- Definition of a First-Year Domestic Applicant
First-year domestic applicants are those who will complete high school by the end of the current academic year and hold one of the following citizenship or residency statuses:
- U.S. citizenship
- Permanent Residency
- Undocumented who do not hold DACA status but have resided in the U.S. for an extended period of time
Students enrolled in concurrent high school and college courses are considered first-year candidates.
Students who have elected to take time off from schooling between graduating from high school and enrolling in college are considered first-year candidates.
Completion of a high school diploma (or an equivalent) prior to enrollment is required for all new incoming students.
- Application Fee
Rice requires a $75 nonrefundable application fee. Students requesting an application fee waiver from Rice should respond to the fee waiver prompts provided in the Common Application or the Coalition Application. Those students participating in the QuestBridge program automatically qualify for application fee waivers from Rice. Please note: fee waivers are only available for domestic applicants.
- Rice Supplement
The Rice supplement offers you the opportunity to share more about yourself. This is your chance to tell us why you are interested in Rice and what you would like to pursue as a student here. We also want you to elaborate on your experiences and achievements to share what you would bring to our community.
Essay Prompts (2020-2021)
1. Please explain why you wish to study in the academic areas you selected. 150 word limit.
2. Based upon your exploration of Rice University, what elements of the Rice experience appeal to you? 150 word limit.
3. Rice is lauded for creating a collaborative atmosphere that enhances the quality of life for all members of our campus community. The Residential College System and undergraduate life is heavily influenced by the unique life experiences and cultural tradition each student brings. What life perspectives would you contribute to the Rice community? 500 word limit.
One of Rice's long-standing traditions is “The Box,” a question on our application where we ask all of our applicants to share an image of something that appeals to them. The Box gives you the opportunity to present us with an image that shares something about yourself, your interests or what is meaningful to you. This image is not used for evaluative purposes in the application, but allows you to put your stamp on the application about who you are aside from what you have achieved. Be sure to choose an image that speaks for itself and does not need an explanation. The Box must be a two-dimensional image that is uploaded in the Common Application or the Coalition Application, or uploaded in the Rice Admission Student Portal.
- Shepherd School of Music Applicants
Applicants interested in Shepherd School of Music must submit additional materials depending on their area of study. All application materials must be completed by December 1. Music applicants are not eligible to apply through QuestBridge or Early Decision. Admitted students must pursue the music program for at least one year before changing schools. For more information, please visit the Shepherd School of Music Admission page.
- School of Architecture Applicants
Applicants interested in the School of Architecture must submit a portfolio of creative work. Portfolios should be uploaded via your Rice Admission Student Portal. Note: Submissions exceeding the specifications listed below will not be accepted.
The portfolio should demonstrate creative potential and is not expected to be architectural in focus nor professional in quality. It may include examples of sketches, paintings, photography, models, etc. Examples of mechanical or computer drafting are strongly discouraged. The School of Architecture does not accept CDs or DVDs.
- PDF file labeled with applicant name (example:JaneDoe.pdf)
- 15 MB maximum file size
- Page size should be horizontally oriented A4 or Letter (8.5” x 11”); images should be between 150dpi and 300 dpi
- The first page should be a cover/title page with the applicant’s name
- Content can be up to 10 pages (not including the title page); more than one image or work can be included per page
- Captions of images with title, year of execution, media, and size are encouraged. A one to two sentence description is also acceptable.
For admission information, we encourage you to visit the School of Architecture’s admission page. For more information about the program, please visit their website.
Architecture Essay Prompts (2020-2021)
1. Why are you determined to study architecture? Could you please elaborate on your past experiences and how they have motivated you to apply to Rice University and the School of Architecture in particular? 250 words.
2. Please expand on relevant experiences and motivations outside of your academic trajectory that have inspired you to study architecture, focusing on aspects that are not accommodated by other prompts in the application. 250 words.
- Decision Plan
Early Decision Plan
Early Decision is a binding decision plan designed for students who have selected Rice as their first choice. Students may initiate applications to other colleges under nonbinding plans but must withdraw those applications if admitted to Rice. Students who apply Early Decision must submit their materials by November 1. Admission decisions will be released by mid-December.
All admission decisions are final. There are three admission outcomes from Early Decision; the admission committee will:
- Defer - Deferred applicants are considered with the Regular Decision pool.
- Deny - Denied applicants will not be considered with Regular Decision pool, but are welcome to re-apply in the following application cycle.
It is important to note that, if admitted under Early Decision, a candidate must withdraw all other college applications, may not submit any additional applications after accepting the offer, and must accept Rice’s offer of admission by submitting an enrollment deposit by January 1.
Those accepted under Early Decision who demonstrate financial aid eligibility and submit all required materials by the deadline will receive a financial aid package at the time of admission.
Regular Decision Plan
Regular Decision is a non-binding decision plan. Students who apply Regular Decision must submit their materials by January 1. Admission decisions will be released by April 1.
All admission decisions are final. There are three admission outcomes from Regular Decision; the admission committee will:
- Waitlist – Applicants who are offered a place on the waitlist may elect to be considered for admission if space in the class becomes available.
- Deny – Denied applicants are welcome to re-apply in the following application cycle.
Regular Decision applicants who are offered admission must submit an enrollment deposit by May 1.
Those accepted under Regular Decision who demonstrate financial aid eligibility and submit all required materials by the deadline will receive a financial aid package at the time of admission.
Rice is one of the original QuestBridge university and college partners (starting in 2004), and we are now one of only 42 university and college partners with a proven commitment to providing access to low-income students. Programs Rice supports include the College Prep Conferences (typically held in May and June) and the National College Match program which runs October through December. The National College Match is open to all U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents OR students, regardless of citizenship, currently attending high school in the United States.
For more information about applying to Rice through QuestBridge, please visit QuestBridge’s Rice University page or contact us directly at email@example.com.
- High School Requirements
Official high school/secondary school transcripts must include grades from 9th through 11th grade as well as courses being taken in the 12th grade. Early Decision applicants are encouraged to submit first marking period grades, when they become available. Regular Decision applicants will be required to submit mid-year grades from 12th grade, when they become available.
Applicants studying in an international exam-based curriculum, must submit:
- All official high school transcripts
- Final exam results (for example IGCE/GCSE, CBSE X/AISSCE X)
- Predicted exam results, if available
Official high school transcripts must be submitted by your high school via the application platform (Common App or Coalition Application), through an online ordering system or eTranscript service, or sent via postal mail directly to the Office of Admission. Transcripts will not be accepted by fax or email.
Rice seeks students who demonstrate intellectual vitality through their course selection and their grade performance. Most applicants will challenge themselves by taking advantage of the rigorous coursework available to them. At a minimum, students must complete the following.
||Number of Credits
|Laboratory Science (e.g. biology, chemistry, physics)
|Additional credits in any of the categories above
- At a minimum, the natural science and engineering divisions require trigonometry or precalculus and both chemistry and physics. Students may substitute a second year of chemistry or biology for physics.
- Students admitted with curriculum deficiencies will be asked to complete the required work by taking high school or college-level courses during the summer before enrollment at Rice.
- Standardized Testing
Testing Policy (2020 - 2021 application cycle only)
Rice will allow first-year and transfer student applicants to undergraduate degree-seeking programs for the 2020-2021 application cycle to submit SAT or ACT test scores, if they choose. Students who are unable to submit test scores or prefer not to submit test scores will be given full consideration in the admission selection process.
While standardized tests have long served to provide an external benchmark of college-readiness that provides meaningful information about a student’s preparedness for the rigors of a Rice education, they are merely one factor of many that are considered in the admission process. As is consistent with our holistic review, students will be given full consideration with the information they have provided regardless of their decision to submit their test scores.
Students wishing to provide additional exams for admission consideration are welcome to submit these to our office. These exams are purely optional and at the discretion of the students to submit. We want students to have every opportunity to showcase their strengths and academic achievements where possible.
- SAT Subject Tests: Students who have completed the SAT Subject Tests may submit these tests for consideration. Typically, these tests show mastery within specific subject areas and can show strength, particularly in the STEM fields. Access to SAT Subject Tests were severely hindered through the cancellation of Spring SAT administrations, so students not submitting subject tests will not be disadvantaged.
- PSAT or Pre-ACT scores: Students will also have the option of self-reporting their PSAT or Pre-ACT scores. While not typically an assessment for admission consideration, the PSAT and Pre-ACT do predict performance on the SAT or ACT, respectively. Students who feel their performance on these assessments is strong, are welcome to submit these assessments for our consideration. A student who chooses to do so may be asked to upload a copy of their PSAT Score Report or Pre-ACT Score Report.
- AP Exams, IB Exams, or AICE Exams: Students may opt to self-report AP, IB or AICE exam scores in the testing section of the Common Application, Coalition Application, or QuestBridge National College Match Application. These scores show mastery of content knowledge in specific subjects and may be eligible for undergraduate course credit once a student enrolls.
- Predicted IB Diploma and A-Levels: Students enrolled in IB and A-Level curricula whose schools submit predicted scores for admission consideration are expected to complete their exams and submit final results prior to enrolling. Should conditions related to the pandemic not allow for students to sit for their IB or A-Level examinations, Rice will accept the scores provided by the examination boards.
General Testing Policy
Students applying for Fall 2022 or later will be required to submit results of either the SAT or ACT for admission to Rice. Should further disruption to standardized testing persist into 2021, a reconsideration of our testing policy will occur at that time.
- ACT or SAT: Rice does not have a preference for students to submit one test over the other. If an applicant submits both an SAT and an ACT score, the committee will consider the test that best enhances their application.
- Superscore: When reviewing SAT and ACT scores, we use the highest score from each section across all administrations. We encourage students to report all scores knowing that we will recombine the sections to get the best possible set of scores for each candidate.
- Writing and essay sections: The ACT Essay and SAT Writing section are not required and not considered for admission. Writing or essay section scores are not visible as part of the admission evaluation process.
- Self-reported Scores: Students have the option to submit self-reported scores if they are graduating from a high school within the U.S. or submit official scores. Admitted students who choose to enroll at Rice will be required to submit official test scores prior to matriculation.
- Official Test Scores: To be considered official, scores must be sent directly from the testing organization. Rice’s College Board code, including TOEFL, is 6609 and our ACT code is 4152.
Please refer to our Class Profile for more information on the academic profile of admitted students.
|Freshman Testing Deadlines
|QuestBridge National College Match
- Letters of Recommendation
Candidates must submit letters of recommendation from their counselor and two teachers.
Counselor Letter of Recommendation
The counselor letter of recommendation serves to highlight the accomplishments of a student within the context of their high school. The letter must come from an applicant’s assigned school counselor, college counselor, principal, or headmaster. Applicants will not be disadvantaged if their high school structure and counselor’s caseload does not allow students the opportunity to build a personal relationship with their counselor.
Teacher Letters of Recommendation
The two teacher recommendations serve to highlight the applicant’s academic strengths and contributions in the classroom. Both of these recommendations should be from teachers of core academic subjects, and at least one recommendation should relate to the applicant's intended area of study. Though not a requirement, both letters should come from junior or senior year teachers.
Supplemental Letters of Recommendation
The required counselor recommendation and two teacher recommendations provide the Admission Committee with all the information we need to make an informed admission decision. However, if someone has unique and personal knowledge about an applicant's accomplishments or talents, the applicant may have that individual submit a supplemental recommendation. For example, this could include an employer, supervisor, coach, mentor, or another teacher. Supplemental recommendations must include the applicant’s full name, date of birth, or applicant ID and should be submitted through the application platform or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We recommend an interview for first-year applicants, though they are optional and not guaranteed. Interviews are a great way to demonstrate interest in Rice and an excellent opportunity to showcase academic and personal successes while learning more about the campus experience. An inability to schedule an interview will not negatively impact your application.
Due to Covid-19, all interviews for the 2020 - 2021 application cycle will be conducted virtually. A trained alumnus or current Rice University senior will virtually meet with you to learn more about your accomplishments and academic interests and to answer your questions about studying at Rice.
A limited number of interviews with current Rice University seniors will be available beginning in late August through our campus visit website. You do not need to have submitted your admission application to schedule an interview with a current senior, but interview slots are on a first-come, first-served basis. Please follow the deadlines below when scheduling an interview with a current senior.
||Interview Completed By
If you are unable to schedule an interview with a Rice senior, you will still have the opportunity to request an interview with a member of the Rice Alumni Volunteers for Admission (RAVA). Due to limited availability, you will need to submit your application for admission before requesting an interview with RAVA. Then access your online applicant portal and request your virtual interview by the deadlines below.
||Application Submitted By
||Interview Requested By*
|Regular - Priority Deadline*
*Please note that you may only complete one interview. We have no preference between completing an interview with a Rice senior or a RAVA. In years of exceptionally high demand for interviews, all requests may not be fulfilled. We will try to match students who request an interview by the priority deadline first.
- Rice/Baylor Medical Scholars Program
The Rice/Baylor Medical Scholars Program is a partnership between Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine that promotes the education of students who are scientifically talented, compassionate towards others and socially conscious. Through this joint effort we seek to enroll students of high-achievement that desire to work in healthcare and represent the diverse communities in which they serve. Baylor College of Medicine reserves this program for U.S. citizens and U.S. Permanent Residents. Rice and Baylor College of Medicine select a limited number of first-year students each year to pursue a four-year bachelor's degree at Rice, followed by conditional admission to Baylor College of Medicine.
Rice/Baylor students are encouraged to explore the entire range of undergraduate offerings at Rice to expose themselves to a broad-based education. Those selected to the program will apply insight from this extensive exposure to the liberal arts and other disciplines to the study of modern medical science. Students admitted to Rice but not selected for the Rice/Baylor Medical Scholars Program may still apply to Baylor College of Medicine or any other medical school following their Rice undergraduate experience.
December 1: Submission deadline for Rice admission application and Rice/Baylor supplemental application
Late January: Notification of interview selection
February: Interviews at Baylor College of Medicine
By April 1: Notification of Rice/Baylor Scholar selection
Early Decision applicants must commit to Rice by January 1, regardless of the Rice/Baylor decision to be made later in the spring. Early Decision applicants to Rice must submit all Rice application materials by November 1; however, the Rice/Baylor application does not have to be submitted until December 1.
Regular Decision applicants must submit all application materials, including the Rice/Baylor supplemental application by December 1. Applications that are not submitted by December 1 will be considered for Regular Decision admission to Rice but will not be considered for Rice/Baylor.
The Rice/Baylor application essays are available below so that you may prepare your responses in advance.
1. What aspirations, experiences or relationships have motivated you to study in the eight-year Rice/Baylor Medical Scholars Program? (500 word limit)
2. Outside of academics, what do you enjoy doing most? (300 word limit)
3. Describe the most difficult adversity you have faced, and describe how you dealt with it. (300 word limit)
- Application Status
You will be notified via email how to access your Rice Admission Student Portal which is designed to assist you in tracking our receipt of your application materials and to communicate your final admission decision. The only valid notification of an admission decision is a formal communication from the Rice University Office for Enrollment. We reserve the right to close your application if you are admitted under a binding Early Decision plan at another institution.
- Financial Aid & Scholarships
Need-Based Financial Aid
We know that one of the biggest factors in determining the right school is affordability. Because we believe talent deserves opportunity, Rice offers need-blind admission to domestic students. This means we do not consider finances when we review the application. Additionally, Rice meets 100 percent of demonstrated need – without loans – through the Rice Investment, one of the most notable financial aid programs in the country. For more information about need-based financial aid and the Rice Investment, please visit our Office of Financial Aid website.
The Office of Admission offers merit-based scholarships to incoming first year students who distinguish themselves academically and personally within our highly competitive group of admitted students. These scholarships are based solely on merit and financial need is not taken into consideration. There is no separate application or interview required; the Admission Committee automatically considers all admitted students, both domestic and international, on the basis of the student’s application for admission. About 20% of admitted students are offered a merit scholarship each year. Students awarded a merit-based scholarship will be notified at the time of admission.
- AP/IB/International Examination/Dual Enrollment Credit
Advanced Placement (AP) Exams
Rice University awards transfer credit for the Advanced Placement (AP) Program, which enables high school students to earn transfer credit for college-level courses taken in high school upon completion of AP examinations with a score of 4 or 5. For more information about the AP transfer credit process, please visit the Advanced Placement (AP) Credit page.
International Baccalaureate (IB) Exams
Rice University awards transfer credit for International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations for students who hold the International Baccalaureate Diploma and have obtained a score of 6 or 7 on higher level exams. For more information about the IB transfer credit process, please visit the International Baccalaureate (IB) Credit page.
Students who complete various international exams with a grade of A or B may receive transfer credit. These exams include A-Levels, the Abitur, CAPE, CEGEP (Science Option), French Baccalauréat (Science Option), Italian Maturita, and Swiss Federal Maturity Certificate. For more information about the international exams transfer credit process, please visit the International Exam Credit page.
The Office of the Registrar evaluates courses taken at other regionally accredited colleges or universities (or their foreign equivalent) that are appropriate to the Rice curriculum for potential transfer credit.
Transfer credit will not be awarded for courses included on a student’s high school transcript and used to satisfy high school graduation requirements, i.e. dual credit courses. Only those students who have more than 20 college preparatory courses may have the Office of the Registrar consider for Rice credit their college courses taken in high school. For more information about the transfer credit process, please visit the Transfer Credit page.