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Admissions Guide: What You Need to Apply for American University’s Post-Master’s Graduate Certificate

March 28, 2024

The need to create more equitable, antiracist schools ranks high among the United States’ most significant current challenges. Too often, poorly funded schools are minority-majority institutions located in economically challenged areas. A 2021 White House briefing noted a $23 billion annual funding gap between white and nonwhite districts and similar gaps between impoverished and well-to-do districts: “While 87 percent of low-poverty schools provide calculus, only 45 percent of high-poverty schools do. Lack of access to and preparation for success in mathematics and science coursework ultimately has a negative impact on the outcomes achieved by Black and Latino students in high-paying, in-demand STEM fields.”

The Economic Policy Institute has reached the same conclusion. In 2022, the think tank issued a report observing that “districts in high-poverty areas, which serve larger shares of students of color, get less funding per student than districts in low-poverty areas, which predominantly serve white students, highlighting the system’s inequity.” That report identified several significant consequences of inadequate school funding: 

  • Too many students cannot reach established performance benchmarks
  • Low-income students and communities of color consistently lack the necessary resources
  • Underfunding leaves schools unable to cope with emergencies and other unplanned contingencies
  • Economic downturns disproportionately exacerbate problems for underfunded schools

Education leaders who want to help correct these inequities may wonder what steps they can take. Earning an Antiracist Administration, Supervision, and Leadership (ARASL) certificate, like the one from American University, provides a starting point. What is an ARASL certificate, and why is it valuable to educators? Do you need a degree in a particular area to qualify? Is professional experience required? This article explains what applicants need to qualify for AU’s ARASL certificate program.

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What Is an ARASL Certificate?

The ARASL certificate program at AU aims to uproot racism in education at its source. It equips education leaders with the content, knowledge, and mindset shift to dismantle racist practices and policies across the board in classrooms, schools, and districts.

No travel is required. The 18-credit program combines rigorous academic work with actual practice. Graduates earn eligibility for state leadership certification in Washington, D.C.

Candidates can complete in three semesters. Instructors include AU faculty and expert practitioners with experience in policy, research, and PreK-12 education. Coursework aligns with the standards of the National Educational Leadership Preparation (NELP) program. Graduates gain vital skills to help reduce educational inequity while bolstering credentials that can improve job prospects.

Submitting Your Best ARASL Application 

AU’s ARASL certificate program aligns experienced education professionals with like-minded individuals committed to positive change. An online application must include:

  • One letter of recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose focused on antiracism in education (500 words)
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Resume
  • GPA supplemental statement (if GPA under 3.0) 

Certificate Prerequisites 

The program is open to individuals with a:

  • A master’s degree from an accredited institution, or master’s degree in progress at American University’s School of Education;
  • Certification as a teacher or education professional (e.g., counselor, psychologist); and
  • A minimum of at least two years of school-based teaching, instructional leadership or pupil services experience. Substitute teaching experience does not qualify.

Current AU MEd students must apply and be accepted to the certificate program to be eligible for Administrator certification.

Tips: Letter of Recommendation 

Solicit your recommendation from someone who knows you well, respects your work and can attest to your commitment to antiracist principles. A supervisor or professor is a good choice. They should be able to speak to your skills, qualifications, research and writing abilities, and academic capabilities. Solicit your recommendation well ahead of the application deadline. 

Tips: Statement of Purpose 

Your Statement of Purpose represents your best opportunity to speak directly to the admissions committee. Use it to explain how your values align with the school’s mission and the central goals of the ARASL certificate program, i.e., education equity and antiracism. Explain how the program will help you achieve your career goals. Keep your statement concise, sticking to the 500-word limit. Copyedit and carefully proofread your statement. Consider asking a trusted friend or colleague to review it as well.

Tips: Unofficial Transcripts 

Applicants must provide transcripts from all institutions where they received college credit. Unofficial transcripts are sufficient for a preliminary admission decision. Students who are admitted and enroll in the program must provide official transcripts before registering for their first term’s classes. 

Tips: Resume 

Organize your resume to highlight your most relevant accomplishments and experiences. Be sure to include an overview of your academic history, employment, honors, scholarships, publications, community involvement, internships, and any other relevant activities. As with your Statement of Purpose, proofread carefully and seek a second read from a friend or colleague. 

Tip: Consult an AU Enrollment Advisor 

An important step before submitting your application: Connect with an enrollment advisor by email or phone at 202-807-6173. Enrollment advisors can provide crucial advice about what the admissions team seeks in applicants and how best to craft your application to reflect your strengths (and address any potential weaknesses) as an ARASL certificate candidate.

Why Earn Your ARASL Certificate from AU? 

Persistent educational inequity plagues our most vulnerable children and their communities. AU’s ARASL certificate program allows you to continue your career while gaining the skills to dismantle racist practices and policies alongside a group of dedicated peers. Take the next step toward a better future by contacting an enrollment advisor or starting an application.

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