Colege Visit Report - Part 5

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Colege Visit Report - Part 5
By Kinshasa (Kinshasa) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 12:46 pm: Edit

The third school we visited in Washington, D.C. wasÖ..

AMERICAN UNIVERSITY -- AU was a safety school in the D.C. area and last of the nine schools we visited. We took the metro to the AU stop and hopped on the shuttle bus for the five minute ride to the university. Lovely neighborhood, suburban feel, many embassies in the area.

Our tour guide started by showing us a dorm room and lounge. I was puzzled because we didnít go outside to walk to a residence hall. Turns out that the admissions office is in part of a residence hall, not in a separate administration building. All the dorms have individual air conditioning and heat. AU pays for the cable TV and phone line. Beautiful big rooms with built-in wall storage units. Housing is guaranteed for four years. One big dining hall and several fast food outlets on campus, with debit and meal plans.

We didnít like the campus. S didnít like the way three dorms were connected into one big structure. The entire campus had a high school feeling to it. Our tour guide was the worst guide of them all. She couldnít answer all the questions and I donít think sheíd taken a public speaking class yet. Parents asked many questions about AU in relation to Georgetown and George Washington. I saw a mom and D who had been on our GW trolley tour two days earlier.

5500 undergrads. There are ten general education courses. Most classes are three credits, and students take five-six classes a semester, with a maximum of 17 credits.
There are no classes on Wednesdays so students can pursue internships. Our guide had interned at a Central American embassy helping to process visas. 23 average class size, 15:1 student faculty ratio. 16% of students are involved in Greek life. Frats and sororities donít have houses.

The info session followed the tour. Adcom was a recent grad and way too rah rah for my taste, sort of like a used car salesman. He confirmed my impression that AU academic standards were lower than most of the other schools weíd visited. For example, AU gives credit for a score of 4 on IB exams; other schools gave credit for 5/6 or higher. Browsing through the bulletin, I noticed that AU accepts a D grade in a major course (!!!).

School of International Service is largest in the country. Many students join the Peace Corps. There are schools of communication and business in addition to arts and sciences. Study abroad and internships encouraged.

69% of students graduate in six years. Acceptance rate was 52% last year. SAT or ACT required, no SAT IIís. Average SAT was 1260 last year, with 1190-1340 as middle range. Average unweighted GPA was 3.5. No fee for application if applying online, $45 fee for paper application. AU is generous with merit aid and has honors programs.

S didnít like the idea that AU was not in the heart of D.C. Nothing about AU grabbed us. As a safety school, Drew was a much better fit for him.

The result of our trip to nine colleges in 15 days: Boston University, a school I had suggested that S consider, mainly because of its location, won his heart. Heíll apply early decision. Brandeis and George Washington tied for second place. As a parent, I am content that BU is the right fit for him. Itís great to see his excitement even now before his senior year. (ďDo I have to go back to school? Canít I start college now?Ē)

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 02:28 pm: Edit

American doesn't sound very good. Is your son going to study international relations?

By Kinshasa (Kinshasa) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 02:58 pm: Edit

He's interested in history, political science, art history, and international relations, but he's not passionate enough about any field to commit himself right now. A college of arts and sciences is a better fit for him than GW's School of Public Affairs, for example.

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:05 pm: Edit


Have you considered Claremont McKenna? Xiggi will be going there.

By Kinshasa (Kinshasa) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:13 pm: Edit

Marite, he refuses to apply to any school in California. I can understand his wanderlust. I couldn't wait to leave NY when I graduated high school. Our family history has promoted the "itchy feet" syndrome. We lived overseas seven years, and S was born there.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:15 pm: Edit

Kinshasha writes:
" Itís great to see his excitement even now before his senior year. (ďDo I have to go back to school? Canít I start college now?Ē)"

You know, you just reminded me of that. That is so what it was like for my kid, even if unspoken. The visits really were was REAL, college and this new stage of life were on the horizon! And it all looked SOOOOOO great. It made going back to high school seem a bit dull and ready to go the next level. And here I am, a year later and she really is finally getting to go! It does end up to be a very exciting time. The college visits set that stage! And then in April of senior year, if you return for open house events for accepted students (let's hope you have plenty of those!), the excitement is palpable.


By Kinshasa (Kinshasa) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:19 pm: Edit

If he doesn't get moving on his AP English summer work, he may not be going to college!

By Cheers (Cheers) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:38 pm: Edit

K--Sounds like your S has schools for each category, but in defense of AU: they have a superb internship and study abroad program.

I know a recent grad (AU was her safety). She spent a semester in Madrid and a semester in Prague. After graduation, she found a great $$$ job with Justice Dept, with heaps of travel to SF, NYC, Boston, Chicago etc.

She is starting law school this fall.

BTW, though we didn't tour it, my ex-pat S is going to BU in the fall and thrilled to bits.

By Achat (Achat) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:51 pm: Edit

Cheers, did your son take a year off to go all over the world before going to college? It must have been a great experience.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:57 pm: Edit

He graduated in November '03. The finish of the school year for his particular school. It left a nine month GAP--the rest is history.

He's had a great time. Coming home for ten days next Tuesday.

By Achat (Achat) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 04:24 pm: Edit

Yes, my son bummed around Europe this summer and wanted more. Good luck to your son!

By Cheers (Cheers) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 04:32 pm: Edit

Achat, look up the (newish) french film "L'Apartment". You and your S will enjoy it. Very keen look at what's happening in EU at the moment. Funny. My S loved the characterizations.

By Achat (Achat) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 04:40 pm: Edit

Thanks, I will.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 05:01 pm: Edit

"L'Apartment Espagnol" if the full name...

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