April Maguire 4 min read Applying to College, College Lists

What Does It Take to Get into Brigham Young University–Provo?

Brigham Young University–Provo doesn’t offer your typical college experience. Founded and supported by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this faith-based institution holds students to a strict standard with regard to behavior and character.


Notable BYU alumni include former U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney, “Twilight” series author Stephenie Meyer, author and business leader Stephen Covey, and actors Jon Heder of “Napoleon Dynamite” and Aaron Eckhart of “Batman: The Dark Knight.”


BYU students are expected to live by a strict honor code, which prohibits – among other things – camping with members of the opposite sex and growing a beard without a doctor’s approval. Extramarital and gay sex are also prohibited. Students are highly encouraged to devote their time to community service both on and off campus.  


With 288 major and minor programs and more than 300 college clubs and organizations, students attending BYU will clearly have a lot on their plates. But if you’re looking for a college education that will help you grow both spiritually and intellectually, BYU might be the institution for you.


So what does it take to get in? Read on for details on applying to Brigham Young University, along with tips for standing out from the crowd.


Applying to Brigham Young University–Provo: A Quick Review


Brigham Young University–Provo requires candidates to submit a comprehensive application package. If you think you may want to attend BYU next year, start gathering the following materials early:


  • Completed BYU application
  • Official high school transcript
  • Official ACT or SAT scores (BYU only considers the highest overall composite score)
  • Essays and activities information
  • 1 teacher recommendation
  • 1 non-relative personal recommendation
  • Ecclesiastical endorsement and honor code agreement
  • $35 application fee


Note that some students may be asked to submit an additional recommendation from a seminary teacher. All materials must be in by December 15th.


Brigham Young University–Provo Acceptance Rate: How Difficult Is It to Get In?


Brigham Young University–Provo receives 11,784 applications for the 2018 admissions season year and accepted just 7,668 of them. So, it’s fair to say that with an acceptance rate of around 65.1%, this Utah school is selective.


Still, high school students shouldn’t be discouraged by the numbers. While grades and test scores play a significant role in admissions decisions, it’s important to remember that BYU employs a holistic review process. Factors like essays, letters of recommendation, extracurriculars, volunteer work, and church involvement will all be considered when evaluating students for admission. 

So, How Does One Get Into Brigham Young University–Provo?


There is no secret formula for admission to BYU. All applications are holistically reviewed, meaning everything in the application is considered. However, the college tends to favor students who pursue challenging curricula while still in high school. The most competitive applicants take several AP or IB classes along with their regular coursework. As a bonus, taking advanced placement courses can help boost your GPA. The average incoming BYU freshman has a grade point average of 3.86, so every little bit helps.


Additionally, BYU students tend to have high standardized test scores. BYU freshmen boast an average ACT score of 29.5 and an SAT score between 1210 and 1410. Consider professional SAT tutoring as a way of focusing study efforts on those testing areas most likely to drive score increases.


How to Make Your Application Stand Out


Since, every aspect of a student’s application package is important, your application, including your application and essays should demonstrate your preparation in these four areas: Spirituality, Intellect, Character, and Service.


Spirituality. BYU provides a college education within a spiritual environment. The school is seeking students active in their faith. If you regularly participate in church meetings, programs, and activities, be sure to showcase your involvement in your application and essays.


Intellect. BYU is looking for students who have exceptional mental capability. Ranked No. 5 on the National Science Foundation’s list of universities whose graduates pursue PhDs, it’s no surprise that the university is looking for students who have exceptional mental capability. Make sure you take challenging, college prep courses in high school that align with your passions and interests.


Character. BYU seeks students who have strong moral character – ones with stellar work ethic and integrity. Your essay should provide examples of times you were able to demonstrate resilience and honesty when it would have been easier not to.


Service. Shining a light on service work in your essays is a great way to get a little extra attention. According to BYU media relations manager Todd Hollingshead, the school’s applicants tend to excel when it comes to extracurricular activities. If you want to stand out from the crowd, showcase your commitment to meaningful service by writing about efforts you’ve made in your school, church, and community. Brigham Young University is passionate about graduating students who strive to serve others and make the world a better place, so show that you’ve been doing this from the start to better your chances of getting in.


What If You Get Rejected?


You’ve checked your email a hundred times, and the letter’s finally there — only it’s not the acceptance you were hoping for. Getting rejected by your top-choice school is brutal. However, that doesn’t mean you should give up on pursuing a bachelor’s degree. If you’re set on going to school in the southwest, consider applying to other fine institutions such as Utah Valley University, Utah State University, the University of Utah, or Arizona State University. Set on attending a Christian college? Consider Southern Methodist or Texas Christian University.


Additionally, students whose grades and test scores are a little on the low side may want to consider taking classes at their local community college. Not only can taking community college courses help boost your applicant profile, but you may be able to save money on transferable general education credits.


Curious about your chances of acceptance to your dream school? 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!

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April Maguire
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
A graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC, April Maguire taught freshman composition while earning her degree. Over the years, she has worked as a writer, editor, tutor, and content manager. Currently, she operates a freelance writing business and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three rowdy cats.