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How to Write the American University Supplemental Essay

Why are you interested in American University?

This prompt offers you the opportunity to tell the admissions committee why you are specifically interested in attending American University—what about AU is uniquely appealing to you as a prospective student? With so few words to answer this prompt, it is imperative that you tailor your answer to be clear, concise, and (most importantly) specific. In order to do this, you will first need to conduct in-depth research on the university’s website, looking particularly at programs, initiatives, and opportunities that are offered at AU.

The university’s admissions landing page states: “American University is a diverse body of students, who represent all 50 states and 123 countries. Many of our students are international, as well as U.S. citizens (“U.S. Global Nomads”) from secondary schools outside the United States, who bring a unique perspective to our community of changemakers. If you’re looking for a school that will challenge you intellectually and provide you with access to one of the most international cities in the world, look no further.” In this statement and throughout the university’s website, AU emphasizes its commitment to diversity and global perspectives. Consider courses of study such as the Global Scholars Program and the Community-Based Research Scholars program, which embody the university’s commitment to service, globalization, and community development. The school also offers dozens of study abroad and intercultural exchange programs, each of which is tailored to specific areas of study. Pinpointing a specific study abroad experience that aligns with your interests is one way of showing the admissions committee that you share the university’s global perspective and allow you to demonstrate how you would pursue the university’s unique opportunities.

In addition, beyond identifying an area of study that interests you out of the 80+ majors that American offers, research the qualities of that program that make it unique from similar programs offered by other universities. Do they have state-of-the-art research facilities? A professor who is a world-renowned scholar in your field of interest? Are you impressed by their class sizes or student to faculty ratio? Are you interested in a program that offers a 5-year bachelor/master’s degree? Sharing your interest in these specific aspects of American’s academic programming will allow you to showcase your understanding of the university’s offerings and your commitment to utilizing their resources in pursuit of your academic goals.

Keep in mind that as you describe your particular interest in American University, you should also be thinking about how your answer conveys more about you—your interests, passions, and goals—and how you would be a strong fit for the university as well. Your answer should not only be specific with regards to the university, but it should also be specific about your intentions for your academic and professional future.