The American University in Cairo (AUC) welcomes today nearly 941 new undergraduate students and 230 graduate students for the 2015 Fall semester. Admissions rates continued to rise steadily and this year saw a 6 percent increase over last year. More than 3500 undergraduates applied to AUC for Fall 2015. More than 1,100 students were accepted for enrollment, making a 33 percent acceptance rate. “Demand on AUC is higher this year, and the mean average score of accepted student is also higher,” said Ghada Hazem, executive director of admissions. AUC has also raised the criteria for cut-off scores for applicants, insuring that the University attracts the top students from Egypt and around the world. This year, four percent of new undergraduate student are international. AUC also welcomed new 14 faculty members specialized in various fields including history, business, management, accounting, English literature and Egyptology from USA, Canada, UK, France, Bangladesh, Germany and Egypt.Twenty-eight percent of enrolled undergraduates have already declared majors in science and engineering. Many other students will be working their way through the core curriculum before deciding on their direction of study.
One of the main reasons new undergraduate Fatema Galal applied to AUC is that she is able to take a variety of classes and doesn’t have to declare a major in her freshman year. “I came here because I’m not sure what I want to do yet and AUC has a lot of majors to choose from,” she said, “everywhere else in Egypt you have to declare right away.” Galal was also attracted to AUC’s many study-abroad programs.
Sally Abdel Hady, a new graduate student at the Graduate School of Education, is attending AUC to pursue a master’s in educational leadership. Abdel Hady already has a Professional Educator Diploma and a Fundamentals of English Language Teaching Certificate from AUC.
Having recently been promoted to the head of her department at the international school where she teaches, Abdel Hady applied to a master’s program at AUC to build on her education and develop new leadership skills. “I’m interested in how educational reform can happen when you put a strong leader in place,” she said. Like many graduate students, Abdel Hady, will continue to work full time as a teacher while studying for her master’s. “I’m looking to step forward in my career and step forward in my future,” she said.
To get ready for the freshmen, throughout last week the campus was buzzing with activity during orientation week for incoming students. Orientation week included a student engagement fair, campus tours, sports competitions, new and peer-to-peer sessions and a free mobile app.
The peer-to-peer sessions allowed student peer leaders to introduce freshmen to online tools they will need throughout their academic careers like Blackboard, Banner Self-Service and Moodle. The new sessions were created to ensure that every freshman student receives consistent information and is comfortable with the technological tools in order to enhance his or her experience at AUC.
Created by current AUC students, the free mobile app informed the incoming class of orientation activities and reminded them of start times. Inspired by an idea from the First-Year Experience (FYE) program committee members, the app will be used throughout the year to stay in communication with the freshman class.
Each day of the orientation had a special focus to help new students navigate University life. Last Sunday, students received information on AUC and its majors; Monday was focused on self-discovery and goal setting; and Tuesday included sessions on student life and values.
FYE, largely a student-run program, has 140 student volunteers who worked through June and July to prepare for this year’s orientation. “We give the members a lot of freedom,” said Marsil Kalliney, associate director of the First Year Experience and Leadership Institute. “It empowers students and gives them ownership of the program.”
Last June, Kalliney organized a visit for 10 AUC students who are part of the student orientation team to attend FYE at the University of Central Florida (UCF), which has a “very comprehensive freshman orientation program,” as she described it. Students from both universities presented on FYE at their schools. “They learned from the experiences of UCF students, and they were able to compare AUC to other programs on a global level,” said Kalliney. “It taught them to take pride in their work and have confidence in the program.”
“The emphasis on school values throughout the orientation was great,” said Ali El-Desoky, one the students who went to UCF. “The common thread that joins us all is that we all want to help freshmen have a better first-year experience.”