Washington, DC
American University


235 Ratings

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Recent Reviews

Radhika
What is your overall opinion of this school?

In spite of the pretentious "saving the world types," which includes me, natch, I really do love AU. I do credit my time at A...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

In spite of the pretentious "saving the world types," which includes me, natch, I really do love AU. I do credit my time at AU for giving me a clearer path to a career choice and helping me focus my interests. AU is expensive -- the tuition, the cost of living, on-campus food, everything. That comes with living in a tony area of an East Coast city and attending a private university. Take advantage if they give you scholarships/financial aid. DC is a fantastic, diverse, complex, gorgeous city with loads of opportunities. Get to know all of it, even the parts with (gasp) black people. Caution: AU is filled with SWPL types who pride themselves on their "tolerance" but clutch their bags in the Metro when they see a homeless person. That being said, both the city and this school are internship central, and the "right" internship is kind of a status symbol among students, regardless of what you actually do during said internship. We do have an excellent Career Center. There are plenty of networking opportunities, but it's up to you to take advantage of them. This is not the school for you if you want to tailgate at the games and such. There are sororities and fraternities, if that's your thing. It's not really my cup of tea, personally.

What are the academics like at your school?

As a journalism student, the majority of my professors have been adjuncts who either rock or suck. It's mostly been the former. I do like the professional experience that they bring to the classroom. Professors at AU are super helpful if you reach out to them, and they really do like it for the most part when you go to their office hours. I believe our School of Communication is sorely underrated. Again, AU = internship central. There are a lot of folks who aspire to join the Foreign Service, start a nonprofit, or become a Hill staffer. Not all of them are like this, though. AU students are very ambitious, which kicks me into high gear when applying for internships or study abroad programs. Most classes are small(ish) and participation-based. This is good if you are an overly opinionated Olivia like me. Ironically though, the participation-based format of most classes has also taught me when to keep my mouth shut. The best academic experience I've had was through my study abroad program. AU gets this right, for sure. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone who has the means to do it. Even if you think you don't, AU still covers your financial aid/most scholarships while you are abroad.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Only to a certain extent. If politics/social justice isn't your thing, you will definitely find like-minded folks. I promise. There are plenty of people at AU who are not studying political science or international relations. I've also heard excellent things about Kogod, our business school. Also, DC is not necessarily all about politics, contrary to what the news would like you to believe. It is a city with a rich, diverse culture in its own right. Get to know it, and you shall reap the rewards.

Describe your favorite campus traditions.

We have campus traditions?

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

The political organizations & volunteer groups are definitely the most popular on-campus activities. AU has a dry campus, but that certainly doesn't stop people from drinking anywhere, really. I write for student publications and volunteer pretty frequently off-campus. I also am a part of various social justice groups. I have never been to a game or an on-campus play. However, if the right political speaker comes, people will flock to the event. I got to meet Dan Rather thanks to an event by the Kennedy Political Union, which organizes most of the on-campus speaking events. A freshman year tradition would be waiting for a frat bro to give you a ride to a party, since you can't just walk into the frat houses at AU. (They're all off campus.) Not sketchy at all! I admit, I did it for a semester, but then I found real friends who were 21 and willing to help a girl out. If you're underage, like to party/drink, but don't have any way to buy alcohol, this is your best bet. If you didn't want to drink on a Saturday night, you could go out into DC and do...anything, really. You could go to a museum, a play, an open-mic night, an athletic event, a concert...there's loads of (free and/or low-cost) things to do in the city.

What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

Bleeding heart liberal political activists who want to "change the system" with their Hill internship. Or, for the cherished few, a nice rabbelrousing protest! Constantly hustling for money for starving children in XYZ developing country and pretending to care about The Poors. As long as you don't send them to Anacostia!

Siena
Describe your favorite campus traditions.

American University is best known for having the biggest International Affairs program in the nation.

Describe your favorite campus traditions.

American University is best known for having the biggest International Affairs program in the nation.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

From my experience at American University, I would tell myself as a high school senior to start applying to scholarships early. College is expensive and I may not be able to attend American University for the 2013-2014 year due to the high cost of the school. If I had applied to scholarships earlier, I might have been able to stay at my dream school with less problems. I would also tell myself to spend as much time as possible with friends and family; it is hard being several states away, especially when you are "the new kid".

What do you consider the worst thing about your school? Why?

The worst thing about American University is the cost. One year (room and board plus tuition) is around $52,000.

Jacob
Describe the students at your school.

My classmates are driven, politically active, and confident. I feel like students on my campus are some of the geekiest and n...

Describe the students at your school.

My classmates are driven, politically active, and confident. I feel like students on my campus are some of the geekiest and nerdiest people I've met and they've managed to fully embrace that and use the skills they've learned to their fullest ability. I think the fact that 95% of students intern and more than half of those intern more than once is more telling about the passion and determination of my classmates than it is about the career center.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

If I could go back in time and give myself advice for starting college the advice would be simple. I would tell myself that I'm going somewhere where everyone was about as smart as me and I can't get away with coasting through anymore. I needed to grow up and build up a competitive edge. There's only so far you can get without trying and having to do more work doesn't make you less intelligent. I'd also tell myself to not let anyone else dictate what I do with my life. I have let people control my actions for far too long and it's about time for me to grow a pair and take charge.

What do you consider the worst thing about your school? Why?

I think the worst thing about my school is the lack of political diversity. The population leans so far left but everyone also enjoys debating so things often end up with people debating about things they actually agree upon and usually simple misunderstandings are blown out of proportion in order to get some debates going. There are some conservatives but they're still fairly left-wing as well. I may be almost as leftist as they come but I don't think the population should be that homogenous.

Bove
What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Dear Gianna, Stop worrying and take a deep breath because college is not as difficult as you think it is going to be. The t...

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Dear Gianna, Stop worrying and take a deep breath because college is not as difficult as you think it is going to be. The transition will go much smoother than you can even believe imaginable right now! A few points of advice: 1. Read more! Learn to enjoy reading, become faster, and learn how to pick out important information. This is essential for college, your teachers are not lying. 2. Utilize the library and take your research papers seriously. You must become an expert database navigator, so practice now and become friends with the librarian. 3. When your teachers say revise, revise. You can raise your grade by an entire letter. Seriously. 4. Pack less! Everything you are used to at home will be available where you are going. 5. Talk to kids who are already in college, especially ones who are already attending your college. They will have tips and secrets to make life and the transition easier … and ways to save money! * Most importantly enjoy your last few months of high school and when you get to college, enjoy every second and take advantage of every opportunity because it flies by just as quickly as high school did!

Conner
What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Don't be afraid to get involved, try new things, talk to new people and just have fun. As long as your head is in the right p...

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Don't be afraid to get involved, try new things, talk to new people and just have fun. As long as your head is in the right place, your grades will be fine - but these years go by way too fast to be worried about grades all the time. Explore the city more, take advantage of all the things the campus and DC has to offer. Learn the bus system by just getting on it and getting lost! See all of the museums! Go to concerts and talks! These are years far too important to waste. And staying busy and distracted is the perfect way to meet people and will ease the transition from home life to college life. There is a reason you came all the way out to DC for college, don't forget it!

What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about your school?

Our School of International Service. Great professors, great building, and located in the perfect city to be studying the material. The opportunities that come with being in SIS are amazing and I love to brag to my friends about all the cool things that I get to do (i.e. go to Kenya for spring break).

What's the most frustrating thing about your school?

The powers that be in American University seem disconnected from the student body. Things seem to be done behind closed doors and in secret and when students are consulted, our input doesn't seem to matter all that much. It would be nice if we were taken seriously, considering the type of students taht American University attracts.

Matthew
Describe how your school looks to someone who's never seen it.

American University is extremely engaged in politics.

Describe how your school looks to someone who's never seen it.

American University is extremely engaged in politics.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

While there are many factors affecting the selection of a college, place an emphasis on the value of the education received. I found myself easily adaptable to widely differing campuses and school cultures; thus, retrospectively I would approach the selection process like a finance calculation (weigh the full cost of attendance against the anticipated long term value of the degree earned). In order to calculate the anticipated long term value, I would advise myself to: Fully understand the value derived from a college with a strong brand. Simultaneously, be cognizant that there are a multitude of highly competitive opportunities available to students from lesser-known schools. A high performing student from a mid or low-level university may be afforded more opportunities than an average student at a well known school, because recruiters and hiring managers appreciate achievement. Thus, consider the ability to excel when factoring for strength of the brand.

What do you consider the worst thing about your school? Why?

The school invests heavily to match the appearance of a top-tier institution, but does not invest enough in resources to support students.

Emily
What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

First and foremost I appreciate this opportunity. I would tell myself work hard and strive to the best I can be. I was fortun...

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

First and foremost I appreciate this opportunity. I would tell myself work hard and strive to the best I can be. I was fortunate to be selected to the rotary youth exchange program and spent time in Spain learning the culture and language. This was a lifelong dream of mine and one fullfilled next is to become a medical doctor. I will start my freshman year this fall and want to be a pediatric plastic surgeon. Very Respectfully, Emily McElwaine

Heather
What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

If I could give myself any advice about college life and the transition, it would be have confidence in yourself. I am not go...

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

If I could give myself any advice about college life and the transition, it would be have confidence in yourself. I am not going to lie. The transition from high school to college can be intimidating. Class sizes go frm 25 students to 300 students, and professors could care less if you pass. However, it is possible to thrive in college. It's important to take studying seriously and find what study method works for you. It is different for every person. Get involved in an activity you love, becuase that will make the transition smoother. However, none of this will happen if you are not confident with your abilities. So go in to school brave and confident. You are ready for this. You will not fail. You will have a blast.

What kind of person should not attend this school?

American University is a wonderful school. However, it is very expensive. American University is not known for their sciences, but rather their School of Internatational Services and School of Public Affairs. It is a great school to attend if you know that you want to study in one of these schools, in the School of Communication, economics, history, and other related majors. However, there are students who study science at American University. That said, anyone who is completely undecided may not thrive at American University, since their concentration is towards International Relations and Political Science.

What kind of person should attend this school?

Anyone wishing to study Internation Relations, Communications, or Political Affairs will thrive at American University. However, American University's opportunities and locations make it a great school for any student.

Details

  • Enrollment
  • 7,900
  • Tuition & Fees
  • $44,853
  • Acceptance rate
  • 26%

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