- Class: Freshman
- Major: Other
- Gender: F
- High School: Hopkins High School
- Transfer Student: N
American's size is perfect. As a part of DC, American is connected to a larger community, with a number of other schools in the area and plenty of access to the city. The small campus is great, and the fact that it is distinct and not integrated into the city make it easier to feel a part of the school. I like that I can go anywhere on campus and be guaranteed to see a few folks I know and a good number of those I don't. The Davenport Lounge Cafe (the "Dav") is the best place to hang out, catch up with people, and do softcore work-- plus it's the cheapest coffee on campus. The library is terrible; it has limited work space, a lot of disruption, and decent-but-not-outstanding resources. American's rep is on the rise, I've heard, but a lot of people have just never heard of it. The administration is difficult to navigate, but they're pretty responsive to direct communication. They genuinely want to work with and help students, and President Kerwin genuinely seems to dig AU (hopefully more than the fact that it's apparently really easy to embezzle funds). Student Activities has a form for everything, likely including the anticipated number of toilet flushes at your next club's event. School pride is nearly non-existent; a lot of students are here because of financial aid, and I'm pretty sure athletes are the only ones that care about sports. We don't even have a football team, but if we did, Bender Arena would still the most action during Obama rallies.
Classes at American are either engaging, challenging, and impactful or completely useless. Gen Ed requirements are a pain and sometimes more work than they should be, but that's pretty universal. Every class tends to have an international scope, either due to the curriculum, the teacher, or the 85% of the class that is in SIS. Class participation (and sanity, for that matter) are almost entirely dependent on the teacher; sections of courses can be entirely different, so doing your research on professors is a must. Professors here are genuinely interested in their students, and most love being teachers. They're available outside of class, frequently give out personal information, and make a strong effort to know students. Advisers are helpful for the most part, and the academic requirements are reasonable and easy enough to navigate. A number of SIS classes (especially introductory ones) are think-tankish and made to make you a better person, but upper level courses are dense, specific, and heavy on skills, critical thinking, and practical applications. Campus events and dorms see ridiculous amounts of political involvement/philosophical discussion/related-but-not-required reading. Students at American tend to really love what they study.
AU (Gay-U) has a huge and very visible LGBT population that is accepted by almost everyone, either due to liberal tendencies or just acclimation. The most diversity seen on campus is between the student body and TDR workers. DC itself is incredibly diverse, but American's student body is sometimes exhaustingly white. Classroom discussions and the social atmosphere of the school would be a lot stronger if it was more culturally/ethnically/racially diverse. Pretty much the only kind of nerd on campus is the political kind. Pretty much the only kind of jock on campus is the political kind. Freaks and geeks beware: the only deviants at this school deviate right into other stereotypes. But if you're interested in the primary elections, you'll find a home here. Everyone gets along well enough, even if they don't all hang out, and anyone can find someone to be friends with. I sometimes feel like 90% of this school is from the Great Triumvirate of Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. A lot of students are here on merit scholarships, but their parents are still somewhere between "comfortable" and mad rich. Few people actually come from the lower income brackets. Students care far too much about what they look like (in an East coast, black pea coat kind of way), but seeing girls struggle with stilettos and black ice never gets old.