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Molly Kiefer

University of Denver Admissions: The SAT, ACT Scores and GPA You Need to Get In

University of Denver Admissions - Magoosh

University of Denver is a respected research university–with the Rocky Mountains in its backyard. The best of both worlds!

Denver, the Colorado city from which DU draws its name, is also known as The Gateway to the Rockies. Skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and rock climbing bring visitors from across the world to the Mile-High City.

On top of the wonder if its natural surroundings, Denver is know for its cultural institutions, including a contemporary art center and an active music scene. In fact, in 2016 Denver was selected by the US News & World Report as the best place in to live in America!

University of Denver Admissions - Magoosh

But there’s more to the University of Denver than the great city it’s located in.

At DU can expect small class sizes, a commitment to diversity, and all the opportunities that come with living in a rapidly growing and vibrant city.

The university’s business program is widely respected–in fact, it’s considered the best in Colorado! DU also has a well-regarded women’s college that awards a degree from the university. And for those who want to venture a little farther afield, 7 out of 10 University of Denver students study abroad. It’s no surprise then that DU ranks in the top five nationally for study abroad participation!

The undergrad community numbers around 5,600 students, smaller than comparable Colorado state universities like Colorado University–Boulder, which was also ranked 87th by the US News & World Report. Each year about 1,400 new students are admitted.

On top of all that, DU offers over 100 clubs and student organizations, and has a freshman retention rate of 87%. That’s pretty darn high!

University of Denver at a Glance


University of Denver SAT Average Composite Score1265
University of Denver ACT Average Composite Score28
University of Denver Admissions Rate 58%
University of Denver GPA average (admitted students)3.7

So those are the basic stats…now keep reading to for a deeper look at those numbers, expert tips on DU admissions, and everything else you need to know to give yourself the best shot at being accepted to University of Denver! 🙂

University of Denver SAT Scores

The composite University of Denver SAT scores are listed above, but let’s analyze the scores section by section:

Math (25%-75%)570-670
Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (25%-75%)590-680

Admitted students scored an average composite of 1265 on the 1500-point scale in 2017.

The middle 50% of students admitted in 2017 scored between 1180 and 1340, meaning 25% scored lower than 1180 but were still admitted and another 25% scored above 1340.

We recommend you aim for that 1340!

And if you’re planning on sending SAT scores to DU, here are a few other things you should know:

  • The University of Denver doesn’t have a minimum SAT score to apply, or a threshold guaranteeing acceptance.
  • They also “superscore” standardized test scores by combining your best numbers on each test you’ve taken in to one profile, rewarding you for taking the SAT multiple times.
  • Unlike other schools, the University of Denver doesn’t require SAT Subject tests, but applicants are welcome to submit them.

University of Denver ACT Scores

The average accepted student had a composite score of 28 in 2017, and the middle 50% scored between 21 and 31.

Similar to the SAT, there’s neither a minimum score the University of Denver requires from applicants nor one that will ensure you’re admitted.

DU doesn’t require students to submit an ACT Writing score, but you can expect one to increase your chances if you scored well!

University of Denver GPA Average

Admitted students’ high school GPAs from 2017 look like this:

GPAPercentage of Students
Over 3.7562%

As you can see, almost two-thirds of admitted freshman had a GPA of 3.75 or higher, so we recommend you aim around there.

If you’re not sure what your current GPA is, you can figure it out with our GPA calculator!

University of Denver Acceptance Rate

DU accepts more than half all all students that apply, with an acceptance rate of 58% and an early acceptance rate of 99.5%.

However, over the past few years, the University of Denver has been growing more selective.

If you’re certain this is the place for you, you should apply for Early Decision or Early Action, since you’re much more likely to gain admission.

Students can apply using University of Denver’s Pioneer Application or submit materials using the Common App. DU’s fee is $65, but qualifying students can request a fee waiver.

University of Denver Freshman Profile

So who are these students who were admitted last spring? Let’s take a look at the student demographics from the Class of 2022:

  • International Students: 7.5% from 52 countries
  • Students from U.S: 92.5%
    • American Indian/Alaskan Native: 0.2%
    • Asian: 4.5%
    • Black/African-American: 2.2%
    • Hispanic/Latino: 11.8%
    • Multi-race (not Hispanic/Latino): 4.6
    • Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander: 0.1%
    • White: 74.3%
    • Unknown: 2.3%

Expert Advice on How to Get Into University of Denver

We spoke to Lena N. from the college prep organization Transizion, to get her expert advice on how to get into University of Denver.

Let’s take a look at what she had to say!

University of Denver Admissions - magoosh

“The University of Denver prides itself in its “whole-person assessment” of applicants applying to their school. This means that while the typical SAT and ACT scores range from 1180-1340 and 25-31, high test scores will do not guarantee acceptance and low ones do not mean you will automatically be rejected.

DU states on their page admission standards page that they place great consideration on an applicant’s essays, recommendation letters, and extracurricular activities. This means that you have considerable more control over your admission result than with other universities.

DU’s emphasis on these three aspects of your application means that the university has great interest in what you outside of the classroom setting. They truly see a student as more than his or her grades. Instead, DU aims to accept and cultivate students who are aware, inclusive, and who works towards a ‘sustainable common good.’

Therefore, my biggest piece of advice is for you to show them in your essay and through your choice of extracurricular activities that you are a proactive individual, someone who contributes to causes and changes – a do-er of things and an active participant of your community.

To further strengthen your application, ask one or more of your recommenders to highlight this aspect of your personality in their letter.” — Lena N., Transizion

More Advice…Straight from the DU Admissions Office!

We also got in touch with Craig Dionne, the Northeast Regional Director of Admission at the University of Denver.

Here’s his number one piece of advice for getting into DU:

“Academic achievement!

The majority of our admission decisions at the University of Denver (DU) are based on academics. We are looking closely at course selection, grades, as well as academic trends. Other factors may also come into play to help us reach our final decisions.

We want students to challenge themselves with the most demanding courses available to them at their school. The most demanding courses at your school may be Advanced Placement (AP) classes, Honors classes or International Baccalaureate (IB) classes. Be realistic in your course selection and don’t take the harder courses just for the sake of taking them, especially if you are not going to perform well in them.

Grades are important. The majority of the students that we admit are A/B students. Fortunately, DU is considered moderately competitive, so one bad grade or two, especially in the freshman or sophomore year is not going to keep you from being admitted.

The SAT or ACT are part of our admission process. Typically, a higher score can help a student, but a lower score wouldn’t necessarily exclude a student from being admitted. Other factors considered would include leadership, extra-curricular involvement, the admission essay, and recommendation letters.

Finally, I love to hear from interested students. The more I know about my applicants, the better the chance they have of being admitted. ” — Craig Dionne, Northeast Regional Director of Admission, DU

University of Denver FAQ

How much does University of Denver cost?
DU is more expensive than many other private institutions, with tuition and fees for the 2017-2018 school year at $48,669 and room and board at $12,612, according to U.S. News data.

That said, nearly half of admitted students receive financial aid, with an average aid package of $30,824.

What is the gender ratio at University of Denver?
53% of students in 2017 were women and 47% were men, about an average gender distribution in higher education.

Can undocumented students apply to University of Denver?
Absolutely! University of Denver offers a special application for undocumented students, and is proud to support DACA recipients.

How to Get Into University of Denver

How to get into University of Denver?

Here’s our official “How To Get Into University of Denver” Checklist…You need:

  • A 1340 or higher on your SAT (670 in Math and 680 in Evidence-Based Reading & Writing)
  • A 31 or higher on your ACT
  • A 3.75 or higher GPA
  • A well-written application essay that conveys your unique personality
  • Extracurriculars that show you are passionate about the “sustainable common good”
  • Enthusiastic letters of recommendation that highlight in what ways you are an active participant of your community.

If you can check these boxes, there’s a good chance that soon you’ll be packing your bags for one of the best cities in America!

University of Denver Admissions - Magoosh

Happy studying. 🙂

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About Molly Kiefer

Molly completed her undergraduate degree in Philosophy at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. She has been tutoring the SAT, GRE, and LSAT since 2014, and loves supporting her students as they work towards their academic goals. When she’s not tutoring or blogging, Molly takes long walks, makes art, and studies ethics. Molly currently lives in Northern California with her cat, who is more popular on Instagram than she is.

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