How We Review First-Year Applicants

We consider many factors when making an admission decision. Most applications receive at least two readings, and we check all preliminary decisions to ensure a high level of consistency.

high school students in a classroom

We evaluate the strength of your academic record.

Consistent achievement at the highest level is the best demonstration of strong academic performance. After confirming you’ve taken our required years of coursework, we review your courses and grades, recognizing that different high schools provide different levels of opportunity. We recommend taking the most challenging course work available at your high school, provided you can be successful. Grades earned later in your high school career have more of an impact on your admission decision than grades earned freshman year, and in-progress coursework is also evaluated, so continue to work hard and take challenging classes your senior year.

Review the coursework we require

We review your highest ACT or SAT score (if provided).

In addition, our colleges often evaluate results from your sub-scores. If you took either test more than once, we'll use your highest sub-scores in our evaluation. However, we don’t use your highest sub-scores from different test sittings to create a super-score.

View last year's scores

We consider the college to which you're applying.

Our colleges look for different qualities in their students. To ensure you're a good fit with a particular college or program, we consider specific criteria based on the college to which you apply. This may include your academic background, interests, goals, experiences, and more.

Explore major-specific criteria

We consider why you’re applying to a program.

Your major-specific responses will help us understand your interest in the major you've selected so we understand why you've chosen it and, if applicable, how you developed this interest. We look for experiences related to this major in your activities, honors, and awards. If you select a second-choice major (which we highly recommend!), we want to know why you're interested in it, too. In some cases, we may determine that your second-choice major or another program will be a better fit. You'll only be considered for these programs if you aren't competitive for your first choice.

high school student playing the trumpet in band

We look at your achievements outside the classroom.

We’re looking for students who have the personal qualities to succeed on and contribute to our campus. In addition to strong academic success, you should be able to demonstrate some impact or level of accomplishment in your school, your community, your state, or nationally. Activities should indicate your strengths and skills, such as leadership ability, perseverance, creativity, generosity, determination, motivation, concern, and intellectual curiosity.

We analyze the opportunities given to you.

We’ll consider the high school curriculum, Advanced Placement courses, honors courses, and extracurricular activities that are available specifically to you.

We consider your background.

This includes your educational environment, veteran status, geographic location, and first-generation status. We want to continue to provide an atmosphere that values students who have a unique set of experiences and knowledge.

We listen to your story.

Take advantage of your opportunity to explain any unique circumstances that may demonstrate qualities or skills you have that can help you succeed. Additionally, if you have a semester or course in which your performance doesn't match the rest of your semesters or courses, you may want to explain the circumstances.

For more detailed information on our review process, view our full admissions philosophy.