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How to get into Rice University—General Information

Rice University is a private research university located in Houston, Texas. Rice is home to just over 4,000 students and is one of the top private schools in the country. The campus boasts a diverse student body is just four miles outside of downtown Houston.

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

  • Rice University GPA requirements
  • Optimal Rice University SAT scores
  • Rice University application deadline
  • Details on Rice Early Decision admission
  • Rice University interview
  • Rice supplemental essays, and more 

When thinking about how to get into Rice University, you will want to make sure each part of your application—your GPA, test scores, Rice University interview, and Rice supplemental essays—is top-notch. This means keeping your GPA high, studying in advance to ensure strong Rice University SAT scores or ACT scores, and building up your extracurricular resume. To boost your chances, you should start planning well before the Rice University application deadline. 

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

How can I get into Rice University?

The question of how to get into Rice University does not have just one answer. As well as completing the Rice application and Rice supplemental essays, many other factors determine whether Rice University will offer you admission. 

Strong grades, high Rice University SAT scores or ACT scores, and a good array of extracurricular activities can help increase your chances of admission. So, if you want to know how to get into Rice University, the best step you can take is to start preparing as early as possible.

What is the acceptance rate at Rice University?

U.S. News ranks Rice University #17 overall among National Universities and #6 for Best Undergraduate Teaching Quality. This shows that Rice is very well-regarded and, therefore, highly popular among students. Looking at the Rice University enrollment numbers, their acceptance rate is around 9%. That number is higher, around 18%, for those who apply to Rice Early Decision. 

How hard is it to get into Rice University?

These Rice University enrollment numbers show that Rice is a “most selective” school. So, if you know that Rice University is the best fit school for you, it makes sense to apply to Rice Early Decision. While this does mean an earlier Rice University application deadline, it also means your chances of admission are higher. However, if you are accepted, you are required to attend. So, only apply to Rice Early Decision if Rice is your top choice. 

There are many parts of your application that you must complete before the Rice University application deadline. You should draft the Rice supplemental essays far ahead of time and prepare for your Rice University interview. These pieces of your application will matter even more if you have a lower-than-average SAT score

In order to join Rice University enrollment, you will need to present a strong application. While the process can be daunting, read on for more tips on how to get into Rice University. If you need help getting started on the Common App, check out our guide.     

What is the average GPA for Rice University?

While a high GPA will benefit any applicant, the Rice University GPA requirements are not set in stone. In fact, the Rice admissions website does not publish a Rice University GPA requirements range. This shows that there are no set Rice University GPA requirements. It also shows that Rice look at each student’s GPA in the context of their overall coursework. Simply put, in terms of how to get into Rice University, it helps both to earn high grades and take rigorous courses throughout your high school career.

Even though there are no Rice University GPA requirements, Rice does publish the minimum high school course requirements. Keep in mind that the strongest applicants will exceed these requirements. As a result, you should try to take as many honors, AP, IB, and other challenging courses as you can. 

Even though there are no Rice University GPA requirements, the Rice University SAT scores for the class of 2025 range from 1500-1560. The average ACT scores range from 34-35. So, when determining how to get into Rice University, think beyond any unofficial Rice University GPA requirements. You should also focus on getting high Rice University SAT scores and writing strong Rice supplemental essays. 

What does the Rice University application include?

Rice University requires the following items for admission. You should submit these materials well ahead of the Rice University application deadline. For those applying to Rice Early Decision, that deadline is November 1st. The Regular Decision Rice University application deadline is January 4th.

Students must submit:

Students applying for majors in Music, Visual and Dramatic Arts, or Architecture will also need to submit an additional portfolio. Additionally, all applicants can conduct an optional Rice University interview. Rice encourages—but does not require—the Rice University interview. 

Because of the low acceptance rate, you will want to start early—well before the Rice University application deadline. Consider applying to Rice Early Decision, and sign up for a Rice University interview. Although there are no Rice University GPA requirements, you should still consider your GPA a key part of your “how to get into Rice University” strategy. 

What extracurriculars does Rice University like?

Another major factor for how to get into Rice University is your extracurriculars. Students are expected to get involved outside of the classroom. The activities themselves do not matter nearly as much as the consistency of your involvement and your achievements within each activity. 

To boost your chances of Rice University enrollment, you should not try to look like the “typical” Rice student. Rice Admissions evaluates students based on the individual context of their experiences. Imitating what you think Rice wants to see is not how to get into Rice University. Instead, be true to yourself and your experiences. 

When reporting your extracurriculars, make sure to mention any leadership positions, awards, or major accomplishments from your high school career. This helps you show the admissions committee what you might bring to their school. Overall, when it comes to the best extracurriculars to up your chances of Rice University enrollment, quality and passion matter far more than quantity and prestige. 

Does Rice University offer interviews?

Yes, students applying to Rice are encouraged to conduct a Rice University interview. Although the Rice website states that not having a Rice University interview won’t negatively affect your application, there are many good reasons to schedule a Rice University interview. It gives you a chance to show demonstrated interest, a tool that schools use to measure your engagement with the school. 

Taking the time to schedule a Rice University interview, much like applying to Rice Early Decision, shows that you are serious about Rice. Use your interview to show Rice a new side of you. Think of it as a conversation, and come prepared with questions for your interviewer.  

Finally, do not wait to schedule your Rice University interview. Make your request well in advance of the Rice University application deadline, especially if you are applying to Rice Early Decision. Rice University interviews are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so making your request early will help guarantee your spot.  

The Rice University interview will be a key part of your “how to get into Rice University” plan, especially given that there are no Rice University GPA requirements. The Rice University interview will provide an overview of who you are as a person. It will also supplement your Rice University SAT scores and Rice supplemental essays. 

How do I write a Rice University supplemental essay?

In addition to submitting your Rice University SAT scores and academic transcript, you must also submit the Rice supplemental essays. There are three Rice supplemental essays.  Each of the Rice supplemental essays is a crucial factor to consider when planning how to get into Rice University. So, make sure you spend time both writing and editing them.

The prompts for the essays are as follows:

1. Please explain why you wish to study in the academic areas you chose (150 words max.)

2. Based upon your exploration of Rice University, what elements of the Rice experience appeal to you? (150 words max.)

3. The Residential College System and undergraduate life is heavily influenced by the unique life experiences and cultural tradition each student brings. What life perspectives would you contribute to the Rice community? (500 words max.)

These three Rice supplemental essays ask you to reflect on your academic goals and on your reasons for choosing Rice. In both of these first two prompts, be authentic and specific .Whether your passion is Art History or Mechanical Engineering, tell the story of how you found that passion. The more open and honest you are in your Rice supplemental essays, the better the admissions team will get to know you.

In addition, use specific examples whenever possible. If you have awards or recognitions, you can use the Rice supplemental essays to talk about them. This can bolster your “how to get into Rice University” strategy. Remember, if you don’t mention something, the admissions team has no way of knowing about it. So, don’t be afraid to showcase all your strengths. 

Add something new

Finally, the last prompt is quite broad. This means you can answer it in many ways. However, try not to rehash something you have already talked about. Use this space to share a new story or a new aspect of your identity that you have not mentioned elsewhere. 

The Rice supplemental essays are a key part of your application. Unlike your Rice University SAT scores, these essays are about who you are beyond numbers. So, use your Rice Supplemental Essays to show the admissions team what matters to you and how you will enrich the Rice campus.

Want more help with your “how to get into Rice University” plan? Check out this guide to the Rice supplemental essays for more tips. 

How does Rice University consider applications?

Considering how to get into Rice University? As we’ve discussed, there are many factors that can determine Rice University enrollment.

Rice describes their approach as holistic committee-based evaluation (CBE). This means that several readers review your application and your Rice supplemental essays. According to the admissions webpage, during the Rice University enrollment period, a minimum of two Rice admissions counselors will review each application.

One of your readers focuses on the academic data of your application. This will include your Rice University SAT scores and ACT scores. However, the most important element at this stage is your transcript. Although there are no Rice University GPA requirements, you want to show the rigor of your classes. This will show that you would succeed at Rice. 

Beyond Academics

Another reader focuses on your extracurricular activities and the other subjective aspects of your application. This review includes the Common App Personal Statement and Rice supplemental essays. When thinking about how to get into Rice University, remember that the admissions team wants to see what you would bring to Rice. They also want to hear about your knowledge of life at Rice and learn why a Rice University enrollment will be a good fit for you.  

You should try stand out in as many ways as possible. Showing demonstrated interest through campus visits (either in person or virtual), applying to Rice Early Decision, and registering for a Rice University interview are all great ways to make a good impression. 

When looking at how to get into Rice University, pay attention to all aspects of your application. Although there are no Rice University GPA requirements, your GPA matters a lot, as do your Rice University SAT scores. You should draft and edit your Rice supplemental essays far ahead of the Rice University application deadline. You should also consider applying to Rice Early Decision if Rice is your top choice.  

Will Rice consider my social media accounts?

Because Rice receives so many applications, it is extremely unlikely that an admissions counselor will look at your social media pages during the Rice University enrollment process. Rice’s website does not identify social media as a factor that affects their decision. This means that your social media presence will neither benefit nor hinder your chance for admission.

However, this is not a license to post anything you want on social media. Employers and internship coordinators may still check your profiles. Anything inappropriate, then, can jeopardize your ability to get a job or internship. So, even though it will not have a direct impact on your chances of admission, always post responsibly on social media. 

Is Rice a good school for me?

In addition to asking how to get into Rice University, students applying to Rice, especially those considering Rice Early Decision, should also consider whether Rice is a good fit for them.

There are many factors to consider when evaluating this, and doing your own research is a good place to start. Look at clubs and organizations to see what interests you. In addition to the Life at Rice section of the school’s website, you can find more information about Rice in this CollegeAdvisor.com guide. 

One of the first things you need to know about Rice is that it is a small school. The total Rice University enrollment across all four classes is just over 4,000 students. The student-to-faculty ratio is 6:1, so students receive a fair amount of individual attention from their professors. If you feel more comfortable in larger classroom environments, Rice may not be the best fit for you. 

Consider location

Rice is also located very close to the large city of Houston, making it a more “urban” setting. This offers easy access to the many activities that downtown Houston provides. However, it may also be a drawback for students who are looking for a more suburban or rural college environment. 

Remember that Rice looks for a diverse set of students who will fit their campus’s academic profile, mission, and locale. Throughout your application, and particularly in your Rice supplemental essays, explain why you think Rice fits your needs. Use your knowledge of the school to point out specific reasons why you would thrive at Rice. Then, incorporate this research into your “how to get into Rice University” plan.

Additional tips to get into Rice University?

Start early

Start planning out your application well before the Rice University application deadline. This will give you time to build your candidate profile and edit your Rice supplemental essays. Students can apply to Rice Early Decision by November 1st and Regular Decision by January 4th. However, make sure you request your letters of recommendation and your Rice University interview well before your chosen Rice University application deadline.

Be honest and authentic

Rice University SAT scores and ACT scores are only a small part of your Rice University application. Instead, Rice University uses its application to get to know your character. Let your personality and passions shine through and you will be a much stronger candidate. Selective colleges like Rice want enthusiastic and driven learners on their campus. So, don’t shy away from sharing your achievements and interests.

Get help from a trusted source

Consider letting a parent, teacher, or advisor look over your essays and other materials. Also, ask them for their own suggestions about how to get into Rice University. But, be careful that they don’t do the writing for you; it’s vital that the application has your unique voice behind it.

The Rice University class of 2025 is a diverse and vibrant community, and though the acceptance rate is competitive, there are many ways to stand out in a positive way.


This guide was written by Alex Baggott-Rowe, Davidson ’16. If you want to know how to get into Rice University, we’ve got you covered. CollegeAdvisor.com’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former admissions officers) includes Rice University graduates. Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.