FAQs | Admission Requirements

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FAQs | Admission Requirements

What are the minimum requirements for admission?
There are no absolute minimum requirements, but SMU considers GPA, grade pattern, standardized test scores, rigor of high school curriculum, counselor recommendation, extracurricular activities, essay, talents, life experiences and personal qualities. Typically, a student who has a strong academic record and has exhibited a variety of academic and personal interests gains the most from the SMU experience.

Which standardized tests does SMU require for admission? 
During the application process, SMU requires all applicants to submit SAT and/or ACT scores as either self-reported or official. We do not have a preference as to which of the two tests you take. Once enrolled, all students must send the official score for the test submitted and used during the evaluation of their application for admission. SMU now super-scores both the SAT and ACT. We will take the highest subset of scores from either test. Additional testing requirements for International students can be found here.

Will you be going test-optional for Spring 2021 and the following Fall 2021?
Yes, learn more here.

How do I apply to the Cox School of Business?
Incoming first-year students who want to pursue a major in finance, accounting, management, marketing and other areas of business administration in SMU’s Cox School of Business apply for direct admission. This admission model paves the way for incoming first-year students to gain opportunities for early access to important coursework in their fields.

For those who seek a successful career in business, our outstanding liberal arts and sciences tradition opens pathways that expand your career options – whether you pursue a major at Cox or in another college at SMU. Employers value the signature elements of the SMU experience, which includes

  • the flexibility to explore multiple passions with a double or triple major
  • the opportunity to land career-boosting internships
  • the preparation to lead, solve problems and communicate with emotional and cultural intelligence

Learn more hereClick here to download a Cox admission FAQ document for students.

What is the Test Optional Policy for Dual Admit Applicants to SMU Meadows School of the Arts?
An SAT or ACT score report is not required for admission consideration from applicants who are seeking admission to Dual Admit programs in the Meadows School of the Arts (Music, Theatre, Dance, Art, Film-BFA). Applicants should only submit an SAT or ACT score report for academic merit scholarship consideration. The recommended combined score to be considered for academic merit scholarships is 1380 on the SAT (critical reading and math sections only) or 29 on the ACT. 

Note that students who do not submit test scores will be considered only for artistic scholarship and need-based aid; they will not be considered for scholarships based on academic merit.

Students who do not submit test scores should list their Meadows major first on their application for admission. Students not admitted to Meadows via their portfolio or audition, but who still wish to be considered for admission to SMU, will be required to submit test scores at that time.

Why has SMU adopted a Test Optional Policy for Dual Admit Applicants to SMU Meadows School of the Arts?
Like other top-tier visual and performing arts schools, SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts has adopted a Test Optional Policy for Dual Admit applicants in Music, Dance, Theatre, Art and Film-BFA. These students complete auditions or submit  portfolios that, after careful review, provide stronger indication of their likelihood to succeed in their academic program at SMU.

I want to pursue a double or triple major. In my SMU application, how many areas of study may I show that I am most interested in pursuing?
At the time you apply for first-year admission, you will have the opportunity to indicate the two areas of study you are most interested in pursuing. If you want to be considered for admission to the Cox School of Business, you need to indicate that at the time you apply. When students get to SMU, they work with their academic advisors to determine the best course of study for all the majors they would like to pursue. 

What is the GPA requirement?
There is no absolute "cutoff" for grades. Classroom performance would generally present competitive applicants in the top quarter of their high school class. The difficulty of curriculum and competitive nature of the high school are also important factors in the admission process.

What are the minimum high school course requirements?
We strongly recommend a minimum of 17-18 solid academic units including 4 English, 3 math (algebra I, II, geometry), 3 social science, 3 science (2 lab science), and 2 foreign language (of the same language). Students who present programs in excess of minimum requirements generally have an advantage in the admission process.  Competitive applicants present an average of 20 high school academic units. 

How and when will SMU receive my test scores?
When the ACT or SAT is taken, students may indicate three schools to receive their scores. When SMU is indicated, the College Board sends us a record of your scores four to six weeks later. SMU's code for the ACT is 4174, and our code for the SAT is 6660.

Do I have to take a foreign language class before or after I come to SMU? 
As a requirement of the University Curriculum (UC), all students must demonstrate proficiency in a second language. Students who do not enter with the equivalent of four semesters of college-level second language proficiency prior to matriculating at SMU are required to improve their proficiency by two semester levels or to the meet the four semester proficiency requirement, whichever comes first. Proficiency can be demonstrated in numerous ways; to determine which path applies to you, please click here to refer to the detailed description of the requirement.

What do I write my essay about, and how long should it be?
We want to learn more about you and evaluate your writing skills. Each application (The Common Application, ApplyTexas, the SMU Online Application and the MyCoalition application) has its own set of essay prompts with varying length requirements, but essays are generally 250 – 650 words in length. No matter which application method you choose, all essays are reviewed equally.

Does my choice of major influence my chance of admission?
If you are planning to major in the performing arts, a required audition is a critical factor influencing your chance of admission. Otherwise, all first-year SMU students are accepted as "pre-majors" in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, regardless of their intended major.

If you want to pursue a major in finance, accounting, management, marketing and other areas of business administration, you must indicate that interest on your applicationto be considered for direct admission to the Cox School of Business.

If you are planning to major in the performing arts, a required audition is a critical factor influencing your chance of admission. Otherwise, all applicants are considered for admission to SMU regardless of their intended major.

Does SMU consider students who have been home-schooled?
Home school graduates must submit the application for admission, SAT I and/or ACT scores, an academic portfolio/transcript, two letters of recommendation, a personal essay, activities resume and the Home School Supplement.

How are athletes recruited to SMU?
Prospective athletes may call the recruiting coordinator in the SMU Department of Athletics to make arrangements with the coach of the particular sport. For more information, visit http://www.smumustangs.com.

Do I have to be Methodist to attend SMU? 
No. Actually about 16% of the SMU student population is Methodist, while 26% is Roman Catholic. The remainder of the population represents other Protestant denominations and other religions, including Judaism, Buddhism, Greek Orthodox and Islam, and includes non-religious students.

For what Advanced Placement tests or International Baccalaureate tests can I get credit?
SMU grants credit and placement for scores of 4 or 5 on most AP examinations taken in high school. Six to eight credits will be awarded for scores of 5, 6 or 7 on International Baccalaureate higher-level exams, with a maximum award of 32 credits. For more information, click here.

How may I receive credit for an Advance Placement test in high school?
Arrange for an official copy of your test scores to be sent to SMU's Registrar Office. Upon receipt of this information, SMU will determine the credit you will receive.

Does SMU accept correspondence course credit?
No. However, such coursework may represent to the Admission Committee a commitment to study beyond the minimum high school curriculum.

How do you treat concurrent (dual credit) high school/college programs?
SMU first-year students may request college credit for coursework taken during high school.  In order for this credit to be transferable to SMU, the course(s) must meet all regular transfer requirements:

1) The course(s) must be completed at an accredited school;

2) The course(s) must be grades of C- or better in comparable SMU courses;

3) The course(s) must be submitted on an official college/university transcript; and

4) The course(s) must NOT be a correspondence course.

To process your concurrent credit, please request that official college/university transcripts be sent from each institution you have attended. Please note that even though you may not be granted course credit, SMU must receive official transcripts from any college or university you have attended. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that a professional evaluation and an official transcript accompany all foreign transcripts. Send all college-level transcripts to:

Concurrent/Dual Credit Processing
Southern Methodist University - DES
PO Box 750181
Dallas, TX 75275-0181

If you are an admitted student, and are planning to enroll in college-level coursework the summer after your high school graduation, please be prepared to inform your Academic Advisor of this intent during your session which will occur during orientation.

You will be notified of your transfer work as quickly as possible. If your concurrent credit does not meet the above criteria, you may choose to take AP exams offered by the College Board, or you may choose to take optional departmental exams after you complete orientation.

How may I get credit for a course taken at another college?
Arrange for the college to forward an official transcript to SMU. If you are a transfer or first-year applicant, send the transcript to the SMU Division of Enrollment Services. If you are a continuing SMU student, send transcripts to the SMU Office of the Registrar.

Are there special requirements for students interested in music, dance, theatre, art, or film?
All music, theatre, dance, studio art and film B.F.A. applicants are considered “dual-admission” students, which means they must apply to and be accepted by both SMU and the Meadows School of the Arts. In addition to their SMU application, “dual admission” students must also audition or submit a portfolio to Meadows.

Find out more about admissions, auditions and portfolio requirements for:

When is my admission deposit due? 
May 1 is SMU's and the national deposit deadline. Students admitted through Early Decision I and II must pay their deposit within two weeks of receiving their admission decision. An exact due date for those students will be listed in their admission packet.

How much is the admission deposit, and what does it cover? 
The nonrefundable $685 Orientation, Housing and Matriculation deposit includes:
$335 orientation fee
$100 housing deposit
$250 matriculation fee 

Can my $60 application fee be waived?
An individual decision will be made on the part of the admission counselor in extreme cases, if need is demonstrated. Students should have their high school counselor write a request on school letterhead or provide some sort of documentation that a need exists.