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FoCuS Scholarship Frequently Asked Questions

Do other colleges have the FoCuS Scholars program?

While other colleges have programs designed to encourage under-represented students to pursue careers in science, none are quite like ours. We believe our program's combination of scholarship support and curricular innovation and mentoring support, make it unique.  We believe that FoCuS will help our students be successful in our disciplines.

Do I have to have financial need to join FoCuS?

No, you do not have to have financial need, though if you do you are more likely to be offered a place in FoCuS.

Do I have to be a minority or a woman to join FoCuS?

No, you do not, though if you are a member of a group that is traditionally under-represented in the sciences, you are more likely to be offered a place in FoCuS.

Do I have to participate in the Summer Bridge Program?

Yes.   We feel this is one of the most important features of our program. Students will take their introductory chemistry class and lab during this program. This will provide you with a jumpstart on the curriculum, allowing you to work as a TA (teaching assistant) in your first semester.  The program will also provide important orientation, team-building and advising sessions so that you will have a successful start to your college career.

What if I can't afford to do the Summer Bridge Program?

The NSF scholarship will cover summer tuition, room and board costs for FoCuS Scholars during this bridge program.  The total financial benefit of this scholarship far outweighs the amount of money students may earn in the summer.  In addition, participating in the Summer Bridge Program does not preclude the student from finding a part-time job on-campus or in the local community. While we would prefer that the students spend time on their coursework, we understand that they may need to work.  We also plan to hire these students as TAs or tutors in the subsequent fall semester; some students can choose to begin working at the end of the summer before the start of the fall semester.

Can I fit FoCuS in? Isn't Chemistry or Biochemistry already a large major?

The only additional coursework required for FoCuS are the one-credit seminars in each semester of the first year and sophomore years. And, you will have 5 credits of your chemistry major completed through the summer bridge program.  While the chemistry majors are rigorous, the additional support provided by FoCuS will help students adjust to college and succeed in science. 

Can I be in the Honors program as well?

Yes, FoCuS and the Honors Program complement each other.  In fact, completing an Honors senior thesis is one way to meet the FoCuS senior thesis or project requirement.

Can I study abroad as well?

Yes, you can study abroad and take part in FoCuS, but you need to begin planning early. Currently about 50% of CSB/SJU students majoring in chemistry study abroad.  It is also worth considering studying abroad during May term or as part of the Summer China Research Exchange program.

What about engineering? Can I do a 3/2 engineering program and be part of FoCuS?

Yes, women interested in engineering can join FoCuS, though they must concurrently meet the requirements of the chemistry major.  Students who follow the 3/2 or 4/2 engineering program will not get the FoCuS scholarship in their fourth year when they transfer to the engineering school. Those who follow the 4/2 engineering path can receive the FoCuS scholarship all four years.

What happens if I change my major? Do I have to pay the money back?

If you switch out of a chemistry or biochemistry majors, your scholarship will not be renewed, but you will not have to pay back the previous scholarship money.

What if I switch my major to Chemistry during my sophomore year? Would I still be eligible?

At this point, we are not planning to allow students to enter the program after their first year at CSB/SJU.

Do I have to maintain a certain GPA to keep the scholarship?

There are no added GPA requirements for this program. We do require that you make adequate progress toward your major and degree, and GPA does come into play there.

What if I decide to go to graduate school?

The FoCuS professors will be happy to help advise you on the graduate school application process. Getting students interested in research and graduate school are goals of this program.

Can I be pre-med and participate in FoCuS?   What if I take a non-science job after graduating?  

We are sure that your education will help you whatever path your career takes. While the purpose of this program is to encourage students to pursue careers in chemistry, we understand that people's plans change. One of the advantages of a liberal arts education is that it allows students to follow diverse paths. Many of our former students have had successful careers in areas remote from science, and they tell us that the discipline and problem-solving skills that they learned with us have served them well.

How many FoCuS scholarships are available each year?

We will award 10 FoCuS scholarships each year.

As a FoCuS scholar, can I apply for other on-campus or off-campus scholarships?

Yes, you are certainly able to apply for other on-campus or off-campus scholarships; However, students who receive the FoCuS scholarship cannot also receive the Trustees', President's, Dean's, Bonner, Intercultural Lead or MapCores scholarships.

To be Considered for the FoCuS Scholarship