Location
Washington, DC
Undergrads
6,970
Tuition
$39,499
Admission Difficulty
Average
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Reviews 1670 total reviews with an average rating of 3.5

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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.

3 Recent Alumnus

Campus Housing: Only Been There for One Year – The dorms are nice overall, but too cramped when they're being used for triples. McDowell also has some problems with mold on some floors. The cost is a bit high, but the campus is beautiful and there's a lot to do in the city. The food is only so-so, and sometimes makes people sick.

4 College Junior

Off-Campus Housing: Cheaper Than on Campus – Housing is expensive but it's cheaper than staying on campus

4 College Junior

Academics: Any Major – Au promotes that if they don't offer your major you can always create one. This is rarely done but it has been done. You will need to work closely with professors and an advisor to create your program.

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3 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Friendly College Town – There is plenty to do in the area being in DC. However there is not much immediately next to AU. It's to be set in the suburbs. It makes you feel like you are at home.

5 College Junior

Facilities: Though AU rarely markets itself this way, the activism at our school is phenomenal. Everyone has their cause, and everyone is working to save the world in one way or another. There are clubs for everything, and there´s an impossibly active branch of Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed community service fraternity, on campus.

College Junior

Greek Life: Greek life at AU may seem like it´s everywhere, but it´s really only about 17 to 20 percent of the student body. Parties are fun when you first get to school and want to meet lots of people, but most upperclassmen do apartment/house parties and bars and clubs much more than frat parties. Greek life is also pretty involved in philanthropy, so any event you plan will get a boost from inviting fraternities and sororities.

4 College Junior

Facilities: Campus Aesthetics – Campus is tiny but beautiful. There´s no more than a ten minute walk to any class, but the quad is a beautiful green space and there are always, always flowers.

5 College Junior

Facilities: Internships Rule All – I transferred to AU because I had a panic attack sophomore year about not being able to find a job post-graduation. Everyone I've talked to has a serious preference towards AU grads because they tend to be less entitled and work harder than the other schools in DC. I've had four internships since I transferred here, and I know that it'll be the difference between me and kids at my old school who only babysat for four years.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Parking: Well...It's DC – Permits cost nearly 1,000$, and there is no getting away with not having one. However, because there is a shuttle to metro, most kids do not find a need to have their cars on campus. I know many people with cars just sitting in their driveways at home because they refuse to bring them.

3 College Junior

Campus Housing: Great for Underclassmen – Dorms tend to be on the larger side (compared to other schools), clean and centrally located to classes. Centennial and Anderson Halls are regarded as the most widely desired. Especially with the Perch on the first floor of Anderson.

However, housing in DC is expensive and Room and Board cost reflects that. Room selection is awful, and Housing and Dining are completely unresponsive to civil requests. Plus, housing is no longer guarunteed for upperclassmen.

4 College Sophomore

Overall Experience: Everyone Fits in – I can't be happier with my decision to attend American. There's a place for everyone here. Everyone seems to find their own niche, and the student body is overall pretty friendly.

3 College Freshman

Campus Strictness: There are locked closets in dorm rooms which RAs are not supposed to search. That's where people stash liquor. Everyone living on a given floor shares cost of vandalism.

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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
Hometown
Brooklyn
Major
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 . . .

Applicant Status At American University

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