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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
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What Does It Take to Get Into Clemson University?

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With an acceptance rate of 47%, Clemson has a reputation for being selective. So, what does it take to make your application stand out?


Academics and activism combine at this Southern Carolina university. Founded in 1889, Clemson University is passionate about building a robust student body that’s dedicated to serving the larger community. Students have the opportunity to work with volunteer organizations like the Women’s Leadership Council and the Giving Tree Project. And with 80 undergraduate majors and hundreds of student clubs and organizations, there’s plenty to do both in and out of the classroom. As a bonus, more than 92 percent of Clemson seniors say they would choose the school all over again.


Clearly, Clemson is a great place to earn a degree. But is it the school right for you? Keep reading to find out what it takes to get into Clemson University, along with tips to keep in mind when applying.


Applying to Clemson University: A Quick Overview


If your goal is to attend the University of Clemson, you should start by gathering the necessary application materials. First-year students looking to attend Clemson in the fall will need to fill out the Coalition Application by December 1st. Those seeking priority consideration for academic scholarships should send in all application materials by December 31st.


In addition to the Coalition Application, aspiring freshmen must submit the following:


  • Official high school transcript that includes a list of senior year courses
  • Official ACT or SAT scores (Note that Clemson superscores SAT scores for reading and math and uses the best composite score for ACTs.)


Additionally, students pursuing music or theater concentrations will need to audition before being accepted. Check your program’s specific requirements prior to submitting your application.


In most cases, students will be notified of their acceptance by February 15th.


Clemson University Acceptance Rate: How Difficult Is It to Get In?


The bar for entry to Clemson University is higher than ever. With an acceptance rate of 47%, Clemson has a reputation for being selective. In particular, acceptance rates for in-state students have fallen dramatically over the last decade. While 61% of in-state students were accepted to the school in 2008, by 2018 the rate had dropped to 53%. This change is likely due to the 86% increase in the number of applicants over the same period.


Still, high schoolers who have their hearts set on attending Clemson shouldn’t give up hope. The University application review process assesses grades, rigor of high school curriculum, class standing, major choice, test scores, and extracurricular commitments in order to determine a student’s potential to succeed and contribute to the campus. 

So How Does One Get Into Clemson University?


Like most competitive schools, Clemson seeks out applicants who excel academically. The average GPA is 3.74, with most students holding high class ranks. While Clemson doesn’t require applicants to complete a certain high school curriculum, the following courses are recommended:


  • 4 credits of English
  • 3 credits of math
  • 3 credits of laboratory sciences
  • 3 credits of a foreign language
  • 3 credits of social sciences
  • 2 credits of electives
  • 1 credit of PE
  • 1 credit of fine arts


Additionally, Clemson applicants stand out with regard to standardized testing. The middle 50% of accepted freshmen have SAT scores between 1230 and 1390 and ACT scores between 27 and 32.


How to Make Your Application Stand Out


If you’re set on attending Clemson, you’ll need to focus on bolstering low SAT scores. According to an interview with Clemson’s director of admissions, the school uses SAT and ACT results to predict college success. By pursuing SAT tutoring programs and taking the test multiple times, students can increase their odds of getting that elusive acceptance letter.


Moreover, students may be able to overcome less-competitive grades and SAT scores by focusing on their personal statements. Clemson’s admissions director advises students to detail what they learned in high school rather than explaining outside circumstances that may have affected their performance. He also cautions against using a tone that’s too casual or friendly in application materials. When in doubt, applicants should strive to be honest and engaging while showing their unique perspective on the world.


What If You Get Rejected?


Like most colleges, Clemson University only has a certain number of slots available each year and sometimes even highly qualified applicants fail to make the cut. It’s easy to feel down after being rejected from one of your top-choice colleges but important to remember not to take it personally. The good news is that getting rejected from one school leaves you with the opportunity to experience something wonderful at another, even if it’s your second or third-choice school.


If you’re worried about getting rejected from Clemson University or another school, think about increasing the size of your college list. With over 61 colleges and universities in South Carolina alone, and thousands more around the U.S., applying to a broad range of schools is the best way to ensure a bright and promising future.


Still set on earning your degree at Clemson? Each February, the university identifies a select group of talented students who just missed out on being accepted and invites them to participate in the Bridge to Clemson program. Also known as the Bridge, this program requires students to enroll at Tri-County for their first year. Provided that they earn 30 transferable credit hours and maintain a 2.5 grade point average, they will be guaranteed admission to Clemson for the following fall.


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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.