Demonstrate interest at American University

I heard about AU not admitting kids with very high stats. We dont want that to happen to my daughter when applying in the fall. My daughter is interested in social sciences and has high stats (1540 sat and 98 unweighted average). We are hoping to get a merit scholarship. Their common data shows that “demonstrated interest” is very important. It also shows the interview is not considered. My daughter interviews well. What i want to know, is visiting the college and writing about it enough to show demonstrating interest? Should she not bother to interview? We are doing 3 colleges in 3 days so while she is good at interviewing, if it doesnt matter, we may as well leave after the tour and info session?

Your D should also sign up for American’s email distribution list by creating a future eagle portal account When she receives emails she should open them and click on a link as well

Other ways to demonstrate interest include taking a tour, interviewing, attending an AO session at one’s high school, meeting with an AO at a college fair or other American event, and reaching out to the AO with questions that can not be answered with info on the website.

Lastly, American fills a large proportion of their class in ED…applying ED is the ultimate expression of demonstrated interest. Run American’s NPC to see if it is affordable, but I don’t think their NPC includes merit aid.

I would interview. While they may not take the contents of interview too seriously, it’s a check mark in the demonstrated interest column. My son did a phone interview as he couldn’t fit one in during a visit. Also open every email and log into the webinars. Where does your D live? If you are not on the East coast or another high applicant area (California/Texas )that will give you a boost. If after visiting it’s your top choice then apply ED. Merit scholarships(except for the FDDS full ride) are awarded with your acceptance. If you have questions feel free to PM me. My son is a Freshman at AU.

Thanks for yoir replies. We are in NY. Sounds like she may as well interview while we are there touring.

That is simply untrue to state that they don’t admit kids with very high stats. All schools admit kids with high stats and parents with kids who don’t get into certain schools use that as a an excuse. My son was admitted last year with very high stats as are many other kids. American also looks at more than numbers so if you are more than your numbers you should have a decent chance though American is a school with a low admittance rate. Getting good grades and high scores just aren’t enough to guarantee admission at great schools like American. I’m not sure if interviews are done on campus, but do know that the admissions reps visit different states and countries and you have an option to interview at that time. When colleges offer interviews intelligent kids take the opportunity. The interview likely has weight to it as colleges who offer interviews are trying to put a well rounded and colorful class together and look deeper than numbers which is great! Your interview could set you apart from other kids easily if you are articulate and show a school what you have to offer on campus. After doing this with all four of my children now my advice is if a school is their top choice to do everything they can to demonstrate interest.

Correct. At one of their information sessions, which I attended in the early Spring, the admissions officer said that their average GPA range that they admit is 3.41 - 4.09. This means that they do take kids with very high stats.

Do your research ahead of time and know a lot about the college before your interview.

Visit. Tour. Interview at the school when you visit.

Later, when they come to your high school, meet with the rep. Mention your visit when you are meeting with the rep.

If you have a real question not answered on the website, email about it.

During the interview, be sure to highlight unique-to-American aspects of the college that really attract you. Maybe even try to find a non-arrogant way of inquiring about the merit scholarship. (It would be believable that a smart kid who wants merit money might actually pick American above, say, Georgetown, unlike many of their other top applicants who use them as a semi-safety.)

After all that, they should believe you are pretty interested in attending. If your stats are higher than their average, they might still suspect you would pick another college above them, but maybe they will be under the impression that they are a pretty high choice for you if your first choice does not work out. Or that getting merit there would convince you to attend above another college with more prestige that is more expensive for your family.

Of all the colleges to which high performing students from my son’s high school applied, American had the most pronounced pattern of rejecting the students who were getting into higher-ranked schools and accepting students whose applications were a bit less competitive. So, if I were your daughter, I would be sure to “show them the love.”

Demonstrate as much interest as possible.
Login into the webinars (they check), interview, visit the school, write your admissions rep and by all means apply ED. (Fine print is if you can’t afford it, you can
My daughter did all of this with great stats and terrific ECs. She got merit and grants.
She has a friend that had lower stats and didn’t demonstrate interest and was accepted to the Washington Mentorship program. You don’t want that. There are no scholarships and kids pay full tuition by they are willing to do it because they are in a program that is for “high stats”. It’s really just a way to make certain that American is not being treated as a “safe school” and that the students really want to be there.

Does applying ED adversely affect merit award grants? I know they say it doesn’t, but once you apply ED they sort of have you and can use merit aid to lure others in The regular decision pool. Does anyone know ED applicants who received merit aid? Have you heard anything about merit aid and early decision at American either way?

@CollegeDad2025 Students that get in ED are less likely to get merit aid since they are bound to go. AU can entice RD admits with merit aid. That’s why admissions officers don’t advise students that cannot afford full-price to apply ED. That being said, AU has moved to financial aid from merit aid, so they don’t give much. The highest amount anyone can get though is $22,000.

What is your source for this statement?

@Mwfan1921 I’ve asked the AU admissions counselor for my state and she repeated that exact statement to me. I was told not to apply ED by her because it would decrease my chances of getting adequate aid. You can also find numerous threads on here explaining the concept. Also, from US News: “Most schools use merit aid to attract their ideal students. If a school knows you will attend regardless, there is really no reason to offer you merit aid. Additionally, institutional and private scholarships aren’t generally awarded until late spring or early summer. It’s not impossible to get merit aid, but if you need to compare financial aid awards between schools, early decision is not the best option.”

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Interesting…and she was talking about merit aid?

I understand the concept. But, many CC posters are merely speculating that some schools give lower merit awards to ED applicants…there is no data (that I know of) backing up these statements. And your one anecdote does not equal data. Not everything on CC is accurate, nor are all posters knowledgeable in college admissions.

Of course if one needs to compare fin aid offers, they might not want to apply ED. OTOH, at schools with a significant benefit to applying ED (a school like American, for example), one might still choose to do that…especially if it’s a clear first choice, if the NPC suggests it will be affordable. If it’s not affordable, the ED agreement is not binding.


Did you not see the phrase “If a school knows you will attend regardless, there is really no reason to offer you merit aid.”? Also, NPCs are not always accurate. A student with a high EFC might not actually be able to afford what they are told they can, therefore, they can’t get out of the agreement.

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I don’t really like your tone. USNews has not shown any data to back up the statement that schools offer less merit to ED applicants.

Edited to add: High EFC students can also get out of the ED agreement if the aid offer is not affordable or does not match the NPC.


There doesn’t necessarily need to be quantitative data if there’s anecdotes from admissions counselors and experts.

They can, but it’s much harder and reflects poorly on the student.

The statement about ED students not receiving funding because of the bound nature of the agreement is incorrect. If you have visited AU or been in contact with their office you would know. They have two types of aid, merit and need-based. Merit is awarded if a student qualifies regardless if they apply ED or RD. Need-based is dependent on a student’s FAFSA and CSS profile.

@dc2009 obviously there’s a difference between merit and financial. But it is known that some colleges give more merit to qualified RD applicants to entice them. As for the assertion that I would know if I’ve been or been in contact, it’s ridiculous. I’ve visited AU twice and met with the admissions rep multiple times, and those are her exact words. That applicants who cannot afford full price but don’t qualify for merit should not apply ED because they might not get as much as they would in RD.

@izrk02 Where have you heard that it is “known” for colleges to give more aid to RD applicants. For students who should or should not apply ED you are correct. If money is a big concern for students then ED might not be for them.

@DC2009 You can find that on pretty much any ED merit thread on this website, or admissions blog. It’s not exactly a secret.

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