What Does It Take to Get into Brandeis?

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Brandeis’ acceptance rate is 34%. What does it take to get in?


Located just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, Brandeis is a medium-sized private research university with a liberal arts focus. Although many schools in this geographical area are hundreds of years old, Brandeis was founded in 1948. While relatively new to the scene, it has accomplished a remarkable amount in such a short period of time.


Home to fewer than 4,000 undergraduates, Brandeis is also part of the much larger Boston Consortium, which allows students to cross register to attend courses at other institutions including Boston College, Boston University and Tufts University. This means students have access to an extensive network.


Brandeis has plenty to offer in its own regard, too. US News and World Reports ranks it in the top 50 for Best Undergraduate Teaching, Best Value, and High School Counselor Rankings. It places at an impressive 35 for overall National Universities, in good company with neighbors Tufts at the 27 spot, and Boston College at 38.


As with most highly regarded colleges, however, getting into Brandeis can be difficult. In this post, we’ll shed some light on the process and show you how to optimize your profile.


Applying to Brandeis: A Quick Review


There are three options for application type and deadlines. Applicants can choose Early Decision I, with an application deadline of November 1, or Early Decision II or Regular Decision, with a deadline of January 1.


To apply, you will need to submit:


  • The Common Application
  • Brandeis writing supplement
  • Official copies of all high school transcripts and/or GED certificate. Transcripts must include official grades from 9-11th grade.
  • Official transcripts of any post-secondary courses taken
  • Mid-year report with grades for all senior year classes. For Early Decision I students, first quarter or first trimester grades will fulfill this requirement.
  • A letter of recommendation from a teacher who has instructed you in a core academic course
  • A School Report and a letter of recommendation from a secondary school official
  • $80 Application Fee
  • If you are applying as an Early Decision I or Early Decision II applicant, a completed Early Decision Agreement Form


One aspect that applicants might notice is missing from the list above is standardized tests. Brandeis is a test-optional school, which means that domestic and Canadian applicants are not required to submit any standardized testing. This being said, applicants do need to provide some proof of academic ability. This can be done in one of three ways:


Option 1: Submit SAT or ACT scores. Writing sections are not required.


Option 2: Submit three exams from the approved list, which includes many AP, IB, and SAT Subject Tests. One exam must be from a Science or Math discipline, one exam must be from an English or Social Science discipline, and the third exam may be from a discipline of the student’s choice.


Option 3: Submit an academic portfolio through the Common Application, including:

  • One graded analytical writing sample from 11th or 12th grade, including the grades and comments for the paper. Examples of acceptable writing samples include expository writing, essay exams, or research papers. Northeastern does not accept creative writing.
  • One additional recommendation written by an academic teacher from an 11th or 12th grade course.


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


According to the common data set for 2017-2018, the acceptance rate at Brandeis is 34%. This earns it the rating of most selective, according to US News and World Report.


While getting into Brandeis is never a sure deal, there are certainly some things you can do to maximize your chances.


So, How Does One Get Into Brandeis?


First, Brandeis places heavy emphasis on your performance in high school and the rigor of your high school curriculum. While exact high school course loads are not prescribed, Brandeis does recommend that you take a minimum of the following classes: four years each of English ,math, science including two laboratory classes, foreign language, and social studies.


If you want to get into Brandeis, taking the most challenging courses available at your high school and excelling in them will certainly help your application to stand out. 61% of accepted students have a GPA of 3.75 or higher. You should also strive to attain a strong class rank, if you high school ranks students. 65% of applicants accepted to Brandeis achieve a rank in the top 10% of their high school class and 90% are in the top quarter.


Additionally, although Brandeis does not require an SAT or ACT score, 88% of applicants do submit them, and they tend to do well on them. The middle 50% of SAT scores submitted range from 1280-1470, while the middle 50% of ACT scores submitted range from 29-33.


How to Make Your Application Stand Out


Allow Your Personality to Shine. Brandeis considers an applicant’s personal qualities and character very important during the application process. Consider which aspects of your personality you want to highlight on your application and try to weave a common thread throughout it. Find concrete examples to refer to in your essays and discuss these with the teachers writing your recommendations. Creating a strong profile that speaks to your character will help to set you apart in Brandeis admissions.


Take a Rigorous High School Work Load. Academics are primary in Brandeis admissions. Your class rank, GPA, and the strength of your courses are all very important to the admissions committee. Enroll in the most challenging classes you can handle and aim to get the highest grades possible.


Strategize Which Test Scores You Submit. Although Brandeis doesn’t require that you submit an ACT or SAT score, you are required to prove your academic ability through one of the three options outlined above. Take a good look at how your scores stack up. If your ACT and SAT scores are competitive, submit them. If not, take a look at your AP scores and SAT Subject Tests. Which place you in the highest percentiles? If you’re not sure, talk to your counselor or an application consultant.  


What If You Get Rejected?


Two thirds of students who apply to Brandeis don’t get in, so if you get rejected, you’re not alone. The good news is there are tons of other great schools out there, so there’s no reason to get hung up on a single rejection.


Brandeis does accept transfer applications, and transfer applicants are accepted at a similar rate of admission as regular first-year applicants. You can learn more about transferring on the Transfer Applicants admissions page.


Keep in mind, though, that we don’t generally recommend that students count on transferring into a specific school later in their college careers. Instead, we recommend that you consider your priorities and choose another college that meets your requirements. Find someplace that you expect to enjoy attending, and if you still want to transfer after a year or two, you can consider it at that point.


For help adjusting to a different dream school, read our post, Envisioning a New Future: Preparing for Life at Your Second-Choice (or Third, or Fourth) School.


Curious about your chances of acceptance to Brandeis? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!


Other posts you may enjoy:

What Test Optional Means for College Admissions

How to Write the Brandeis University Essays 2018-2019

Does Applying Early Decision Increase My Chances?

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Kate Sundquist
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
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.