcomed today more than 1,100 undergraduate students for Fall 2014, with more than 280 students declared as engineering and science majors, bringing in a highly selective group of students. The number of applications to date is 18 percent higher than last fall. Also, the number of international students who have registered so far is more than 25 percent higher than last fall. “The increase is a positive sign and proves that international applicants are more confident regarding the safety and political stability of the country.” said Randa Kamel, executive director, Office of Recruitment and Student Service Center.Many of these international students have come to AUC because of its unique location. “I’ll be specializing in international relations, and I wanted to come to Egypt and study it firsthand in the Middle East,” said Brandon Shinhearl, a political science graduate student from the United States.
For Henry Clements, a graduate student from New Jersey, it is not only this firsthand perspective that drew him to the University, but also the chance to gain fresh insights and develop a deeper understanding of Middle Eastern culture, history and society. “I chose to pursue a two-year master’s in Middle East studies at AUC because I eventually want to go for a PhD in history, but I’m still pretty new to the field of Middle East studies, so I need a better, more multidisciplinary grounding,” he said.
Kamel explained that the selection of students is based on the top scoring applicants from each certificate. “There is a long waiting list for those who applied or completed their admission process after the announced deadlines,” she added.
Amira Soliman, a newly accepted member of class 2018, who is planning to major in either chemistry or anthropology, said “I chose AUC because it is well-renowned for its cultural and social diversity and it has different majors that you don’t find at the other universities in the Middle East.” Soliman believes that “The University gives students the opportunity to broaden their horizons, because even if you study one major, you can still take so many different electives and minors, so you graduate with multiple skills and a great deal of knowledge.”
For the past week, AUC campus has been bustling with activities for the incoming class, from orientation sessions designed to introduce students to academic and extracurricular life at the University. The different orientations offered a plethora of academic fairs, social activities, advising sessions and campus tours to all incoming students. The events proved to be a good opportunity for the students to become familiar with the University and each other before the semester kick-off.
Volunteer students from First-Year Experience (FYE) and International Peer Leaders (IPL) had a major role to play during the orientation for the new students.
Saif Diab, IPL president, explained how important – and enjoyable – it is to help study-abroad students assimilate themselves in their new environment. “We all do this because we really like helping the students out and familiarizing them with their daily lives in a new country because we want their first impression of Egypt to be a good one,” he said.
Bavly Wahib, the president of FYE expressed similar sentiments, “It is important to help ease freshmen’s transition between school and the university, because that can be a really overwhelming period for anyone,” he added, “FYE members have a really great time spirit and everyone is so dedicated to guiding and welcoming new students to AUC, which will eventually become their second home.”