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American University

How this student rated the school
Educational QualityA+ Faculty AccessibilityA-
Useful SchoolworkB Excess CompetitionB
Academic SuccessA+ Creativity/ InnovationA-
Individual ValueB University Resource UseB
Campus Aesthetics/ BeautyB FriendlinessB+
Campus MaintenanceB Social LifeA
Surrounding CityA Extra CurricularsA
Describes the student body as:
Friendly, Arrogant, Approachable

Describes the faculty as:
Friendly, Helpful

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Quite Bright
Lowest Rating
Useful Schoolwork
Highest Rating
Educational Quality
She cares more about Campus Aesthetics/ Beauty than the average student.
Date: Dec 10 2009
Major: Political Science (This Major's Salary over time)
First off, I'm a transfer student from a competitive liberal arts school in the midwest.

The Departments: SPA, SIS, SOC and Kogod are fantastic, fantastic schools. They rank in top 10 and top 15 in their fields and have absolutely fantastic professors heading them. Yes, the other schools don't fare as well—but personally I'm not sure why you would come to a school that specializes in something you don't want to pursue. As everyone else here has said, the academics at AU are top notch—and as the school gets more competitive…I believe they are exceeding those at GWU.

Faculty all have posted office hours, which they hold to but sometimes are gone to attend conferences or panels. I wouldn't call it excessive, or even to a point that annoys me. That being said, it does happen. Classes DO have busy work, particularly in 100-level classes (many of which are Gen Ed requirements). You have to pick between that or professors assigning harder work like you were going to major in it, and then getting a B or C in a Gen Ed. Most professors of Gen Ed requirements KNOW that everyone in the class is taking it to graduate, and doesn't hold it against the students and punish the class with unreasonable material. That being said, the Gen Ed requirements here take up a lot of time. (2 classes in each of 5 fields of study, two writing classes and a math class = a little over 40 credits (out of the 120 required to graduate) because science/math classes have labs. If that bothers you, don't apply.—The University:

The campus is in one of the safest parts (NW) DC. It sits right next to affluent, suburban Chevy Chase, MD and Embassy Row. There are occasional saftey reports, but normally it's because someone was being severely careless and walking alone at 2 in the morning, several blocks from campus. The campus is pretty—it's not Georgetown which looks like Hogwarts, but it isn't GWU which looks downight depressing.

University resources. Here's some negatives. The library is a joke—and any time I want to study, I go to the WCL law library. Admissions, Housing and Dining, and Financial Aid are HORRIBLE to work with. It would take me two or three times emailing them to get answers to simple questions, if they answered me at all. I called Admissions when I was applying to confirm that my application was complete and was told that it was. I waited four to six weeks and did not receive my acceptance/denial letter. I called again to ask where it was and they said they were missing things from me, and so had not even begun to review my application. While faculty and advisors are fantastic, the rest of the administration is a pain to work with. Housing and Dining charges you for silly things (Eg. If you're a girl on floor 1 and a sink in the boys bathroom on floor two gets damaged…the entire building gets charged) Student Health Center is also a joke if you need anything beyond a yearly checkup—if you're a girl the flu sounds like morning sickness from pregnancy, and a cold is most likely strep or bronchitis.

BUT the Career Services Office is outstanding and combined with the Alumni base around DC, they are very helpful in placing students in internships year after year.—Social:

The People: I find there are two kinds of people at AU. People who think AU is a great place to be (sometimes, but not even mostly—to the point of arrogance in thinking that AU is an ivy-esque school). And people who are jilted for not getting into Georgetown. They're politically aware, and you will be out of conversations if you don't read the news.

Social Life: It is relatively easy to make friends at AU, but you have to try. I think a lot of people come in at orientation thinking that just because they are present, they will make friends. It doesn't work that way. I also don't understand why people are a complaining about it being a Dry Campus—you all have backpacks and there are several liquor stores within 5 minutes of AU. Parties are all at the Frat houses and Off campus, but again, if you take initiative…it's really easy. AU also has over 250 clubs and organizations, plus Greek Life.

I also don't know why people complain about the distance to the metro. Don't wait for the shuttle, it's a grand 4 BLOCKS to metro from AU. If you're with friends it's also very safe to walk back late at night. It only takes 25 minutes to get from AU to Metro Center which is as downtown as it gets and is in walking distance to the National Mall, stores, etc. DC is a walking city. WALK. There are things to do every. single. night. Sign up for coupon services—they'll get you half off deals and tell you when things are happening. There are free concerts at the Kennedy Center, nightclubs, food tours… no one here should EVER be bored unless they're lazy.—Bottom line:

Pro: AU and DC has all the resources you need to be happy and succeed, but they aren't going to do it for you.

Con: The bureaucracy, if you have too many run ins, will make you crazy.

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