How to Get Into Brandeis: Admissions Stats + Tips

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What’s Covered:

 

Brandeis University was founded in 1948 by the American Jewish community. In response to the discrimination Jews and other minorities faced in higher education, the university was established as an inclusive, non-sectarian institution that welcomed people of all faiths, ethnicities, races, and backgrounds. 

 

Today, Brandeis, located in Waltham, Massachusetts, continues the tradition of upholding excellence in education and research while providing a welcoming atmosphere. 

 

Brandeis is also highly selective. So, how do you get in?

 

How Hard Is It to Get Into Brandeis?

 

During the 2018–2019 admission cycle, 11,798 students applied, and 3,657 were admitted, for an acceptance rate of 31%

 

Brandeis does have a very low acceptance rate, but your personal chances of admission vary based on the strength of your profile and fit with the university. Try our free admissions calculator to find out your real odds of acceptance, and get tips on how to improve your profile!

 

Average Academic Profile of Accepted Brandeis Students

 

GPA

 

The average GPA for students who matriculated at Brandeis was 3.83, and 59.76% had a 4.0 GPA.

 

SAT/ACT

 

The middle 50% SAT and ACT ranges for these students were 1280-1500 and 29-33 respectively. 

 

Class Rank

 

In Brandeis’ freshman class, 56% of those who submitted class rank were in the top 10% of their high school classes, and 91% were in the top 25%.

 

What is Brandeis Looking for?

 

“Everyone I’ve met here at Brandeis is curious, passionate and has something unique about them, which is something we are all proud of and celebrate.”—Nina K.

 

“Being a Brandeisian means that in whatever field or area we go into, we bring conviction and determination.”—Thomas P.

 

“We look at the whole picture — in and out of the classroom,” says Brandeis. The university employs a comprehensive, holistic admissions process, paying attention to academic qualifications, personal potential, and what you’ll bring to the Brandeis community. 

 

The university wants to see students challenge themselves. Coursework, at minimum, should include:

 

  • Four years of English.
  • Three years of mathematics.
  • Three years of lab sciences.
  • Three years of social sciences.
  • Two to three years of foreign language(s)

 

However, most competitive candidates have plenty of honors, AP, and/or IB courses.

 

Brandeis notes, too, that academic ability is only one factor. The university also considers what you do outside the classroom, as evidenced by your essay, letters of recommendation, and extracurriculars. “In the course of our review, we look for indicators that align with the university’s mission: to prepare active citizens who care deeply about improving the world,” the university says. 

 

How Brandeis Evaluates Applications

 

According to the 2018–2019 Common Data Set, Brandeis considers the following criteria “very important”

 

  • Rigor of secondary school record
  • Class rank
  • Academic GPA
  • Character/personal qualities

 

These are “important”:

 

  • Application Essay
  • Recommendation(s)
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Talent/ability

 

Meanwhile, these are “considered”:

 

  • Standardized test scores (currently test-optional)
  • Interview
  • First generation 
  • Alumni/ae relation
  • Geographical residence
  • State residency
  • Religious affiliation/commitment
  • Racial/ethnic status
  • Volunteer work
  • Work experience
  • Level of applicant’s interest

 

Discover your chances at hundreds of schools

Our free chancing engine takes into account your history, background, test scores, and extracurricular activities to show you your real chances of admission—and how to improve them.

 

How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Brandeis

 

1. Achieve at least a 3.83 while taking the most challenging classes available.

 

The average GPA for students at Brandeis is a 3.83, and 59.76% have at least a 4.0. In order to be a competitive candidate, you should have at least this GPA, which will contribute to a strong Academic Index, a metric combining your academic credentials. Schools like Brandeis use this to ensure that students meet their minimum standards before evaluating the qualitative aspects of their applications.

 

Remember, too, that Brandeis wants to see students taking an academically rigorous course load, including plenty of APs, IBs, and honors classes.

 

If your GPA is lower, and you’re earlier on in your high school career, check out our tips for increasing your GPA. If you’re a junior or senior, it will be harder to increase your GPA, so the easiest way to increase your Academic Index is to get a higher test score.

 

2. Showcase the best evidence of your academic talent.

 

Brandeis was test-optional for several years prior to the pandemic. Now, the university offers several options for showcasing your academic talent. They include:

 

  • Superscored SAT or SAT scores
  • Three exams from this approved list
  • One paper (English, social science, or history preferred) plus one additional letter of recommendation written by an academic teacher who taught you in 11th or 12th grade

 

You should choose the option that you believe offers the best evidence of your abilities as a student. 

 

To improve your SAT/ACT score, check out these free CollegeVine resources:

 

3. Cultivate at least one or two Tier 1-2 extracurriculars (find your “spike”).

 

Have you started a small business? Or placed at the national level in a science competition? Maybe you sit first chair as an oboist in your all-state orchestra. These are all examples of Tier 1-2 activities, the most impressive and unique extracurriculars you can have on your resume. 

 

Colleges like Brandeis rank activities according to the 4 Tiers of Extracurriculars, with 1 being the most unique and exceptional and 4 being the least. Students should have at least a couple Tier 1-2 activities, along with a handful of Tier 3-4 activities. Schools like Brandeis would rather see your deep commitment and excellence in one or two areas (your spike) rather than a collection of scattered activities.

 

4. Write engaging essays.

 

Essays are one of the best ways to set yourself apart from other academically qualified applicants. They’re an opportunity to demonstrate who you are as a person—your passions, your strengths, and your goals.

 

Looking for advice on how to write the 2021–2022 Brandeis essays? Check out our essay guide.

 

5. Apply Early Decision.

 

Applying ED demonstrates to Brandeis that they’re your first choice. Admissions rates tend to be higher for those who apply ED vs. Regular Decision because this improves the school’s yield, or the ratio of students who are admitted to those who ultimately attend. 

 

That said, you should only apply to Brandeis ED I or ED II if it’s truly your first choice, because the decision is binding—you must attend Brandeis if you’re admitted under this plan. Keep in mind, too, the limitations of applying ED in general.

 

6. Secure strong letters of recommendation.

 

Brandeis rates recommendations as “important” in its admissions process. You’re only required to submit one letter from a teacher in a core academic subject, but if you choose not to submit SAT or ACT scores, then you will need an additional recommendation letter. 

 

When considering which teacher to ask, it’s best to choose someone who knows you well, personally and academically. That’s why it’s important to start developing relationships with your teachers early in high school.

 

7. Demonstrate your unique perspective.

 

You don’t have to be Jewish to attend Brandeis. The school was founded as a haven for minorities of all types who faced discrimination in higher education. Today, the university continues to value a rich diversity of perspectives, beliefs, and backgrounds.

 

Your unique perspective, demonstrated through various materials, such as your essays and extracurriculars, will certainly prove invaluable in the admissions process. Make sure that you highlight aspects of your personality in your profile that demonstrate your diversity and inclusion.

 

How to Apply to Brandeis

 

Deadlines

 

Application Timeline

Deadline

Early Decision I

November 1

Early Decision II

January 1

Regular Decision

January 1

The Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program (MKTYP)

February 1

 

Application Requirements

 

  • Common Application
  • $80 application fee or fee waiver
  • Official copies of all high school transcripts and/or GED certificate and/or marks from any externally graded national exams
  • A school report and a letter of recommendation from a secondary school official
  • Standardized test scores or a graded analytical paper
  • Mid-year report
  • A letter of recommendation from a teacher who has instructed you in a core academic course

 

Learn more about Brandeis

 

 

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Short Bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in History. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She dreams of having a dog.

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