I visited the beautiful Washington, D.C. campus of American University on a gorgeous fall afternoon. The campus is pristine with its modern buildings, facilities and finely manicured lawn. However, I was most impressed by the friendliness of the student body. I saw many students sitting together on the grassy quad talking and large groups of students walking with friends. Although the campus is located in the city of D.C., it has a very insulated, suburban feel.
Congress chartered American University in 1893. Today the university reflects the diversity of our nation with 7,000 undergraduates who hail from all 50 states and ten-percent of the students are international. Twenty-three faiths are represented on campus and one-third of all students self identify as non-white.
There are five undergraduate schools/colleges within the university: The College of Arts and Sciences, The Kogod School of Business, The School of Communications, The School of International Service, and The School of Public Affairs. Admissions told us that 90-percent of students who take the Foreign Service exam pass. Each semester there is an ambassador in residence.
American encourages students to make use of its DC location to earn valuable skills and work experience. Nearly 90-percent of all students have at least one internship during their time at American.
Our dynamic tour guide, who is a junior from Chicago, told us that lots of big names come to campus as guest lecturers and entertainers. It’s no surprise that two of the most popular and competitive organizations on this politically active campus are Student Government and Model UN. Attending performances in the on-campus black box theater is popular. All students may audition for music ensembles and theatrical groups. Students take advantage of the D.C. location and utilize all that the city has to offer.
Housing is guaranteed for two years. Freshmen live in newly renovated dorms. There are also theme houses, honors housing and living and learning communities available. Although there are sororities and fraternities, there are no Greek houses. Most juniors and seniors live off campus in nearby apartments. The university runs shuttles to neighboring shopping areas and hot spots.
Admissions and Financial Aid
Students apply to the university by using either the Common Application or the Universal Application. Admissions does not read by major. Students can double major across colleges. American is test optional. All students are reviewed for merit scholarships, and there is no separate application. Students who want to major in music or musical theater must audition.
The Three Year Scholars Program is designed to put students on track to graduate in three years within eight semesters.
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