American University Admissions: Everything You Want to and Need to Know
Overview of American University
American University is a private research institution with an acceptance rate of 32%. Situated on 84 park-like acres in the northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C., American University is considered one of the most internationally engaged universities in the country. The U.S. Congress chartered the institution in 1893, and it now boasts a student body that comes from over 123 countries.
- Total Enrollment: 14,311 (8,287 undergraduates)
- Gender Breakdown: 38 percent male/62 percent female
- 96 percent full-time
Cost of Attendance Information
- Tuition and Fees: $49,889
- Books: $800
- Room and Board: $14,880
- Other Expenses: $909
- Total Cost: $66,478
Financial Aid Information
- Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 76 percent
- Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
- Grants: 64 percent
- Loans: 56 percent
- Average Amount of Aid
- Grants: $7,801
- Loans: $20,853
Academic Programs Offered
- Most Popular Majors: International Relations and Affairs; Business Administration and Management, General; Political Science and Government, General; Public Relations/Image Management; and Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies
Retention and Graduation
- First-Year Student Retention (full-time students): 88 percent
- 4-Year Graduation Rate: 54 percent
- 6-Year Graduation Rate: 80 percent
NCAA Athletic Programs
- Men’s Sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Soccer, Swimming and Diving, Track and Field, Wrestling
- Women’s Sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Field Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Swimming and Diving, Track and Field, Volleyball
Academic Programs Offered
Degree options in International Relations, Political Science, and Government are particularly strong; law and business schools also place well in national rankings.
NCAA Athletic Programs
When it comes to athletics, the American University Eagles play in the NCAA Division I Patriot League. The institution also has the advantage of being near many other colleges and universities in the Washington D.C. area.
Overview of American University Admissions
American University, which admits less than a third of applicants, is selective. The university has an admissions process that is test-optional and makes admissions decisions on a variety of factors. A persuasive essay, engaging short answer response, and glowing recommendation letters can bolster your application, along with being involved with student organizations and attempting a demanding course load. Students with unique talents and accomplishments can still receive strong consideration even if their GPAs are outside of the mean range. Individuals should apply by using either the Common Application or the Coalition Application. The university has an Early Decision program that can help bolster your chances of gaining admission.
During the 2018-19 admissions phase, American University had an acceptance rate of 32%. For every 100 students who submitted applications, 32 students gained admission, making American University’s admissions process competitive.
SAT Requirements and Scores
American University has a test-optional testing policy. During the 2018-19 admissions phase, 52% of admitted students submitted SAT scores. This admissions data reveals that of those students who sent scores during the 2019-20 admissions phase, most of American University’s admitted students score within the top 20% nationally on the SAT. For the reading and writing section, 50% of students admitted to American University scored between 630 and 700, while 25% scored under 630, and 25% scored over 700. In the math section, 50% of students scored between 590 and 680, while 25% scored under 590, and 25% scored above 680. The SAT is not required, but the data reveals that an overall SAT score of 1420 or higher is competitive for the institution.
ACT Requirements and Scores
American University has a test-optional testing policy. During the 2018-19 admissions phase, 36% of admitted students sent ACT scores. This admissions data reveals that of those who sent scores during the 2019-20 admissions phase, most of American University’s admitted students score within the top 14% nationally on the ACT. The low 50% of students admitted to American University received an overall ACT score between 28 and 32, while 25% scored over 32, and 25% scored under 28.
In 2018, the mean 50% of American University’s class had GPAs between 3.52 and 4.06, and a mean GPA of 3.65. Nearly 65% of admitted students had GPAs over 3.5. The students who are admitted have primarily A grades.
Safety Net Schools: Easy to Gain Admission
If past admission data predicts that you would be a competitive candidate for American University, then it should be easy for you to gain admissions to the schools below. If American University is currently out of your reach, then you are sure to be a competitive candidate for the schools below.
Penn State University Park, United States Military Academy, Texas Christian University, Hofstra University, Auburn University, Temple University, University of Arizona
Same Tier: Just As Hard to Gain Admission
If you’re a competitive candidate for American University, then you should have an equal chance of gaining admissions at these schools.
University of Connecticut, University of Georgia, University of California, Irvine, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Florida State University, University of Maryland Baltimore County
Reach Institutions: Gaining Admissions Will Be More of a Challenge
These schools are more challenging to gain admission into than American University. If you improve your GPA and SAT/ACT scores, then you’ll be a competitive candidate for these schools.
New York University, Boston College, Villanova University, Binghamton University, University of California, Santa Barbara, University of Texas at Austin, University of Washington
Applying to American University
Application Deadline: January 15
Undergraduate Admissions Website:
Undergraduate Application Link(s): https://www.american.edu/admissions/apply/
Graduate Admissions Website: https://www.american.edu/admissions/#graduate
Graduate Application Link(s): https://www.american.edu/admissions/apply/