A common response that people have when I tell them I attend American University is “Which one?” Unknown to some, there is a university in Washington, DC named American University. I am currently a junior at AU pursuing a degree in political science.
A vast majority of Americans enter university unsure of what they plan to study. Unlike most Americans, I knew what I wanted to major in when I was looking into higher education. Since I was interested in politics and government I knew Washington, DC was the place where I wanted to be. Since I knew what I wanted to study, a major component of my selection process was that wherever I ended up had to have a strong program for political science students. In many colleges and universities political science falls under the category of a college or school of arts and sciences. At American University (AU), there is a separate School of Public Affairs. This showed me that there were resources and an emphasis put on the major I wanted to pursue. I wanted to attend a school that had abundant resources and faculty dedicated to my major. This was something that I have found at American University as political science is one of the most popular majors on campus.
Not too long after making this decision that AU was the university for me I applied early decision and crossed my fingers. Early decision is a way of applying to college that is binding. Any student who is accepted into an institution under early decision must attend that institution. Taking the initiative to apply early decision is very difficult. It does not give students the opportunity to change their minds about their top choice after they apply. For some students, not getting in to a school to which they applied early decision is heartbreaking. It is not uncommon for students to apply early decision to their dream school and the possibility of not getting in is daunting. On a positive note, some colleges and universities have higher acceptance rates for students who apply early decision. This was a factor in my choice to apply early decision. I knew what school I wanted to attend, and I wanted to increase my chances of being admitted. Students typically only apply early decision when they are well aware of what their top choice college or university is. By December of my final year of high school I had already committed to a university for the following September.
A few months later, I packed my bags and embarked on a six hour road trip to DC!
An intern at the Fulbright Commission in Brussels, Paige Cornfield is a junior at American University majoring in Political Science. The opinions expressed in this article do not reflect the views of the EducationUSA Advising Center or of the U.S. Department of State.