American University: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Statistics

The neoclassical McKinley building on the American University campus

Herrperry123 / Wikimedia Commons / ​CC BY-SA 4.0

American University is a private research university with an acceptance rate of 32%. Located on 84 park-like acres in the northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C., American University is considered one of the most internationally-engaged universities in the country. The university was chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1893, and it now boasts a student body that comes from over 150 countries.

Programs in International Relations, Political Science, and Government are particularly strong, but the university's general strengths in the arts and sciences have earned it a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. The law and business schools also place well in national rankings.

On the athletic front, the American University Eagles compete in the NCAA Division I Patriot League. The university also has the advantage of being near many other colleges and universities in the Washington D.C. area.

Considering applying to American University? Here are the admission statistics you should know, including average SAT/ACT scores and GPAs of admitted students.

Acceptance Rate

During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, American University had an acceptance rate of 32%. This means that for every 100 students who applied, 32 students were admitted, making American University's admissions process competitive.

Admissions Statistics (2017-18)
Number of Applicants 18,984
Percent Admitted 32%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled (Yield) 29%

SAT Scores and Requirements

American University has a test-optional standardized testing policy. Applicants to American may submit SAT or ACT scores to the school, but they are not required. During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, 52% of admitted students submitted SAT scores.

SAT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 630 700
Math 590 680
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

This admissions data tells us that of those students who submitted scores during the 2017-18 admissions cycle, most of American University's admitted students fall within the top 20% nationally on the SAT. For the evidence-based reading and writing section, 50% of students admitted to American University scored between 630 and 700, while 25% scored below 630 and 25% scored above 700. On the math section, 50% of admitted students scored between 590 and 680, while 25% scored below 590 and 25% scored above 680. While the SAT is not required, this data tells us that a composite SAT score of 1380 or higher is competitive for American University.

Requirements

American University does not require SAT scores for admission. For students who choose to submit scores, note that American participates in the scorechoice program, meaning that the admissions office will consider your highest score from each individual section across all SAT test dates. American University does not consider the essay section of the SAT.

ACT Scores and Requirements

American University has a test-optional standardized testing policy. Applicants to American may submit SAT or ACT scores to the school, but they are not required. During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, 36% of admitted students submitted ACT scores.

ACT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
English 27 34
Math 24 29
Composite 27 31

This admissions data tells us that of those who submitted scores during the 2017-18 admissions cycle, most of American University's admitted students fall within the top 14% nationally on the ACT. The middle 50% of students admitted to American University received a composite ACT score between 27 and 31, while 25% scored above 31 and 25% scored below 27.

Requirements

American University does not require ACT scores for admission. For students who choose to submit scores, note that American participates in the scorechoice program, meaning that the admissions office will consider your highest score from each individual section across all ACT test dates. American University does not consider the ACT writing section.

GPA

In 2018, the middle 50% of American University's incoming class had high school GPAs between 3.52 and 4.06, and an average GPA of 3.65. Nearly 65% of admitted students had average GPAs above 3.5. These results suggest that most successful applicants to American University have primarily A grades.

Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph

American University Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph.
American University Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph. Data courtesy of Cappex.

The admissions data in the graph is self-reported by applicants to American University. GPAs are unweighted. Find out how you compare to accepted students, see the real-time graph, and calculate your chances of getting in with a free Cappex account.

Admissions Chances

American University, which accepts fewer than a third of applicants, is selective. However, American which has a holistic admissions process and is test-optional, makes admissions decisions based on much more than numbers. A strong application essay, engaging short answer response, and glowing letters of recommendation can strengthen your application, as can participation in meaningful extracurricular activities and a rigorous course schedule. Applicants should also consider including the optional statement of interest essay on the Common Application. Students with particularly compelling stories or achievements can still receive serious consideration even if their grades are outside of American's average range.

Students interested in American University can apply using either the Common Application or the Coalition Application. American has an Early Decision program that can improve admission chances for students who are sure the school is their top choice.

In the scattergram above, the blue and green dots represent accepted students. You can see that the majority of successful applicants had high school averages of "B+" or higher, combined SAT scores of 1100 or higher (ERW+M), and ACT composite scores of 23 or better. Your chances are best if your GPA is up in the "A" range. Note that test scores will not be used for the admissions decision if applicants choose American's test-optional application option.

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