How to Get Into Tulane University: Admissions Data and Strategies
Oh, to be alive in 1998… we watched with childlike naiveté as Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa launched homerun after homerun assisted by their “totally natural” superhero muscles, the dotcom bubble continued to balloon every time a new domain was registered, the countdown to the Seinfield finale was on and it was destined to be epic, and the only President to ever undergo impeachment hearings was Andrew Johnson in 1865. More apropos to our readers, it was an equally innocent time in the college admissions realm, where a school like Tulane University still accepted nearly 80% of those applied.
After years of aggressive marketing aimed at encouraging just about every teenager in the country to apply to their school, Tulane’s acceptance rate had dropped to just 26% by 2016; a remarkable transformation in terms of selectivity, but not nearly the end of the story. This past admissions cycle, in 2020-21, the acceptance rate at Tulane hit the single digits for the first time, placing them in the same company as schools like Cornell, Rice, and Northwestern.
Given how rapidly the admissions landscape at Tulane has shifted, the intent of this blog is to provide you with:
1) A better sense of the big-picture of Tulane University admissions.
2) Data to help you more accurately assess your chances of admission.
3) Precisely how the Tulane University admissions committee evaluates applicants and how to make your application shine.
To accomplish these goals we will touch on the following topics:
- Tulane University’s Class of 2025 acceptance rate
- Tulane University’s Class of 2024 ED acceptance rate
- SAT, ACT, 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
- 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 2025
From a pool of 45,517 applicants, Tulane accepted just 9.73% into the Class of 2025. The previous year, Tulane received 43,892 applications and admitted 11.1% from that group.
Tulane University Early Decision Acceptance Rate – Class of 2024
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 2025 ED stats are not yet available (Tulane has only released the overall numbers presented above), an examination of the Class of 2024 numbers is quite telling. That year, the university admitted 922 of the 3,976 ED applicants for a 23% 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 2025, the middle 50% SAT range was 1430-1530 and the ACT range was 31-34. Those who did actually enroll in the Class of 2024 possessed scores of 1360-1470 and 30-33. Members of that same cohort averaged GPAs of 3.55 (unweighted) and 8% earned a perfect 4.0. Sixty-three percent placed in the top decile of their graduating class and 88% were in the top quartile.
Admissions Trends & Notes
- Tulane expects a 45% yield rate for the Class of 2025, up from 24% in 2016.
- 26% of those admitted into the Class of 2025 identified as Black, Indigenous, or people of color; in 2016, that figure was just 17%.
- Roughly 40% of those admitted in the 2020-21 admissions cycle applied test-optional.
- The average SAT score for an admitted 2025 applicants was 1474.
- 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 2025. Geographically, the breakdown is as follows:
- South Central: 10%
- South Atlantic: 17%
- Louisiana: 8%
- Pacific West: 15%
- Mountain West: 2%
- Midwest: 12%
- Northeast: 28%
- International: 5%
Looking at ethnic identity, the breakdown of all current undergrads is as follows:
- Asian American: 6%
- Hispanic: 7%
- White: 71%
- African American: 5%
- International: 5%
- Multiracial: 4%
The greatest percentage of international students hail from the following countries:
- China: 40%
- Spain: 10%
- Panama: 5%
- India: 4%
- France: 3%
- Canada: 2%
The breakdown by gender of all current undergraduates is quite lopsided in favor of women:
- Male: 41%
- Female: 59%
Due to this wide gender disparity, the male acceptance rate is 11.7% where the female acceptance rate is 10.7% (Class of 2024 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 37% for the Class of 2024 and is expected to be 45% for the Class of 2025. For comparison, many other top private universities have superior yield rates such as Notre Dame (58%) Northwestern (55%), Duke (54%). Tulane lands in between other elite private schools like USC (42%), Emory (29%).
How Tulane University Rates Applicants
Tulane receives 45,000+ applications to fill a first-year class of approximately 1,800 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 2020-21 admissions cycle and will remain so for the 2021-22 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:
- 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 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.
- 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 (optional).
The second prompt is essentially asking you, “Why Tulane?” In a previous blog, we offered tips for mastering the “Why This College?” essay.
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. Just about all “A”s in a rigorous curriculum is expected. 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. 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).