What Does It Really Take To Get Into Florida State University?

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Florida State University, commonly referred to as FSU, is highly regarded for its status as a large, public research institution with all the resources one would expect from a well-endowed large institution. Located in Tallahassee with satellite campuses in Sarasota and Panama City, FSU was founded in 1851. It became a four-year institution in 1901, and received university status in 1947. Now, it has a total enrollment of more than 40,000 students and awards associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees.


Florida State University is a hub of learning with 16 separate colleges and over 100 centers, labs, institutes, and educational facilities. It offers over 300 programs of study with a strong foundation in the sciences. Biology, chemistry, and meteorology are among its top programs. In addition, the university offers a number of specialized programs, including a film school, nursing program, and business and education majors. These special programs can be especially competitive.


If you’re interested in Florida State University, keep reading to learn more about the admissions requirements, acceptance rates, and test scores you’ll need.


Applying to FSU: A Quick Review


Florida State University accepts their own institutional application, The Common Application, or The Coalition application.


FSU has two choices for application deadlines. Students who apply by November 1st will receive a decision by January 31st, while students who apply by February 7th will receive an admissions decision by March 28th.


To apply to Florida State University, all applicants must:


  • Self-report all ACT and SAT test scores, even if already reported on the Coalition or Common application.
  • Link a SSAR (Self-reported Student Academic Record) by copying the 32-character code from your SSAR account.
  • Choose one essay question and upload an essay.
  • Upload one resume.
  • Complete the Residency Declaration for Tuition Purposes form.


For more help writing the FSU required essays, check out our post How to Write the Florida State University Essay 2018-2019.


FSU requires that all applicants submit either the SAT or the ACT. It does not have a preference for one test over the other, and applicants do not need to take the optional writing section on either test. FSU does employ “super-scoring”, so your highest section scores from multiple test administrations are considered.


Interestingly, FSU does not require official score reports. This is part of a concentrated effort to minimize unnecessary application costs whenever possible. Instead, students self-report their scores. It may seem tempting for some students to misrepresent their test scores, but not only is this dishonest; you will also be caught if you are admitted. All admitted students must submit their official score reports prior to enrollment.


FSU Acceptance Rate: How Difficult is it to Get In?


The acceptance rate at Florida State University can be hard to quantify since selectivity varies widely from one program to another. In 2018, FSU received more than 50,000 applications from hopeful first-year students. The overall acceptance rate was 49%, so it is considered a moderately competitive school to get into.


In fact, in recent years the school has seen significant increases in the number of applications it receives. In 2017, it received around 41,000 applications, while it received over 50,000 applications just one year later.

So, How Does One Get Into Florida State University?


In 2018, 75% of first-year students admitted for the fall semester received a composite SAT score of 1290 or above. 25% received a score of 1400 or above. ACT scores present a similarly competitive picture. 75% of first-years admitted for the fall semester received a composite ACT score of 28 or above, with 25% receiving a score of 32 or above.


Once you submit the bare essentials along with your application, your complete application package will be reviewed by the admissions committee. In addition to your test scores, they will be particularly interested in your academic performance.


Applicants to FSU are required to take at least four units of english and math, three units each of natural and social sciences, and two units of a world language. Typical admits take more than these minimum requirements, usually achieving four to five units each of math, english, and natural and social sciences, along with two to three units of a world language.


Students admitted to FSU typically have strong GPAs. 75% of admitted students submit weighted GPAs of 4.1 or above. 25% submit a weighted GPA above 4.5.


How to Make Your Application Stand Out


If Your Academics Don’t Shine, Seek Other Avenues to Impress.


Academic performance is not the only factor considered in admissions. The admissions committee also evaluates your essay and the strength of your high school course load. Special admission consideration is given to applicants who are exceptionally talented visual and performing artists or athletes.


Consider Taking in Part in FSU’s Summer Program, If You’re Eligible.


FSU is not shy about advertising that they give special consideration during admissions to students who have participated in FSU’s CARE Summer Bridge Program. The Center for Academic Retention and Enhacement (CARE) aims to provide potential first-generation college students from Gadsden, Leon, and Duval County with a variety of academic support workshops, supplemental educational experiences, and direct student support resources that are invaluable in the college admissions process. Plus, your chances of getting into FSU will be higher if you do participate.


Take a Strong High School Course Load.


FSU considers your high school classes as an indicator of how ready you are to tackle college level work. This is why so many admits have a high weighted GPA. Take the most challenging classes that you can succeed in during high school in order to show off your academic readiness.


What If You Get Rejected?


Just over half of all applicants to FSU are rejected, so you are not alone in your disappointment if you don’t get in. The good news is that FSU does accept transfer students, so you do have another chance if you choose to pursue that avenue. The bad news is that transfer applications can also be competitive, so you shouldn’t bank on getting in the second time around.


Instead, your best bet is to choose another college where you know you’d succeed and be happy. If, after a year or two there, you realize you’d still prefer a fresh start at FSU, then you might consider transferring. You can find more information about the process for doing so by checking the Office of Admissions: Transfer page.  


Getting into FSU is not easy, but you can optimize your chances by working hard during high school, taking a strong course load, preparing well for your standardized tests, and submitting a polished application essay. 


For more information about applying to colleges like FSU, check out these posts:


How to Research Colleges and Choose the Best Fit For You

What Are the Big 10 Schools?

What Makes a Good College List?

Public vs. Private Universities


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Kate Sundquist
Senior Blogger

Short Bio
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.

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