American University (AU) takes pride in their nickname, the “wonks”. During my recent visit to Washington, DC I not only heard about this moniker while visiting campus, but I also saw it plastered on buses around DC. AU defines wonk as someone who is smart, passionate, focused, and engaged, and these are definitely the types of students AU attracts.
International Studies (School of International Service) is the most popular major, followed closely by Political Science (School of Public Affairs). Students are not only interested in politics and international affairs, but also very politically active on campus and around DC. And 70% of students study abroad at some point during their 4 years at AU. In addition, students tend to be very service oriented (active in volunteering in the local community), and they care deeply about sustainability (not just things like recycling, but making policy changes to impact long-term issues). AU also has a strong undergraduate business school, and a school of communication.
For international students, AU does offer some merit aid, and they have an emerging global leaders program that is specifically for international students. AU is also Test Optional, which means they place more emphasis on the rest of the application, and don’t consider test scores if the student chooses not to send them.
AU is a medium sized university, with 7,000 undergrads. They maintain an average class size of 22 students, and all undergraduate classes are taught by professors. Classes are structured so that most students have Wednesday free from classes, and many students take advantage of this to get involved in internships each semester.