Washington, DC
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Reviews 1657 total reviews with an average rating of 3.5

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3 College Sophomore

Athletics: Mixed Bag – We don't have a football team. Our school instead rallies around our DI basketball team, but it really only sells out during our two biggest traditional days. Club Sports are very popular though, and some are just as if not more competitive than their varsity counterparts. Intramurals, especially among Greek Life, are very popular as well.

3 College Sophomore

Academics: Granted I have only taken mostly entry-level classes at this point, but the difficulty of each class has ranged from me having to push myself to earn a B and learn a ton to the class I had to go to twice and got an A.

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5 College Sophomore

Off-Campus Dining: Dining Options Unlimited – In DC, there are an unlimited number of options for dining. In the nearby Tenleytown, there are small American and Mexican restaurants as well as the usual chain restaurants. The Dupont and Adam's Morgan neighborhoods provide more college food outlets like pita places, hookah bars, pizza joints, etc. Georgetown has amazing ethnic restaurants as well as pricey French and American ones. You'll never be bored with eating off campus.

3 College Junior

Weather: Tends to snow a lot during winter which hampers commute to classes

3 College Junior

Campus Strictness: Punishments Are Harsh – They are strict about underage drinking and drug abuse.

4 College Junior

Computers: NEEDS MORE – There needs to be more computers since it gets crowded especially during final times. They also need to make more laptops available.

3 College Freshman

Campus Strictness: Drugs & Drinking – They seem to be very anti-drugs. Pretty of strict about that. As for drinking, technically it is a dry campus but drinking still goes on. It is college after all. Its one of those things were theres are drugs and drinking if you look for it.

4 College Freshman

Off-Campus Housing: What I Have Heard – Although I have never had the chance to live off campus. I have only heard great and wondrous things from the people that have.

4 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: The local atmosphere has many striking similarities to that of a utopia. It is in a fantastic, affluent area but only a short bus ride from the hustle and bustle that is Washington D.C. There is also Georgetown, tenelytown, and Arlington so you can't possibly run out of fun things to do.

3 College Sophomore

Guys & Girls: There are four types of guys at American- gay, jerk, very awkward, or perfect but has a girlfriend.

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4 College Sophomore

Diversity: I would say that mostly everyone is open to other races and sexual orientations.

3 College Senior

Drug Safety: Typical College Experience – I definitely don't feel any pressure to drink or do drugs on campus, but I would have to say both drinking and smoking pot are pretty common. You can find some harder drugs if you really want them, but they're not hugely popular. Overall, if you're not blatant with your usage you will be left alone.

3 College Senior

Nightlife: Under 21? Join a Frat! AU is situated in a pretty suburban, yuppie area of DC, so the nightlife is pretty much frat/house party based. Parties in the dorms are common, but its a dry campus, so you have to be smart about it. If you're looking for more of a club/bar scene you'll have to get on the metro or grab a bus to Adams Morgan or Dupont.

1 College Senior

Diversity: Diversity at AU comes mainly from its International Students, not from its race. When you look around campus everyone is pretty white. Different racial groups tend to stick together because they are such a minority.

2 College Senior

Parking: For Me, Not Worth It at All. Unless you're going to use it to get back and forth from home (and even then, really consider if the costs and trouble are worth it), I wouldn't recommend bringing a car. It's DC, after all, and it's expensive and hard to find parking. Public Safety loves to ticket cars parked in incorrect spaces even for the time it take to run an errand, so unless you're willing to shell out for an on-campus space, you're going to end up late to things all the time as you frantically search for parking. Really, consider public transportation.

3 College Senior

Greek Life: A Presence, but Not Overwhelmingly So. I definitely am not the traditional Greek type, but I gave it a try in my second year of school, and it changed my experience at AU for the better. Here's the truth: you can have a fun, social time as a non-Greek at AU, and not in a half-hearted way. But the Greeks are more open here than at other schools, and are generally a fun group that you'll see in your classes and other activities, and it's a genuinely great way to meet new people. If you can bring yourself to pledge, I've found that it's a worthwhile experience.

4 College Senior

Facilities: Generally Well-Thought Out. AU works to maintain shiny-looking spaces to entice prospective students. As a student who lives off-campus but spends the majority of the day on-campus studying or in class, there are always places to study and hang out: Mary Graydon is nicely quiet in the mornings, and loud and people-filled in the afternoons/early evenings, and the small cyber lounge area is nice. Kogod has the best lounges, but the Batelle atrium is nice, and Katzen is nicely empty most of the time. The library is one of the most unattractive buildings you'll see, but they make an effort to have as many couches, tables, etc. available as possible. Jacobs Fitness Center is weirdly designed and the upstairs cardio machines fill up during busy times, but it's clean. Student Activities can be a real pain, but once you've gotten to know them in the context of your student organization, it's fairly simple to reserve spaces across campus for meetings and activities.

4 College Senior

Computers: Crowded but Decent. AU definitely makes an effort to keep up with technology and demand. Basically all students have their own computers, but when mine was out of commission for 4 weeks, I found it totally practical to use ones on campus. The library is most crowded, but has the most stations, and is open 24 hours. The Kogod FSIT lab is gorgeous, and the labs in Ward are usually empty if they aren't being used for classes. You don't need your own printer: AU gives everyone a $25 subsidy (more than enough, now that the library prints double-sides) per semester, and the printer locations are usable and located in smart places.

3 College Senior

Weather: All 4 Seasons...And the Occasional Snowpocalypse. Summer is humid and gross, but fall and spring are long and pleasant. Winter is usually short, and it doesn't snow more than a few times...unless there's a blizzard, but AU is overcautious and cancels classes often (not a bad thing, if we're being honest).

3 College Senior

Athletics: Not a Major Focus, but Fun in Its Own Way. I came from a big football area, and coming to AU was a bit of a shock. The average student cares very little about AU sports, but there are a few shining exceptions, most notably the basketball games: they're free, usually have free food for students, and are well-attended by Greeks and the pep band. AU tries to get everyone excited with different events and giveaways, but the majority of students would rather go off-campus for fun.

3 College Senior

Transportation: AU is not a city school in the traditional sense--it's not surrounded by busy city streets, but more tree-lined ones in front of massive compounds like Homeland Security and the Japanese Embassy, so the walking you'll do sometimes feels much longer than it really is. The shuttles are unreliable, but still the top choice for getting around...but be prepared to have them whiz by you sometimes. The Metro is okay, but I was much happier when I mastered the bus routes (learn where the 30s and N buses go, and you'll be able to avoid the shuttle and red lines altogether). Biking is sort of rough, since we're in a hilly part of DC. And keep in mind that you should make friends with people who have cars, because sometimes (especially when you live off-campus in an apartment) you just need a car.

3 College Senior

Campus Dining: Glad to Be Done With It. I find on-campus dining to be pretty lacking on AU's campus, but that might be because our off-campus options are so much better comparatively. I spent 1.5 years on a meal plan (200, 150, then 75), and it was fine if you could look past the price/meal (something like $13 or $14). TDR has decent, not stellar selection, and the staff can range from sweet to really off-putting. Tavern is awful. During the day, you can find a decent sandwich in Ward, but a lot of the time, you end up stuck with Subway, McDonald's and the Eagle's Nest.

4 College Senior

Health & Safety: Be Smart, and You'll Be Fine. It's when I'm out late at night that I realize AU is totally removed from that traditional city-feel. I've walked back from late nights on campus at 2 or 3 AM, and it's nearly empty, but there are always a few students around (it also helps that most of us live in the same apartment complexes, so you'll end up walking close together). I've heard the horror stories of course (walking from Tenley to campus alone is NOT the brightest idea at night), but if you use your judgment and walk in groups when you can, it'll be okay.

3 College Senior

Off-Campus Dining: There's plenty of places around. Dupont, Adams Morgan, Georgetown, U St., Bethesda..but on a day-to-day basis, you'll still find yourself going to the same places around AU/Tenleytown: Chipotle, Le Pain Quotidien, Two Amy's, Cactus Cantina, occasionally Steak and Egg...they're good, but you'll be happier if you change it up occasionally.

3 Recent Alumnus

Overall Experience: Overall, Pretty Good – A lot of the facilities are average, including the food. Most of the teachers are pretty good, however. Overall it's more academics than parties.


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Kogod School of Business
Kogod School of Business
Kogod School of Business Kogod School of Business

Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

Jesse MacDonald
Law & Society
View all previous student authors

Many students agree that there is something for everyone at AU, and they are rarely ever bored. Though the school’s population is relatively small and has fewer parties compared to state schools, many claim that it is worth it to be in D.C. and the surrounding area. 

Upon arrival at AU, the adjustment period can be tough for people not accustomed to an urban setting. However, making friends is quite easy, and even the shyest students will be able to integrate themselves into the small, tight-knit AU community. For the most part, students have no problem expressing themselves socially or academically. It seems that a “work hard, play hard” philosophy best suits the students at American University.

Admitted Students' GPA/Test Scores More on admissions . . .

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