How to Get Into Clemson University Admissions Data & Strategies

February 23, 2022

Clemson University, a public land-grant institution located in South Carolina, is home to more than 21,000 undergraduate students. After receiving an all-time record of 47,000+ applications in 2021, it is fair to say that becoming a Clemson Tiger has never been a more common goal for stellar students in South Carolina as well as throughout the rest of the United States. For students to turn that dream into reality, they will need to bring stronger academic credentials to the table that at any previous time in the school’s 130+ year history. For evidence, you can look to the fact that average enrolled students score better than a 1300 on the SAT and possess well above a 4.0 weighted high school GPA.

Given the rising selectivity of Clemson, the intent of this article is to give those considering applying to the university:

  1. An understanding of what you are up against.
  2. More data on which to accurately assess your chances of admission.
  3. Advice for how to get your application to Clemson stand out, even against other strong applicants.

To accomplish these goals, we will touch on the following topics:

  • Clemson’s Class of 2025 acceptance rate
  • SAT/ACT, GPA, and class rank for Clemson freshmen
  • Admissions trends from the Class of 2025
  • Clemson’s system for rating applicants
  • A look at the demographics of current Clemson undergraduates
  • The percent of accepted students that attend Clemson (yield rate)
  • Tips for applying to Clemson
  • How to assess whether applying to Clemson is even worth the $70 application fee (for you)

Many students applying to Clemson University may also find the following blogs to be of interest:

Let’s begin with an examination of the most recent admissions data.

Clemson Acceptance Rate – Class of 2025

There were 47,007 applications for admission into the Tiger Class of 2025 and 23,138 individuals received an acceptance. This acceptance rate of 49% was significantly lower than the previous year which saw 62% admitted into the Class of 2024.

The acceptance rate for in-state and out-of-state applicants was almost identical for the Class of 2024. This differs from many popular public universities that accept residents at a higher clip than out-of-state or international students.

Clemson Admissions – SAT/ACT, GPA, and Class Rank Info

According to the most recent statistics available (Class of 2025), the mid-50% SAT range for enrolled freshmen was 1240-1400; the ACT range was 29-30. Typically, the average weighted GPA was higher than a 4.4 and 75% of enrolled students possess better than a 4.0. An impressive 55% of 2021-22 freshmen placed in the top decile of their high school class while 80% placed in the top quartile; 99% landed in the top half.

Admissions Trends & Notes – Class of 2025

  • Clemson was test optional for students applying to join the 2022-23 freshman cohort.
  • The Class of 2025 included 103 high school valedictorians and 93 salutatorians.
  • 729 members of the Class of 2025 identify as first-generation college students.
  • 697 of the 2021-22 first-years reported having one or more parent as a Clemson alum.
  • 396 entering students were enrolled in the Clemson University Honors College

How Clemson Rates Applicants

There are five factors that the Clemson admissions committee deems as “very important” to the process: rigor of high school course load, class rank, GPA, standardized test scores, and state residency. “Considered” factors are: the application essay, recommendations, extracurricular activities, talent/ability, and legacy status. No factors are labeled as “Important”.

Directly from the Clemson admissions staff:

  • “One of the clearest indicators of your fit at Clemson is your academic performance in high school. We examine your GPA, class rank and the rigor of the classes you took to gauge your ability to rise to academic challenges.”
  • “Most of our applicants have competitive GPAs and present transcripts with college preparatory, honors and AP coursework based on what is offered by their high school.”

It is also worth highlighting that recruited athletes enjoy a huge edge. This is because Clemson takes great pride in their 19 NCAA Division I sports teams. Within the Class of 2025, there were 96 student-athletes.

For advice about how to stand out on the extracurricular front, check out our previous blog entitled How Many Extracurricular Activities Do I Need for College?

Clemson University Demographics

Let’s look at the demographics of the current Clemson undergrads.

Geographically, the undergraduate student body is presently comprised of the greatest numbers of students from the following U.S. states:

  1. South Carolina: 13,261
  2. North Carolina: 1,081
  3. Georgia: 921
  4. New Jersey: 900
  5. New York: 629
  6. Virginia: 576
  7. Maryland: 458
  8. Pennsylvania: 456
  9. Massachusetts: 451
  10. Florida: 405

Among non-residents, competition is stiffest among those hailing from states with endless streams of qualified applicants (the entire Northeast & the West Coast). If you hail from a less-populated state like Wyoming or North Dakota, your location is more likely to provide a boost to your admissions chances at Clemson.

International students make up just 0.5% of the undergraduate student body. Among that tiny group, the greatest percentages come from:

  1. China: 33%
  2. Jamaica: 10%
  3. India: 6%
  4. Canada: 6%
  5. Brazil: 5%
  6. Spain: 5%

Looking at ethnic identity, the breakdown was as follows:

  • White: 80%
  • Asian: 3%
  • Hispanic: 6%
  • African American: 6%
  • Two or more races: 4%

Looking at the gender breakdown, the school presently enrolls a fairly even split of men and women.

  • Men: 51%
  • Women: 49%

Students in the 2021-22 first year class included students from:

  • 51% South Carolina residents
  • 269 South Carolina high schools
  • 1,383 non-South Carolina high schools
  • 48 states and the District of Columbia
  • 19 foreign countries.

The Top-10 intended majors for the Class of 2025 were:

  • General Engineering
  • Pre-Business
  • Biology
  • Computer Science
  • Nursing
  • Undeclared
  • Psychology (BS)
  • Animal and Veterinary Sciences
  • Pre-Professional Health Studies.
  • Psychology (BA)

Clemson’s “Yield Rate”

Clemson’s yield rate—the percentage of accepted students who elect to enroll, divided by the total number of students who are admitted is only 20%. This figure is significantly lower than other Southern powerhouse state universities like UGA (41%), UVA (40%), and UNC-Chapel Hill (43%).

Tips for Applying to Clemson

If you plan on joining the 47,000+ Clemson hopefuls for the next admissions cycle, you should know the following:

  • Clemson does not use evaluative interviews as part of their evaluation process. Therefore you will need to find alternative ways to make a personal connection to an admissions officer through your essays and recommendations.
  • Legacy is factored into the admissions process which means that being the son or daughter of one (or two) Tiger alumni can boost your admissions chances.
  • Clemson does not consider “demonstrated interest” so you will not be judged on whether or not you made a campus visit, contacted an admissions officer, etc.
  • Unless you are applying to the Honors College, Clemson does not require applicants to submit supplemental essays. Therefore, you should devote plenty of time to perfecting your Common App essay.

Should I Apply to Clemson?

Those with SAT/ACT scores within the mid-50% mark for Clemson who have earned a place in the top 10% of their high school class are absolutely viable candidates to Clemson. Those who are inside the top 25% of the class and/or have SAT/ACT above the median mark also have a solid chance at gaining acceptance.

All teens applying to a school of Clemson’s ilk also need to also have a proper mix or “target” and “safety” schools on their college list. More on creating a balanced college list can be found here.