How to Get Into the University of Rochester: Admissions Stats + Tips

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What’s Covered:

 

Known as a “Little Ivy,” the University of Rochester, founded in 1850, is home to the School of Arts & Sciences, the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, the School of Nursing, and the Eastman School of Music, a world-renowned conservatory. Each of these colleges has its own merits and offers top programs across an array of fields and disciplines.

 

Many talented students from across the globe seek an education at U of R, but only a small percentage make the cut. What does it take to get in?

 

How Hard Is It to Get Into Rochester?

 

For the class of 2024, 18,573 students applied, and 6,545 were admitted, for an acceptance rate of 35%. While Rochester doesn’t publish its Early Decision acceptance rate, it does note that 40% of its class enrolled ED.

 

Rochester is selective, but your own chances of admission vary according to your personal profile. Use our free admissions calculator to estimate your chances of acceptance based on factors like grades, test scores, extracurriculars, and more, and get tips on how to improve your profile to increase those chances.

 

Average Academic Profile of Accepted U of R Students

 

GPA

 

The average high school GPA among enrolling students was 3.75.

 

SAT/ACT

 

The middle 50% SAT ranges for U of R are 650-710 (ERW) and 680-790 (M), and the range for ACT scores is 30-34.

 

Seventeen percent of the freshman class enrolled without submitting test scores.

 

What is Rochester Looking for?

 

“We invite you—the curious, the capable, and the engaged—to apply to our diverse and talented community of doers and disrupters at the University of Rochester,” U of R says. “We strive to admit students who’ll work to make each other, the University, and the world ever better.”

 

Rochester performs a holistic review of applications, looking at academic ability, extracurricular engagement, and character. With its flexible, open curriculum, it prioritizes students who demonstrate both curiosity and intellectual engagement.

 

Criteria for evaluation are unique to the particular schools and programs within the larger university. For example, those applying to the School of Engineering should be prepared for a rigorous curriculum and demonstrate it through strong STEM-related activities and curricula. Meanwhile, Eastman hopefuls will be assessed on their musical talent and ability.

 

UR also has several combined degree programs, many of which are highly selective and require admission to two schools. For example, students interested in nursing must gain admission to the College and the School of Nursing to pursue a BA/BS plus BSN. These students must display excellence in the niche field they are interested in through their profile.

 

Discover your chances at hundreds of schools

Our free chancing engine takes into account your history, background, test scores, and extracurricular activities to show you your real chances of admission—and how to improve them.

 

How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Rochester

 

1. Achieve at least a 3.75 while taking the most challenging classes available.

 

Rochester requires a high GPA for admission—selective schools of its caliber often use the Academic Index, which takes into account academic factors like GPA and test scores, to ensure students meet the minimum standards before reviewing qualitative components of the application.

 

But your GPA is only one measure of your academic performance. You should also be taking a rigorous curriculum, packed with AP/IB and honors courses, to set yourself apart and demonstrate that you are up to the challenge of a school like UR.

 

If your GPA is lower, and you’re earlier on in your high school career, check out our tips for increasing your GPA. If you’re a junior or senior, it will be harder to increase your GPA, so the easiest way to increase your Academic Index is to get a higher test score.

 

2. Aim for a 1500 SAT and 34 ACT.

 

While anything within the middle 50% ranges for the SAT (1330-1500) and ACT (30-34) are fine, achieving scores near the 75th percentile will make you a more competitive candidate. UR superscores, meaning they only account for your highest subscores for each test.

 

UR currently has a COVID-19 test-optional policy. However, we recommend taking the test if you can do so safely, since students who submit scores are typically accepted at higher rates than those without. You should also submit your scores if they are at or above the 25th percentile for accepted students. Get a recommendation on whether to apply test-optional using our free Chancing Engine

 

Looking to improve your SAT/ACT score? Check out these free CollegeVine resources:

 

 

3. Cultivate at least one or two Tier 1-2 extracurriculars (find your “spike”).

 

Rochester values meaningful extracurricular activities, considering them according to the 4 Tiers. As a research and creatively driven institution, it seeks students who show evidence of talent and ambition in one or two focused areas.

 

A Tier 1 activity, the most specialized and rare tier, might mean, for example, winning a national art or science award, beating out students across the country for the honor. Meanwhile, a Tier 4 activity could be club participation, again in your area or areas of specialization. You should have at least one or two Tier 1-2 activities, along with a handful of Tier 3-4 activities.

 

It’s also essential to develop a deep interest in one or two extracurriculars (a highly-developed interest known as a “spike“) rather than participating in several unrelated activities. An example of a “spike” would be a student who notes that they presented a paper at a regional research symposium, is the president of the biology club at school, and volunteers at a local hospital twice a week. This demonstrates that this student is not only gifted in science but is deeply interested in medicine.

 

4. Write engaging essays.

 

Essays are another way to set yourself apart from other candidates that are equally academically impressive. UR puts a good deal of weight on the essays and offers several ways to respond to the prompts. For example, candidates can choose among research, creative, and essay responses to prompts, allowing them to showcase their unique talents in the way most appropriate for their strengths.

 

Learn more about the Rochester essay prompts and how to respond.

 

5. Apply Early Decision.

 

There is an advantage to applying to UR under one of the two ED plans available. While the ED acceptance rate is not published, Rochester does say that these candidates “have demonstrated an understanding of Rochester and the unique opportunities available. It’s not that they gain admission more often because they applied ED; it’s that the type of student more likely to gain admission is the type of student to apply ED.”

 

That said, you should only apply to Rochester if it’s truly your first choice. While it can increase your chances even when controlling for profile strength, remember that it’s a binding option, meaning you must attend if you’re accepted. Still, keep in mind the limitations of applying ED, such as the fact that you won’t be able to leverage and compare financial aid offers.

 

6. Participate in an interview.

 

Although interviews are not required, UR recommends requesting one. Not only is this an opportunity to show the admissions officers more of your personality, but it’s also one way the university identifies merit scholarship candidates. 

 

UR calls them a “critical component” of admissions decisions, so we strongly recommend participating. For tips on how to prepare, check out these resources:

 

 

7. Apply to the right program and school for you.

 

Rochester’s schools each have their own personality and criteria for admission. While some are more or less selective than the others, you should apply to the one that’s the best fit for you. Don’t attempt to game the system by applying to a program you believe is less selective just to increase your chances of admission.

 

8. Demonstrate curiosity.

 

UR seeks students who show curiosity in and outside the classroom. Show your eagerness to explore all aspects of your application, from extracurricular activities to academic coursework to your essays.

 

How to Apply to Rochester

 

Deadlines

 

Application Timeline

Deadline

Early Decision I

November 1

Early Decision II

January 5

Regular Decision

January 5

Spring Regular Decision

November 1

 

Application Requirements

  • Common Application or Coalition Application
  • Secondary school transcript
  • Teacher recommendation (one required)
  • School report/counselor recommendation
  • Mid-year report (when available)
  • Final transcript (when available)
  • College transcript (if applicable)
  • $50 application fee or fee waiver

 

Optional:

  • Official test scores
  • Links to electronic media (music, websites, photos, videos, etc.)
  • Writing sample
  • Family Peer Recommendation Form

 

Note: Eastman has a separate application and application process. There are additional/separate requirements for dual-degree programs.

 

Learn more about Rochester

 

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Short Bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in History. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She dreams of having a dog.

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