American University becoming less selective

38% admit rate this year, up from 26% in 2016.

Other than being in DC, there’s nothing special about it.

@Muad_dib Strongly disagree. They have one of the top programs for journalism in the country. Not to mention that they are normally ranked within the top 3 for International Relations. Of course, that goes hand in hand with the DC location, but doesn’t mean it should be overlooked.

I do think it’s interesting that the acceptance rate has gone up along with the number of students applying. This was an all-time high with 20,000+.


I think the incease is admissions rate is directly related to the changes that U.S. News & World Report made in 2018 to the formula for annual college rankings. It has dropped data for admission rates and put some focus on low-income students. So AU can admit more students without hurting their rankings. I think you will also see that they have increased diversity recruitment as it has become a larger factor in college rankings. I don’t think AU is getting less selective, my guess would be that they are admitting more students who have higher stats that were once denied because they looked like they were using AU as a safety.

AU is a great college in a fantastic city, but I don’t think they’re wealthy enough to be very generous with financial aid. They may have to accept more to get the number of full pays they need.

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The only way AU can admit more students (in the absence of not wanting to increase enrolled class size) is if their yield rate is declining. Which it is.

Obviously a declining yield is not good…2017 and 2018 around 29%, 2019-26%. If you back out the 40%+ of the class accepted ED at an 80% rate, the RD yield is obviously lower than the overall.


I was in a webinar where someone specifically asked about this and the answer was that they are trying to grow their enrollment in STEM, other science/math type programs which they are not traditionally known for. The answer makes sense to me.

During our November visit AU was really stressing their commitment to growing their STEM program. S20 was admitted to the International Relations program but decided to attend the University of Denver instead. We just couldn’t justify the $20,000 per year difference in net cost.

Echo the strong disagreement voiced by izrk02. In addition, the School of Public Affairs is nationally-ranked (#13).

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I think there will be a lot of anomalies in admissions data during a pandemic. Especially in schools that are mostly or entirely online.