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AU Welcomes the Class of 2020

By Sarah Martone

Students in Boston

Members of the Class of 2020 at American University's Summer Send-Off for Boston.

A new school year has begun, and brings with it an outstanding new class of freshmen students.

Representing 48 states (including DC), the incoming class of freshmen has achieved academic excellence in their high school careers and have also demonstrated an exceptional fit for AU. The median 50% GPA of admitted students for the Class of 2020 was 3.48-4.00 and the median 50% SAT score was 1200-1370.

More than nine percent of AU’s new class of students are first generation students, two percent are Legacy students, and 32 percent are minority. More than 8.5 percent of the class identifies as African American, 7.4 percent Asian, and 15 percent Hispanic. Additionally, this year’s class saw increases in deposits from both the South and international students. 

An increase in awareness of AU and a record number of applicants has led to a significant decline in AU’s admit rate – from 35% in 2015 to 25.7% in 2016. This follows a decline from 46% in 2014 to 35% in 2015.

“American University becomes increasingly competitive for admission with every passing year. This year we saw the most talented applicant pool in the university’s history,” said Mary Boylan, assistant director of admissions. 

The Office of Admissions’ holistic approach to making its enrollment decisions has helped to identify candidates for admission who are a great fit for AU, leading to a higher conversion rate of admitted students despite the lower admit rate. In 2016, 35 percent of students who were admitted to AU chose to enroll – an increase of three percent from 2015, percent from 2014, and 12 percent from 2013.

“While the most important factors of any application to the university are academic indicators, such as the rigor of a student’s curriculum and the grades received within that curriculum, the committee also takes into account standardized test scores (if applicable), recommendations, the essay and a resume of activities," said Boylan. "Demonstrated leadership, extracurricular interests, and recommendations are especially helpful in determining if the student is a good ‘fit’ for AU. We look for students who are intellectually curious and are passionate about creating meaningful change.”

This year’s successful recruitment outcomes were greatly impacted by both alumni volunteers and donors. AU spent more than $85 million on undergraduate financial aid in 2016, meeting 100% of demonstrated need for incoming freshmen. AU is committed to continuing this practice with future classes.

During the 2015-16 academic year (including summer 2015), 217 Alumni Admissions Volunteers engaged a record 5,450 students through 170 events in 26 states and internationally. One hundred of these events would not have happened and 2,136 students would not have had any touch point with AU without alumni volunteer participation.

To help recruit future classes of Eagles, visit our Alumni Admissions Volunteer webpage for more information or to register.