Admission

Rice offers more than 50 undergraduate majors across six academic schools of study, including architecture, engineering, humanities, music, natural sciences, and social sciences. All applicants must specify which one of our six academic schools is their primary intended area of study. In addition, applicants will be asked to indicate up to three specific academic areas of interest (majors, minors, pre-professional tracks). Our academic schools are looking for different strengths and qualities in applicants. Students should choose the school that most accurately reflects their intended area(s) of academic interest.

Rice seeks through its admission policies to bring bright and promising students to the university from a range of socioeconomic, cultural, geographic, and other backgrounds. We consider an applicant's race or ethnicity as a factor in the admission process and believe that racial and ethnic diversity is an important element of overall educational diversity. Rice places a premium on the recruitment of students, regardless of their races or ethnicities, who have distinguished themselves through initiatives that build bridges between different cultural, racial, and ethnic groups. In so doing, we endeavor to craft a residential community that fosters creative, intercultural interactions among students, a place where prejudices of all sorts are confronted squarely and dispelled. Though race and ethnicity is never the defining factor in an application or admission decision, we do seek to enroll students from underrepresented groups in sufficient and meaningful numbers as to prevent their isolation and allow their diverse voices to be heard. We also seek students whose parents did not attend college as well as students from families with a well-established history of college-level education.

Admission

Through holistic evaluation review we evaluate the breadth of students' accomplishments, interests and contributions to their communities within the context of their life experiences. We consider a variety of factors including the rigor of a student's coursework, academic performance, extracurricular activities and achievements, essays, and demonstrated interest. We are careful not to emphasize any single academic metric, such as class rank, grade point average, or test scores. We evaluate each student within the context of their school and personal environment and consider what opportunities they have had access to as well as the challenges that they may have faced. We value the breadth of socioeconomic, cultural, geographic, racial or ethnic, educational and other perspectives that each student brings to the table. More information about Rice’s admission philosophy can be found here.

Undergraduate First-Year Applicants

First-year applicants are those who will complete high school by the end of the current academic year.

  • Students enrolled in concurrent high school and college courses are considered first-year candidates.
  • Students who have elected to take time off from schooling between graduating from high school and enrolling in college are considered first-year candidates.
  • Completion of a high school diploma (or an equivalent) prior to enrollment is required for all new incoming students.

Domestic vs. International 

Domestic applicants are those who hold one of the following citizenship or residency statuses: 

  • U.S. citizenship
  • Permanent Residency
  • DACA
  • Undocumented who do not hold DACA status but have resided in the U.S. for an extended period of time
  • Refugee/Asylee

International applicants are foreign nationals applying to Rice. Foreign nationals are students living outside the U.S. or living in the U.S. who hold, a valid F-1, J-1, H-1, H-4, etc. visa/ status, as well as those pending Permanent Residency status. Rice's international student designation is based on residency or citizenship status rather than where a student lives and studies.

Decision Plans

Rice offers three first-year application decision plans: Early Decision, Regular Decision, and QuestBridge National College Match.  

Early Decision Plan

Early Decision is a binding decision plan designed for students who have selected Rice as their first choice. Students may initiate applications to other colleges under nonbinding plans but must withdraw those applications if admitted to Rice. Students who apply Early Decision must submit their materials by the November 1 deadline. Admission decisions will be released by mid-December and the nonrefundable deposit deadline for those accepting Rice’s offer of admission is January 1. For more information, visit the Decision Plan section of the First Year Domestic Applicants page or the First Year International Applicants page.

Regular Decision Plan

Regular Decision is a non-binding decision plan. Students who apply Regular Decision must submit their materials by the January 1 deadline. Admission decisions will be released by April 1 and the nonrefundable deposit deadline for those accepting Rice’s offer of admission is May 1.  For more information, visit the Decision Plan section of the First Year Domestic Applicants page or the First Year International Applicants page.

QuestBridge National College Match

Rice is one of the original QuestBridge university and college partners (starting in 2004), and we are now one of only 42 university and college partners with a proven commitment to providing access to low-income students. Programs Rice supports include the College Prep Conferences (typically held in May and June) and the National College Match program which runs October through December. The National College Match is open to all U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents OR students, regardless of citizenship, currently attending high school in the United States. For more information about applying to Rice through QuestBridge, please visit QuestBridge's Rice University page or contact us directly at questbridge@rice.edu.

Application Requirements

A list of the most current application requirements, fees and deadlines can be found on First Year Domestic Applicants page, First Year International Applicants page or Transfer Applicants page.

Application Platforms

Students applying to Rice University must submit an application through the Coalition Application or the Common Application together with a Rice Supplement. QuestBridge participants (non-finalists and finalists) may use their QuestBridge application (in lieu of the Coalition Application or the Common Application) to apply as a first-year candidate to Rice together with a Rice QuestBridge Application Supplement.

Application Fee

Rice requires a $75 nonrefundable application fee. Students requesting an application fee waiver from Rice should respond to the fee waiver prompts provided in the Common Application or the Coalition Application. Those students participating in the QuestBridge program automatically qualify for application fee waivers from Rice. Please note: fee waivers are only available for domestic applicants.

The Rice Supplement

The Rice supplement offers applicants the opportunity to share more about themselves. This is their chance to tell us why they are interested in Rice and what they would like to pursue as a student here. We also want students to elaborate on their experiences and achievements to share what they would bring to our community. For the latest Essay Prompts please visit the Rice Supplement section of the First Year Domestic Applicants page, First Year International Applicants page or Transfer Applicants page.

Rice Box

One of Rice's long-standing traditions is “The Box,” a question on our application where we ask all of our applicants to share an image of something that appeals to them. The Box gives them the opportunity to present us with an image that shares something about themselves, their interests or something meaningful to them.

Shepherd School Music Applicants

Applicants interested in Shepherd School of Music must submit additional materials depending on their area of study. All application materials must be completed by December 1. Music applicants are not eligible to apply through QuestBridge or Early Decision. Admitted students must pursue the music program for at least one year before changing schools. For more information, please visit the Shepherd School of Music Admission page.

School of Architecture Applicants

Applicants interested in the School of Architecture must submit a portfolio of creative work. Portfolios should be uploaded via your Rice Admission Student Portal. The portfolio should demonstrate creative potential and is not expected to be architectural in focus nor professional in quality. The School of Architecture does not accept CDs or DVDs. For more information, we encourage you to visit the School of Architecture website.

High School Requirements

Official Transcripts

Official high school/secondary school transcripts must include grades from 9th through 11th grade as well as courses being taken in the 12th grade. Early Decision applicants are encouraged to submit first marking period grades, when they become available. Regular Decision applicants will be required to submit mid-year grades from 12th grade, when they become available.

Applicants studying in an international exam-based curriculum, must submit:

  • All official high school transcripts
  • Final exam results (for example IGCE/GCSE, CBSE X/AISSCE X)
  • Predicted exam results, if available

Course Requirements

Rice seeks students who demonstrate intellectual vitality through their course selection and their grade performance. Most applicants will challenge themselves by taking advantage of the rigorous coursework available to them. At a minimum, students must complete the following.

Subject Area Number of Credits
English 4
Social Studies 2
Mathematics 3
Laboratory Science (e.g. biology, chemistry, physics) 2
A foreign language 2
Additional credits in any of the categories above 3
Total 16
  • At a minimum, the natural science and engineering divisions require trigonometry or precalculus and both chemistry and physics. Students may substitute a second year of chemistry or biology for physics.
  • Students admitted with curriculum deficiencies will be asked to complete the required work by taking high school or college-level courses during the summer before enrollment at Rice.

Standardized Testing

Standardized tests have long served to provide an external benchmark of college-readiness that provides meaningful information about a student’s preparedness for the rigors of a Rice education. Standardized tests are merely one factor of many that are considered in the admission process. For more information visit the Standardized Testing section of the First Year Domestic Applicants page, First Year International Applicants page or Transfer Applicants page.

English Language Proficiency

Applicants whose first language is not English are required to demonstrate English proficiency in one of two ways:

  1. Completing at least two years of full-time study in an English language curriculum prior to submitting an application.
  2. Submitting one of the following official test scores: Test of English as a Foreign Language, (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or Duolingo.

To be considered official, all scores must be sent directly from the testing organization. Rice's TOEFL code is 6609.

Letters of Recommendation

Candidates must submit letters of recommendation from their counselor and two teachers.

Counselor Letter of Recommendation

The counselor letter of recommendation serves to highlight the accomplishments of a student within the context of their high school. The letter must come from an applicant’s assigned school counselor, college counselor, principal, or headmaster.

Teacher Letters of Recommendation

The two teacher recommendations serve to highlight the applicant’s academic strengths and contributions in the classroom. Both of these recommendations should be from teachers of core academic subjects, and at least one recommendation should relate to the applicant's intended area of study.

Supplemental Letters of Recommendation

The required counselor recommendation and two teacher recommendations provide the Admission Committee with all the information we need to make an informed admission decision. However, if someone has unique and personal knowledge about an applicant's accomplishments or talents, the applicant may have that individual submit a supplemental recommendation.

Interviews

We recommend an interview for first-year applicants, though they are optional and not guaranteed. Interviews are a great way to demonstrate interest in Rice and an excellent opportunity to showcase academic and personal successes while learning more about the campus experience.

Rice/Baylor Medical Scholars Program

The Rice/Baylor Medical Scholars Program is a partnership between Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine that promotes the education of students who are scientifically talented, compassionate towards others and socially conscious. Through this joint effort we seek to enroll underrepresented students of high-achievement that desire to work in healthcare and represent the diverse communities in which they serve. Rice and Baylor College of Medicine select a limited number of first-year students each year to pursue a four-year bachelor's degree at Rice, followed by conditional admission to Baylor College of Medicine.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Need-Based Financial Aid for Domestic Students

We know that one of the biggest factors in determining the right school is affordability. Because we believe talent deserves opportunity, Rice offers need-blind admission to domestic students. This means we do not consider finances when we review the application. Additionally, Rice meets 100 percent of demonstrated need – without loans – for those who are eligible for the Rice Investment, one of the most notable financial aid programs in the country. For more information about need-based financial aid and The Rice Investment, please visit our Office of Financial Aid website. See also Tuition, Fees and Expenses.

Merit-based Scholarships

The Office of Admission offers merit-based scholarships to incoming first year students who distinguish themselves academically and personally within our highly competitive group of admitted students. These scholarships are based solely on merit and financial need is not taken into consideration. There is no separate application or interview required; the Admission Committee automatically considers all admitted students, both domestic and international, on the basis of the student’s application for admission. About 20% of admitted students are offered a merit scholarship each year. Students awarded a merit-based scholarship will be notified at the time of admission.

International Student Financial Statement

All international applicants living outside the U.S. or in the U.S. must complete the Financial Statement and supply the appropriate supporting documentation. International applicants not requesting financial aid must demonstrate the ability to finance their education at Rice. Those requesting financial aid must provide information about their family financial status.

To complete the required Financial Statement, applicants will need to do the following:

  • Indicate if they will or will not be requesting financial aid
  • Submit all bank statements or affidavits supporting total funds available to go towards the total cost of attendance. Tax documents and proof of income are not accepted as supporting documentation.
  • Submit all award letters or documentation supporting any scholarship funds available to go towards the total cost of attendance.
  • Provide an explanation of how the applicant plans to cover the cost of attendance if the total sum of available funds is below $70,000.

All supporting financial documentation must be in English and converted to U.S. dollars.

The International Student Financial Statement can be found on the Rice Admission Student Portal once the application is submitted. An application will not be complete until the Financial Statement and all required documentation are submitted.

AP/IB/International Examination/Dual Enrollment Credit

Advanced Placement (AP) Exams

 Rice University awards transfer credit for the Advanced Placement (AP) Program, which enables high school students to earn transfer credit for college-level courses taken in high school upon completion of AP examinations with a score of 4 or 5. For more information about the AP transfer credit process, please visit the Advanced Placement (AP) Credit page.  

International Baccalaureate (IB) Exams

Rice University awards transfer credit for International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations for students who hold the International Baccalaureate Diploma and have obtained a score of 6 or 7 on higher level exams. For more information about the IB transfer credit process, please visit the International Baccalaureate (IB) Credit page.  

International Exams

Students who complete various international exams with a grade of A or B may receive transfer credit. These exams include A-Levels, the Abitur, CAPE, CEGEP (Science Option), French Baccalauréat (Science Option), Italian Maturita, and Swiss Federal Maturity Certificate. For more information about the international exams transfer credit process, please visit the International Exam Credit page.  

Transfer/Dual Credit

The Office of the Registrar evaluates courses taken at other regionally accredited colleges or universities (or their foreign equivalent) that are appropriate to the Rice curriculum for potential transfer credit.  For more information about the transfer or dual credit process, please visit the Transfer Credit page

Undergraduate Transfer Applicants

Students are considered transfer applicants if they have:

  • Completed a high school diploma (or an equivalent)
  • Earned at least 12 semester hours of college credit after graduating high school (with at least a 3.2 grade point average in their most recent college work)

If a student has earned 12 or more semester hours of credit since completing high school (or earning an equivalent), they must apply as a transfer. Transfer applicants must complete at least four semesters of course work (equal to 60 semester hours) as a full-time student at Rice to be eligible for a bachelor’s degree. For more information please visit Transfer Credit

Non-Traditional Students

We understand that some applicants have a non-standard high school experience or chose to postpone pursuing undergraduate education for a variety of reasons. This may include joining the military or workforce, taking a gap year(s) for religious endeavors or self-discovery, caring for personal health or family, etc. Rice welcomes all students to apply, regardless of the path taken before or after high school. For more information please visit the Special Populations page.