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Alumni Success Story

Alumna Recalls Admissions Process, Early Decision, and Legacy Connections

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Erika Johnson

Erika Johnson, SOC/BA '10, with her mother and brother at Commencement (Photo courtesy of the Johnson Family)

Catch alumna Erika Johnson, SOC/BA ’10, on an average day, and she may be working on her master’s thesis in the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri, grading essays of undergraduate students, or preparing applications for Ph.D. programs in mass communications and media and culture studies. But it was only a few years ago that Johnson applied as an undergrad through AU’s Early Decision (ED) program. 

Johnson first visited AU’s campus as part of a family trip to the East Coast from her hometown of Union, Missouri. It was on that trip that she and her brother Lucas first visited their mother’s alma mater. Prudence Johnson, SIS/BA ’68, shared her love of AU with her children and continues to take pride in the AU experience. Lucas Johnson, SPA/BA ’07, also joined the AU community, pursuing the CLEG (Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government) major and encouraged Johnson, an aspiring journalism major, to look at the School of Communication (SOC). 

Johnson applied via AU’s ED admission program because she knew AU was the right fit for her. SOC matched her interests with its small classes, academic strength, and the hands-on teaching style of the professors. Johnson viewed ED as a way to demonstrate to the admissions staff that she was eager to follow in family footsteps and join the AU community. 

Prospective students for the Class of 2016 are now preparing applications. They are encouraged by the Undergraduate Admissions Office to apply via the ED program if they know that AU is their first choice. Director of Admissions and alumnus Greg Grauman, SOC/BA ’99, shares, “I want students and their families to know that if they are certain they wish to attend American University, their best application option is to apply Early Decision. We want to admit students who want us as well and believe the Early Decision program is the greatest demonstration of interest available to a prospective student.” 

Students who possess family ties to AU may have an insider’s point of view about the programs and opportunities that they might expect of an AU college experience. Grauman adds, “Any student who is committed to continuing the family tradition of attending American University should seriously consider applying Early Decision.”   

Families may contact regional admissions staff to discuss ED. The deadline for ED applications is November 15. Applicants are encouraged to submit the online Common Application (see online link on AU’s Admissions & Financial Aid Web page) and note AU family connections on the family section of the application [or within the additional information section].

Johnson says that if she hadn’t attended AU that she would have become a different person. At AU, she was exposed to different people, ideas, and places, including Washington, D.C. And her opportunities beyond the classroom included the tour guide program, student senate, gospel choir, and the pre-law society as well as an internship in the athletic department.

Johnson admits to being a little obsessed with what she wanted to do and topics she wanted to explore. She adds with a laugh that she could be definitely be considered a WONK. AU provided the platform for Johnson to open her mind to interdisciplinary thoughts, to see the world through a different lens, and to enjoy opportunities that only a community like AU can provide. 

If you think your student is a future Eagle, please visit the Admissions & Financial Aid Web page for application and campus visit information as well as other resources.