University Of Utah Admissions Essay Layout

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At the U, our goal is to give every student the chance to be part of unique learning experiences, and it’s why a degree from the U pays dividends far beyond the paper it’s printed on. Start your story - apply now.

Undergraduate Admission Requirements

Learn more by choosing an option below:


Students who will have graduated from high school and have earned no transferrable college credit after high school.


Students with college credit after high school.


Students who have citizenship outside the United States.


Students who graduated from high school seven or more years prior to applying, and have not attended another college or university.

Early Admission

Eligible students may attend after completing the 11th grade.

Non-degree seeking? 

Learn about how to apply to the U.

Completing the Application

Types of Questions

It helps to be prepared to answer the following questions before beginning the application.  If you need to stop and restart your application you will be allowed. Please be sure to fully complete the application before submitting it. If you apply before the December 1 priority deadline, you will be automatically considered for merit and diversity scholarships. 

You will be asked about your academic history (including GPA, ACT/SAT Test Scores, and courses taken), honors and awards, athletic participation, leadership roles and activities (including volunteering), work experience, and any special circumstances that may have affected your academic achievement.

Honors Essay

Undergraduate applicants will have the opportunity to apply to the Honors College by answering the following questions*:

The Honors College at the University of Utah offers the nation’s only Praxis Labs. Honors College Praxis Labs gather students from different majors to collaborate on innovative project-based solutions to big societal challenges. Students in these classes analyze a topic through in-depth classroom and field research such as lectures, panels, one-on-one interviews, readings and off-campus trips. After problems have been identified, students work together to put their solutions and ideas into action in the community.

Please submit both of your responses as one single document. Make sure to include your name and date of birth.

(In 500 words)  Tell us about an issue or subject that fascinates you and why. What resources do you rely on when you want to learn more?


(In 50 words) What interests you about the Liberal Arts and Sciences education (hint: look this term up) offered by the Honors College?

*The Honors College priority application deadline is November 1.

Learn more about the Honors College admission process by visiting their website.

Paying the fee

After completing the application, you will be asked to pay the application fee. Some students may be eligible to waive the fee.

Privacy Act Notice & your Social Security Number

Your Social Security Number can help expedite enrollment and financial aid, but is not required.

The University confidentially maintains all application information, including your Social Security Number, which is used routinely to facilitate document matching, verify your identity, and expedite your enrollment and financial aid. Disclosure of your Social Security Number is voluntary, but failure to provide your Social Security Number may result in delay and confusion regarding your identity, and once admitted, could result in delay or loss of federal and state financial aid, tax credits, student loan deferments, veteran benefits, and other benefits under law.

Please note that the application is only valid for the semester in which you apply. If you do not attend classes for the term in which you applied, you must submit another admissions application and fee to be considered for a subsequent semester.

Making false or misleading statements on the application or failing to list all institutions attended may result in cancellation of admission status and/or loss of credit.

Admission requirements, deadlines, and fees are subject to change without prior notice.

All documents submitted to the University of Utah become its property and will not be released to students or other institutions.  Admission applications and transcripts are destroyed after one year for students who do not attend.

It is common for parents and students to have a lot of questions on the college admissions process at the University of Utah. The Office of Admissions has compiled this list of frequently asked questions and their answers from the University of Utah's Office of Admissions and the Office of Financial Aid.

Students and parents are encouraged to contact these offices for further information.

What GPA do I need to be admitted?

Our admission evaluation process is holistic, which means that each applicant is reviewed individually and consideration is given based on, but not limited to, the following factors, with great emphasis given to the primary factors.

Primary Factors

  • Quality of course and rigor
  • Grade trends
  • Cumulative un-weighted GPA
  • Quality of high school

Secondary Factors

  • Academic honors
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Commitment to community engagement, citizenship and leadership
  • Application questions (extraordinary family obligations, military service, extenuating circumstances)

The average student admitted to the freshmen class of fall 2015 had a GPA between 3.34 and 3.89. Please note, however, that we are more focused on your actual grades and grade trends than on the GPA itself. Was there an upward or downward trend to the grades? All grades are also taken in the context of the student's curriculum at their high school.

What standardized tests do I need to take and what scores do I need?

Applicants must submit an SAT and/or ACT score, which must be sent to the Office of Admissions electronically directly from the testing agency. Students can take either test multiple times, and the University of Utah will use the best total score from one sitting. In some instances non-native speakers of English and international applicants must prove English proficiency by submitting a TOEFL and/or IELTS test score.

For the admitted class of 2015, the middle 50th percentile ranges for the ACT was 21-28 and the SAT (critical reading & math) was 1010-1300. Please note, however, that no test score or GPA will guarantee admission, and that the student's entire application package is taken into consideration when making admissions decisions.

How are honors and AP, IB and Concurrent Enrollment courses accounted for in the admissions process?

Honors, AP, and/or IB courses are offered at most high schools throughout the country, and the University of Utah encourages students to enroll in these more challenging courses in subjects they feel they can be successful in. When reviewing an application, the curriculum is looked at in the context of the offerings at the high school. In order to be competitive for admission, students are encouraged to enroll—and subsequently be very successful—in these courses. For more detailed information about how your courses or special credit might be applied at the University of Utah please refer to our special credits information here. 

I have taken college credit courses while in high school how should I apply (as a freshman or transfer student)?

Freshman students are those who have not previously enrolled in another college or university, or who those who have taken college courses while still in high school.

Transfer students are those who have completed any college courses from a regionally-accredited college or university after graduating high school.

How much does class rank count?

Many high schools no longer use class rank for their students. If it is offered, it helps to consider the student in the context of their high school. However, the lack of a class rank does not negatively impact chances for admission. 

How much do essays count?

The University of Utah exclusively uses an institutional admissions application for prospective students to complete when applying, in which there are currently no essays required. However, if you are interested the University of Utah Honors College, you will need to complete an essay prompt via the general university admissions application (you can view this now on the application page). This essay will not affect your general admissions application for the University of Utah, but will help give the Honors College a better picture of who the student is and why they're interested in studying and participating in the honors program. They help assess the applicant's written communication skills such as writing quality, content, style and originality/risk-taking, as well as any other evidence of academic potential. The Honors College seeks intellectually engaged, well-rounded students who want to make a difference in the world they live in. Students who apply and are accepted into the Honors College are making a commitment to a liberal arts curriculum, the pursuit of an Honors Degree and participation in the Honors community of scholars. 

How much does parents' alumni status count?

The University of Utah values the relationship it has with current and former students. These students and alumni are part of the University of Utah community; they provide service and support to the larger University community. As such, application reviewers take into consideration applicants who have a direct relationship with a family member who has attended the University of Utah as a degree-seeking student and had graduated from the University of Utah with a degree. 

How much do recommendations count?

Currently the University of Utah currently does not require letters of recommendation for the application process. However, please keep in mind that you may need multiple letters of recommendation for additional departmental, college, and major scholarship applications available through the Scholarship Office. These recommendations will typically be used to note academic, leadership, and community engagement awards or recognition received. They can also display evidence of the student's intellectual curiosity and in-depth commitment to particular personal and academic areas of interest. Keep in mind that these letters should come from a counselor, teacher, employer, and/or an individual that can speak to these characteristics.

How much does the admissions office know about my high school?

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions has a large staff that divides the country into territories that staff members are responsible for. The admissions professionals get to know their schools well, particularly those schools that regularly send a large volume of applications to the University of Utah. They know the counselors, the academic programs and the quality of the students.

To further their understanding of a high school, the University of Utah admissions professionals will rely on high school profiles and high school counselor input. If there are questions about the high school, the University of Utah will contact the high school counselors. 

How much do extracurricular activities count? Should I be a little involved in lots of activities or very active in a few activities?

Extracurricular activities are very important and reveal a lot to admissions professionals. They are looking for activities that you've been involved with on more than just a superficial level. Focus and duration are the key words when it comes to extracurricular activities.

Being involved in a few clubs continually and taking leadership roles or reaching certain levels of accomplishment are much more impressive than being a member in several clubs or groups.

Activities that cluster around a specific interest also are a plus. For example, a student in the drama club, who also works with a community group that does outreach theater programs for kids and is involved every year with the class play, is someone who has demonstrated a definite interest and dedication.

Students who can't take part in extracurricular activities because of family financial situations aren't out of the running. Some students are working close to full-time schedules as high school students, and those situations are taken into consideration. Work experience is valued. 

Are some extracurricular activities rated higher than others?

Specific activities don't count more than others. In other words, the marching band doesn't get more weight than the soccer team. However, activities that lead to recognition and awards might get special consideration, particularly those that lead to recognition on the state and national level. Being a state champ in debate or becoming an Eagle Scout, for example, represent a special level of achievement and are considerable accomplishments. Also, many of our programs like to see that at least some of a student's activities are aligned with their academic area of interest. 

Is it better to apply early in the admissions process? Does it hurt my chances if I'm applying to lots of schools?

Applications are accepted from August through April 1st; however, applying early and by the priority deadline of December 1st is strongly advised. All applicants' admissions decisions are released based on the application deadline they have met. For example, each student that meets our priority deadline of December 1st will receive an admissions notification by January 15th. Regardless of when you're admitted to the University of Utah, you have until the national enrollment deposit deadline of May 1 to accept your offer. That gives you time to consider your other options and your financial aid package, if applicable. 

Are there other factors that are considered in the admissions process?

Certain schools and colleges within the University of Utah have specific criteria. For example, the School of Music, Theatre & Dance require auditions, the College of Architecture requires a portfolio and the College of Engineering, Business and Nursing require perquisite courses be completed to apply. In order to find out more about these requirements we suggest you speak with an academic advisor within the college or department by request a meeting, attend an information session, or receiving a tour. 

What if there's one bad semester (or year) on my transcript? Will that put me out of the running?

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions likes to see steady improvement in academics or maintenance of good grades. However, if there is a blip during the four years, there can be a logical explanation (extenuating circumstances, the death of a family member, severe illness, etc.) that should be included with the application. If the explanation is not sound, then the decline of information may have a negative impact on the review.

What if I get a case of "senioritis" once I get accepted?

A case of senioritis can have serious repercussions. All students are required to send the Office of Undergraduate Admissions their official final high school transcript with proof of graduation, all of which are reviewed for declining grade trends. If there is a serious, decisive and obvious slump, the office can and can choose revoke its offer of admission. 

What is the cost of tuition and fees?

The Tuition Office provides up-to-date estimates on the cost of attendance, including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and personal and miscellaneous expenses. For 2016-2017, we estimate that in-state freshmen living on campus can expect to pay $22,238; out-of-state freshman can expect to pay $38,924. Below is an estimated Cost of Attendance for an Undergraduate student attending fall and spring semesters, with a course load of 12 credit hours per semester. Use this information to estimate what your costs will be:  

All costs are subject to change without notice and are expected to increase annually. The Cost of Attendance is based on estimated figures and may not accurately reflect an individual students costs. The combination of the direct and indirect costs will be used to determine financial aid. *Please note, this rate is based on reported average costs for all undergraduate students at the U. Freshman costs may be up to $2-3K less, due to lower freshman housing fees. Estimated costs may vary based on room type and meal plan selection. **Miscellaneous costs include things like medical expenses, clothing, haircuts, telephone, and other utilities, etc. § Fees associated with student loan borrowing have been accounted for in the total budget for both Residents and Non-residents. Loan fees will vary.

How do I apply for scholarships?

Your application to the University of Utah doubles as your merit and diversity-based scholarship application for university scholarships. We encourage you to apply for departmental, college, or other third-party scholarships. Please keep in mind that these additional scholarships will require a separate application process and have various deadlines. 

How do I apply for need-based aid?

In order to qualify for any federal programs, you must fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The University of Utah attaches high priority to need-based financial aid in order to fulfill its commitment to its undergraduate students who demonstrated financial need. Need-based grants are the cornerstone of the University of Utah aid programs to ensure that an economically diverse student population can enroll at the University. 

What percentage of students receives need-based financial aid?

For the 2014-2015 academic year, over 77 percent of University of Utah freshmen received some form of aid.

If I am an out of state student, can I gain residency in the state of Utah (for tuition purposes)?

There are different tuition rates for Utah residents and for nonresidents, based on the Utah State Law, 53B-8-102 and the Board of Regents R512, Policies and Procedures. Your initial residency classification is made when you are admitted and will be included in your Official Letter of Acceptance. If you are classified as a Nonresident but feel you should qualify for resident status, you may submit an Application for Residency Reclassification with the appropriate supporting documents.

Nonresident students who are eligible for a reclassification of their residency status must complete the reclassification application or the certification form. The form must be submitted to Office of Admissions with the appropriate supporting documents. The forms and details can be found on the University of Utah Residency website. 

Additional Resources

See what else the University of Utah has to offer here. 


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