Syedah Asghar, a junior journalism student with a passion for social justice and service, jumped at the opportunity to get involved with the American University’s Community Scholarship program as a freshman. The first-year living learning community focuses on community-based research opportunities.
“It provided me with a family,” says Asghar – a family that lasted when his freshman experience on campus was cut short by the pandemic. The Douglasville, Ga. Native worked with local high school students in hopes of creating a more inclusive environment. The project turned into a virtual summer internship in which Asghar planned a program to help other universities implement similar service programs.
This type of experiential learning is common in almost every area of study at AU, where the curriculum centers on connecting what students learn in the classroom to real-world life, says Jessica Waters, Dean. of undergraduate education and vice-chancellor for university students. services.
Over 90% of AU’s 8,000 students participate in at least one internship and at least 65% study abroad in over 130 countries. “AU Centers Abroad” in Brussels, Madrid and Nairobi are popular options.
“Being in DC offers so many opportunities,” says Victoria Kent, 2021 biology and pre-med graduate from Phoenixville, Pa. Kent completed her undergraduate research in the cell biology of skin cancer with volunteer work she organized at Children’s National Hospital under the direction of a physician from the Bone Health Clinic.
AU’s picturesque campus – a designated arboretum with over 4,000 trees – attracts students seeking the perks of a city without the hustle and bustle of the city center. The 84-acre walled campus nestled in a residential neighborhood in northwestern DC fosters a tight-knit community, but students have access to resources and research options more typical of a much larger institution.
Six undergraduate schools and colleges offer more than 70 majors and programs. One big draw is the School of Public Affairs, which offers degrees in legal studies, political science, and data science. The School of International Service, Kogod School of Business, School of Communication, School of Education, and College of Arts & Sciences round out the possibilities.
Students who wish to combine different interests can choose from several unique interdisciplinary programs. Three-year Public Health; Global researchers; and degrees in politics, politics, and law are popular options for saving time and potentially incorporating a master’s degree.
Adit Roy, a senior from Basking Ridge, New Jersey, chose to major in Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics and Government to gain a holistic view of public affairs, law and communications before continuing his law studies. He took courses in politics, education, writing and public health and completed three internships – one with a political action committee; one with South Asians for Biden, a grassroots organization; and one with a political consultancy firm.
Small classes – AU has an average class size of 22 and a student / faculty ratio of 11: 1 – encourage connections between students and faculty, and AU’s freshman experience program is designed to ensure that incoming students quickly develop close relationships.
All early years take a two-semester course covering the transition to college and the themes of race, social identity, and power structures. All also attend a first-year Complex Problems Seminar, which teaches interdisciplinary approaches to solving societal problems. Over 130 options include Juvenile Injustice, Asteroid Apocalypse and Plagues, Plots, and People.
Outside of class, “there are many ways for a student to get involved,” says Asghar.
The Eagles field 16 Division I sports teams. Arts groups, intramural clubs and sports teams, rights organizations, Greek life and political organizations are popular. In the 2020-2021 school year, the Kennedy Political Union’s roster of high-level speakers included Andrew Yang, Stacey Abrams and Dr Anthony Fauci.
The AU offers all students a discounted public transit pass so they have unlimited access to the city’s attractions, and a free shuttle connects the campus to the Tenleytown subway station, shopping and to restaurants.
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This story is taken from the US News guide “Best Colleges 2022”, which features in-depth articles, rankings and data.