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Frequently Asked Questions

When does University College start?

University College starts the week before fall classes 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 or teaching assistant, and UC professor before classes officially begin. You may spend the rest of the week participating in either the Freshman Service Experience or Experience DC. In the evening, you will have the option to participate in activities specially organized for UC students.

How many students participate in the University College?

More than 1/3 of all first-year students at AU participate in the University College. This fall we have space for 604 students between the UCL and UCC. More students will register for the program than space available, so get your reservation form in early. You can submit your reservation before you submit your deposit to AU.

Does University College continue into the spring semester?

All UC students have the opportunity to participate in an optional one-credit research project in the spring semester. More information about these opportunities will be available in the fall. All UC students may remain in their housing assignments and are invited to participate in common events for the full academic year no matter if they choose to do a research project or not.

Do University College students take all of their courses together?

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

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

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

Do I still have to register for Housing and pay the deposit if I receive a spot in University College?

Yes. The Hosing and Dining Office will automatically put you into Anderson Hall, but you must still pay the housing deposit and indicate that you will live on campus by the deadline communicated to you in your Admissions letter.

Do I have to move out of my room midyear if I don’t participate in spring research?

No. You may remain in the same room for the entire year and continue to participate in the common events for University College students.

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

Yes. The residence hall experience is an integral part of University College, and you cannot receive the full benefits of participation in 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 (Wednesday 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 Wednesday lab portion of the program?

The Wednesday lab is the feature of University College Laboratory (UCL) that gives you the opportunity to experience the real-life application of ideas and concepts learned in class through supervised field experiences out in the city led by your program associate. A common time is reserved for all UC students, specifically Wednesdays from 10:20 a.m. to 2:25 p.m., which is designated as the Wednesday 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 University College?

There is no extra cost for University College itself. While University College covers most expenses for labs and common events, students are expected to pay for transportation costs. Please note that UCL seminars carry one extra credit hour to account for the mandatory Wednesday lab time. Please note: PUBH-115 requires a lab fee ($75), and LIT-135 requires a theatre-use fee ($35). These fees are charged to all students in those courses regardless of University College affiliation.

What are the advantages of participating in University College?

Both current and former University College students report that the lasting bonds they have formed with their fellow classmates, program associates, teaching assistants, and seminar professors 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 lab and common event experiences, which gave them an opportunity to meet and interact with Washington professionals in a way that would not have been possible had they not been part of University College.

Will I get my first choice? Am I guaranteed one of my choices?

The sooner you reserve your place in University College, the more likely you are to get your first choice. We strive to create a diverse mix of students in each seminar with various interests, backgrounds, and qualities to produce a stronger living, learning, and laboratory experience. On your reservation form, you may indicate that you are willing to accept a place in any seminar, should your top three seminars be full. Selecting that option will increase your chances of getting a spot in University College. You will always be given the option to decline your place if you change your mind.

When can I reserve my place in University College?

Reservations open April 1 and close May 1. Students DO NOT have to deposit before they reserve their space.

How do I decided between UCL and UCC?

We suggest you first take a look at the course offerings and choose the subject matter that you find most interesting. If you already know you have a conflict on Wednesday during lab time (ROTC, athletics, language lab, etc.), UCC might be a better choice as the UCC field experiences are optional and offered on a more flexible time frame, as opposed to mandatory Wednesday labs in the UCL.

Can I still participate in the University College if I expect to receive credit for exams that I’ve taken in high school?

Yes, you may receive credit by exam and still participate in the UC. If you took IB, A Level, AP, or CAPE exams while in school, please visit www.american.edu/admissions/examcredit.cfm for full details on AU exam policies, and please do not choose a seminar for which you may receive exam credit as indicated on the credit-by-exam table.