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How can I get into Carnegie Mellon University — General Information

Carnegie Mellon University is a research university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The student body of the university at large is just over 14,000. The undergraduate Carnegie Mellon enrollment includes 7,000 students. 

What we’ll cover in this How to Get Into Carnegie Mellon Guide:

  • Average Carnegie Mellon GPA
  • Optimal Carnegie Mellon SAT scores
  • Carnegie Mellon application deadlines
  • Details on Carnegie Mellon Early Decision
  • Carnegie Mellon enrollment statistics and more. 

When thinking about how to get into Carnegie Mellon, make sure each part of your application — your GPA, test scores, and Carnegie Mellon supplemental essays — is top-notch. This means keeping your GPA high, studying to ensure strong Carnegie Mellon SAT scores, and building up your extracurriculars. To boost your chances of Carnegie Mellon enrollment, you should start strategizing well before the Carnegie Mellon Early Decision or Regular Decision Carnegie Mellon application deadline. 

Figuring out how to get into Carnegie Mellon takes strategy. We can help. CollegeAdvisor.com’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former admissions officers) includes Carnegie Mellon graduates. Want to maximize your Carnegie Mellon admissions odds?  Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272

How hard is it to get into Carnegie Mellon?

When researching how to get into Carnegie Mellon, rankings will inevitably be part of your process. U.S. News ranks Carnegie Mellon #25 on the list of National Universities. It is tied for #6 on the list of Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs. So, CMU is prestigious and competitive, particularly for those who are applying for the school’s most popular majors

For example, regardless of whether you apply under the Carnegie Mellon Early Decision or regular Carnegie Mellon application deadline, the School of Drama and School of Computer Science have acceptance rates of 4% and 7%, respectively.

So, pay careful attention to your major when you are planning your “how to get into Carnegie Mellon” strategy.

Average Scores

The Carnegie Mellon enrollment statistics reflect the school’s prestige. The average Carnegie Mellon GPA and middle 50% Carnegie Mellon SAT scores show the school’s elite nature. There is no magic formula for how to get into Carnegie Mellon, but academic success is key. The middle 50% range for Carnegie Mellon SAT scores for math is 760-800. In the verbal section, it ranges from 700-760. These Carnegie Mellon SAT scores translate to a middle 50% ACT score range of 33-35. 

Both the average Carnegie Mellon GPA and average Carnegie Mellon SAT scores vary based on your desired school. For a breakdown of Carnegie Mellon enrollment data by school, click here

To hear more about how to get into Carnegie Mellon, watch CMU’s Admission Insights videos and read their FAQs. These are a great way to get your questions answered, especially since there is no Carnegie Mellon interview.

When thinking about how to get into Carnegie Mellon, remember that your candidate profile is what makes you unique. There are no right or wrong activities to do, as long as you work hard and show your passion.

Exploring Carnegie Mellon enrollment

As you decide whether you’d like to be a part of the Carnegie Mellon enrollment, it can be useful to look at Carnegie Mellon enrollment facts. Carnegie Mellon enrollment stats will give you a sense of the makeup of the student body.

For example, of the 15,818 students who made up the Carnegie Mellon enrollment in Fall 2021, 6,752 are international. If you would enjoy a vibrant student community with a diverse range of backgrounds, Carnegie Mellon is the place for you. 

Similarly, the Carnegie Mellon enrollment has a fairly equal gender split – 50.5% female, 48% male and 1.5% non binary. So if you’re looking for a balance, the school will suit you well. 
For more stats on the Carnegie Mellon enrollment, including specific colleges, check out this page.

What is the required GPA for Carnegie Mellon?

When strategizing how to get into Carnegie Mellon, think about the average Carnegie Mellon GPA of 3.87. 32.2% of students accepted for Carnegie Mellon enrollment had a GPA of 4.0, while 45% held a GPA between 3.75 and 3.99.

It’s important to note when looking at the average Carnegie Mellon GPA, and other Carnegie Mellon enrollment figures, that it varies by undergraduate school. For instance, the average Carnegie Mellon GPA for the School of Computer Science is 3.95, but there is a 3.87 average for the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Science. Don’t try to game the system with the Carnegie Mellon GPA! Read this guide for how to select your major. Don’t use the overall average Carnegie Mellon GPA to guide your choices.

There are no hard GPA cutoffs when you are thinking about how to get into Carnegie Mellon. However, the average Carnegie Mellon GPA and average Carnegie Mellon SAT scores can help you understand your admissions odds. 88.5% of students chosen for Carnegie Mellon enrollment are in the top 10% of their class, but Carnegie Mellon cares about more than just numbers!

What does the Carnegie Mellon application include?

One of the necessary steps to meeting the Carnegie Mellon Early Decision or regular decision Carnegie Mellon application deadline is completing your Common Application. This is also where you can see the Carnegie Mellon supplemental essays. Aim to complete both the Common App and the Carnegie Mellon supplemental essays well before the Carnegie Mellon application deadline. This is part of the best strategy for how to get into Carnegie Mellon. 

For more information on how to ace the Common App, and make that Carnegie Mellon enrollment, click here

In your research on how to get into Carnegie Mellon, you should review CMU’s application checklist by your chosen Carnegie Mellon application deadline.

The CMU application requirements are as follows:

Understanding the average Carnegie Mellon SAT scores is helpful for gauging your chances of acceptance for Carnegie Mellon enrollment. However, test scores are now optional due to COVID-19. Read more about their test policy here

There is no Carnegie Mellon interview, so focus your energy on other aspects you can control. This includes your Carnegie Mellon supplemental essays. Also, note that high school course requirements vary based on your intended school within Carnegie Mellon, so check their page to make sure you have taken the right courses.

Application deadlines

Selecting your Carnegie Mellon application deadline is also key. There are three Carnegie Mellon application deadlines to choose from when determining how to get into Carnegie Mellon. They are:

  • Carnegie Mellon Early Decision 1: November 1
  • Carnegie Mellon Early Decision 2: January 3
  • Carnegie Mellon Regular Decision: January 3

Unfortunately, there is no Early Action offering for admissions, only Carnegie Mellon Early Decision. This means that your application to Carnegie Mellon Early Decision will be binding if accepted, unlike more flexible Early Action programs.

What extracurriculars do I need for Carnegie Mellon?

There is no way to determine which extracurriculars will most impress CMU as you plan how to get into Carnegie Mellon. The strongest applications will show genuine passion and interest as well as leadership and initiative. This is how to increase your chances of making the Carnegie Mellon enrollment.

When people think of CMU, they often think only of the STEM students who contribute to undergraduate Carnegie Mellon enrollment. However, the university has seven different schools to choose from, including the College of Fine Arts and the Tepper School of Business.

Standing Out

One way to stand out among the other applicants is to consider participating in a pre-college summer program. Though demonstrated interest is not considered by the university, and there are no Carnegie Mellon interviews offered, pursuing one of these summer programs – or similar opportunities – can be excellent material for constructing your candidate profile and Carnegie Mellon supplemental essays. 

Ultimately, there is no clear answer to the question of how to get into Carnegie Mellon. Extracurriculars alone will not tip the scales toward Carnegie Mellon enrollment. However, your extracurricular involvement is a big part of what makes you unique. So, there are no right or wrong activities to participate in, as long as you work hard and show your passion. Get started early in high school, well in advance of the Carnegie Mellon application deadline, in order to show a consistent commitment to your extracurriculars.

Need help choosing the right extracurriculars? Check out our webinar.

What is the acceptance rate at Carnegie Mellon?

Another key factor to consider when thinking about how to get into Carnegie Mellon is the acceptance rate. Of the 26,189 applicants who applied for the fall of 2020, 17.3% were admitted for Carnegie Mellon enrollment. Also, note that this number varies based on each applicant’s intended major. 

Of the 1,780 students who applied by the Carnegie Mellon Early Decision deadline, 445 were accepted. This means that the Carnegie Mellon Early Decision acceptance rate is 25%. When building the next class of students for Carnegie Mellon enrollment, the university values applicants who are willing to commit. However, think carefully about your selected Carnegie Mellon application deadline when planning how to get into Carnegie Mellon. The Carnegie Mellon Early Decision 1 deadline is much earlier than the regular Carnegie Mellon application deadline, so you want to ensure you have enough time to prepare your application materials, especially the Carnegie Mellon supplemental essays. 

CMU offers Early Decision, but there is no Early Action admissions round. The difference between Carnegie Mellon Early Decision and Early Action is that Early Action would allow for flexibility, but Carnegie Mellon Early Decision is a binding commitment to the school. So, if you apply to Carnegie Mellon Early Decision and are accepted, you will become part of the Carnegie Mellon enrollment. 

Does Carnegie Mellon require interviews?

There is no optional or required Carnegie Mellon interview for applicants to complete. Instead of offering a Carnegie Mellon interview for prospective students, alumni resources are devoted to admitted students.

So, since there is no interview, the other parts of your application will hold more weight. This includes your Carnegie Mellon SAT scores, Carnegie Mellon GPA, and Carnegie Mellon supplemental essays.

What does Carnegie Mellon look for in essays?

CMU requires three Carnegie Mellon supplemental essays. Each of the Carnegie Mellon supplemental essays has a limit of 300 words. See the Common App page for more details.

Below, we have listed the Carnegie Mellon supplemental essays:

1. Many students pursue college for a specific degree, career opportunity, or personal goal. Whichever it may be, learning will be critical to achieving your ultimate goal. As you think ahead to the process of learning during your college years, how will you define a successful college experience?

2. Most students choose their intended major or area of study based on a passion or inspiration that’s developed over time – what passion or inspiration led you to choose this area of study?

3. Consider your application as a whole. What do you personally want to emphasize about your application for the admission committee’s consideration? Highlight something that’s important to you or something you haven’t had a chance to share. Tell us, don’t show us (no websites please).

The best Carnegie Mellon supplemental essays will go below the surface. So, in your responses, emphasize elements that align with Carnegie Mellon’s mission and values. Show that you would be a valuable member of the Carnegie Mellon enrollment. When writing why you want to attend Carnegie Mellon for your major, be specific. First, do research on the school. Then, as you write, include details in your Carnegie Mellon supplemental essays that prove you have really investigated to ensure it is the right school for you. Don’t just write generalized statements that could apply to any university. 

The key is to be authentic. In your Carnegie Mellon supplemental essays, you should not be trying to tell the university what they want to hear. All Carnegie Mellon supplemental essays will focus on different content, opportunities, and experiences! Help your application reader get to know you just like they would in a Carnegie Mellon interview.

For more advice on completing your Carnegie Mellon supplemental essays, read our essay guide

How does Carnegie Mellon University review applications?

On their webpage of admissions considerations, the admissions officers confirm that they are selecting from a pool of very qualified applicants for Carnegie Mellon enrollment. Their process reflects Carnegie Mellon’s values and core competencies:

  • Diversity
  • Equity
  • Inclusion
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Community engagement
  • Concern for others
  • Self-directed learning
  • Critical thinking

According to Carnegie Mellon’s Common Data Set 2020-2021, Carnegie Mellon admission considers the following factors in the admission process in this order: 

Very Important: 

  • Rigor of secondary school record
  • Class rank
  • Academic GPA
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Volunteer work
  • Work experience

Important: 

  • Standardized test score
  • Application essay
  • Recommendation(s)
  • Talent/ability
  • Character/personal qualities
  • First-generation
  • Alumni relation
  • Racial/ethnic status 

Not considered:

Consider how you can demonstrate these aspects in your own life throughout your application, mainly your Carnegie Mellon supplemental essays. You’ll be selected for the Carnegie Mellon enrollment based on your potential to succeed, so paint a clear picture for your path to success!

Will Carnegie Mellon consider my social media accounts?

While thinking about how to get into Carnegie Mellon, you may worry about how your social media presence might affect your admissions odds. The university receives tens of thousands of applications seeking Carnegie Mellon enrollment each year. This, therefore, means that readers usually don’t have the time to look at each applicants’ social media. 

However, you shouldn’t post offensive or irresponsible content on social media regardless. Even beyond the college application process, you should be using social media responsibly. So, our final recommendation is to play it safe. Carnegie Mellon likely won’t read your Twitter or check your Instagram, but there’s always an outside chance.

Focus on the aspects of your applications that you can control, such as polishing your application for the Carnegie Mellon application deadline, workshopping your Carnegie Mellon supplemental essays, and preparing your Carnegie Mellon SAT scores. This will boost your chances of making the Carnegie Mellon enrollment much more than a polished social account!

Is Carnegie Mellon University a good school for me?

Carnegie Mellon is a unique school with many specialty programs. When determining how to get into Carnegie Mellon, you should also consider if the school is a good fit for your goals and interests. 

Peruse the majors

Perhaps, you are interested in material science? Or on the other hand, maybe you’re drawn to Carnegie Mellon’s Ethics, History, and Public Policy major. Investigate the academic area that piques your interest. 

Check out the clubs & organizations

The Carnegie Mellon enrollment is composed of students with a wide variety of passions and interests. Do you want to join Strategic Social Impact? The University Orchestra? The Sports Analytics Club? Referencing these organizations in your Carnegie Mellon supplemental essays can be a good way to demonstrate you’ve done your research on the school, too. 

Consider their global presence

Carnegie Mellon has campuses and partnerships all over the world. Are you interested in research, service, or study abroad in Africa? Australia? Qatar? All of these options and more are available to you at Carnegie Mellon.

Get your questions answered

Since there is no Carnegie Mellon interview, learn more about the University by taking a virtual tour or contacting your regional admissions representative.

Remember, the college application process is a two-way street. Do your research before you set your heart on Carnegie Mellon – or any university. Can you picture yourself learning and growing as a Carnegie Mellon student? If so, prepare your application for the Carnegie Mellon application deadline, and consider applying to Carnegie Mellon Early Decision. 

Additional tips to get into Carnegie Mellon

Start Early

It is never too early to start learning about Carnegie Mellon and the many opportunities, majors, and extracurriculars you could pursue as a Tartan. The Carnegie Mellon application deadline can sneak up on you. The earlier you start planning a rigorous course of study, get involved in extracurricular activities, and draft your Carnegie Mellon supplemental essays, the stronger your application will be. If you’re sure Carnegie Mellon is the school for you, consider applying to Carnegie Mellon Early Decision. However, keep in mind your acceptance will be binding in this case.  

Craft a Complete Narrative

Each part of your application, from your GPA and Carnegie Mellon SAT scores to your Carnegie Mellon supplemental essays and candidate profile, creates an arc that aims to describe the breadth and depth of who you are. As a result, you should review your application in its entirety before submitting. Does it convey the message you intend? Is there anything missing that you want to highlight?

Think Beyond the Numbers

Carnegie Mellon enrollment, the acceptance rate, Carnegie Mellon GPA, and Carnegie Mellon SAT scores certainly factor into your research but are only part of your application! Although there is no Carnegie Mellon interview, you can use the Carnegie Mellon supplemental essays to demonstrate the more qualitative parts of your application, such as your extracurriculars and your unique personality.


This guide was written by Caroline Marapese, Notre Dame ’22. Cracking the code of how to get into Carnegie Mellon is challenging. If you want to know how to get into Carnegie Mellon, we’ve got you covered. CollegeAdvisor.com’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former admissions officers) includes Carnegie Mellon graduates. Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.