How to Get Into Emory University: Admissions Data and Strategies
In 1990, The New York Times published an article entitled, “With Money and Talent, Emory Raises Its Status”. The accelerated growth began when Coca Cola magnate, Robert Woodruff, donated over 100 million dollars to the school, at the time, the largest gift ever handed to an educational institution. From 1980 to 1990, the number of applicants to Emory University grew from 3,900 to 6,300; today, the school receives over 33,000 applications.
While it’s hard to imagine a time when Emory ever needed to “raise its status,” the average SAT score for an entering freshman was “only” 1138 in 1984, 1234 in 1995, and by 2022?—close to 1500. Even with some score inflation in the intervening years, that’s still quite a jump.
It’s worth noting that Emory has two undergraduate colleges, Emory College in Atlanta, and Oxford College located in Oxford, Georgia, roughly a 45-minute drive from main campus. Students can apply to just one school or both via the Common or Coalition Application. Since admissions into Oxford College and Emory College are two different animals, we will provide college-specific data where possible.
Given how rapidly the admissions landscape at Emory has shifted, the aim of this article is to provide you with:
1) A better sense of the big-picture of Emory University admissions.
2) Data to help you more accurately assess your chances of admission.
3) Precisely how the Emory University admissions committee evaluates applicants and how to make your application shine.
To accomplish these goals we will touch on the following topics:
- Emory University’s Class of 2026 acceptance rate
- Emory University’s ED acceptance rate
- SAT, ACT, and GPA of accepted Emory University applicants
- Admissions trends
- The demographics of current Emory undergraduates
- Emory University’s yield rate
- How Emory University’s admissions officers evaluate candidates
- Tips for applying to Emory University
- Emory essay prompts
- How to assess whether applying to Emory is even worth the $75 application fee (for you)
Let’s begin with an examination of the most recent admissions data.
Emory University’s: Overall Acceptance Rate – Class of 2026
Based on the unofficial data revealed this spring, the Class of 2026 saw an acceptance rate of just 10.6%. Last year, the acceptance rate for Emory College was 13% as 4,364 Class of 2025 members were selected from a pool of 33,436 applicants. For Oxford College, there were 20,212 applicants, 4,006 of whom were accepted—a friendlier acceptance rate of 20%.
Emory University Early Decision Acceptance Rate
Emory received 2,217 ED I applications for a place in the Emory Class of 2026 and admitted 672 individuals. This acceptance rate of 32% compares favorably to the overall acceptance rate of 11%.
Emory University Admissions – SAT, ACT, and GPA
Enrolled students in the Class of 2025 earned ACT Composite scores of 33-35, SAT math scores of 740-780 and SAT EBRW scores of 710-770. The unweighted GPA range was 3.8-4.0.
Enrolled students in the Class of 2025 earned ACT Composite scores of 32-35, SAT Math scores of 740-800 and SAT EBRW scores of 710-770. The unweighted GPA range was 3.76-3.98.
Admissions Trends & Notes
- Emory recently announced that it will remain test-optional for the 2022-23 admissions cycle.
- The accepted Class of 2026 includes individuals from 112 countries and all 50 US states.
- 59% of Class of 2026 applicants applied to both Emory and Oxford College.
- 1,456 students were accepted into both colleges.
- The Class of 2025 included 13% of students who identified as first-generation.
Who Actually Gets Into Emory University?
Let’s look at the demographics of the Emory College Class of 2025:
- Southeast: 17%
- Midwest: 15%
- Mid-Atlantic: 15%
- West: 11%
- Northeast: 24%
- International: 18%
The demographics of the Oxford College Class of 2025 are as follows:
- Southeast: 121%
- Midwest: 16%
- Mid-Atlantic: 14%
- West: 15%
- Northeast: 18%
- International: 17%
Looking at ethnic identity, the breakdown of the Emory Class of 2025 is as follows:
- Asian American: 23%
- Hispanic: 11%
- White: 31%
- African American: 13%
- International: 17%
The greatest percentage of international students hail from the following countries:
- China: 48%
- South Korea: 12%
- India: 12%
- Canada: 4%
- Brazil: 2%
- United Kingdom: 2%
The breakdown by gender of all current undergraduates is quite lopsided in favor of women:
- Male: 40%
- Female: 60%
Due to this wide gender disparity, the male acceptance rate tends to be a couple of points higher than the figure for female applicants.
Emory University’s yield rate—the percentage of accepted students who elect to enroll, divided by the total number of students who are admitted was 35% for the Class of 2025. For comparison, many other top private universities have superior yield rates such as Notre Dame (58%) and Duke (61%). Emory is a bit closer to other elite private schools like USC (41%), Carnegie Mellon (43%).
How Emory University Rates Applicants
Emory receives 33,000+ applications to fill a first-year class of approximately 1,300-1,400 students (1,800, including Oxford College). Despite this high total, Emory does give a genuinely holistic review to each and every applicant. Beyond mere test scores and other basic measurables, the admissions committee is “also looking for character traits, educational pursuits, and community awareness that would complement and blend into this campus community. Most Emory University students, regardless of major, have multiple interests and passions—whether it’s the arts, community service, medical research, theater, entrepreneurship, or athletics. We want to know what makes you happy and how your community/family/school has benefited from who you are as a person.”
Six factors are rated as being “very important” to the Emory admissions process: rigor of secondary school record, GPA, recommendations, extracurricular activities, talent/ability, and character/personal qualities. Application components deemed “important” are standardized test scores, essays, and volunteer work. It definitely helps if you are recruited as an athlete to join one of Emory University’s 19 Division I sports teams. Over 400 undergrads are varsity athletes. Those who excel in a given sport can gain an edge in the admissions process.
Tips for Applying to Emory University
If you plan on joining the 33,000+ Eagle hopefuls for the next admissions cycle, you should know the following:
- Emory University offers Early Decision I and Early Decision II. As cited earlier in the blog, ED acceptance rates are typically higher than during the Regular Decision round.
- Emory University does offer optional alumni interviews. These are interviews conducted through the Alumni Interview Program. Between mid-October and February, a limited number of applicants will be granted an interview with an alum in their geographic area. However, the school notes that the majority of applicants will not receive an invitation.
- Emory University states that they do not consider “demonstrated interest” in the admissions process. Still, given that their yield rate is under 35%, it may be worth taking the simple steps of following them on social media, signing up for a virtual tour, or emailing an admissions officer with any questions you may have.
- Make sure to dedicate sufficient time and effort to the supplemental essays required by Emory. In the 2021-22 cycle, students must answer two prompts as follows:
This question is required. Your response should be no more than 200 words.
- What academic areas are you interested in exploring in college?
Getting to Know You
In addition, answer one of the following questions. Your response should be no more than 150 words.
- Reflect on a personal experience where you intentionally expanded your cultural awareness.
- When was the last time you questioned something you had thought to be true?
- If you could witness a historic event (past, present or future) first-hand, what would it be, and why?
- Share about a time when you were awestruck.
- Which book, character, song, monologue, or piece of work (fiction or non-fiction) seems made for you? Why?
For detailed advice on how to approach each prompt, visit our blog: Emory University Essay Prompts and Tips.
Should I Apply to Emory University?
With overall acceptance rates as low as 10-13% in recent years, Emory is a school that is looking for students that are at the 98th percentile or above on standardized tests and are among the very top of their high school class. Just about all “A”s in an AP/IB-heavy curriculum is expected. If Emory University is your aim, make sure to also have multiple other schools on your list where you are more likely to gain acceptance. All students need to make sure that they formulate an appropriate college list, containing a complement of “target” and “safety” schools. You’ll also definitely want to get your counselor’s input during this process.
Dave has over a decade of professional experience that includes work as a teacher, high school administrator, college professor, and independent educational consultant. He is a co-author of the books The Enlightened College Applicant (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and Colleges Worth Your Money (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).