How to Get Into Tulane University: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Strategies
Oh, to be alive in 1998… we watched with childlike naiveté as Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa launched home run after home run assisted by their “totally natural” superhero muscles, the dotcom bubble continued to balloon every time a new domain was registered, and Andrew Johnson was still the lone President ever impeached. More apropos to our readers, it was an equally innocent time in the college admissions realm, where a school like Tulane still accepted nearly 80% of those applied. After years of aggressive marketing aimed at encouraging just about every American teen to apply to their school, Tulane’s acceptance rate had dropped to 26% by 2016; a remarkable transformation in terms of selectivity, but not nearly the end of the story. This past admissions cycle, in 2021-22, the Tulane acceptance rate was 8.4%, placing them in the same company as schools like Cornell, Rice, and Northwestern.
To ensure that future Tulane applicants understand the admissions gauntlet ahead, we will touch on the following topics:
- Tulane University’s Class of 2026 acceptance rate
- Tulane University’s Class of 2026 ED acceptance rate
- SAT, ACT, GPA, and class rank of accepted Tulane University applicants
- Admissions trends
- The demographics of current Tulane undergraduates
- Tulane University’s yield rate
- How Tulane University’s admissions officers evaluate candidates
- Tips for applying to Tulane University
- Tulane essay prompts
- How to assess whether applying to Tulane is worth your time
Let’s begin with an examination of the most recent admissions data.
Tulane University’s: Overall Acceptance Rate – Class of 2026
From a pool of 43,019 applicants, Tulane accepted just 8.4% into the Class of 2026. The previous year, Tulane admitted 9.7% of applicants.
Tulane University Early Decision Acceptance Rate – Class of 2026
Tulane admits a large percentage of their freshman class via early decision and applicants applying ED have a significant advantage in the process. The school offers two rounds of early decision—ED I has a November 1 deadline and ED II has a deadline around the second week of January. There is also a non-binding EA round with a November 15 deadline.
While Class of 2026 ED stats are not yet available (Tulane has only released the overall numbers presented above), an examination of the Class of 2025 numbers is quite telling. That year, the university admitted 1,209 of the 3,852 ED applicants for a 31% acceptance rate. This means that the acceptance rate for the regular round was roughly 1-2%–and, no, that’s not a typo.
Tulane University Admissions – SAT, ACT, Class Rank, and GPA
Among those admitted (not enrolled) into the Class of 2026, the middle 50% SAT range was 1410-1500 and the ACT range was 31-34. Those who did actually enroll in the Class of 2025 possessed scores of 1380-1490 and 30-33. Members of that same cohort averaged GPAs of 3.64 (unweighted) and 10% earned a perfect 4.0. Fifty-four percent placed in the top decile of their graduating class and 80% were in the top quartile.
Admissions Trends & Notes
- 30% of those admitted into the Class of 2026 identified as Black, Indigenous, or people of color; in 2016, that figure was just 17%.
- Roughly 40% of those admitted applied test-optional.
- 133 international students are expected to enter the university for the 2021-22 school year.
- 46 states are represented in the Class of 2025.
- There are 769 students who will be the only Tulane students from their high school. Three high schools are sending 10+ students to the university. They are: Benjamin Franklin High School in NOLA and Deerfield and Evanston high schools in Illinois.
Who Actually Gets Into Tulane University?
Let’s look at the demographics of those offered a spot in the Class of 2026. Geographically, the breakdown is as follows:
- South Central: 10%
- South Atlantic: 16%
- Louisiana: 9%
- Pacific West: 16%
- Mountain West: 2%
- Midwest: 11%
- Northeast: 30%
- International: 6%
Looking at ethnic identity, the breakdown of all current undergrads is as follows:
- Asian American: 5%
- Hispanic: 8%
- White: 72%
- African American: 5%
- International: 5%
- Multiracial: 4%
The greatest percentage of international students hail from the following countries:
The breakdown by gender of all current undergraduates is quite lopsided in favor of women:
- Male: 39%
- Female: 61%
Due to this wide gender disparity, the male acceptance rate is 9.5% where the female acceptance rate is 9.6% (Class of 2025 numbers).
Tulane University’s yield rate—the percentage of accepted students who elect to enroll, divided by the total number of students who are admitted was 46% for the Class of 2025. For comparison, many other top private universities have superior yield rates such as Notre Dame (58%) and Northwestern (60%). Tulane lands in between other elite private schools like Duke (54%), Emory (35%).
How Tulane University Rates Applicants
Tulane receives 43,000+ applications to fill a first-year class of approximately 1,750 students. Directly from the admissions office: “We review each applicant with an eye toward shaping Tulane and making it stronger and more vibrant each year, so it’s important that we look at each applicant as a whole. An admission decision will never be rendered based on a single piece of information but, rather, on the overall combination of attributes and aspects that make each applicant unique.”
Four factors are rated as being “very important” to the Tulane admissions process: the rigor of your secondary school record, academic GPA, class rank, and standardized test scores. It is important to point out that Tulane was test-optional during the 2021-22 admissions cycle and will remain so for the 2022-23 cycle.
It definitely helps if you are recruited as an athlete to join one of Tulane University’s 14 Division I sports teams. Over 425 undergrads are varsity athletes. Those who excel in a given sport can gain an edge in the admissions process.
Tips for Applying to Tulane University
If you plan on joining the horde of Green Wave hopefuls for the next admissions cycle, you should know the following:
- Firstly, Tulane University offers Early Decision I and Early Decision II. As cited earlier in the blog, ED acceptance rates are significantly higher than during the Regular Decision round.
- Tulane University does offer optional interviews. These are interviews conducted from April 1 to October 15 and students are encouraged to sign up as early as possible. Virtual and in-person interviews “carry the same weight in the admissions process.”
- Tulane University does consider “demonstrated interest” in the admissions process. Therefore, it is definitely 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.
- Applying to Tulane is a free endeavor; they dropped their fee back in 2008.
- Lastly, make sure to dedicate sufficient time and effort to the supplemental essays required/offered by Tulane. In the 2020-21 cycle, the additional prompts were as follows:
1) Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences.
2) Please describe why you are interested in attending Tulane University.
3) Tulane values the lessons gained from pursuing an education alongside a student body that represents a wide range of experiences and perspectives and is reflective of our multicultural world. If you would like to share a perspective related to your family, cultural group, sexual or gender identity, religious group, or some other aspect that has shaped your identity, please do so here.
For more information, visit our blog entitled Tulane University Essay Prompts and Tips.
Should I Apply to Tulane University?
With overall acceptance rates now under 10%, Tulane is a school that is looking for students that are at the 95th percentile or above on standardized tests and among the most accomplished students in their high school class. If Tulane University is your aim, make sure to also have multiple other schools on your list where you are more likely to gain acceptance. Further, 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 and should strongly consider applying ED if you are serious about this university.
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).