Forty percent of Lebanon’s brightest high-school students chose LAU
Top high-school graduates and recipients of scholarships honored at a ceremony attended by the Minister of Education and leaders from LAU and CNRS.
Twenty-six high-school graduates celebrated at the Serail yesterday surrounded by family, friends, academics, and the Minister of Education Marwan Hamadeh. The students had scored the highest marks in the baccalaureate and, as a result, had gained scholarships to the university of their choice. Ten of the students chose LAU.
The scholarships are presented through a program established by the Council for Scientific Research (CNRS), a government-funded body. Students who attain the five highest results in each of the four baccalaureate disciplines of life sciences, general science, social studies & economics, and literature & humanities, are offered scholarships and often stipends.
This year’s cohort of top students were honored at yesterday’s ceremony, handed certificates by Minister Hamadeh and the President of CNRS George Tohme, and congratulated by LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra and CNRS Secretary-General Mouïn Hamzé. “We greatly appreciate the efforts of the minister and the universities that ensured the success of this program, supporting it in multiple ways,” said Hamzé in his welcoming note. LAU will cover the majority of the costs of the scholarships and offer each student a monthly stipend.
Assistant Vice-President for Enrollment Management Abdo Ghié explained why it is no surprise that 40 percent of the students chose to spend their formative years at LAU. “They enjoy the student life at LAU, where we give them the opportunity to go abroad and be active citizens through various initiatives, including the Model United Nations,” he says. “In my experience, those who excel academically are also passionate activists wanting to effect change, so the activities of the Dean of Students offices and the Outreach and Civic Engagement unit are very attractive to them.”
Ghié also stresses the role of the student recruitment office that introduces prospective students to all that LAU has to offer. Its staff’s efforts and friendliness evidently made an impression on those who will be enrolling this week. “The experience at the admissions office was so warm, much nicer than at any of the other universities I visited,” said Zeina Bazzi, who will be studying psychology at LAU as part of the CNRS scholarship program.
Oulyana Arafat, like Bazzi, had completed the baccalaureate program in social studies and economics. She scored the highest marks nationwide. “Even before getting the scholarship, I’d been planning to study business at LAU, as the Adnan Kassar School has a very strong reputation,” says Arafat, whose father graduated from the school many years ago. “But when LAU presented its offer for extended scholarships for the full seven years it takes to earn a medical degree, I decided to study biology.” While the CNRS program only covers undergraduate degrees, LAU has indeed promised pre-med students who graduate with a strong GPA the opportunity to enroll at the Chagoury School of Medicine with a full scholarship.
Kassem Sbeity is also going to study biology. Like Arafat, he was a student at the Lycée National in Choueifat and earned the highest baccalaureate score nationwide in life sciences. “LAU’s reputation and accreditation attracted me to it, and the technology I saw during my visit to the medical school was the decisive factor,” explains Sbeity.
Sawsan Alzahr was thrilled by her visit to the Byblos campus where she will be studying electrical engineering. “The recruitment team was very friendly and explained things clearly,” recalls Alzahr. “I also appreciate the language support the university will be offering.”
Assisting students, said Minister Hamadeh during his address, is a top priority for the government. “We thank the universities for carrying the burden with us to support these men and women,” said the minister, noting that 19 of the top 26 students were female. “This is a joyous occasion, when we celebrate the achievements of our students and the generation that will strengthen this great nation of ours.”