What is American interested in?

<p>Hey, I'm going to apply to American next year, and I just had a quick question about admissions. I was wondering what American is interested in when looking at applicants. Do they want to see motivated students who are passionate about one subject, or students who excel in all subjects? (For example, I got a 670 in English (SAT), and a 560 in math. Im not interested in anything involving math, so will that low score really hurt me that much?) Also, all my Ap and Honors classes (6, I believe) have been History/Social studies classes. Im interested in Political Science and US history, and show a passion for both in and out of school (clubs, volunteering, etc.) So, will my slightly below average stats (1850, 3.7w Gpa) absolutely rule me out of AU, or will my passion for my intended majors help in maybe getting me waitlisted or (on the slightest chance) accepted? Thanks!</p>

<p>More recent applicants will have more specific advice for you, but here are 2 bits:</p>

<ol>
<li><p>Re: extracurricular activities, they want to see quality over quantity. A key measure of quality is progress. For example, maybe you were on the student council for 4 years--you were a class representative as a freshman, the treasurer as a sophomore, the vice president as a junior, and the president as a senior. This shows that (a) you can stick to something and (b) you progress as you stay involved. This being said, they do want to see some measure of well-roundedness, so having one or two unrelated things like sports, music, or science is a good thing. Community service/involvement is also good.</p></li>
<li><p>AU is interested in your interest in AU. You need to have many instances of contact with the AU admissions office because they will log each instance. More instances=more interest on your part, which makes them think you are more committed to attending. So call, visit, apply, go to any events in your area, attend online chats and information sessions, etc., etc., etc.</p></li>
</ol>

<p>@pswillia does au say they track on their site? Or is that just "through the grapevine?" I'm just curious as I have some interest in au as well. Thanks!</p>

<p>I applied and was accepted to American University as a member of the Class of 2015. </p>

<p>First, American is becoming more and more competitive in terms of quantity of applicants and quality of what the applicants have to offer. This year, the acceptance rate was 41% (43% in 2010) and 18,753 applied (7,763 accepted). If you read the Regular Decision Thread for this year's class, there were people who had stats that they considered low for American while other people with higher stats were surprisingly waitlisted or rejected. Just because you have time on your side, I would strongly consider retaking the SAT or ACT if you have not already done so. Your scores could go up and give you one less thing to be anxious or nervous about when it comes to applying. The worst that could happen would be getting a lower score, in which case you could just choose not to send the scores.</p>

<p>Second, work hard the first semester of senior year if you are applying Regular Decision. American gets to see those grades and in my case, my cumulative GPA increased. Once again, a boost in the GPA can only help if you feel that you are on the bubble when it comes to your stats.</p>

<p>Third, I completely agree with pswillia about quality of extra-curricular activities. Obviously, it's important to show that you are well-rounded so volunteering and community service is an asset in addition to other activities. For me, I put a lot of time and energy into speech and debate and did really well and had a leadership position with the club. While I may not have been involved in as many activities as others, from your resume, the admissions committee can get an idea of the time commitment that you have for a particular activity and see your passion for it as well.</p>

<p>Fourth, I can not emphasize enough showing interest in American. I highly recommend visiting campus. I attended Preview Days where AU does an excellent job of selling their schools, selling their programs, and gives you the opportunity to meet with professors and students from your prospective school. If someone e-mails to interview you, take the opportunity. It shows interest and while I did not find the interview the most interesting of all the interviews that I did have, it is setting you apart from the applicants who are choosing not to take time to interview with the school. If you go back to the Regular Decision Thread for the incoming class, there were a lot of people who may have thought of AU as a really strong safety school. This year showed that American wanted to accept as many people that they thought would want to choose them, so I would keep that in mind when they send you a lot of e-mails with different online chats and visit opportunities.</p>

<p>I hope this helps! If you have any other questions, I will try my best to answer them!</p>

<p>Emily</p>

<p>Thanks everyone! "If you read the Regular Decision Thread for this year's class, there were people who had stats that they considered low for American while other people with higher stats were surprisingly waitlisted or rejected" I had seen this, and it makes me a little less apprehensive about admissions. I'm definitely taking the ACT, but not the SAT again. As for the rest of my stats, I'll point out my upward curve (ESPECIALLY in math) in grades throughout highschool. I won't blame admissions if they reject me for those.</p>

<p>As for my ec's, I've been involved in 3 clubs. I was president of one, president and founder of another, and just a member of the 3rd. I really poured myself into the first two, and they both relate to my major/interests. So I think I'm safe there. </p>

<p>And interest, I've been to American once (my sister goes there) for the 'All American Weekend' (which I believe counts towards interest...) and am going again over the summer. Ill also be attending a visit to my HS from AU. Hopefully they'll get the message of how interested I truly am...</p>

<p>As for something which I failed to mention in my original post, tuition, I don't think I'll be able to pay in the end if accepted, barring some sort of mistake/freak accident. Do you guys know any affordable schools in the DC area that have the same sort of academics and political environment as AU? (I was really looking into Mason as a fall back...)</p>

<p>Mason isn't a bad fallback especially if you are a Virginia resident. I saw something very cool on the mall when walking a couple years ago - a booth set up that explained the collaboration between GMU and American regarding environmental cleanup and policy.</p>

<p>Boston1994, AU was my first choice since I visited, but I didn't know if the money was going to come through to go there. Surprisingly, their financial aid came through and made going there a possibility without any student loans when I graduate. I would say to definitely apply and see if the money comes. As for GMU, I visited there as well and it wasn't the right fit for me, but it's also a great school in a cute little neighborhood with a lot of good programs and also with access to Washington, DC.</p>

<p>Also, in regards to your major, a political science major won't really set you apart from other applicants. Not that there's anything wrong with political science, it's just that a lot of the applicants are doing something with Political Science or International Relations. On the Common App, there's no supplement with a 'Why AU?' essay, so you just have to work to come across as an appealing and well-rounded applicant in an essay option of your choice.</p>

<p>@ebrincka Don't you have to pay financial aid back, anyway?</p>

<p>Not necessarily.</p>

<p>If you get a package that has a grant and two different loans, you can pick and choose what you want to accept and reject. So, if you receive a grant for $5,000.00 each semester and then have 2 loans worth $2,500 per semester each, then you have a total award of $20,000.00. In this hypothetical example, the grant money does not need to be paid back, so you are getting $10,000.00 off each year that is not a loan. If you choose to take the loans, they must be paid back. However, you can reject parts of your financial aid package for an overall lower amount (in this case, $10,000.00), but it can be an amount that means you don't pay anything back at the end of four years (you get $10,000.00 less off per year, but the tradeoff is not being in debt $40,000.00 upon graduation).</p>

<p>This application season someone posted that they used the AU application on their website rather than that the Comm App as it was their first choice school and they were able to more adequately address the "Why AU" and personalize it specifically to AU.</p>

<p>Oh, yes, that was my daughter, who actually will be going to AU.</p>

<p>I completely agree that what interests American almost as much as anything is an applicant's demonstrated interest in American. Visit, and log your visit with the Admissions office; participate in at least one of American's online chats for prospective students; say hello to the AU rep if he or she visits your high school, and make sure that person knows you're seriously interested in AU. And use AU's own app, available online, instead of the Common App. In Fall 2010, at least, AU didn't have a supplement for the Common App, and therefore no opportunity to write a "Why AU?" essay. But AU's proprietary app did ask, "Why AU?" And I think my daughter used that opportunity to her benefit.</p>

<p>Sent from my DROIDX using CC App</p>

<p>All great advice, thanks everyone! I'm starting to feel a little bit better about applying to AU... Especially since the average stats on the college board website and my school's website (which includes the grades of everyone from my school who was admitted) look so much lower than the stats of people posting on here... interesting.
Nevertheless, thanks!</p>

<p>Boston1994 I am in a very similar situation as you. I am currently a junior and will be applying next year for AU. It is my top choice school, I visited and absolutely loved it!
My GPA and SATs are not as strong as other people I have seen who have applied. (GPA-3.57, SATs-1830) I scored highest in writing and lowest in math. I am definitely an English/Social Studies person. I am just worried my scores are too low, even though I have lots of ECs and volunteer work.
I have been emailing admissions counselors and expressing my interest in the school, so hopefully that will help! How should I log my visits?
Also, I plan to study Justice and Law at AU, can anyone tell me about that program, I haven't seen many people interested in that major at AU.</p>

<p>Leslie, when you visit AU, stop at the Admissions Office. The receptionist will ask you to fill out a short form with your contact information, and then he or she will make a record of your visit. While you're there, you can also sign up for a campus tour, or get maps for a self-guided tour. If you register in advance for a tour and/or information session, you'll probably already be in the database, but the receptionist will note that you visited campus on that day.</p>

<p>If you're really worried about your standardized test scores, look into AU's test-optional application (Test-Optional</a>, Undergraduate Admissions, American University). You can use it for an ED or RD application, but either way you must apply by November 1. That's earlier than the ED application deadline, and much earlier than the RD deadline.</p>

<p>I do not think it will rule you out. However, admissions are getting more competitive each year. </p>

<p>I'd recommend that you take the SAT again. If you can get your math up to atleast 600 that would be good. </p>

<p>You may also want to try and get your GPA up a bit. </p>

<p>Finally aim to be in the top 25 percent of your class.</p>

<p>With those improvements you have a great shot at getting in to AU.</p>

<p>LeslieLu,
I think test-optional might be a good way to go if you feel that your test scores are going to be more of a detriment than help you in the admissions process. Guidance counselors at my school (college prep) said that if you do decide to go test-optional, you need to be confident that your ECs and resume can carry you along with your application and essays. If you think that you have the ECs, it would be a really good topic to converse with the admissions staff about.</p>

<p>In terms of raising GPA, senior year is a year that you cannot bring your GPA up a really significant amount. However, if you continue to show an upward trend at the end of junior year and the first semester of senior year, you could bring it up more towards the AU range and it will give you one less thing to worry about in regards to being accepted.</p>

<p>In regards to the Justice and Law program, I believe this is part of the AU School of Public Affairs. I am actually planning to double-major in Business Administration in Kogod and Law and Society in SPA. If you go on AU's website, find the School of Public Affairs and then click on the degree that you want, you can get an idea of the types of classes that you will be taking and then can navigate to find course descriptions online. I would be more than happy to once I start at AU to keep in contact through PM regarding the small amount of classes I am taking for Law and Society.</p>

<p>Thanks everyone for the help!
That was the first time I took the SATs and I'm getting the scores from my second very soon, so since AU superscores, I'll see how that went! As for my GPA, I can't imagine it going up much more so yes I will be relying more on ecs. Mine include lots of service projects with my church, I'm a volunteer at a non profit and with the police dept (who will be writing me a recommendation) and some other clubs for school like SGA and NHS. I hope this is enough, I really love American.</p>

<p>Also, are there any students who can weigh in on the financial aid?</p>

<p>LeslieLu,
What other schools are you looking at as fallbacks? Any in the DC area?</p>

<p>Leslue,</p>

<p>You may want to pull your stats up if you want a good shot at getting in. I had good extracurriculars, a 1940, a 3.65, and I was waitlisted. </p>

<p>I sent them a letter and thankfully I got off the waitlist! </p>

<p>When you apply AU will probably have even more applicants than this year, so do whatever you can and try and get your stats up!</p>

<p>My safety schools are Marquette, Tampa, and La Salle which I have a really good chance of getting into if American doesn't work out.
I really love DC but there aren't many other colleges in that area that offer criminal justice, I think only University of DC. </p>

<p>Jakey, that's awesome you got off the waitlist! Did your letter just explain your interest to make sure they knew AU was your top choice?</p>