Emory’s Acceptance Rate: What Does it Take to Get In?

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Emory accepts 18.5% of applicants. What does it take to get In?


Located in the history and bustling metropolis of Atlanta, GA, Emory University opens a world of opportunities to students looking to blend a traditional liberal arts education with the resources of a major city. Oxford College, Emory’s other undergraduate campus, offers an idyllic, intimate learning environment 45 minutes outside the city.


However, with an acceptance rate of 18.5%, Emory University does not make getting in easy, even for highly qualified applicants. If you are looking for a top-notch liberal arts education, either rural or urban, Emory might be just the school for you. Keep reading to learn CollegeVine’s admissions tips that have helped thousands of students secure admission to the perfect school for them.


Want to learn what Emory University will actually cost you based on your income? And how long your application to the school should take? Here’s what every student considering Emory University needs to know.


Applying to Emory: A Quick Review


Apply through the Coalition Application or the Common Application. We recommend the Common Application for most of the students we advise. Learn more about it in our Guide to the Common App.


Students may apply by November 1 for Early Decision I, November 15 to apply for the Emory University Scholars Programs, or January 1 for either Early Decision II or Regular Decision. If you’re unsure about whether to apply early, read our post Early Decision vs. Early Action vs. Restrictive Early Action.


To apply, be sure to send in all of the following:



Homeschool applicants are also required to submit three SAT Subject Tests, one in mathematics and two others in any subjects of the students choice. Homeschoolers must include at least one letter of recommendation that was not written by a family member.


What do real Emory University students think about the classes at Emory? Check out this video and watch the rest of the livestream to learn more about Emory from current students.


Emory Acceptance Rate: How Difficult Is It to Get In?


It takes hard work to get into Emory—last year only 18.5% of applicants were admitted. In other words, out of the 27,559 who applied, only 5,102 gained admission. Emory is among the top 50 schools in the US in terms of prestige and selectivity, putting it in the ranks of Barnard College, Middlebury College, and the University of Southern California.


If you aspire to attend a school like Emory, it’s critical to surround yourself with people who have been through the process previously. CollegeVine offers mentorship for underclassmen and applications counseling for seniors to help you set yourself apart from the crowd. Even if you don’t choose to work one-on-one with one of CollegeVine’s trained near-peer mentors, connecting with someone who has successfully gained admission to a school like Emory can make the difference between rejection and acceptance.

So, How Does One Get Into Emory?


Emory breaks its selection criteria into four categories: Academic Preparation, Recommendation Letters, Personal Statements and Essays, and Time Outside of Class. The ideal application weaves these four components together to craft a personal narrative of growth, passion, and initiative.


Academic Preparation


Your grades, test scores, and even the classes you take should all reflect a certain comfort with difficult subject matter. To give you a sense of where you should be shooting, the middle 50% of accepted students at Emory last year earned SAT scores of 1390-1540 and ACT scores of 31-35. If you already know which field you wish to pursue, it pays to have especially strong grades and SAT Subject Tests scores in related subjects.


Recommendation Letters


A common mistake students make is to choose popular teachers or famous acquaintances instead of people who know them well. In our experience, choosing someone who knows you makes for a much stronger letter.


Personal Statements and Essays


Your character has almost as much impact on your admissions chances as your grades, so use your essays to introduce yourself to admissions officers. Maturity and change over time are two traits every applicant should demonstrate. Beyond that, ask friends, family, and mentors to help identify what makes you unique.


Time Outside of Class


Every student is expected to contribute to the Emory community, so use your application to show how you’ll pitch in. Whether you’re an athlete, a performer, a leader, or something else, use your extracurricular accomplishments to paint a picture of how you will serve your school and the wider world.


How to Make Your Application Stand Out


Every application is different, but over the years we’ve seen these strategies give our clients applications that are three times more likely to gain favorable admissions results.


Explain how your choice of campus plays into your goals for college.


Emory University has poured a lot of resources into creating two distinct undergraduate environments. Show that you’ve thought about whether Emory College or Oxford College is the right pick for you. For Emory College applicants, it is not enough to say that you have always wanted to live in a big city—give your application reader a glimpse of what you hope to accomplish there. For Oxford College applicants, describe how you plan on taking advantage of the close relationships fostered by the smaller campus.


Brainstorm with recommenders.


A lot of students think that once they have picked recommenders, their own part is done. That could not be farther from the truth! Helping your recommenders decide what to write is just as important as whom you pick. Some recommenders are well-positioned to comment on your strengths. For example, a tennis coach may speak to a student-athlete’s incredible endurance and team spirit. Others are better suited to addressing your weaknesses. For example, if you have a low grade, your teacher can explain that you demonstrated a lot of initiative coming in after school for help. Have a conversation with each of your recommenders about what you hope they will address in your letter.


Discover what makes you different.


With over five thousand students in each class, Emory has room for a wide range of personalities. In fact, the only students who certainly won’t make the cut are the generic ones. CollegeVine students spend hours identifying what interests or ways of thinking make them different from the crowd. Whether you work with CollegeVine or follow a different path, make sure you involve others in your process of self-discovery.


Enhance the themes of your completed application.


It takes a seasoned admissions counselor about nine minutes to read each application and make a decision about it. So it isn’t enough to bury one or two mentions of your  positive traits in an essay. Your file should be dripping with the main point describing who you are as a person.


Here’s an idea: finish your whole application one week early, then return to it a few days later and read the whole thing in nine minutes. What stands out to you? What doesn’t quite grab your attention? Focus on bringing out your main point to make your reader’s job easier.


What If You Get Rejected?


Emory is an amazing school, but it isn’t the only one. If you find yourself facing a no thank-you at the end of your admissions process, don’t worry. There are other schools where you still can make your mark.


Emory does not accept admissions appeals due to their long list of qualified applicants on the waitlist. We do not recommend petitioning your decision.


Some students transfer into Emory, but the transfer admissions rate is extremely low and requires a lot of extra work. However, students who maintain a strong academic and extracurricular profile will always have a shot.


You can reapply after taking a gap year, but this path is riskier than simply committing to another school and requesting to take a gap year there. To see if a gap year is right for you, visit our posts, What Are the Pros of Taking a Gap Year? and What You Need To Know When Applying to Colleges After a Gap Year.


If Emory made it to the top of your list, consider checking out other liberal arts colleges in major cities, including Georgetown University, Vanderbilt University, and Tulane University. If Oxford College was your campus of choice, check out the intimate programs at College of William and Mary, Davidson College, and Washington and Lee University.


Each of these schools unlocks a treasure trove of opportunities. If you’re having trouble psyching yourself up for the adventure, read CollegeVine’s Envisioning a New Future: Preparing for Life at Your Second-Choice (or Third, or Fourth) School.


Want access to expert college guidance — for free? When you create your free CollegeVine account, you will find out your real admissions chances, build a best-fit school list, learn how to improve your profile, and get your questions answered by experts and peers—all for free. Sign up for your CollegeVine account today to get a boost on your college journey.


For more resources on Emory University, visit these other CollegeVine posts:


The Ultimate Guide to Applying to Emory University

How to Write the Emory University Application Essays 2018-2019

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Veronica Wickline
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Veronica is an alumna of Harvard College, where she earned her A.B. in History and Classics. After graduating, she joined CollegeVine serving as the Curriculum Development Manager. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA and is writing her debut novel.