How to Get Into Davidson College: Admissions Stats + Tips
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- How Hard Is It to Get Into Davidson College?
- Average Academic Profile of Accepted Davidson College Students
- What is Davidson College Looking for?
- How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Davidson College
Davidson College is one of the strongest and most selective liberal arts colleges (LAC) in the nation. It’s the alma mater of 23 Rhodes Scholars and is among a collection of institutions commonly referred to as the “Southern Ivies,” a term coined for schools in the southern U.S. that rival their northern namesake in prestige, academic excellence, and challenging admissions.
How Hard Is It to Get Into Davidson College?
Getting into Davidson is difficult. The college had 5,621 applicants for its Class of 2025 and accepted just 1,124 students—an approximate overall acceptance rate of 25%.
Davidson has an early decision admissions process through which 655 applicants applied to the Class of 2025, and 307 were admitted for a roughly 47% early decision acceptance rate.
Davidson College’s acceptance rate is low, but your personal chances of acceptance depend on the strength of your profile. CollegeVine’s free admissions calculator can help you better understand your odds at Davidson. It uses factors like your GPA, test scores, and extracurriculars to estimate your likelihood of admission and offer tips to improve your profile.
Average Academic Profile of Accepted Davidson College Students
The average high school GPA of Davidson’s Class of 2025 is 3.81 and 35% of them graduated with a 4.0.
The middle 50% SAT score of Davidson’s Class of 2025 is 1310-1460 and their middle 50% ACT score is 30-33.
The majority of Davidson’s Class of 2025 graduated at, or near, the top of their high school class—76% graduated in the top tenth of their class.
What is Davidson College Looking for?
More than 95% of Davidson students live on campus and how you’ll fit as both an individual and a member of the greater student body are important considerations for judging applicants. Davidson values academic success, but like other liberal arts colleges, is also deeply interested in the person behind the GPA and test scores.
Leadership, ambition, and creativity are all characteristics that top LACs like Davidson look for in applicants. Davidson also values students with a strong sense of morality and ethical responsibility—the school is known for its honor code, a standard of trust, collaboration, and community (students, teachers, and staff are all held to it) that permeates the entire Davidson experience.
How Davidson College Evaluates Applications
According to their 2020-2021 Common Data Set, Davidson College considers the following factors “very important”:
- Course rigor
- Recommendation letters
- Volunteer work
These factors are “important”:
- Extracurricular activities
These are “considered”:
- Class rank
- Test scores
And these are “not considered”:
- Geographical residence
- State residence
- Religious affiliation
- Racial/ethnic status
- Work experience
How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Davidson College
1. Achieve at least a 3.81 GPA while taking the most challenging classes available
Academics at Davidson are challenging and the college considers course rigor “very important” to admissions decisions. It’s common for students accepted into a selective school like Davidson to have completed upward of 12 AP classes. Of course, students also show an aptitude for academics—the average high school GPA of Davidson’s Class of 2025 is 3.81.
Top-tier LACs like Davidson often use a tool known as the Academic Index to expedite admissions decisions. Academic Index is the distillation of your entire academic performance into a single number. For serious consideration as an applicant, it’s vital that you meet Davidson’s Academic Index standard.
If you’re a freshman or sophomore and your GPA is low, there is still time to raise it; check out our tips for increasing your GPA. If you’re a junior or senior, improving your GPA is harder and the best way to improve your Academic Index is to earn a higher test score.
Letters of recommendation play a “very important” part in Davidson admissions. The college requires students to submit four letters of recommendation with their application: one from a counselor, two from teachers, and one from a peer.
Your counselor recommendation should share an overview of you as a student and highlight your high school record, your place in class, and your curriculum. At least one of your teacher recommendations should come from an instructor in a core academic subject. Teachers are busy and not compensated for writing recommendations, so make sure to follow the nine rules for requesting letters of recommendation from teachers to ensure you receive a compelling endorsement.
Davidson’s peer recommendation is a fairly distinct aspect of the college’s application and provides the college with a perspective different from that of counselors and teachers. A classmate, close friend, teammate, or co-worker can complete your recommendation. Because Davidson places a great deal of weight on recommendation, selecting the “right” person is critical. Check out our article “Peer Letter of Recommendation: Everything You Need to Know,” for advice on how to navigate this unique challenge.
3. Find your “spike” and highlight volunteer work
Volunteer work is “very important” to Davidson admissions and the school emphasizes the “depth and breadth of extracurricular pursuits,” which it views as “important.” Not all extracurricular activities are equal and considering that Davidson prioritizes volunteer work, an applicant with a passion and drive—a “spike” in college admissions terminology—for volunteering is likely to stand out.
The value of an extracurricular activity depends on a variety of factors, including the level of achievement, rarity, and amount of leadership demonstrated. The four tiers of extracurriculars provide a good guideline for understanding how schools value your activities outside of the classroom.
- Tier 1 activities are the most distinguished, spotlighting exceptional accomplishment or leadership. Tier 1 activities include things like winning a prestigious national competition or starting a non-profit that gains national recognition.
- Tier 2 activities highlight similar attributes as those in Tier 1, but are more common—these include serving as student body president or performing volunteer work that earns regional recognition.
- Tier 3 extracurriculars are great for showing schools your interests outside of the classroom but don’t demonstrate exceptional achievement or leadership. These activities are commonly seen by colleges, and include holding a minor leadership position in a club or playing a varsity sport.
- Tier 4 activities are the most common extracurriculars seen by colleges. They highlight your interests but do little to distinguish you from other applicants. Tier 4 extracurriculars include general volunteer work, participating in a club, or playing a sport.
4. Write engaging essays
Essays provide you with an excellent opportunity to stand out from other applicants and Davidson considers them “important” when making admissions decisions. Davidson requires applicants to complete three essay questions: a personal statement and two supplemental essay questions.
Engaging and attention-grabbing college essays are written in your unique voice and highlight your character (which Davidson considers “very important”) and talent (which Davidson views as “important”). Most importantly, a persuasive essay shows why you’re a great fit for Davidson and how the school will benefit from you being on campus.
5. Apply Early Decision
Davidson College has three paths for admission: early decision I (ED I), early decision II (ED II), and regular decision (RD). Applying early decision is a sound strategy to increase your odds of getting accepted to Davidson, the ED acceptance rate of about 47% is almost double the approximately 25% overall acceptance rate.
Applying early decision is a great way to boost your odds of admission, but it’s not without its drawbacks. Most notably, early decision is a binding agreement which means that you commit to attending Davidson if accepted. Because of this, applying ED is best suited for students for whom Davidson is their clear first choice.
How to Apply to Davidson College
Early Decision I
Early Decision II
Davidson College accepts the Common Application, Coalition Application, and QuestBridge Application. To apply to Davidson, you will also need:
- Personal statement
- Davidson writing supplement
- Counselor letter of recommendation
- Two teacher letters of recommendation
- Peer recommendation
Other optional materials include:
- SAT/ACT scores
- Arts supplement
Learn more about Davidson College
Take a look at our other resources on Davidson to help you with your application process:
- What Does it Cost to Attend Davidson College?
- The Best Liberal Arts Colleges Not in the Northeast or California
- What Are the Southern Ivies? Is there a Southern Ivy League?
Want to know your chances at Davidson? Calculate your chances for free right now.