Centennial Hall to house sophomores as well as freshmen next year
Members of the class of 2025 have mixed feelings regarding the change
American University’s Centennial Hall will house both freshman and sophomore students during the 2022-2023 academic year.
The suite-style hall was previously a mixed occupancy residence but transitioned to freshman-only housing this past year. According to Assistant Vice President for Community and Communication Elizabeth Deal, the change was made to accommodate a larger class of first-year students. More than 12,500 students were accepted to the 2021-2022 freshman class, an approximate increase of 62 percent from the number of first-year students accepted in 2020.
AU’s acceptance rate has consistently trended upward since 2016 but jumped significantly in fall 2021. Just under 400 fewer students applied to be a part of the 2025 graduating class than the previous year.
Despite the relatively small decrease in applicants, the acceptance rate jumped 25 percent from 39 percent to 64 percent. Before 2021, the greatest increase in the acceptance rate since the upward trend began in 2016 had not surpassed 4 percent.
The University did not respond to The Eagle’s request for comment regarding the cause of the significant increase in last year’s acceptance rate.
Lillian Beavers, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, moved into a suite in Centennial Hall as a first-semester freshman in fall 2021. Beavers said she was not aware that the dorm had once housed sophomore students.
“I did not know that Centennial was originally for freshmen and sophomores,” Beavers said. “I actually thought it was an only freshman dorm.”
Although Beavers said she does not imagine her first-year residential experience would have been that different had Centennial been mixed occupancy, but she does think that living alongside other freshmen was socially beneficial.
“I feel as though it was very easy to make friends, like everyone was kind of in the same boat coming here, everyone was looking to meet each other,” Beavers said. “Whereas I feel like sophomore year people already have their friends and they’re just settling down a little bit.”
Beavers said that although she and her friends are looking forward to living off-campus in an apartment next year, she knows some of her classmates in Centennial are planning to return to the hall next year.
“My friends and I, we’re looking for a change and we wanted to see what else in D.C. we could find,” Beavers said. “However, my suitemates right now in Centennial are staying in Centennial … Everyone seems pretty okay with it. I mean, the dorms are nice, you get your own private bathroom, it doesn’t seem too bad.”
Some current freshmen living elsewhere on campus have mixed feelings about living in Centennial during their sophomore year. This is the situation for Ryan O’Connor, a freshman in the School of Communication and CAS.
O’Connor was placed in Leonard Hall at the beginning of the 2021 academic year.
“[Centennial] wasn’t actually an option when I was registering,” O’Connor said. “So I was placed here but my friends, who were upperclassmen, they were originally in Leonard but got moved to Frequency when the class of ‘25 took up so much housing.”
O’Connor said the only housing options he saw during his registration period were Hughes, McDowell and Centennial. However, he said he was not sure whether Centennial was available to sophomores.
“I obviously had no idea if it was open for sophomore housing or not,” O’Connor said. “It was only after registering that I found out that they had made the transition to open it up to sophomores in the top few floors of Centennial.”
Although O’Connor said he is excited to know that some of his friends have also been assigned to Centennial, he is disappointed not to be living on East Campus with most of the sophomore class.
“I feel like I’ve sort of been duped again because I didn’t get the opportunity to live in Letts, Anderson or Centennial around other freshmen,” O’Connor said. “And I was really hoping for East Campus to have like a normal year surrounded by my entire class, but now I’ll be living with the grade below me.”