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American University

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AU is definitely one of those schools thatQuite Bright
AU is definitely one of those schools that has a lot of really good things going for it - but royally messes up in a few key areas.

The Good:
Generally the programs in the 4 specialized schools (SIS, SOC, Kogod, and SPA) are very good academically.

Overall, professors are generally helpful and willing to put in extra time at office hours.
Lots of the professors are well-connected in DC and will write recommendation letters.
Students are generally well-informed of the world around them.
Pretty easy access to DC and all it has to offer.
Usually the departments and professors are flexible with deadlines, student needs, requirements etc.
The school is has some high-ranked programs and the school overall climbs in the rankings every year (and they are expanding the campus with new buildings for some of the less well-known departments which will surely jumpstart those programs). In ten years, the reputation of the school will be stellar and my degree worth a lot.

The Bad:
Housing and Dining Department generally sucks at doing what it is supposed to. Both are fraught with poor management and services. You can get good food at an okay price (by DC standards) but you have to look for it.

Pretty much any program not in one of the four specialty schools is tiny. Some of these programs are still good - but the course offerings are so slim that you are basically forced to take what is offered at whatever time it is offered.

Lack of suitable labs and tech centers. The Business school has a fantastic IT lab but basically any other technical major is stuck with really sub-par facilities. (This will be fixed in a few years but for now it sucks).

Standards are very haphazard. The business school is the only school that attempt to standardize lower level core classes. Everywhere else, your learning and grade are based entirely on the instructor. I've had 100 level classes that were harder than my 400 level ones solely because of the teacher.

For a school with a stellar IR program, I found that the language department kind of sucks. There are some fantastic professors, but most are adjuncts who are native speakers (and clearly know their stuff) but are thoroughly unable to teach other people.

AU is definitely about what you put into it. To be honest, in most programs outside of the hard sciences you can totally coast, learn nothing, and get a B or B+. However if you put effort in and truly want to learn you will learn loads.

Also be aware, that if you are looking into SIS: Once you get passed your lower level classes (after about two years), choosing your upper level classes defines whether you will actually get anything out of the degree. 50% of the classes are good. The other 50% are complete BS classes that don't teach much of anything so choose accordingly.

On a side-note: I found that the business school was very underrated. The job placement is fantastic, they help you get internships, etc. SIS basically leaves you to your own devices - they can look at your resume and tell you where to apply. But the business school has deals with companies in the area to take only their students for certain positions and (provided you are doing well in school) they will basically give you the internship.

4th Year Male -- Class 2014
Surrounding City: A+, Individual Value: D
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I want to follow up a previous reviewBrightPhilosophy
I want to follow up a previous review that I made about AU.
When I was wrongly evicted from the dorm at AU in 1997, I received the following response from The Housing Dept signed by Julie Weber:

"For 'reasons of confidentiality', I will not discuss,the client's, case with you. American University is firmly committed to a policy of non-discrimination, including compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act."

First of all, I would like to reply to this letter now, so that prospective students might understand a little more about why I was evicted from my dorm, and how this action violated my rights.

First of all, the University does not care about confidentiality nor privacy. They ransacked my room while I was in the hospital. They accused me of "ritualistic behavior" for having a "crucifix," in my room. So, I take it, that practicing your faith is "ritualistic" and therefore against the rules. This was also never discussed at all with me nor my attorney.

Also, I did nothing wrong while I was at the Dorms. I was a diligent student with a B+ average.
I was successfully treated at a hospital for a brief stay while in between semesters, and this should have been a private situation handled between me and my doctors. Instead, the administration handed down a self-autonomous decision to evict me from my room. In addition Ms. Weber, and the administration did so in a dismissive and arrogant fashion, as demonstrated by their terse, unapologetic, correspondence.

2nd Year Male -- Class 1997
Campus Aesthetics: B+, Individual Value: D-
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If I had the chance to redo it I would.Quite BrightEducation
If I had the chance to redo it I would.... While American University looks great on paper (and they will try to sell you on tours), once you get here, it couldn't be any different. Everyone here is stuck up, pretentious and socially inept. If you want to be a Political Science or International Relations major- great. If not, don't come here. All the money, time and attention goes to those two programs. You'll often be forgotten about if you want to study anything else. Basically, you'll be wasting 60,000+ a year on nothing. The school gives no financial aid. The dorms suck. The food is disgusting (just last week one of the on campus food vendors got closed by the health department for MULTIPLE health violations), there is absolutely NO sense of community. If you are looking for a school where students interact and there are activities on campus- this is NOT the school for you. No one goes to sporting games, no one proudly wears AU gear. You feel as if you are going to a commuter school because no one interacts with one another, and god forbid the university plan any on campus activities. The school is 70/30 (female to male) though they will try and round that number to 60/40 but ITS NOT. You will feel as if you are going to an all girls school. Speaking of the girls that go here....there are only three types. 1. Crazy, slutty party girl who can't string together a sentence, and you're left wondering how the heck they got in here. 2. Can't function in society- weird, beyond weird. 3. Extreme feminists who believe they're going to be the next Obama, and refuse to talk about anything else. I'm all for women's rights but these are the EXTREME. the crazy extreme. If you are a normal down to earth girl, good luck meeting anyone sane.

Also, you think you'll be close to the city.... the shuttle is never on time, it takes 25 minutes just to get to the Tenleytown Metro (you're better off walking), and so by the time you get into the city, you've exhausted almost an hour.

Basically, the kids that couldn't get into Georgetown come here (I have no problem admitting I didn't have the grades for Georgetown). However, people here act as if they're better then Georgetown kids, and are extremely pretentious and think they're the best thing to ever happen. Hint: If you were Ivy material and as smart as you were, you'd be at Georgetown and not here at AU. Essentially, AU is a corrupt place that is only interested in taking your money and couldn't care less about their students. You are simply a number here. They simply present a facade on tours, that couldn't be further from the truth. Save your money, and go somewhere else. I'll be transferring next fall, and this semester couldn't end sooner.

1st Year Female -- Class 2017
Useful Schoolwork: A-, Individual Value: F
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