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Guide last updated 2022.

RICE UNIVERSITY

REQUIREMENTS AND CAMPUS GUIDE

School Name: Rice University
School Location: Houston, TX
School Type: Private Research University

Rice University Admissions Rates Class of 2026

Applications: 31,424
Admitted: 8.56%

General Info

SAT/ACT Score

Test Optional for 2022-2023
Admission Cycle

Fall 2021 Test Scores
SAT
Evidence-based Reading & Writing Range: 720-770
SAT Math Range: 770-800
ACT Range: 34-35

Dates/Deadlines

Early Decision: November 1
Early Results: mid-December
Regular Deadline: January 4
Regular Results: April 1

School Information

Schedule: Semester
Curriculum Type:
Distribution Requirements
Greek Life: 
No
Athletics: 
DI

RICE UNIVERSITY TIPS & GUIDE

Rice Application Requirements, Admissions Tips, and University Guide

William Marsh Rice University, more commonly known as Rice University, is a relatively young university; founded in 1912. Here is everything you need to know about Rice!

Where is Rice University?

Rice is located on a 300-acre campus in the heart of Houston, Texas, the fourth largest city in America. Houston is an incredibly diverse city, with residents that speak at least 145 different languages. Rice is connected to the rest of Houston via metro, but students don’t have to venture far to briefly escape campus; Rice Village is a nearby shopping district where students can shop, eat, or people watch. Another way students connect with the surrounding area is through Passport to Houston, which gives students unlimited free access to zoos and museums.

What are academics at Rice like?

Rice consists of eight schools, six of which are for undergraduate students:

Rice offers more than 50 undergraduate majors. While applying to Rice, you must specify which academic school is the intended primary area of study. Applicants also need to indicate up to three specific academic areas of interest (majors, minors, pre-professional tracks). Each academic school is 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 has a flexible distributional requirement system consisting of 3 humanities courses, 3 applied science courses, 3 social science, and 1 writing course. Beginning in the Fall of 2022, all students must complete and pass 1 course in the area of Analyzing Diversity, which focuses on how difference is understood, how understandings have changed, and the consequences of those understandings for human development. Within these fields, students exercise a great deal of agency and creativity in fulfilling their requirements while also satiating their unique curiosities. The only classes that are specifically required are the Freshman Writing Intensive Seminar and the Lifetime Physical Activity Program, which is a physical fitness class.

As a research university, there are many opportunities (45+ research centers, institutes, and consortiums) for undergraduates to conduct research, often as early as Freshman Fall. By graduation, over 50% of Rice students will have participated in research. Even outside of the lab, students can get to know world-class professors well since Rice has a 6:1 undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio. Other noteworthy opportunities include the study abroad programs Rice offers in 60+ countries (including the continent of Antarctica!), as well as the Rice Baylor Medical Program. This highly competitive program is for incoming freshmen to pursue a four-year bachelor’s degree at Rice, followed by guaranteed admission to Baylor College of Medicine.

Overall, Rice offers strong academic support from staff and peer academic advisors through the Office of Academic Advising. There are also specialized advising programs for student-athletes, students interested in health professions, pre-law, and more!

How do I get into Rice?

Rice practices a holistic admissions process, meaning that they value the breadth of students’ interests, accomplishments, and contributions to their community, in addition to applicants’ grades or standardized test scores.

In terms of standardized tests, Rice is test-optional for the 2022-2023 application cycle. Students may still submit SAT, ACT, PSAT, AP, SAT Subject Test, or IB Test scores with their applications. For the class of 2025, the middle 50% of admitted students’ scores were 1500-1560 for the SAT and 34-35 for the ACT. These scores are pretty high, but luckily Rice permits superscoring! Also, they don’t require or consider the essay for either test.

One of the key things Rice looks for in their applicants is an “impact person.” These are students who are eager to learn about and contribute to Rice’s diverse campus and have a distinct vision of how they will function on campus.

In a Rice informational session, a Rice admissions officer advised students, “Don’t be humble!” So make sure you proudly list your accomplishments in the activities list.

How do I apply to Rice?

You can apply to Rice through three application portals: the Coalition Application, the Common Application, and Questbridge (which is a college match program for high-achieving low-income applicants). When you apply, you’ll need one letter of recommendation from your counselor and two from teachers. You also have the option to interview, but interviews are not required for admission. There are also Supplement Essays, as well as The Rice Box. The Rice Box is a question where applicants share a two-dimensional image of something appealing to them. It is not evaluated, however it allows applicants to show a bit of who they are, outside of achievements. If you are applying to the schools of architecture or music, you will need to submit a portfolio and audition, respectively.

Should I apply to Rice Early Decision?

Rice has two deadlines: November 1 for the Early Decision deadline and January 4 for the Regular Decision deadline. If you are certain that Rice is your top choice, you should consider applying ED, which is a binding application. Applying early helps demonstrate your interest in Rice, which can give a slight boost to your chances of admission over the RD applicants.

How do I demonstrate interest at Rice?

Rice is one university that really considers demonstrated interest a key indicator in a student’s likelihood to matriculate at Rice should they be accepted. The best way to demonstrate interest is to apply ED, because that shows your commitment during the application cycle. However, there are other smaller ways to demonstrate interest that you should do:

  1. When possible, attend info sessions and campus tours at Rice.
  2. If you can’t make it to Rice in person, attend virtual info sessions and local events. Register or complete a prospective student form if you connect at any of these events.
  3. Show knowledge and interest through your essays. Mention specific classes or professors you’re interested in when you write about the school.
  4. Try to get an alumni or Rice senior interview.

How is Campus Life?

There are 200+ student organizations and 14 varsity sports teams where you can find your community within the greater Rice community. Students are randomly selected to live in 1 of the 11 residential colleges, which are more than just dorms. Each is a small community where students live, dine, and interact with faculty members. Each residential college is its own self-supporting entity, with its own budget, intramural teams, and more.

Is Rice diverse?

In the class of 2025, China was the most represented country outside of the U.S.. Of domestic students, 40% identify as Asian American, 30% as Caucasian, 17% as Hispanic or Latinx, 10% as Black or African American, and 6% as Multiracial.

Can I afford Rice?

Rice has been need-blind since its founding date in 1912. Today, thanks to the Rice Investment, Rice meets 100% of demonstrated needs. While the 2022-2023 cost of attendance is $74,110, the average freshman aid package is $53,688. 57% of undergraduate students receive some type of financial aid. Additionally, all admitted students are considered for merit awards to help cover the cost of attendance, with no additional applications or interviews necessary.

Rice Admission Rates


Data Source
Admission Rate
Class of 2025
CDS 2021-2022
9%
Class of 2024
CDS 2020-2021
10.89%
Class of 2023
CDS 2019-2020
8.71%
Class of 2022
CDS 2018-2019
11.12%
Class of 2021
CDS 2017-2018
15.85%

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*Updated 2022