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First-Year International Applicant Instructions

Apply online using the Common Application or Coalition Application. Your file will not be reviewed until all of the materials below have been received by the International Admissions Office:

  • Completed application, including essay and CV/Resume
  • Application fee of U.S. $75
  • Common or Coalition Application AU Writing Supplement (optional, but recommended)
  • Academic records for grades 9-12 with official transcripts and certified English translations (if applicable), for each secondary institution attended
  • Two academic letters of recommendation
  • Demonstrated English proficiency
  • Completed AU Certification of Finances (AU CFIS) form showing at least U.S.$66,717 for first year of study and living expenses*
  • Bank letter showing at least U.S.$66,717 for first year of study and living expenses*
  • Copy of your passport information page*
  • Interruption of Studies Statement if you have already graduated from secondary school at the time of application.

* Only required from students who need a student visa (F or J). Financial documents showing less than U.S.$66,717 will not be accepted. All financial documents must be dated within the past three months to be considered valid. Click here for sample bank letters, the AU CFIS and Transfer-in forms, and AU cost guide.
No SAT or ACT Needed! AU does not evaluate SAT or ACT scores for students (including U.S. citizens) graduating from secondary schools outside the United States.

Application Deadlines

Your application and all supporting documents must be received by the respective application deadline.

If you plan to begin your studies in August (fall semester):

Early Decision I (ED I): November 15
Early Decision II (ED II): January 15
Regular Decision (RD): January 15

If you plan to begin your studies in January (spring semester):

All spring applicants October 1

For students living outside the United States, we strongly recommend September 1

Submitting Your Application

Important: Please use a courier service (and keep your tracking number) to send your complete application packet to:

Undergraduate Admissions
Office of Enrollment
4801 Massachusetts Ave., NW STE-218
Washington, DC 20016-8001
Tel: +1-202-885-6000

Important: Alternatively, you can submit your Bank Letter, AU CFIS form, and TOEFL/IELTS official score report via fax to +1-202-885-1025. There is no need to mail hard copies if you choose to fax your documents.

Questions? Contact

The Application Form

Complete the application carefully. Please make sure to include your full name exactly as it appears in the machine-readable section of your passport (check the bottom of your passport page). The first three letters stand for your country of citizenship. Omit those three letters when completing the admission application form. Also include date of birth, complete educational history, country of birth, citizenship, current mailing address and a permanent address outside of the United States, even if you currently live or study in the United States.

Your Academic Records

Please have your academic records from each secondary school you attended for the U.S. equivalent of 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades sent directly from those schools to American University in sealed envelopes. These records should be submitted in their original language and accompanied by notarized English translations if applicable. Include any examination results such as IB, GCSE, GCE, Bagrut, French Baccalaureate, CAPE Units One and Two, Abitur, Attestat or Secondary School Leaving Certificates.

Certain exam results such as, but not limited to, IB, WAEC, GCE, GCSE and CAPE must come directly to our office from the examination board or authority.

Letters of Recommendation

Two letters are required. One must come from a teacher; the second letter may be written by your school's university counselor, your principal or headmaster or another teacher. These letters are confidential. Each letter must be in English. Please have your reference sign or place a school stamp across the sealed flap of the envelope.

English Proficiency

AU requires strong English language skills. All freshmen applicants (including U.S. citizens) can prove English proficiency by one of the following:

Via curriculum:

  • Four years of study (grades 9, 10, 11, and 12 or equivalent) in U.S.-accredited or IB, CXC or UK curricula (inside or outside the U.S.), where English is the only medium of instruction AND no ESL courses have been taken;
  • Four years of study (grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 or equivalent) in selected English-speaking countries* or in the educational systems of these countries* (regardless of location) where English is the only medium of instruction AND no ESL courses have been taken.

    *English speaking countries include: UK, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada (except Quebec).

Or via testing:

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) - TOEFL code 5007
    • Internet based test (iBT) score of 80 or higher. Sub-scores for each section of the TOEFL should be 20 or higher. To be considered competitive, a 90 TOEFL iBT score or above is recommended.
    • Paper-based test score of 550 or higher (taken on or prior to May 31, 2017), or all paper-based test sub-scores of 20 or higher (taken after May 31, 2017).
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System): Composite score of 6.5 or higher. Sub-scores for each section of the IELTS should be 6.0 or higher.
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) score of 53 or higher
  • SAT Critical Reading score of 530 or higher (taken before 3/1/2016), or SAT Reading Test sub-score of 29 or higher (taken after 3/1/2016)
  • ACT English score of 23 or higher

Important: Though English proficiency may be met in one of the above ways, the Office of Admissions may request additional documentation if deemed necessary.

For native speakers of English from the U.S., UK, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada (except Quebec) who list English as their first language on the Common Application, proof of English proficiency is not required, but may be requested.

AU Certification of Finances for International Students (AU CFIS)

Applicants who require a student or exchange visitor visa (F or J) must submit to International Admissions the American University, Washington, DC AU CFIS form (completed by applicant and parent) and a letter issued by a bank showing proof of at least U.S.$66,717 for your first year of studies and living expenses. All financial documents must be dated within the past three months to be considered valid and must be submitted by the application deadline date.

Application packets without the AU CFIS form and bank letter will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed.

Please visit the International Student & Scholar Service's guide on financial documents for the AU Cost Guide, sample bank letters, and Transfer-In forms.

Advanced Credit for IB, AP, A Level, CAPE Secondary Exams

Students may be eligible to receive advanced credit for exams passed during secondary school. If you took IB, A Level, AP, the OIB English, or CAPE Unit Two exams while in school, please visit Credit by Exam page for full details on AU exam policies.

Interruption of Studies Statement

If you have already graduated from secondary school at the time of application, please submit a short statement describing your activities since graduation.

Admissions decisions

Once you submit your application, what happens next? You will receive one of the following decisions:

Fall admissions is familiar to most students and means you will begin as a degree-seeking student in the fall semester for which you applied.

We also admit students to AU for the spring semester with the option to participate in the Mentorship Program. Students who participate in the Mentorship Program begin in the fall semester as non-degree students at AU and matriculate in spring as degree-seeking students, transferring in those fall credits.
The Mentorship Program has two options: an on-campus experience that includes an internship in Washington, DC or Mentorship in England, which is a first-semester study abroad experience.

We offer a limited number of students a waitlist decision each year. If space becomes available in the fall class and you sign up to remain on the waitlist, we will notify you in May if we’re able to offer you admission. But we do suggest that students deposit at another institution to secure a spot somewhere for the fall.

Each year, we have to deny a number of students due to the high level of talent in our applicant pool. But if you have your heart set on attending AU, we encourage you to consider transferring after at least one year at another college.