What Does It Take to Get into the University of Denver?
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The University of Denver accepts 58% of applicants. What does it take to get in?
Located in south Denver, the University of Denver boasts being situated in what’s becoming one of the trendiest cities in the U.S. Just a short drive to the iconic Rocky Mountains, the University of Denver takes advantage of both its urban resources and natural splendor to provide an enriching private education for its students.
Beyond its advantageous setting, the University of Denver also offers a distinct women’s college that female students can opt into, where they’ll receive all the benefits of a single-sex college as well as the resources available to the co-ed school. Given its small size, students can expect to receive more individualized attention then they would at larger, nearby colleges such as UC Boulder.
The University of Denver is the perfect school for any student who wants a small college feel with access to an urban social life and incredible outdoor activities. Keep reading to learn more about the tips that have helped CollegeVine’s students get into the school that’s perfect for them.
Applying to the University of Denver: A Quick Review
Apply to DU using either the institution-specific Pioneer Application or the Common Application. While you should choose the application format you’re most comfortable with, we generally recommend that you use the Common App, since you’ll be able to quickly and easily reuse parts of your application when applying to other schools. We’ve written an extensive guide, so be sure to check out The Common App: Everything You Need to Know.
The University of Denver has several decision and deadline options:
- Early Decision I and Early Action students must submit their applications by November 1.
- Early Decision II and Regular Decision students must submit their applications by January 15.
If you’re unsure about whether you should apply early, check out our post Early Action vs. Early Decision vs. Restricted Early Action.
To apply, be sure to send in all of the following:
- A complete application via the Pioneer App or the Common App
- An essay responding to one of the Pioneer or Common App prompts
- School report
- Counselor recommendation
- SAT or ACT scores
- An official high school transcript
- $65 application fee or fee waiver
- Optional: recommendations from teachers, coaches, or supervisors
- Optional: A ZeeMee profile, which will allows you to upload photos, videos and other media formats to supplement your application
For homeschool students: You will be required to submit a letter of recommendation from a non-family member.
For international students: If English is not your first language, you’ll need to demonstrate your proficiency through TOEFL, IELTS, or CAE scores. You can also supplement your application with a video interview to confirm your English proficiency, and you will want to send test scores for any secondary high school programs such as IB.
University of Denver Acceptance Rate: How Difficult Is It to Get In?
Last year, the University of Denver’s acceptance rate was 58%. DU received 19,904 applications last year and admitted 11,554 students. Of those, 1,504 students actually enrolled, making it similarly selective to schools like Illinois Institute of Technology and Texas A&M University.
While there’s a good chance you’ll be admitted, you should still take the application process seriously and make sure that every part of your application is as strong as possible. One way to increase your chances is to get help from people who have been through the process before. Connecting with someone who has successfully gained admission to a school like DU can make the difference between rejection and acceptance.
So, How Does One Get Into the University of Denver?
DU uses a holistic review process to choose students with potential and who will contribute to the DU community. Use your application to highlight your strengths in the following areas.
Academics. DU places a greater emphasis on GPA than it does test scores, but the admissions counselors will consider both when evaluating your application. The average GPA for incoming freshman was a 3.7, with the middle 50% of applicants falling between 3.47 to 4.0. The average SAT score was 1265, with the middle 50% earning scores between 1170 and 1370. The average ACT score was 28, with the middle 50% earning scores between 26 and 31.
Extracurriculars. DU doesn’t care what activities you were involved in throughout high school, but they do want to see that you pursued something you were interested in with passion and excellence. This could mean taking a leadership position at your school, starting a new organization or initiative, or being recognized for your talents through awards and recognition. Whatever you do, show why those activities were meaningful to you and how you went above and beyond in following them.
Character. It’s important that you give the DU admissions officers insight into who you are and what your strengths are. Write a compelling essay that focuses on an accomplishment or strength that you are proud of, and choose recommenders who can highlight strengths beyond what you could cover in your essay alone.
Contribution to Community. DU is explicitly looking for students who will engages with their community. Show how your strengths and experiences will enrich the student body and how you’ll engage with the campus and the surrounding community. You can highlight how you’ve contributed to communities in the past through service or leadership.
How to Make Your Application Stand Out
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.
Tell your story. The University of Denver explicitly say that they give a lot of weight to your essay, extracurriculars, and supplementary materials, and the admissions counselors are looking for bright, motivated students who will make the most of their education. Whatever you don’t include in your application, they won’t know about, so make sure you highlight your strengths, your values, and your passion throughout your application.
Partner with recommenders. Most students choose a recommender and let the recommender do all the work, but you need to make sure that every piece of your application is strong. Choose recommenders who can complement your essay by highlighting a different aspect of your character, such as athletic coaches or work/volunteer supervisors. Give your recommenders all the help they need to make their letters flow with the rest of your application.
Enhance the themes of your completed application. A seasoned admissions counselor will review your entire application in about nine minutes and evaluate it. If you want them to remember something positive about you, then you’ll need to mention it throughout your application, not just once and hope that they remember.
Try this strategy—finish your application at least a week early and leave it alone for a few days. When you return to it, read the whole application in nine minutes. What stood out to you? What wasn’t clear or could be improved on? Then make those improvements.
What If You Get Rejected?
The University of Denver receives applications from more qualified applicants than they can accept, and they work hard to make sure the DU is affordable for the students they admit. If you find yourself facing a no-thank-you at the end of the admissions process, don’t be too hard on yourself. Bright, motivated, resourceful students will find success, or create it, anywhere they go.
The University of Denver doesn’t appear to have a formalized decision appeals process. However, we do not recommend that you petition your decision, as across most schools, decisions are rarely reversed.
You are eligible to apply for transfer for any of the academic quarters, and DU is very open to transfer students, adults returning to complete their degrees, and other types of nontraditional students. That said, you’ll still need to complete an application via the Pioneer App or Common App, include your college transcripts with at least a 3.0 college GPA, and, if you’ve completed less than a year of college, you’ll want to include your standardized test scores as well.
You can reapply after taking a gap year, but this path is riskier than simply committing to another school and requesting to take a gap year there. To see if a gap year is right for you, visit our posts, What Are the Pros of Taking a Gap Year? and What You Need To Know When Applying to Colleges After a Gap Year.
By far, we recommend looking at another great school and making the most of your time there. Consider applying for other Colorado schools such as the University of Colorado–Boulder or Colorado College. For advice on adjusting to a different college path, check out our post Envisioning a New Future: Preparing for Life at Your Second-Choice (or Third, or Fourth) School.
The University of Denver is a great option for dedicated students. If you’d like more personalized advice on your admissions profile, CollegeVine offers College Applications help, where you’ll be paired with a successful mentor at a top school who helps you along every step of the application process.
Check out some of our other posts for ways to make your application stand out:
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