Frequently Asked Questions


  • University College
    Anderson, Room 1014

    Wyatt, Jamie J
    Associate Director, University College and Learning Communities

Mailing Address

When does the University College start?

The University College starts the week before classes begin with a reception for University College students and their families. This is an opportunity for you and your family to meet your classmates, Program Associate and UC professor before classes officially start. You will spend the rest of the week before classes begin participating in either the Freshman Service Experience or the Discover D.C. Program with your seminar classmates.

Does the University College continue into the Spring Semester?

While all sections of the University College have a fall class and lab, only certain sections continue formally meeting in the spring to conduct a research project. All students in the University College, regardless of their section, remain in their housing assignments and are invited to participate in common events for the full academic year.

How is the University College different from the Honors Program?

The University College is open to all incoming first-year students. Admission is based on a short reservation form and availability in the program. The Honors Program is a selective program that offers an invitation to join the program with your admission packet. The Honors Program spans all four years of your undergraduate career, whereas participation in the University College Program is limited to your freshman year. However, both programs attract talented, highly motivated students.

Do University College students take all of their courses together?

No. University College students only take their selected University College seminar together. While some University College students may end up in some of the same classes, the majority of your classmates in other classes will be made up of various other first-year and upper-level students outside of the University College Program.

Is the residence hall that houses the University College only for University College Students?

No. While your roommate and floor mates in Anderson Hall will all be University College students, there are residents of other floors that are not enrolled in the University College Program.

Do I have to live on campus to participate in the University College?

Yes. The residence hall programming is an integral part of the University College experience and you cannot receive the full benefits of participation in the UC if you are not living in the residence hall with your seminar classmates.

What is a Program Associate?

Program Associates (PA) are carefully trained AU students who have taken the class to which they are assigned and have worked closely with the professor teaching the class. PAs attend the seminar class with students and work with professors to plan the experiential and co-curricular aspects of the seminar (Washington Lab and other programming). PAs also live on the same floor as the students in the seminar and serve as a mentor and resource for them.

What is the Washington Lab portion of the program?

The Washington Lab refers to one of the features of the University College that gives students the opportunity to experience the real life application of the ideas and concepts they learned in class through supervised field experiences out in the city led by their respective program associates. There is a common time reserved for all UC students, specifically, Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., which is designated as the Washington Lab portion of the program. Your academic advisor is aware of this and will help you plan your schedule accordingly.

Does it cost extra to participate in the University College?

There is no extra cost for the University College itself. However, students are required to participate in either the Discover D.C Program or the Freshman Service Experience, both of which cost $115. While the University College covers most expenses for Washington labs, students are expected to pay for transportation costs. Also, each of the seminars carry one extra credit hour to account for the Wednesday common time, which you will spend with your Program Associate and your classmates both out in the city and on campus engaged in class-related activities. Please note: Both BIO -110 and LIT-135 carry a lab fee ($75) and a theater-use fee ($35) respectively that are charged to all students in those courses regardless of University College affiliation.

How is the University College different from other first-year programs?

The University College at AU is different from other first-year programs because it capitalizes on elements that make AU distinctive. First year students in the University College have opportunities to learn about course material through the lens of the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. Because UC students live with other students in their seminar, they have many occasions to debate and discuss class topics and because the seminars are small in number (usually not more than 20-23 students), students find it easier to build relationships with the outstanding faculty members who teach in the University College and the PAs who work with them. Finally, students in the University College will be encouraged to engage with other UC seminars though common events that bring the entire college together to discuss important national and global issues.  

What are the advantages of participating in the University College?

Both current and former University College students report that the lasting bonds that they have formed with their fellow classmates, program associate and seminar professor proved to be invaluable in their transition to college life. In addition, their academic experience was greatly enhanced by the small class-size and the Washington Lab experience that gave them an opportunity to meet and interact with Washington professionals in a way that that would not have been possible had they not been part of the University College.