How To Get Into Emory University: The Definitive Guide

City of Atlanta
September 19, 2022
About Emory UniversityEmory University RequirementsEmory University Acceptance RateEmory University Class ProfileEmory University Supplemental Essays How to Prepare for the Emory University InterviewHow to Apply to Emory University Tips to Get into Emory UniversityShould I Apply to Emory University?FAQs


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 4/10/22

Do you want to study in Atlanta, Georgia? Our guide explores scary skeletons, Emory University's culture and traditions, and what you need to do to gain admission to Emory.

Emory University is full of spooky scary skeletons. Well, every spring, Dooley the skeleton, Emory’s unofficial mascot, descends on its campus dressed sharply in a black cape, top hat, and white gloves.

Black and white picture of Dooley the skeleton
Dooley the skeleton

Source: Emory

Dooley’s week is one of Emory’s many wacky traditions. Emory is famed for its quirky traditions and close-knit community; two-thirds of Emory College’s students live on campus. 

Not only is Emory a fun place to spend four years of your life, but it’s also one of the best colleges in the country; U.S. News lists it as #21 in its National Universities rankings

But, how can you get into such a prestigious college?

This article will show you how to get into Emory University and provide you with several top tips to make your application stronger. 

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About Emory University

Since its foundation in 1836, Emory’s mission has been “to create, preserve, teach, and apply knowledge in the service of humanity.”

Emory’s first-year students can choose between Emory College of Arts and Sciences or Oxford College. Emory College shares the downtown Atlanta campus with the professional and graduate schools, while Oxford College is 38 miles to the east in Oxford, Georgia. 

Interestingly, Emory is a research-based campus, and Oxford focuses on liberal arts education. You’ll get a flavor of both campuses; if you enroll at Oxford College, you will matriculate to Emory College’s campus after two years. 

Emory’s students can pursue more than 80 majors and study in one of the top 20 Association of Research Libraries in North America. Emory’s students can engage in interdisciplinary research, scholarship, and study abroad opportunities in Atlanta, the U.S., and around the world. 

Emory has a tradition of social responsibility; 83% of seniors are involved with volunteer service while studying at Emory. Additionally, Oxford College runs Community Engaged Learning classes that allow its students to apply what they have learned with “service work in local metro Atlanta communities and around the world.” 

Overhead picture of Emory University's campus

Source: Emory University

Emory University Requirements

Emory accepts either the Coalition Application, the Common Application, or QuestBridge Application

These applications require you to provide autobiographical information and complete an activities and achievements section and a personal statement. Once you have completed these, you must meet Emory’s admissions requirements. 

Emory’s admissions requirements include: 

Please note that if you are applying through Early Decision II or Regular Decision, you will need to submit your Midyear report and transcript. 

Early Decision I applicants must submit their materials by early November. So, if you are accepted through ED I, you may be required to submit your Midyear report and transcript once they become available to you. 

Letters of Recommendation 

You need to attach two letters of recommendation to your college application. Emory recommends that they come from a teacher who has instructed you in a core academic area. These areas include: 

Although it’s optional, you can ask your teacher to submit a teacher evaluation alongside their recommendation letter. Your teacher or school counselor must provide your evaluation. 

Test Scores 

Emory currently operates a test-optional policy. This means that submitting standardized test scores is optional, and you will not be penalized in the admissions process if you decide not to submit any scores. 

If you do want to submit your test scores, Emory accepts the tests listed below. 


The American College Test (ACT) is a college-readiness test designed to assess if you have the skills to pursue your studies at college. The ACT contains four multiple-choice tests and an optional writing test that assess your knowledge on a range of fields: 

The middle 50% range of ACT scores achieved by Emory College’s admitted students is 33 to 35, and Oxford College’s is 32 to 35. 

Emory has not set a minimum required or “cutoff” ACT score for admission. However, you should aim to achieve the same as the figures listed above if not higher. 


Much like the ACT, the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) assesses if you are capable of handling the difficulty of college-level work. The SAT evaluates you in three core areas: 

You should aim to take the SAT as soon as possible, so you have the option of re-taking the exam. Most applicants complete the SAT in the fall of their senior year or the spring of their junior year.

Preparation is key if you want to ace the SAT. So, knuckle down and research several SAT hacks that will help you get into college. 

In the Evidence-based Reading and Writing Section, the middle 50% range of SAT scores achieved by Emory College’s admitted students is 710 to 770. In the Evidence-based Reading and Writing Section, the range is 740 to 780. 

Oxford College’s enrolled students achieved 710 to 770 on the Evidence-based Reading and Writing Section, and 740 to 800 on the Math Section.

Emory does superscore your tests; if you take the test several times, they will consider your highest scores. 

English Language Proficiency Testing

If English isn’t your first language, Emory requires you to take an English Language Proficiency Test

You can receive a test waiver if you meet any of the following criteria: 

If you don’t meet any of the criteria listed above, you will have to take an English Language Proficiency Testing. Emory accepts the following tests:

Although Emory does not set cutoff scores, applicants should aim for: 

Set a goal of higher scores than these if you want to be a competitive applicant at Emory. You can also take the SAT’s optional writing section if you want to demonstrate your grasp of the English language further. 

Picture of a group of seated students discussing ideas

Source: Emory's website


The middle 50% range of unweighted GPA achieved by Emory College’s admitted students is 3.80 to 4.00, and Oxford College’s is 3.76 to 3.98. This is substantially higher than the 3.0 average GPA achieved by most high school graduates. 

You will need to achieve near straight As in your classes to compete in Emory’s applicant pool. Improving your GPA requires a lot of work. However, working closely with a tutor, taking summer school classes, and choosing the right courses can boost your GPA. 
Alternatively, a private admissions consultant can provide you with end-to-end college application counseling and help you get into the college of your dreams.

Emory University Acceptance Rate

Of the 33,436 applications Emory College received last year, it admitted 4,364 students, meaning its acceptance rate is 13.1%. 

Oxford College admitted 4,006 students from 20,212 applications, meaning its acceptance rate is 19.8%. 

Yield Rate

Emory’s yield rate is determined by how many admitted students decide to enroll. 

Emory College enrolled 1,534 students, meaning its yield rate is 35.2%. Oxford College’s yield rate is 15.2%, as it enrolled 608 students.

Diagram showing how many students Emory College accepted
Diagram showing how many students Oxford College accepted

Source: Emory 

Emory University Class Profile

Emory attracts a diverse array of world-class applicants to its campuses each year. 


The self-identified races/ethnicities of Emory College’s first-year class are: 

Diagrams showing the self-identified races and ethnicities of Emory College’s first-year class

Source: Emory 

The self-identified races/ethnicities of Oxford College’s first-year class are: 

Diagrams showing the self-identified races and ethnicities of Oxford College’s first-year class

Source: Emory 

Student to Faculty Ratio

Emory’s student to faculty ratio is 9:1, and over 55% of its classes have less than 20 students. 

Source: US News & World Report 

Emory is home to a world-class faculty; two of Emory’s professors have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and two have received the Pulitzer Prize. 

Emory’s most celebrated faculty members include former US president Jimmy Carter, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jericho Brown, and CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta.

Emory University Supplemental Essays

Emory requires you to answer two short answer questions in addition to your Personal Statement. Emory’s admissions committee uses your responses to learn more about you and your academic interests. 

Supplemental Essay Prompts

The first of Emory’s supplemental essay prompts is required, and asks:

What academic areas are you interested in exploring in college?” 

Your response to this prompt should be no more than 200 words. 

Emory’s second prompt allows you a little more freedom, as you can choose to write no more than 150 about one of the following questions: 

1. “Reflect on a personal experience where you intentionally expanded your cultural awareness."
2. "When was the last time you questioned something you had thought to be true?"
3. "If you could witness a historic event (past, present or future) first-hand, what would it be, and why?"
4. "Share about a time when you were awestruck."
5. "Which book, character, song, monologue, or piece of work (fiction or non-fiction) seems made for you? Why?”

How to Write the Emory University Supplemental Essays

Writing stellar supplemental essays is difficult. But, we’ve got some tips for you that will help you understand how to write the Emory University supplemental essays. 

Be Authentic 

Your supplemental essay responses should help Emory learn a lot about you. So, you should be as authentic as possible in your essays. 

Lisa Coetzee, the Communications Manager at Emory’s Office of Admission, says that admissions officers can judge if a student is not being true to themself

As Coetzee explains, “If you’re creative, show us. If you’re a nerd, be proud of that. If you’re a deep thinker, reveal it. If you’ve walked a hard road (or a privileged one), tell us about it.”

Write about you, your interests, and your experiences. 

Don’t Beat a Dead Horse

Emory chooses its supplemental essay prompts for a reason - they want to know about specific parts of your life, what you are interested in, or how you think. 

Your responses are not the place to regurgitate your resume, accomplishments, or grades. Instead, you should show off your personality and reflect on your experiences, something that your grades can’t do alone. 

The same rhetoric is relevant for your Personal Statement; don’t beat a dead horse. 

If you include additional information, it can help Emory shape a better picture of who you are. Remember, they can’t see you - they can only see the words you have written on the page. So, help them better understand you, your goals, and your past by mixing it up.  

After all, variety is the spice of life. 

Do Your Research 

Your supplemental essays responses are used to gauge how you will fit into Emory’s academic and social community. Butt states that “every first-year class aligns with Emory’s core mission and values.”

So, if you show how your personal qualities align with Emory’s mission and community values, you will present the best application you can. 

Doing college research is the best way to achieve this. It allows you to point to what resources, opportunities, and organizations you will take advantage of when you attend Emory.  

For example, pick out one of Emory’s 480 student clubs, sports teams, and performing arts groups and explain why you want to join it. Alternatively, take a look at the Emory’s course atlas and explain why a particular program excites you. 

Essentially, you want to show how you will be an ideal fit for their program and community. 

Picutre of the Health Sciences Research Building at Emory University
The Health Sciences Research Building at Emory University

Source: Emory

Supplemental Essay Examples

Let’s take a look at a Emory personal statement example from an admitted student at Emory. 

Emory Essay Example

Prompt: "Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?"
"The Oxford comma is the comma used after the penultimate item in a list. I learned about this majestic piece of punctuation at an early age and wondered how anyone could advocate against it. How could anything that adds so much clarity, while requiring so little effort, be controversial? When I joined my school’s newspaper in sophomore year and learned that AP style does not use the comma, I was shocked. Therefore, when I became Managing Editor my senior year, my first initiative was reinstating it."
"Others might find this to be a trivial concern, but you know what they say about the devil: he lives in the details. It is part of my personal philosophy that details are the most essential part of any plan or project; they are what separates the bad from the good, and the good from the great... Occasionally, writers groan when they hear that I will be the one editing their story, but that’s how you know you’re doing a good job."
"An effective copy editor will do more than correct punctuation: they’ll detect structural problems and predict questions that readers will ask so the writer can answer them. Writers may not love having to make so many changes, but they finish the news cycle with a product they are proud of."
"My attention to details, like that elusive comma, does more than make me a good worker: it makes me a good communicator. I listen carefully to people, to details, and I think they matter. I like to share my own opinions through writing and photography, but more than that, I like to share the stories of others. This past summer, I had the opportunity to meet a number of community workers and write about them for the regional newspaper... Being able to give these local heroes the spotlight they deserved was more rewarding than I could have ever expected."
"What makes me unique is that I don’t just notice details, I care about them. I think clarity of communication is the most vital and most neglected aspect of a functional society. That is why I believe journalism and communication are important. You can’t move someone who is stuck in their ways by spouting facts and figures at them. You convince people by telling stories, stories that appeal to our shared humanity."

How to Prepare for the Emory University Interview

Emory doesn’t offer applicants interviews with its admissions staff. However, it will invite a small number of candidates to partake in the Emory Alumni Interview Program

Most of Emory’s applicants will not receive an interview and those that don’t complete an interview will not be disadvantaged in the admissions decision process in any way.  

Picture of Emory University entrance
Emory University entrance

Source: Emory

Interview Questions

Emory seeks to understand why you are passionate about its community, culture, and programs in its interviews. Your interview is also an opportunity to learn more about Emory and Atlanta. 

Don’t be nervous about the interview; Emory’s interviews are more relaxed than a traditional college interview and take place in a relaxed environment. 

Nicolai Lundy, an Emory alumnus and one of the Co-Chairs of the Emory Alumni Interview Program, says that “you already have a lot of talking points in your application.” 

Emory’s Alumni want to hear about your interests, so share them! As Lundy recommends, “All you have to do is think about which one(s) you want to talk about and that’s as much preparation as you need.” 

It is always handy to have a question or two in mind to ask your interviewer. For example, you can ask your Emory alumni interviewer about their experiences. 

How to Apply to Emory University

As noted above, you will need to satisfy Emory’s admissions requirements to be admitted. 

Application Deadlines

Emory’s deadline for Regular Decision applications is early January, and you should hear from its decision in early April.

Early Decision Date and Acceptance Rate

Emory offers you two Early Decision options:

  1. Early Decision I
  2. Early Decision II

Early Decision I is a binding program. You cannot apply to any other college’s binding Early Decision or Early Action program unless it is between Emory College of Arts and Sciences and Oxford College. However, you can still apply to another university’s regular decision program. 

Of Emory’s ​​1,975 Early Decision I applicants, 769 students gained admission, meaning its acceptance rate is 38.9%. Remember, Emory attracts many dedicated and high-achieving applicants, so you’ll have to work hard to be a competitive applicant. 

Emory’s deadline for Early Decision I applications is in early November, and you should hear its decision by mid-December.

Early Decision II is also a binding program, and the deadline for its applications is in early January. You should hear from Emory by mid-February.

Tips to Get into Emory University

Every year Emory has a highly competitive applicant pool. Its applicants often achieve high standardized test scores and GPAs. 

However, before you start doubting yourself, we’ve got some top tips for you that will show you how to get into Emory University. 

Take Your Academic Preparation Seriously 

High school academic work is [a] critical” part of Emory’s admissions decision process, says Mark E. Butt, the Director of Undergraduate Selection at Emory. 

Demonstrating excellence in your high school classes provides your application with a solid foundation. Thus, you should challenge yourself in high school to be a competitive applicant at Emory. 

Pursuing demanding courses is a brilliant way to show you work hard and can cope with the difficulty of college-level classes. Butt states that your high school transcript “is the best predictor of academic success as Emory.” 

Emory places such weight on your high school transcript that good grades in higher-level classes can overcome low standardized test scores. Yet, low grades in difficult classes will rarely be overcome by high standardized test scores.

Colleges generally prefer to see you achieve competitive grades in Advanced Placement classes (AP) than brilliant grades in a limited curriculum. Of course, there is a balancing act when it comes to taking more challenging courses.

For example, taking more AP classes may drop your overall grades from As to Cs. However, if you don’t take any harder courses and receive a 4.0 GPA, Emory may question why you didn’t push yourself. 

If you take tricker classes, you will likely spend more time studying. So, make sure you balance your schoolwork with your social life. 

Receive Stellar Letters of Recommendation 

College admissions committees use your letters of recommendation to understand your work ethic, how you cooperate with others, and how you process data. In essence, these letters tell the story behind your standardized tests scores and GPA. 

You shouldn’t choose the teacher that gives you the highest grades to be your recommender. Instead, choose someone you have a good relationship with and who will say nice things about you. 

Emory urges you to “​​Consider the teacher who challenged you the most, can share details about your strengths, or can tell us how you overcame obstacles.” Remember, choose a recommender who is impressed by your work ethic. 

Choosing a recommender that knows a different side of you is also a brilliant way to strengthen your application. For example, if they know what you like to do outside of the classroom, they can shed a different light on you as an applicant and as a person. 

In essence, try to choose a recommender that perfectly illustrates how you will fit into Emory’s community. 

Write a Compelling Personal Statement 

Your Common Application personal statement provides you with a chance to show off your personality in your voice. 

The Common App prompts are often open-ended; colleges want to let you decide what is important and what you want to write about

However, it can be daunting to face a blank page when you are asked to write about yourself. This is especially challenging as you should only write around 650 words in your college essay

So, Emory has provided you with an example personal statement from an applicant who they accepted. We recommend you study these and take the time to understand the ways successful applicants reflected upon their experiences.

Should I Apply to Emory University?

Emory is a highly prestigious and selective university. Only you can decide if it is right for you. However, there are several things that make Emory an institution worth attending. 

Atlanta is filled with internship opportunities, which can help you get your dream job after you graduate. Emory also contains a stellar pre-med program. If you are an aspiring doctor, Emory could be the ideal place for you. 

If the cost of college is what is holding you back from applying, Emory meets 100% of demonstrated financial need; Emory College’s average package of financial assistance is $42,277.


1. Should I apply to Emory Early Decision?

If Emory is 100% the college for you, you should apply for Early Decision

As Emory itself notes, “If Emory is the school that you measure all other schools by, and those schools always fail in comparison, then we would strongly encourage you to consider ED.” 

Again, please note that Emory’s Early Decision I and II programs are binding, so you have to be confident that you want to attend its programs. Additionally, you cannot compare financial aid packages as what package you receive is final. 

2. What does Emory’s binding Early Decision mean? 

The term “binding” means that you are entering into a contractual agreement where you must enroll if Emory admits you with adequate financial aid.

3. Can I earn college credit in high school? 

Emory allows you to earn college credit by taking specific courses in high school. 

First-year students can be granted up to 18 credit hours from courses, including: 

Emory will evaluate all online coursework on a case-by-case basis. 

4. Does Emory take “demonstrated interest” into account? 

No, Emory does not take “demonstrated interest” into account in its admissions decision process. 

However, that does not mean that you shouldn’t attend virtual sessions, visit Emory’s campuses, or email admissions counselors. Campus visits, in particular, help you get a feel for the college. After all, you will spend at least four years there. 

5. Will I be penalized if I am not offered an interview? 

No. Emory only offers a small number of interviews to its applicants, and you will not be disadvantaged if you are not one of them. 

6. Does Emory take legacy consideration into account in their admissions decisions? 

Yes! Emory encourages you to detail your university ties in your application if you have any. 

However, while Emory will consider a legacy connection, it is not a guarantee of admission. Legacy connections include your: 

Unfortunately, aunts, cousins, and uncles do not count as legacy connections. 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now know how to get into Emory University. 

Take the time to review its class profile to understand what range of standardized test scores and GPAs it admits. Take as many challenging courses as you can in high school; you want to show Emory you can handle its curriculum. 

Remember, your personal statement and supplemental essays are your chance to speak directly to Emory’s admissions committee. Be authentic in your responses and show how your values align with Emory’s. If you’re struggling to put pen to paper, use the examples provided to see how successful applicants wrote about their experiences. 

Good luck with your application!

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