How to Get Into Smith College: Admissions Stats + Tips
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- How Hard Is It to Get Into Smith College?
- Average Academic Profile of Accepted Smith College Students
- What is Smith College Looking for?
- How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Smith College
Since fielding its first class of 14 students in 1875, Smith College has grown into one of the largest and most respected women’s colleges in the country. Smith offers all the advantages of a small, top-tier liberal arts college, however, its inclusion in the Five College Consortium provides benefits commonly associated with much larger schools. Through the consortium, Smith students are given access to everything from libraries to classes at four other colleges in western Massachusetts: Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
How Hard Is It to Get Into Smith College?
Smith’s admissions process is demanding. The college received 5,249 applicants for its Class of 2025 and accepted just 1,917 students, resulting in an approximate overall acceptance rate of 36%. Smith has an early decision admissions process through which 441 students applied to its Class of 2025 and the college accepted 285 applicants—an early decision acceptance rate of roughly 64%.
Smith College’s acceptance rate is low, but your chances are determined by the strength of your profile. CollegeVine’s free admissions calculator uses factors like GPA, test scores, and extracurricular activities to help you better understand your odds of admission and provide tips to improve your profile.
Average Academic Profile of Accepted Smith College Students
The average high school GPA of Smith’s Class of 2025 is 4.0.
The middle 50% SAT score range of Smith’s Class of 2025 is 1350-1490. The middle 50% ACT score range is 31-34.
Smith students are commonly among the strongest students in their high schools—72% of Smith’s Class of 2025 graduated in the top tenth of their class.
What is Smith College Looking for?
It takes more than great grades and outstanding test scores to wow admissions officials at highly selective schools like Smith, nearly every applicant has those. Rather, schools like Smith use holistic admissions when fielding their classes and judge each applicant on their high school program, performance, experiences, and future potential.
Smith provides its students with a great deal of control over their education—Smith has no distribution requirements and students design their curricula under the guidance of an advisor. A Smith education is founded on “essential capacities,” which are:
- The ability to draw upon and convey knowledge
- The ability to engage across differences in place, culture, and time
- Creativity, curiosity, and innovation
- Critical and analytical thinking
- Resilience and resourcefulness
- Self-awareness as a learner
A student who is able to demonstrate these “essential capacities,” how they’ve developed them along their education path, and how they’ve guided their lives both inside and outside of the classroom will have taken a strong step to show how they fit at Smith.
How Smith College Evaluates Applications
According to their 2020-2021 Common Data Set, Smith College considers the following factors “very important”:
- Course rigor
- Recommendation letters
These factors are “important”:
- Class rank
- Extracurricular activities
These are “considered”:
- Test scores
- First generation
- Racial/ethnic status
- Volunteer work
- Work experience
And these are “not considered”:
- Geographical location
- State residence
- Religious affiliation
- Applicant interest
How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Smith College
1. Achieve at least a 4.0 GPA while taking the most challenging classes available
Smith highly values academic success. The college considers both GPA and course rigor as “very important” to admissions. It also views class rank as “important.” The average high school GPA of Smith’s Class of 2025 is 4.0 and 67% of the class graduated high school with a 4.0.
To submit a competitive application to Smith, you’ll need a high school transcript containing all, or almost all, As in the most challenging coursework available. Applicants at highly ranked schools like Smith have commonly completed between five and 12 AP classes.
Top-tier colleges use a tool known as the Academic Index to aid in admissions decisions. Academic Index summarizes your entire academic performance with a single number. If your Academic Index fails to meet Smith’s standards, you risk being viewed as academically unqualified and your application not being given serious consideration.
If your GPA is below Smith’s high standards, there is still time to raise it. Check out our tips for increasing your GPA. If you’re further along in your high school career, it’s harder to increase your GPA—earning higher test scores is the best strategy to improve your Academic Index.
2. Write engaging essays
After clearing Smith’s academic hurdles, the essay is one of the best places for you to set yourself apart from other applicants. Smith considers essays “very important” to admissions decisions and their quirky writing supplement is designed so that you can have some fun and let your personality shine through.
The prompt on Smith’s 2021-2022 writing supplement is:
Music means so many things to so many people. It can bring us joy, inspire us, validate us or heal us. Please tell us about a song or piece of music that is particularly meaningful to you and why. Please include the name of the song/piece and the artist. (50-200 words)
A strong college essay is written in your voice and highlights your personality, character, and strengths—so don’t pretend Mozart is your jam if you’re a card-carrying member of the Beyhive. Winning essays also show why you fit at a school and how a school will benefit from you being on campus. For Smith-specific essay advice, check out our article, “How to Write the Smith College Supplemental Essay 2021-2022.”
3. Cultivate one or two Tier 1-2 extracurriculars (find your “spike”)
Extracurricular activities provide an avenue to show Smith your interests and accomplishments outside of the classroom, aspects of your life not easily captured on other parts of your college application. A highly developed interest, known as a “spike,” and one or two impressive extracurriculars on your profile will help you stand out from other applicants and boost your odds of acceptance.
Some extracurricular activities carry more weight with colleges than others. The four tiers of extracurriculars offer good insight into how colleges value your activities outside of the classroom:
- Tier 1 activities mark you as a significant member in your field or activity. These are the most influential and rarest extracurriculars and they demonstrate exceptional achievement, leadership, and merit. Tier 1 activities include winning a notable national award and attending a renowned merit-based summer program.
- Tier 2 extracurriculars demonstrate great achievement, leadership, and merit but fail to meet the prominence and rarity of those in Tier 1, and subsequently carry less weight. Tier 2 activities include earning state-level recognition in athletics or music, winning a regional competition, and holding a leadership position like student body president.
- Tier 3 extracurricular activities demonstrate participation more than prestige. These activities hold less value than those in the higher tiers and include holding a minor leadership position in a club and playing a varsity sport.
- Tier 4 activities are the most common and least impactful to college admissions, demonstrating interest but not distinction. Tier 4 extracurriculars include participating in a club, general volunteer work, or an after-school job.
4. The right recommendations
Recommendations are a “very important” part of Smith admissions and the college requires you to submit three: one from your counselor and two from your teachers. Your counselor recommendation frames you in the context of your school, while your teacher recommendations speak to you in a classroom setting.
In most years, Smith’s student-to-faculty ratio hovers near 9:1 and students are expected to work closely with their teachers; consequently, the opinion of your high school’s staff carries a lot of weight. The teachers who write your recommendation should know you well and be able to speak to your strengths and potential as a student. The nine rules for requesting letters of recommendation from teachers provide a good guide for navigating the recommendation letter process.
5. Ace your interview
An interview is optional at Smith, but it’s worth noting that the college considers it “important” and serious Smith applicants will want to schedule one. Due to COVID-19, the college is not currently scheduling in-person interviews, rather they’re all being conducted virtually.
Interviews are an awesome opportunity to interact person-to-person with an admissions officer and give you a chance to show off your personality and ask questions. Make sure you put your best foot forward by being prepared for your interview—knowing what to expect, how to dress, and what questions you’ll likely need to answer.
6. Apply Early Decision
Smith College has three admissions tracks: early decision I (ED 1), early decision II (ED II), and regular decision (RD). Applying early decision can give you a significant admissions advantage. Smith’s early decision acceptance rate of approximately 64% is substantially higher than its overall acceptance rate of roughly 36%.
Applying early decision is not without its drawbacks, however—most notably, by applying ED I or II, you’re committing to attend Smith if accepted. Early decision is best for students who’ve carefully considered their college options (academically, financially, and socially) and have concluded, without a shadow of a doubt, that Smith is where they want to attend.
How to Apply to Smith College
Early Decision I
Early Decision II
Smith College accepts the Common Application and Coalition Application. Other application requirements include:
- Secondary school report
- Mid-year report
- Smith writing supplement
- Counselor recommendation
- Two teacher recommendations
Other optional materials include:
- SAT/ACT scores
- Art supplement
Learn more about Smith College
Interested in learning more about Smith College? Check out these other informative articles:
- What Does it Cost to Attend Smith College?
- Open Curriculum Schools: 11 Colleges That Allow Students to Direct Their Own Learning
- What is the Five College Consortium?
Want to know your chances at Smith? Calculate your chances for free right now.