How to get into the University of Richmond: Admissions Data and Strategies

March 28, 2022

With over 3,200 undergraduates, the University of Richmond is fairly large in size for a liberal arts college and unlike many comparable schools, it offers a stellar undergraduate business program. The 29% acceptance rate for the Class of 2025 places the University of Richmond in the highly-selective category, a status that is nothing new to this institution. Admit rates have hovered in a similar range for the past decade and those admitted generally sport A/A- averages in a rigorous selection of courses as well as average standardized test scores in the 95th percentile or above.

To help prepare aspiring Spiders for the challenging process ahead, we will touch on the following topics:

  • University of Richmond’s Class of 2025 acceptance rate
  • University of Richmond’s Class of 2025 ED acceptance rate
  • SAT, ACT, GPA, and class rank of accepted University of Richmond applicants
  • Admissions trends from the Class of 2025
  • The demographics of current University of Richmond undergraduates
  • The University of Richmond’s yield rate
  • How U of R’s admissions officers evaluate candidates
  • Tips for applying to the University of Richmond
  • How to assess whether applying to the University of Richmond is even worth the $50 application fee (for you)

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

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

The University of Richmond’s: Overall Acceptance Rate – Class of 2025

The university received 13,955 applications for a place in the Class of 2025; they admitted 4,015 for an acceptance rate of 29%. This was comparable to the 31% admit rate for the Class of 2024.

The University of Richmond Early Decision Acceptance Rate – Class of 2025

Those who are serious about attending the University of Richmond should definitely consider applying via binding early decision. This school offers two rounds of early decision—ED I on November 1 and ED II on January 1. The acceptance rate for ED applicants for the Class of 2025 was 55%, well more than double the regular round rate.

The University of Richmond Admissions – SAT, ACT, GPA, and Class Rank

Those admitted (not enrolled) into the Class of 2025 sported a mid-50% unweighted GPA of 3.73-4.0 and middle-50% standardized test scores of 1420-1520 on the SAT, and 32-35 on the ACT.

Those who went on to enroll in the university for the start of the 2021-22 school year earned SAT scores with a middle-50% range of 1320-1462; the ACT range was 31-34. The average unweighted GPA was 3.71 and 54% were in the top 10% of their high school class; 86% were in the top quartile.

Admissions Trends & Notes – (Class of 2025)

  • Due to COVID-19, U Richmond was test-optional again for the 2021-22 cycle. They will remain test-optional for those applying to enter the university in fall 2023.
  • 14% of the Class of 2025 were first-generation students
  • The average admitted student took seven AP/IB courses in high school.
  • 56% of Class of 2025 members came from public high schools.
  • 43% of the enrolled freshman cohort in 2021-22 applied via Early Decision; 34% applied through non-binding early action.

Who Gets Into the University of Richmond?

Let’s look at the demographics of University of Richmond undergraduates:

The 2021-22 freshman class came from the following geographic locations:

  • Virginia: 16%
  • Mid-Atlantic: 28%
  • New England: 17%
  • South: 18%
  • Midwest: 5%
  • West: 5%
  • International: 11%

Richmond is a very popular school for international students to pursue their undergraduate education—11% of the Class of 2025 were international students. The following countries have the strongest representation on campus:

  1. China
  2. India
  3. Pakistan
  4. Vietnam
  5. Bosnia and Herzegovina

As at any highly-selective university, competition is toughest 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 Hawaii, the Dakotas, or Montana, your location is more likely to provide a boost to your admissions chances.

Looking at ethnic identity, the breakdown of the undergraduate student body is as follows:

  • Asian American: 7%
  • Hispanic: 11%
  • African American: 7%
  • White: 60%
  • Two or more races: 5%

The breakdown of the Class of 2025 is notably split in favor of women:

  • Male: 45%
  • Female: 55%

Out of the 890 enrolled members of the Class of 2025, the following number of students participated in various types of high school activities:

  • Founded an organization: 73
  • Participated in community service: 366
  • Worked part-time or completed internships: 251
  • Held a leadership position: 305
  • Played varsity athletics: 521
  • Were in involved in the arts: 231
  • Were engaged with social justice issues: 92

Yield Rate

The University of Richmond’s yield rate—the percentage of accepted students who elect to enroll, divided by the total number of students who are admitted was relatively low 22% last year. This is due, in part, to the fact that Richmond is often used as a back-up plan for those applying to even more selective universities. For comparison, many other comparable universities have slightly higher yield rates such as Boston University (24%) and Villanova (26%); however, U or R is higher than the University of Miami (17%).

How the University of Richmond Rates Applicants

There are a mere two factors that the University of Richmond ranks as being “very important” to their admissions process: rigor of secondary school record and GPA. The seven factors rated as “important” are: talent/ability, character/personal qualities, standardized test scores, the essays, recommendations, class rank, and extracurricular activities.

The admissions process at the University Richmond is a holistic one. In the admissions office’s own words:

  • “The University of Richmond reviews each and every application individually. In our holistic, selective admission process — there is no typical applicant and no simple formula to guarantee acceptance.
  • “Alongside traditional measures of academic success — grades, rigor of curriculum, test scores, and recommendations — admission officers comprehensively evaluate each application, assessing essays, involvement, special talents, creativity, independence, potential for contribution to our community, and life experience.”
  • “If a student chooses not to submit a standardized test score to support their application, we will evaluate their candidacy using the information present in the other components of their application materials. We welcome the submission of standardized test if you believe these tests will provide additional context and data used in a holistic review process.”

Tips for Applying to the University of Richmond

If you plan on joining the almost 14,000 Spider hopefuls for the next admissions cycle, you should know the following:

  • The University of Richmond does not consider interviews in the admissions so it is imperative that your personality stands out on your Common App and supplemental essay as well as through your teacher/counselor recommendations.
  • The University of Richmond states that they do not consider “demonstrated interest” in the admissions process. However, given their low yield rate and reliance on ED applicants, it would be a good idea to visit campus (in non-pandemic times) contact an admissions officer, follow them on social media, etc.
  • Make sure to dedicate sufficient time and effort to the supplemental essay(s) required by the University of Richmond. In the 2021-22 cycle, students were asked to respond to one prompt, out of three possible choices:

Please respond to one of the prompts in 350-650 words below.

  1. Tell us about the most unusual talent you have, and how you have made it useful.
  2. Spiders are essential to the ecosystem. How are you essential to your community or will you be essential in your university community?
  3. Please share one idea for actions or policies that you think would begin to address an issue of racial or social injustice.

Should I Apply to the University of Richmond?

With acceptance rates of under 30%, the University of Richmond is primarily seeking candidates who possess standardized test scores in 95th percentile and have earned mostly A’s in a highly rigorous high school curriculum. If the University of Richmond is among your top-choice schools, make sure to also have a rock-solid backup plan. All students need to make sure that they formulate an appropriate college list, containing a complement of “target” and “safety” schools. You’ll definitely want to do this in conjunction with your high school counselor or other admissions professional.