What Does it Take to Get Into the University of Iowa?

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The University of Iowa’s acceptance rate is 86%. What does it take to get in?

 

Wondering what Arthur T. Ippen, George Gallup, Diablo Cody, Flannery O’Connor, and Gene Wilder have in common? They’re all former Hawkeyes!

 

There’s a reason Iowa attracts everyone from inventors to actors. Located in Iowa City, this public institution offers more than 200 majors, minors, and certificates, including popular picks like business and engineering, but also more specialized fields like parks, recreation, and leisure. Additionally, the school is home to 24 NCAA Division I teams, one of the country’s largest and most prestigious medical centers, and the world-renowned Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

 

No. 38 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the “Best Public Universities,” Iowa is a great place to earn a college degree. But is it the right school for you? Read on to learn what it takes to get into Iowa, along with CollegeVine’s tips for standing out from the crowd.

 

Applying to University of Iowa: A Quick Review

 

Like many large public schools, the University of Iowa admits students on a rolling basis. This means that there are no set deadlines and that admissions committees will review applications as they come in. You should apply as early as you can, while there are still spots available. If you want to apply for admission, be sure to submit the following materials:

 

  • A completed Common Application, Coalition Application, Iowa Public Universities Application Portal application, or traditional institutional application
  • Official ACT or SAT scores
  • High school transcript
  • A $40 non-refundable fee

 

Note that Iowa does not require letters of recommendation. Moreover, incoming freshmen have until July 1st to submit their final official high school transcripts.

 

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

 

The University of Iowa has an acceptance rate of 86%, meaning that it accepts a majority of the students who apply. However, prospective Hawkeyes should note that the school has been enrolling fewer students in recent years. Last year, Iowa enrolled 32,948 freshmen, which represents a 1.8% drop from the 2017-2018 numbers.

 

Overall, students who are set on attending the University of Iowa have an excellent chance of being accepted, provided that they meet the minimum criteria for admission. 

Not sure how to get started with the Common App?

Our free webinar will teach you how to use the Common App, organize your activities, answer the essay prompts, and more!

So, How Does One Get Into University of Iowa?

 

The University of Iowa is passionate about admitting a knowledgeable and engaged student body. To that end, the admissions committee looks for students who have completed the following high school curriculum:

 

  • 4 years of English/ language arts
  • 3 years of natural sciences
  • 3 years of social studies
  • 3 years of algebra
  • 2 years of world languages
  • 1 year of geometry

 

Note that students applying to certain academic majors may face more stringent requirements. If you’re applying to the engineering or nursing schools at Iowa, be sure to check with the specific department to make sure your current high school coursework is sufficient.

 

Additionally, grades and test scores play a significant role in Iowa admissions decisions. If you’re applying straight from high school, Iowa will use a Regent Admission Index to evaluate the strength of your applicant profile. Known as the RAI, this score is calculated by adding the following:

 

  • Percentile class rank x 1
  • ACT composite score x 2
  • Cumulative GPA x 20
  • Number of years of high school core courses x 5

 

To be accepted, Iowa residents need a minimum RAI score of 245. Residents of other states need to score 255 or above to be competitive. 

 

How to Make Your Application Stand Out

 

Iowa favors students who excel academically. To that end, one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd is to impress the admissions committee with your grade point average. The average Iowa incoming freshman has a GPA of 3.63, which indicates a mix of As and Bs. If you want to give your transcript a boost, consider increasing the number of AP and IB classes you’re taking while in high school. Doing this can improve your weighted GPA while showing admissions counselors that you have what it takes to succeed at the college level.

 

Additionally, aspiring Iowa students should take steps to improve their standardized test scores. With an average SAT composite of 1305 and ACT of 26, Iowa holds applicants to a high standard. Consider finding an SAT tutor who can work with you to target those test areas known to drive the largest score increases.

 

What If You Get Rejected?

 

Students who don’t get into their dream colleges are often tempted to appeal the decisions. However, the CollegeVine team advises against this practice. After all, schools rarely reverse their admissions decisions, and students are generally better off moving on to the next college on their list. For best results, apply to a a smart balance of schools, including safeties, targets, and reaches. With a little luck and support, you’ll wind up at the best place for you.

 

Wondering where else you should apply if the University of Iowa is on your short list? Students who apply to Iowa may also throw their hats in the ring at Midwestern institutions like Iowa State University, Western Illinois University, Drake University, and the University of Chicago. Looking for a great business school? Consider the University of Virginia, the University of Texas–Austin, or Emory.

 

The college search process can be overwhelming, and students often struggle with deciding where to apply. After all, there are numerous factors to consider, including location, academic goals, athletics, and extracurriculars. As part of its College Applications Program, CollegeVine offers a School List Generator with more than 100,000 data points to help students build a list of reach, target, and safety schools. Want to learn more about what we do? Call today or contact our team online. 

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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.