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Catalog - Admission

Catalog - Admission


Admission Philosophy

DePauw University, in affirmation of its commitment to excellence, endeavors to provide equal opportunity for all individuals in its admission procedures. Institutional decisions regarding admission are based upon an applicant’s qualifications and/or performance without regard to preference for race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, age, gender, gender identity or gender expression. Although reported on the application for admission for data purposes, race and ethnicity are not viewed nor regarded while making admission decisions.

DePauw is selective in admission, meaning that many more students apply than can be admitted. We seek to determine those applicants who are academically capable of success at the University and select those who demonstrate the motivation to be actively engaged and curious students.

There is no precise set of academic and personal credentials that will guarantee admission to DePauw University. In general, successful candidates demonstrate strong academic achievement, intellectual curiosity, the desire to learn from and with others in a collaborative residential setting, and a lively interest in taking advantage of the many campus opportunities for personal and social development which are the foundation of our liberal arts education. The greatest weight in the admission decision is given to evidence of superior academic accomplishment and a passion for learning.

The Admission Committee engages in a holistic review of applicants, considering each applicant individually and measuring each against important academic and personal standards in general and in relation to other applicants in a particular year. Specifically, the Admission Committee will evaluate each student’s academic potential as reflected on the high school transcript (and college transcripts if applying for transfer admission). The transcript is particularly important because it illustrates the academic program's rigor, class rank, and the grades earned in each course. The Admission Committee expects students to take a challenging academic program that may include honors, dual enrollment, AP and/or IB courses if offered. Although the Committee does not expect students to excel in all academic areas, we expect students to challenge themselves and earn excellent grades. Successful candidates should take at least five academic courses per semester in each academic term and achieve at the A/B level.

Since DePauw engages in a holistic review of applicants, a test-optional policy allows us to consider students’ strengths that may be demonstrated in areas other than ACT and/or SAT scores. Therefore, all first-year students enrolled in a public, private, or charter school may apply without their test scores. If a student decides to submit test scores for review, they will be reviewed as a component of the student’s academic record.

Students whose language of instruction is something other than English must also demonstrate proof of English proficiency through an approved means such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language or the SAT or ACT.

Beyond the applicant’s academic record, the Admission Committee is very interested in a prospective student’s writing ability. Applicants are asked to submit a personal essay. This writing sample is reviewed with interest, and the Admission Committee will evaluate each applicant on their ability to communicate their thoughts in writing. 

The Admission Committee is also very interested in school and community involvement, as it demonstrates the level of activity a student is likely to pursue at DePauw. Examples of the involvement we often see include school clubs and activities, athletics, music performance, community service, religious activities and/or part-time employment. There is no preference for one kind of activity over another. Rather, the Admission Committee looks for evidence that an applicant has significantly contributed in one or more areas. In other words, peripheral involvement in a number of activities is not particularly compelling. We seek students who have substantive roles in one or more activities that hold meaning for them.

As a residential university,  building a safe and welcoming community is an essential component of the DePauw University experience. As such, the Admission Committee takes care in evaluating how a candidate's offer of admission can  impact the greater DePauw community. Therefore, applicants are required to disclose their disciplinary history when applying to DePauw. The Admission Committee weighs the applicant's disciplinary history and the potential impact of their behavior on the campus community. Depending on the severity of a candidate's infractions, the Admission Committee may consult with the DePauw University Student Affairs Division or other appropriate campus partners in making the final admission decision.

Recommendations from the applicant’s counselor and teachers are also reviewed carefully; their insights into a student’s high school career and character are very helpful and provide additional context in which to evaluate a candidate.

Although most applications for admission are reviewed without regard to a student’s demonstrated financial need, the admission committee will take into consideration the financial need of  those students who present some academic risk or concern. Students who have less financial burden are more likely to be successful and graduate from DePauw. The Enrollment Management division at DePauw will do what it can, within budgetary constraints, to support admitted students who demonstrate financial need.

Admission interviews, although not required, are highly recommended for all applicants. Interviews are an important way that students can personalize the admission process, bringing to life the information they provide on an application. Admission interviews at DePauw are evaluative, meaning the interviewer is charged with understanding each applicant’s academic and personal goals, and exploring with the applicant how or if those goals are well suited to the educational experience at DePauw. Students are asked to respond to questions about their academic preparation and record, school and community involvements and goals for the future. Information gained during these interviews becomes part of the candidate's application and will be reviewed by the Admission Committee.

Finally, the level of an applicant’s interest is considered in the admission review. There are a multitude of ways an applicant can demonstrate their interest in DePauw beyond the application for admission, including visiting campus, applying early, connecting with the DePauw Office of Admission, admission interviews, and engagement with alumni. An applicant’s affinity and engagement provide insight into the student’s desire to attend, enroll, and become a part of the DePauw community.  

Applying for Admission

Applicants to DePauw should demonstrate outstanding academic preparation. A high school diploma is not required for admission consideration but students should offer evidence of commensurate preparation. To ensure adequate academic preparation for success we recommend the following pattern of secondary school coursework:

  • four years of English, emphasizing literature and composition
  • three to four years of science (two or more laboratory sciences)
  • four years of mathematics
  • four years of social science
  • a minimum of two (preferably four) years of the same foreign language

Application Process

To complete the application process, all candidates should submit the following materials to be received in the Admission Office by the appropriate due date:

  • Application for Admission (available at www.depauw.edu/apply)
  • Essay
  • Official SAT I and/or ACT scores
  • Official high school transcript(s)
  • Secondary School Report
  • Application fee, if applicable
  • Official college transcript(s), if applicable

Transfer applicants must also submit:

  • Official college transcript(s) from each school attended
  • College Official's Report

Students interested in pursuing a music degree must also complete a live audition before Music faculty. In the case of a student being unable to travel to campus for an audition, a video recording may be submitted.

Application for Admission and Financial Aid* Due Dates

Early Decision and Early Action 1, for those applying for need-based financial aid

November 1

Early Decision and Early Action 2, for those applying for need-based financial aid

December 15

Regular Decision, for those applying for need-based financial aid

February 1


June 10 for Semester I; January 10 for Semester II

 *All students applying for need-based financial aid must submit the CSS Profile before the required deadline. These students must also submit the FAFSA no later than February 1.

Early Decision

Early Decision is an admission program designed to assist applicants who decide early in their senior year that DePauw is their first-choice college. It is expected that Early Decision candidates, if accepted, will attend DePauw and withdraw all applications pending elsewhere. The University takes this commitment seriously and expects that Early Decision applicants will do so as well. The non-refundable enrollment deposit that reserves a student's place in the class is due by January 15 for Early Decision I and February 15 for Early Decision II applicants.

Early Action

Early Action I candidates apply for admission by November 1 while Early Action II candidates apply for admission by December 15. Bothe Early Action I and II candidates have until May 1 to confirm their intention to enroll.

Regular Decision

Regular Decision candidates apply for admission by February 1 and, if admitted, have until May 1 to pay the non-refundable enrollment deposit that reserves their place in the class.

Enrollment Deposit

The non-refundable enrollment deposit is due in the Admission Office no later than the date stipulated in the letter of admission. Enrollment deposits mailed after the due-date will be accepted only if space remains in the class. The enrollment deposit is credited against the first semester charges.

Transfer Students

Transfer students are encouraged to apply to DePauw University if they have achieved B grades or better in their college-level work. All materials noted above should be received in the Admission Office by June 10 for Semester I admission, and January 10 for Semester II admission. The non-refundable enrollment deposit is due on the date stipulated in the letter of admission. It is important to note that the University will not consider students for transfer admission who are not eligible to return to their previous institution for either academic or social reasons.

Final transfer credit evaluation will be made after official transcripts and course descriptions, if requested, are received by the Office of the Registrar. Credits are accepted for transfer only if granted by an accredited institution and carrying grades of C or above. For more complete information, see Section IV, Credit and Transfer Credit under Academic Policies of the University.

If additional transcripts of college-level work are presented that were not made available to the Admission Committee, the University reserves the right to deny transfer credit or to withdraw the student from the University if pertinent information has been withheld.

Applicants Without High School Diplomas

Early Admission is possible for highly qualified high school juniors who wish to forgo their senior year and enroll at DePauw without earning a high school diploma. A student considering Early Admission must present an excellent high school academic record and have the unqualified support of the secondary school and their family. An interview on campus with an admission officer is often required to assess the emotional, social and intellectual maturity of the applicant. Students enrolling without a high school diploma or GED must meet an Ability to Benefit test to qualify for federal and state financial aid funds.


Non-degree seeking students (special student status) other than international candidates apply for admission to the University through the Office of the Registrar.

International Students

International students are encouraged to apply for admission to DePauw University. All international students must take the SAT I or ACT to be considered for admission to DePauw, unless they reside in a country which does not offer the SAT or have been enrolled for at least four years in a school where the primary language of instruction is English. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required of all students. A minimum score of 563 paper-based, 223 computer-based, or 85 internet-based is required on the TOEFL, and a minimum score of 6.5 is required on the IELTS exam.

DePauw does offer limited merit-based scholarship to high-achieving international students but most students should plan to assume full financial responsibility for the costs of their education. These costs include tuition, room and board, fees, books, insurance, SEVIS fees, personal expenses and travel between their home and DePauw.

All international students are under the supervision of the Director of International Education and the International Student Advisor. DePauw University is authorized by the federal government to issue the I-20 and DS-2019 forms to international students who are admitted to the University and indicate their plans to enroll.

Students who are not U.S. citizens are admitted as:

  • regular degree candidates, or
  • exchange students 

Regular degree-seeking international students work toward the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Music degrees. Fees are the same as for U.S. degree candidates.

Exchange students are regularly enrolled degree candidates at their home universities who come to DePauw for one semester or one year as upper-class special students. They enroll for credit and transfer those credits back to their home institutions. The fee arrangements vary with each program, depending upon the exchange agreement. Regular exchange agreements exist with Waseda, Kansai Gaidai, Aoyama Gakuin and Nanzan universities in Japan; Tsinghua University in China; Koç University in Turkey; and Ewha Womans University in South Korea. All one-semester and one-year foreign-exchange students live in on-campus housing while studying at DePauw. A certificate of attendance at DePauw is provided.


Candidates who were previously enrolled at DePauw may apply for readmission through the Office of the Registrar. Readmission is evaluated on the basis of previous work done at DePauw, any subsequent course credits earned at another college or university, and other experiences since leaving DePauw. Medical and other information may be requested, and all previous financial obligations to the University must be paid in full before readmission will be considered. Deadline dates for readmission applications and accompanying documents are: July 1 for Semester I and December 1 for Semester II. Appropriate housing arrangements are made through the Student Life Office. Guidelines and application for readmission are available at https://www.depauw.edu/academics/academic-resources/advising/registrar/applying-for-readmission/.

DePauw Four-Year Guarantee

The University guarantees graduation within four years of matriculation at DePauw in standard four-year degree programs. The student has primary responsibility for knowing the graduation requirements and planning adequately to meet them. Should a student follow the course of study agreed upon with his/her academic advisor and not be able to graduate within eight consecutive semesters, tuition will be waived for any subsequent course work necessary for graduation provided the student:

  • declares a major by the middle of the sophomore year and persists in that major,
  • completes a full-time course load with grades of C or higher for a total of 31 course credits over eight consecutive semesters and
  • adheres to the distribution and competence requirements.

With appropriate planning, most students can participate in special honors programs, pursue off-campus study opportunities and/or earn a minor or even a second major within four years. However, the guarantee applies only to the basic degree requirements for programs that require 31 courses. Certain specialized programs in the School of Music and dual degree programs are exempt. Although students planning to major in a biological or physical science do not need to declare their majors immediately, they must begin taking appropriate laboratory science courses upon matriculation.