Nine engineering students from the American University of Sharjah (AUS) have been awarded Petrofac Scholarships. The scholarships provide students with up to 50 per cent of the tuition payment and are awarded yearly in the fall semester.

They were established from the proceeds of a $2 million donation the university received from Petrofac, one of the largest engineering and construction companies serving the hydrocarbon industry in the Gulf. Students may continue the scholarship until they graduate as long as they meet the scholarship requirements, which include a minimum GPA of 3.25 and an active engagement in extracurricular activities.

Asif Rana, mechanical engineering student at AUS, emphasised the importance of participation in extracurricular activities in receiving the award.

"In order to achieve such an award, you must be able to demonstrate other positive aspects of your personality in addition to academic success," he said. "In my case, I was involved in community service and several cultural clubs."

Receivers of the award said that exceptional academic performance is only a helping factor when striving for success.

"University is not only for studying," said electrical engineering student Mo'en Shayegannia. "It is also for participating in activities which will allow you to engage in social interaction with a variety of different people, different personalities, and different situations. This will enhance your personality and social skills and truly prepare you for the real world."

Students who won the award have different ambitions in terms of their future.

"This scholarship has encouraged me to go get my Masters once I graduate and perhaps later pursue a doctorate," said Rana Al Haje, civil engineering student at AUS.

While some students want to continue their studies soon after college, others would like to first gain some working experience in the real world.

"I certainly do want to get my masters, but I would like to work for awhile first," said Mooud Nasr, civil engineering student at AUS. "Not only do many masters programmes look for work experience in applications, but I also want a break from the classroom. It's time to apply everything I've learned."

So what advice would these achievers give to other strivers for success?

"Work hard and have fun, but manage your time," Rana said. "Doing so isn't only the secret to scholarships, but to any other achievement in life."