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School Name: William Marsh Rice University
School Location: Houston, TX
School Type: Research University
Category: Reach

Rice University Admissions Rates Fall 2020

Applications: 23,455
Admitted: 11%

General Info


Test Optional for 2021-2022
Admission Cycle

Fall 2020 Test Scores
Math: 750-800
ERW: 710-770
ACT: 34-36


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

School Information

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

Rice Application Requirements, Admissions Tips, and University Guide:

Here’s everything you should know before you apply to Rice University

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 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 seven schools of study, six of which are for undergrads:

When you apply to Rice, you apply to a certain school and list up to three potential majors, but you are able to double major between the Engineering, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Humanities Schools. Students in these four colleges take classes at each college fluidly throughout their undergrad years and are encouraged to take classes at each college their first year. Due to the unique rigour of the courses in the Schools of Architecture and Music, double majoring outside of these colleges is not permitted.

Rice has a flexible distributional requirement system consisting of: 3 humanities courses, 3 applied science courses, 3 social science, and 1 writing course. Within these fields, students exercise a great deal of agency and creativity in fulfilling their requirements while also satiating their unique curiosities. The only two 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 for undergraduates to conduct research, often as early as Freshman Fall. By graduation, around ⅔ of Rice students will have conducted 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!) and the Rice Baylor Medical Program. This program is an 8 year BS/MD program, which only admits a select number of students. If you are not one of those lucky students, don’t worry— 90% of Rice graduates who apply to medical school get accepted.

Overall, Rice offers strong academic support from staff and peer academic advisors within your residential colleges. Several pre-professional advising programs are also available, such as pre-health, pre-dental, and pre-law.

How do I get into Rice?

Rice practices a holistic admissions process, meaning that they take more into account than an applicant’s grades or standardized test scores. That being said, Rice admissions does look for students who challenge themselves with a rigorous curriculum. Also, generally speaking, grades matter, but they will accept changed grading policies for the 2020 -2021 school year due to Covid-19. Each application will be evaluated with the student’s unique circumstances in mind.

In terms of standardized tests, Rice is test-optional for the 2021-2022 application cycle. Students may still submit SAT, ACT, PSAT, Pre-ACT, AP, SAT Subject Test, or IB Test scores with their applications. For the class of 2025, the middle 50% of admitted students’ scores was 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.

Rice understands that many extracurricular activities and summer programs were cancelled due to Covid-19. However, they are looking for students who made use of this time—whether you are a rising senior or rising freshman. This can include supporting your family, volunteering remotely, or keeping your school community connected through hosting events. Demonstrate your ability to make the most out of these circumstances.

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. 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 is their Early Decision deadline and January 4 is their 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 to you Rice in person, attend virtual info sessions and local events
  3. Show knowledge of school 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.
  5. Engage with Rice on social media on their Instagram @riceuniversity or their Facebook
  6. Get to know your admissions counselor, who is the person who will review your application and decide whether or not to advocate for you in admissions.

How is Campus Life?

There are 300+ student organizations and 14 varsity sports teams where you can find your community within the greater Rice community. Students live in the 11 residential colleges which are more than just dorms. In the residential colleges there are also clubs and organizations for students to participate in making for a very connected campus feel.

Is Rice diverse?

In the class of 2025, China was the most represented country outside of the U.S.. Of domestic students, 34.83% identify as Asian American, 30.34% as Caucasian, 17.13% as Hispanic or Latino, 9.55% as Black or African American, and 5.52% 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 need. While the 2021-2022 cost of attendance is $71,745, the average freshman aid package is $53,688 The Rice Investment is a sliding scale of tuition; students whose families earn under $65,000 per year receive a full ride, those whose families earn $65,000 to $130,000 receive full tuition scholarships (but are not guaranteed aid to cover room and board) and students whose families earn between $130,000 and $200,000 receive half-tuition scholarships. Additionally, all admitted students are considered for merit awards to help cover the cost of attendance, with no additional applications or interviews necessary.


National Center for Education