What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

What Does It Take to Get Into the University of Colorado–Boulder?

Breathtaking vistas. Exceptional academics. Outdoor adventure. These are just a few of the reasons that students choose the University of Colorado–Boulder to pursue their educations. Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful colleges in the U.S., this institution offers dozens of academic programs in a range of fields, along with ample varsity sports and extracurriculars. It’s also one of the world’s most exciting centers for research and innovation.


Wondering if the University of Colorado–Boulder is the school for you? Find out what it takes to get into this institution, along with important dates and deadlines for your application.


Applying to University of Colorado–Boulder: A Quick Review


If your college journey is taking you to the Centennial State, it pays to do your research regarding important dates and deadlines. Students hoping to matriculate at the University of Colorado–Boulder need to apply by November 15th for Early Action and January 15th for Regular Decision. They also need to submit the following application materials:


  • Completed Common Application
  • Writing supplement (in addition to the Common Application personal essay)
  • 1 academic letter of recommendation
  • High school transcript
  • SAT or ACT scores
  • $50 domestic student application fee ($70 for international student applicants)


Note that you can request an application fee waiver on the Common Application.


University of Colorado–Boulder Acceptance Rate: How Difficult Is It to Get In?


The University of Colorado–Boulder has a relatively high acceptance rate. Of the 36,000 students who applied to CU Boulder last year, the university accepted around 29,000, for an acceptance rate of approximately 80%. So, if your heart is set on attending this university, the good news is you have a high likelihood of getting in.


If you’re planning to apply to this Western institution, you will be required to select a major program. Some colleges and programs at CU Boulder are more competitive than others, so read up on the academic requirements for your particular major prior to applying. Consider whether your current GPA and test scores are in the admissions range or if you need to take some steps to improve your academic standing before applying.


Note that applicants not selected for admission in the business, environmental design, media, communication and information, music, or engineering programs are automatically considered for admission to the College of Arts and Sciences. So even if you aren’t selected for your first choice program, you can still be accepted to the university.


So, How Does One Get Into University of Colorado–Boulder?


CU Boulder prides itself on practicing a holistic admission review process when evaluating potential students. Along with considering academic factors like GPA and test scores, the University of Colorado–Boulder strives to assess each applicant as an individual by looking at extracurriculars, after-school jobs, leadership activities, as well as any extenuating circumstances.


In particular, the University of Colorado–Boulder evaluates essays and letters of recommendation to determine the ways in which a student contributed to their school and community. The goal is to determine which students would be successful in the school’s competitive learning environment.


With regard to academic achievement, CU Boulder seeks out students who excelled at the high school level. For 2018, the middle 50% of accepted freshmen boasted GPAs between 3.49 and 4.0 with percentile ranks between 68% and 93%. The school also favors applicants who challenged themselves by taking advanced, honors, AP, and IB courses, while satisfying its Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS). The required coursework includes:


  • 4 years of English, including 2 of composition
  • 4 years of mathematics, including 2 of algebra, 1 of geometry, and 1 of college preparatory math
  • 3 years of natural science
  • 3 years of social science
  • 3 years of a single foreign language


CU Boulder also puts a strong emphasis on test scores. For 2018, the average SAT scores for admitted freshmen ranged from 1180 to 1370. Students who took the ACT earned between a 26 and a 31. 


How to Make Your Application Stand Out


Because student essays play such a crucial role in CU Boulder admissions decisions, it pays to invest extra time and effort into this component of your application. The university expresses a preference for students who don’t submit cookie cutter essays. Instead, students should write about topics that are meaningful to them and use personal anecdotes to get their points across. Along with showcasing excellent written communication skills, essays should be honest and engaging. The goal is to convey the journey that has brought you to this point, even if there were some bumps along the way.


Additionally, aspiring CU Boulder students can get a leg up on the competition by focusing on their leadership efforts. Did you hold a position on student council? Chair a committee for your high school’s National Honor Society? Coach a youth sports team? The most competitive students shine in both their schools and their towns.


Finally, University of Colorado–Boulder students may be able to gain an academic edge by taking the SAT more than once. Because CU Boulder is one of a number of schools that superscores the SAT—meaning it takes the highest score for each section regardless of testing attempt—students may be able to improve their profiles by taking the test again.


What If You Get Rejected?


No one likes to feel like they failed at something they set out to achieve. Unfortunately, rejection is a natural part of the admissions process, and very few people accomplish all their goals the first time around. Though you may feel like sulking for a few days after receiving a rejection letter, it’s important to jump back into your college search as soon as possible.


If you’re concerned about getting accepted to CU Boulder, it pays to have a backup plan. You might want to consider applying to some schools considered similar to University of Colorado–Boulder, including Colorado State University–Fort Collins and the University of Arizona.


Curious about your chances of acceptance to University of Colorado – Boulder? 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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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.