What Does it Take to Get into Stony Brook University–SUNY?
Do you know how to improve your profile for college applications?
See how your profile ranks among thousands of other students using CollegeVine. Calculate your chances at your dream schools and learn what areas you need to improve right now — it only takes 3 minutes and it's 100% free.
With an acceptance rate of 41%, Stony Brook University is one of the most selective schools in the SUNY system. So, what does it take to get in?
The State University of New York at Stony Brook, known as Stony Brook University, SBU, or SUNY Stony Brook, is tied with Binghamton University for highest-ranked SUNY school on U.S. News and World Report’s list of national universities at #80.
Founded as State University College on Long Island in 1957, SBU is particularly known for providing strong STEM programs, along with numerous other majors and disciplines. Annually, students gather for events like the Roth Pond Regatta, a race of student-made cardboard boats, and the Shirley Strum Kenny Student Arts Festival, a week of student work showcases. Students can also check out more than 300 student organizations on campus, including more than 30 fraternities and sororities.
Stony Brook is also home to the only undergraduate journalism school in the SUNY system as well as the highly ranked Stony Brook University Medical Center.
Applying to Stony Brook University: A Quick Review
Stony Brook accepts the Common Application, the Coalition Application, or its own SUNY Application. You only need to fill out one of these, and you can learn more about the Common Application in our Guide to the Common App.
Students will apply to one of the following eight schools:
- College of Arts and Sciences
- College of Business
- College of Engineering and Applied Sciences
- School of Journalism
- School of Health Technology and Management
- School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
- School of Nursing
- School of Social Welfare
Along with your application, you will submit your:
- Official high school transcript
- SAT or ACT scores (essay recommended*)
- One teacher or counselor recommendation
- Optional: ZeeMee profile
*CollegeVine advises submitting this recommended portion.
There are additional requirements for students applying to special programs, such as the Honors Programs.
SBU Acceptance Rate: How Difficult Is It to Get In?
Stony Brook is selective, with an acceptance rate of 41%. The middle 50% ranges for standardized test scores and GPAs are as follows:
- SAT: 1250-1400
- ACT: 26-31
- GPA (4.0 scale): 3.6-4.0
- GPA (100-point scale): 91-97
Freshman admission to Stony Brook is based primarily on the strength of your high school curriculum, performance within that curriculum, and SAT or ACT scores. Special consideration may be given to applicants with truly exceptional talents and achievements in the arts, athletics, and extracurricular activities.
So, How Does One Get Into SBU?
Stony Brook outlines some specific requirements of admission. They include having:
- a high school diploma
- a strong high school curriculum that includes:
- 4 units of English
- 4 units of social studies
- 3 units of mathematics (4 units required for engineering and applied sciences)
- 3 units of science (4 units required for engineering and applied sciences)
- 2 or 3 units of a foreign language
- an otherwise strong academic record, including high standardized test scores
- evidence of leadership, unique interests, exemplary personal characteristics, and extracurricular pursuits
Of course, these requirements are true of most selective institutions, and there is no magic formula for success. Keep reading to learn how to make your SBU application stand out.
How to Make Your Application Stand Out
Stony Brook is seeking students who exhibit self-motivation, are able to manage their time well, and are vested in the community. Particularly, adcoms are interested in how students will fit into the campus community socially, as well as academically. Every application is different, but over the years we’ve seen these strategies give our clients applications that are three times more likely to gain favorable admissions results.
Pay attention to the requirements and standards for specific programs. For example, students applying to the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences must show an outstanding academic record in subjects such as math and physics and achieve a high score on their SAT or ACT math section. You should also have participated in numerous relevant extracurricular activities, such as research competitions. Meanwhile, music majors must undergo an audition process and take theory placement and musicianship exams.
When you choose your program of study, understand these requirements to help you select the most suitable program for you.
Demonstrate independence and innovation. Few colleges and universities will coddle you, and this is especially true at a large school like Stony Brook, which has an undergraduate student body of 17,364 students. You should make it clear that you are a self-starter through your extracurricular activities, which should show leadership and initiative. Many of your classes will be quite large when you’re an underclassman, so you will need to show SBU that you are capable of seeking out opportunities rather than waiting for them to come to you.
Show evidence of what you will contribute. As a premier research institution with a diverse student population representing all 50 states and 110 countries, SBU looks for students who will make their mark, both in terms of contributions to society and the perspective you can offer. Make your unique experiences clear on your application and demonstrate that you’ve explored your area of interest academically and through extracurriculars. For example, prospective journalism majors might have internships at a local newspaper and hold leadership positions in writing clubs.
What If You Get Rejected?
Being denied admission to any college, particularly one of your top choices, is disappointing. Still, it’s important to take a step back and regroup. If you get rejected from Stony Brook, here’s what you can do:
Take a gap year or transfer in. If you had your heart set on Stony Brook or received bad news from the other colleges on your list, one option is to take a gap year and reapply next admissions cycle. If you do decide to go this route, make sure you have a productive plan for the year. You might undertake a research project, volunteer, study to improve your SAT scores, or take classes at a local college. Do know, however, that this path is risky, as taking a gap year won’t ensure your acceptance the second time around.
You could also begin your studies at another institution with the hopes of transferring. This academic year, 1,457 transfer students enrolled at Stony Brook.
Keep it in perspective. Even if Stony Brook was your top choice, chances are, you’ll find a way to make a college that did accept you work. College really is what you make of it, and if you put effort into adjusting to another school by joining clubs, working hard in your classes, and cultivating a social life, you’ll likely find that you can make a fulfilling college experience for yourself, even if you end up at a college that wasn’t your top choice. With thousands of options, there is a good fit out there for everyone. 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.
For more personalized expertise on getting into Stony Brook, consider CollegeVines’s College Application Guidance Program. When you sign up for our program, we carefully pair you with the perfect admissions specialist based on your current academic and extracurricular profile and the schools in which you’re interested. Your personal application specialist will help you with branding, essays, and interviews, and provide you with support and guidance in all other aspects of the application process.
Want more college admissions tips?
We'll send you information to help you throughout the college admissions process.