How to Get Into Pepperdine: Requirements, Stats + Tips

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May 9, 2024
7 min read
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Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/9/24

Are you interested in Pepperdine University? This guide will teach you everything you need to know about applying.

US News ranked Pepperdine as one of the most beautiful places to study and ranked it #76 among the nation's top universities. It combines a top-class education with a stunning campus in Malibu, California. 

If this sounds like what you're looking for in a college, Pepperdine might be the right fit! This guide will explain how to get into Pepperdine to make your college aspirations come true. Read on to learn more!

Pepperdine Acceptance Rate: 48.7% 

Pepperdine’s acceptance rate is 48.7%. This means that almost half of applicants gain admission into the school. 

Take a look at Pepperdine University's acceptance rates over the past three years. This information helps prospective students gauge their chances of admission, set realistic expectations, and make informed decisions about their application strategy.

Year Number of Applicants Number of Accepted Students Acceptance Rate
2023 13,516 922 48.7%
2022 12,371 900 53%
2021 13,000 1,200 42%
2020 12,764 726 31.7%

Pepperdine Early Action Acceptance Rate

The Pepperdine early action acceptance rate is 46.7%. This means that out of all the students who applied early, about 46.7% were accepted. 

It shows that Pepperdine is open to a good number of applicants who apply early. However, getting in early is somewhat competitive, as not everyone who applies gets accepted. This is a sign that Pepperdine is looking for bright students who are ready to contribute to the university community.

Year Number of Applicants Number of Accepted Students Early Action Acceptance Rate
2023 NR NR 46.7%
2022 NR NR NR
2021 NR NR NR
2020 NR NR NR

How Hard Is It to Get Into Pepperdine?

Getting into Pepperdine University is moderately challenging, given its 48.7% acceptance rate. This means the school is selective, admitting nearly half of its applicants. 

To improve their admission chances, students should focus on strong academic performance, diverse extracurricular activities, and compelling personal statements. Meeting or surpassing the university's GPA, SAT, or ACT score requirements can also boost an applicant's prospects.

Pepperdine Admissions Statistics

Pepperdine's admissions statistics give a clear picture of who gets in and how competitive it is.

Pepperdine Average GPA: 3.75

Pepperdine has an average GPA of 3.75, so you should aim for a GPA in the above-average range during your high school education. 

To ensure your application is competitive, strive for a GPA in the 3.68-3.89 range. Because Pepperdine is selective, you will want to aim for as high a GPA as possible to compete!

Pepperdine Average SAT Score: 1390

Pepperdine's SAT composite score in the 50th percentile is 1390. Like many other colleges, SAT and ACT requirements are now optional to submit with your application. 

However, you can still send your ACT and SAT scores to Pepperdine as a compliment to your application and a testament to your ability to achieve academic excellence. 

Pepperdine Average ACT Score: 31

Pepperdine's ACT composite score in the 50th percentile is 31. The ACT is no longer a requirement; it is now optional to submit with your application. 

You can still send your ACT scores to Pepperdine to help boost your competitiveness as an applicant. 

What Is Pepperdine Looking For In Applicants?

Pepperdine University's admission committee pays close attention to academic performance, GPA, standardized test scores (if submitted), participation in service and leadership positions, and the character traits shown in references and personal statements. Let’s examine its common data set to help you better understand how Pepperdine evaluates applications.

Category Very Important Important Considered Not Considered
Rigor of secondary school record X
Class rank X
Academic GPA X
Standardized test scores X
Application Essay X
Recommendation(s) X
Interview X
Extracurricular activities X
Talent/ability X
Character/personal qualities X
First generation X
Alumni/ae relation X
Geographical residence X
State residency X
Religious affiliation/commitment X
Racial/ethnic status X
Volunteer work X
Work experience X
Level of applicant’s interest X

Pepperdine Admissions Requirements 

  • Common App Personal Essay
  • Pepperdine Essay Question Response (300-500 words)
  • Official High School Transcriptssome text
    • Include Common Application ID
    • Submit electronically or by mail
  • Academic Letter of Recommendationsome text
    • From a core subject teacher or counselor
    • Submit through the Pepperdine Recommendation Form, Common Application Recommendation Form, or Scoir
  • Test Optional:some text
    • Submit SAT/ACT scores for Regents Scholars Program consideration
    • Fall applicants must take SAT I or ACT by October (early action) or December (regular deadline)

Pepperdine Application Deadlines

Keep reading for important dates to remember when submitting their materials for consideration.

Application Step Deadline
Fall Term First-Year Applicants November 1
Spring Term First-Year Applicants October 1
Fall Term Transfer Applicants January 15

Pepperdine Regular Decision Deadline

The Pepperdine Regular Decision deadline is your last chance to submit your application, so make sure to get everything in on time for full consideration.

Application Step Deadline
Apply for Fall Regular Decision January 15
FAFSA for Fall Regular Decision February 15
Decisions for Regular Decision April 1
Enrollment for Regular Decision May 1

Pepperdine Early Action Deadline  

The Pepperdine Early Action deadline allows applicants to submit their materials early for consideration, offering a head start in the admissions process.

Application Step Deadline
Apply for Fall Early Action November 1
FAFSA for Fall Early Action February 15
Decisions for Early Action January 10
Enrollment for Early Action May 1

How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Into Pepperdine

To get into Pepperdine, aim for good grades and SAT/ACT scores, get involved in activities you care about, and show your unique qualities in your essays. Don't forget to ask for solid recommendation letters, too. If you’d like to learn more about how to get into Pepperdine, keep reading. 

Do Well in School

Make sure you're putting in the effort to get good grades. Shoot for scores between 1290 and 1460 on the SAT or 28 and 32 on the ACT. The better you do in your classes and on these tests, the better your chances of getting into Pepperdine.

Get Involved

Join clubs, sports teams, or other activities that interest you. But don't just join everything – focus on a few things that you really care about. Volunteer for causes or projects that mean something to you. Pepperdine likes to see students who are active and engaged in their communities.

Consider Your Faith (If it Matters)

If you're Christian and involved in your church, that's great to mention. But remember, Pepperdine welcomes students from all backgrounds, so it's okay if religion isn't a big part of your life.

Help Out

Show that you care about others by volunteering your time. It could be anything from helping out at a local charity to tutoring kids after school. What matters is that you're making a positive impact in some way.

Show What Makes You Unique

Think about what sets you apart from other applicants. Maybe you've traveled to interesting places or overcome challenges in your life. Share these experiences in your application—Pepperdine wants to get to know the real you.

Write Good Essays

Take your time with your application essays. Use them as an opportunity to explain who you are and why you want to attend Pepperdine. Be honest and genuine – admissions officers can tell when you're trying to be someone you're not.

Get Good Recommendations

Ask teachers or mentors who know you well to write your recommendation letters. They should be able to speak to your strengths and character. Make sure to give them plenty of time to write the letters and provide any information they might need.

By following these steps and being yourself, you'll have a better chance of standing out to Pepperdine's admissions team. Good luck!

Pepperdine Essay Prompts

Alongside the Common App personal essay, applicants must also provide a written response to a specific question from Pepperdine through the Common App.

Pepperdine is a Christian university where all are welcomed and encouraged to challenge each other in the pursuit of truth. Students, faculty, and staff members from all backgrounds participate in conversations of faith inside and outside of the classroom. Considering that Pepperdine is a Christian university, why are you interested in attending and how would you contribute to conversations of faith on campus? (300-500 words)”

Pepperdine Interview

To get ready for a Pepperdine admission interview, students can either schedule an on-campus interview at the Malibu campus or choose a virtual interview via Zoom. This interview is a chance to have a meaningful conversation with a Pepperdine admission representative and can help enhance your application through the university's holistic review process. 

While the interview is optional, it's available to first-year students applying for Fall 2025, and missing out on an interview won't hurt your admission chances. International applicants or domestic applicants who completed schooling outside of the United States can select specific time slots labeled "International Student Admission Interview."

FAQs: Getting Into Pepperdine

After reading all this information about the school, you may still be asking yourself, “How hard is it to get into Pepperdine?”

If you're still curious to learn more about how to get into Pepperdine and are looking for answers to questions you may have, you're in luck! Below, we've gathered answers to the most frequently asked questions about Pepperdine. 

1. Is Pepperdine Worth the Money?

Pepperdine is a private college, which generally tends to have higher tuition costs than public colleges. However, if you're looking for a top-tier education with religious teachings and Christian values at the forefront of its curriculum, Pepperdine is absolutely worth the money. 

2. What Major Is Pepperdine Known For?

Pepperdine has an excellent reputation for its programs within the Graziadio Business School and is best recognized for its business, management, and marketing programs.

3. Is Pepperdine a Prestigious School?

With its strong reputation for academic excellence, costly tuition, and low acceptance rate, Pepperdine is known as a prestigious college in the United States.

4. What Does Pepperdine Look for in a Student?

When it comes to potential admissions, Pepperdine looks for students who demonstrate academic excellence, a background of service and leadership, and can show examples of strong character. 

Final Thoughts

Over 100 years of education rooted in Christian values has awarded Pepperdine University a strong reputation for academic excellence. Those who are accepted are usually students with high grades who can demonstrate a strong degree of leadership alongside giving back to their communities.

If this sounds like you and you feel Pepperdine would be a great fit, make sure to utilize all the information and tips highlighted in this article to strengthen your application. In doing so, you will be sure to make the admissions council fall in love with you and receive an acceptance. 

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