How to Get Into Pepperdine University: Acceptance Rate & Strategies

July 25, 2022

Pepperdine University is a rare institution that is ranked by U.S. News as a top 50 school and also had an acceptance rate over 50% last year. This private Christian university, located in gorgeous Malibu, is home to 3,700 undergraduate students. If you dream of joining them in the fall of 2023, this is the blog for you. We’ll look at the Pepperdine acceptance rate and all other facets of the admissions process.

The intent of this article is to give those considering applying to Pepperdine University and understanding of the following topics:

  • Pepperdine acceptance rate
  • SAT, GPA, and class rank of accepted Pepperdine University applicants
  • Admissions trends
  • Pepperdine University’s system for rating applicants
  • A look at the demographics of current Pepperdine University undergraduates
  • The percent of accepted students that attend Pepperdine University (yield rate)
  • Tips for applying to Pepperdine University
  • How to assess whether applying to Pepperdine University is even worth the $65 application fee (for you)

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

How to Get Into:

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

Pepperdine University Acceptance Rate 

There were 11,855 applications for admission into the Pepperdine Class of 2025. Ultimately, 6,249 individuals or 53% of that group were accepted. This is significantly lower than the 42% acceptance rate the previous year.

Pepperdine University Admissions – SAT, GPA, and Class Rank

Pepperdine is test-optional and the majority of admitted applicants did not submit a score. Among the Class of 2025 members who did submit, the mid-50% SAT range was 1280-1430, the ACT range was 25-30. Moreover, 56% possessed a GPA of 3.75 or greater. Among enrolled 2021-22 first-year students, 45% hailed from the top 10% of their high school class, while 83% earned a place in the top 25%.

Admissions Trends & Notes

  • Pepperdine received 12,371 applications for the Class of 2026.
  • They intend to form a 2022-23 freshman class of 900 students.
  • Pepperdine is now test-optional. They state that, “Students who choose to apply without submitting test scores will not be penalized.”
  • 18% of students are the first in their family to attend college.
  • Lastly, the university had just a 32% acceptance rate two years ago.

How Pepperdine University Rates Applicants

Pepperdine University considers seven factors as “very important” to the admissions process. These are: rigor of high school course load, GPA, and standardized test scores essays, extracurricular activities, character/personal qualities, talent ability, and religious affiliation.

Straight from the admissions office: “The admission committee looks closely at an applicant’s academic record, GPA, standardized test scores, background of service and leadership, and character as exhibited in references and short answer/personal statements.”

Lastly, 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?

Pepperdine University Demographics

Let’s now take a look at the demographics of the undergraduate student body.

The states that send the highest number of students to Pepperdine are:

  1. California
  2. Texas
  3. Washington
  4. Colorado
  5. Arizona

The greatest number of international students come from the following countries:

  1. China
  2. Indonesia
  3. Brazil
  4. Canada
  5. Thailand

In terms of ethnic identity, the breakdown is as follows:

  • White: 48%
  • Asian: 12%
  • Hispanic: 16%
  • African American: 5%
  • Two or More Races: 7%
  • International: 10%

The religious breakdown is as follows:

  • Christian: 53%
  • Catholic: 19%
  • Church of Christ: 12%
  • None: 10%

A look at the gender split reveals that university enrolls more men than women.

  • Men: 42%
  • Women: 58%

Pepperdine “Yield Rate”

The University’s yield rate is only 16%. In other words, 16% of those accepted went on to enroll. This figure is significantly lower than many other highly ranked schools.

Tips for Applying to Pepperdine University

If you plan on joining the 11,000+ Pepperdine University hopefuls for the next admissions cycle, you should know the following:

  • Firstly, consider applying early action by November 1. Pepperdine does not offer early decision.
  • Pepperdine University does use interviews as part of their evaluation process.
  • Additionally, the school 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.
  • Lastly, make sure to dedicate sufficient time and effort to the lone supplemental essay required by Pepperdine University. The prompt is as follows:

Pepperdine is a Christian university where all are welcomed and encouraged to challenge each other in the pursuit of truth. Students, faculty, and staff members from all backgrounds participate in conversations of faith inside and outside of the classroom. Considering that Pepperdine is a Christian university, why are you interested in attending and how would you contribute to conversations of faith on campus? (500 words max).

Should I Apply to Pepperdine University?

In conclusion, those who are in the top quartile of their respective high school class are absolutely viable candidates to this excellent institution. Of course, it goes without saying that all teens applying to a school of Pepperdine University’s caliber also need to also have a proper mix of “target” and “safety” schools on their college list. More on creating a balanced college list can be found here.