Frequently Asked Questions

General

I sent in my test scores previously but don’t wish to use them for my application since testing is optional. Is that possible?

Yes. You will have an opportunity on the application to tell us if you do not want your test scores used in your evaluation. Rice recommends first-year and transfer student applicants to undergraduate degree-seeking programs to submit SAT or ACT test scores, if available.

How does Rice review applications?

Our admission process is centered on evaluating each student in the context of their background, community, and school circumstances. At Rice, we consider your entire application and all of the information contained therein helps us to understand as much as we can about you before making a decision. In addition, we evaluate applications through committee based evaluation which ensures that every application to Rice is evaluated and discussed by a minimum of two admission officers to identify the strengths and potential of each student. For more information, visit the Admission Philosophy page.

When you apply to Rice, how do you indicate an interest in a particular major?

As a part of your application, you will select a Division of Study and up to three majors/areas of interest including minors. You will have the opportunity to elaborate on your academic areas of interest in your Rice Writing Supplement. Students will be assessed on their preparedness and alignment to the majors they selected.

Are my chances better if I apply Early Decision?

Not necessarily. The most important consideration must always be whether the university is your absolute top choice and you are ready to make a commitment to enroll.

What is the difference between Early Decision I and Early Decision II?

Both Early Decision I and Early Decision II are binding decision plans. Students who apply Early Decision I must submit their materials by November 1 and students who apply Early Decision II must submit their materials by January 4.

May I submit supplementary materials with my application?

The required application components provide the Admission Committee with all the information we need to make an informed admission decision. However, if someone in your network has unique, personal knowledge about your achievements or talents, you may have that person submit a supplemental recommendation. A supplemental letter is not required or expected, but you may choose to submit one if you feel it can bring forth an aspect of your personal life or experience that has not been covered in your application. Additional recommendations can be from a community-based organization advisor, a coach, mentor, a job/work supervisor, music teacher, research advisor or summer program director, or religious leader.

Your supplemental recommendation must include the applicant’s full name, date of birth, or applicant ID and should be submitted through the application platform or to riceapps@rice.edu.

Do I need to submit an English Language proficiency test if I am a US citizen?

Regardless of citizenship, if your first language is English you are not required to submit a proficiency exam. If your first language is not English but you have completed at least two years of full-time study in an English language curriculum you are not required to submit a proficiency exam. If you do not meet either of these criteria you will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency. For more information visit the English Language Proficiency section of the First Year International page.

How does transfer credit factor into the admissions process?

We appreciate students who take advantage of rigorous academic opportunities, including AP or IB exams, dual credit or transfer credit. These are wonderful ways to challenge oneself and grow, and it is certainly noted in our evaluation of applications.

What AP, IB, transfer and dual credit coursework will be accepted by Rice?

We accept AP test scores of 4 and 5 for course credit, and IB test scores of 6 and 7. Please see the Advanced Placement (AP) Credit page or the International Baccalaureate (IB) Credit page for more information. We do not accept dual credit or any courses that count toward high school graduation requirements. The Office of the Registrar evaluates course credits taken at other regionally accredited colleges or universities that are appropriate to the Rice curriculum for potential transfer credit. This occurs only after a student has been admitted to Rice.

What dual credits will be accepted by Rice?

Transfer credit will not be awarded for courses that are included on the student’s high school transcript and used to satisfy high school graduation requirements, including dual credit courses. Only students who have more than 20 college preparatory courses may have the Office of the Registrar consider their college courses taken in high school for Rice credit. For more information about the transfer credit process, please visit the Transfer Credit page.

How does Rice accommodate dietary restrictions?

Students with special dietary needs are welcome to consult our campus chefs and nutritionists to determine a personalized dining plan. Please see the Rice Dining and Nutrition pages for more information.

If I change or add a major, can I still graduate in 4 years?

It depends! Students who would like to change or add a major should consult their Academic Advisor and the course requirements for both majors. With good planning and foresight, students may graduate on time as double majors.

What else is there to do on campus besides tours?

We invite you to visit our Student-Run Businesses, such as Rice Coffeehouse and Rice Bikes, and explore our public art exhibitions, like the James Turrell "Twilight Epiphany" Skyspace. Witness a piece of history by viewing our Berlin Wall Memorial housed at the Baker Institute, or swing by Rice Stadium to catch a sports game. You could also grab tickets to a concert at The Brockman Hall for Opera. There is lots to do on our beautiful and historic campus!

I’m a counselor. How can I get Rice swag?

Email us at admission@rice.edu to request some Rice goodies!

How do counselors submit transcripts?

Official high school transcripts must be submitted by the high school via:

  • The application platform (Common App or Apply Coalition with Scoir)
  • An electronic transcript delivery service
  • Postal mail directly to the Office of Admission
    • For USPS Courier:
      Rice University
      Office of Admission-MS 17
      P.O. Box 1892
      Houston, TX 77251-1892
    • For DHL/Fedex ESPRESS Couriers (common for international):
      Rice University
      Office of Admission-MS 555
      6100 Main St.
      Houston, TX 77005

Transcripts will not be accepted by fax or email.

How do I submit letters of recommendation and the school report?

Counselors can submit letters of recommendation and the school report through the Counselor Portal on the Common App or Apply Coalition with Scoir.

Who can apply through QuestBridge?

Any high school senior (regardless of citizenship) currently attending high school in the U.S. is eligible to apply through QuestBridge. Additionally, U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents living abroad are eligible. International students living outside the U.S. are not eligible.

If I applied through Questbridge and didn't match with Rice, can I still apply through Early or Regular Decision?

Given the variance of factors considered, not being selected for the College Match does not mean you are an inadmissible candidate for Rice. As long as you have not matched with any other binding schools, you are eligible to apply for Early or Regular decision and be considered for an equally comparable financial aid package.

For more information about QuestBridge at Rice, visit our QuestBridge FAQ page.

What scholarships are available?

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.

Is there an appeals process for scholarships?

No, the Office of Admission carefully considers all admitted students for scholarship offers and will not reevaluate final decisions.

For further information on Financial Aid, please visit the Financial Aid website and the Financial Aid FAQ page.

Application Materials

How can I get a fee waiver?

Domestic students may respond to the fee waiver prompts provided in the Common App or Apply Coalition with Scoir to receive a fee waiver. Students who participate in the QuestBridge program automatically qualify for application fee waivers from Rice.

Which foreign languages does Rice accept?

We will accept any foreign language that your high school has approved, with the exception of computer science.

How do you prefer the letter of recommendation to be written?

We have no preference! We welcome the easiest method for counselors and teachers to share their knowledge of the student.

Can I submit additional materials?

Yes, but additional materials are not required or expected. However, if you feel that there is something that would demonstrate your experience, character or talents outside of the application, you may send these materials to riceapps@rice.edu.

Can I submit more than three letters?

The required counselor and two teacher letters are sufficient for the Admission Committee to make a decision. However, if someone in your network has unique, personal knowledge about your achievements or talents, you may have that person submit a supplemental recommendation. A supplemental letter is not required or expected, but you may choose to submit one if you feel it can bring forth an aspect of your personal life or experience that has not already been covered in your application. Additional recommendations can be from a community-based organization advisor, a coach, mentor, a job/work supervisor, music teacher, research advisor or summer program director, or religious leader.

Any supplemental recommendations must include your full name, date of birth or applicant ID, and should be submitted through the application platform or via riceapps@rice.edu.

Does Rice superscore?

Yes! When reviewing SAT and ACT scores, we use the highest score from each section across all tests. 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.

Should I submit my test score?

While we do not require testing, Rice recommends first-year and transfer student applicants to undergraduate degree-seeking programs to submit SAT or ACT test scores, if available. Students who are unable or unwilling to submit test scores will still be given full consideration in the admission selection process. Please refer to our Class Profile for more information on the academic profile of admitted students. Admission Officers are not able to advise whether a particular score would help or harm your application.

How do I submit my Box image?

You can upload your Box image through the Common App, Apply Coalition with Scoir or your Rice Admission Student Portal.

What are the application essay prompts?

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 (2023-2024)

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. Please respond to one of the following prompts to explore how you will contribute to the Rice community:

  • The Residential College System is at the heart of Rice student life and is heavily influenced by the particular cultural traditions and unique life experiences each student brings. What life experiences and/or unique perspectives are you looking forward to sharing with fellow Owls in the residential college system? 500 word limit.
  • Rice is strengthened by its diverse community of learning and discovery that produces leaders and change agents across the spectrum of human endeavor. What perspectives shaped by your background, experiences, upbringing, and/or racial identity inspire you to join our community of change agents at Rice? 500 word limit.

Rice Box

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 Apply Coalition with Scoir, or uploaded in the Rice Admission Student.

First Year Domestic

I am a U.S. citizen, but went to high school in another country. Do I apply as a domestic student?

Yes! If a student has U.S. citizenship, Permanent Residency, DACA, Refugee/Asylee status or is undocumented while having lived in the U.S. for an extended period of time, they should apply as a domestic student.

How do you compare elite high schools to other high schools?

We consider all applicants within the context of their own schools and communities. We do not compare high schools, but instead look for students who make the most of the opportunities available to them. Learn more about our Application Philosophy here.

What classes should I take to be accepted?

You should take classes that challenge and interest you! We are looking for students who are taking advantage of the rigorous coursework available to them, especially those that align with their future goals. At minimum, students must complete the following high school courses:

Subject Area Number of Credits
English 4
Social Studies 2
Mathematics 3
Laboratory Science (e.g. biology, chemistry, physics) 2
Foreign Language 2
Additional credits in any of the categories above 3
Total 16

First Year International

Can international students receive an application fee waiver?

No, international students are not eligible to request an application fee waiver.

What tests for non-native English speakers does Rice accept?

We accept the TOEFL, IELTS and Duolingo tests to demonstrate English proficiency.

Test Minimum Score
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)* 100 (Internet-based test)
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 7
Duolingo 130

Are there exemptions to the English Proficiency Exam?

Students who are native English speakers or have completed at least two years of full-time study in an English language curriculum are not required to submit an English language proficiency exam. All other students must submit an English proficiency exam.

How can I receive a CSS profile fee waiver?

Students who qualify will automatically have the fee waived by the College Board. This applies to students who qualify for an SAT fee waiver, students who are orphans or wards of the court under the age of 24 and families with an adjusted gross income under $100,000. The Office of Financial Aid has a limited number of fee waiver codes for international students.

How do holidays and breaks work for international students who are unable to return home?

We have housing and dining services available for students throughout the entire academic year. Students who would like to live on campus during breaks must submit a request to the Housing and Dining department.

How are international students considered for financial aid?

Rice offers need-based financial aid to a limited number of international admits each year. If an international student would like to apply for financial aid, they must indicate this in their application. Unless their citizenship changes, only international freshmen who are awarded need-based financial aid during the admission process will be eligible to apply for financial aid after their first year . International admits will complete the CSS profile to apply for financial aid.

What documents are accepted for the International Financial Statement?

All bank statements or affidavits supporting total funds available for the total cost of attendance must be submitted. Tax documents, stock portfolios and proof of income are accepted, but will not be sufficient for the international financial statement.

Transfer

If I applied as a first year student to Rice and now wish to apply as a transfer student, do I have to resubmit everything?

Since first year admission and transfer admission take place in different application cycles and have very different requirements, you would need to submit different items. If you chose to submit testing, our office can use the testing you submitted as a first year applicant if you'd like to submit testing for your transfer application. However, no other documents from your first year application can substitute required transfer documents.

I sent in Test scores previously but don’t wish to use them for my application since testing is optional. Is that possible?

Yes. You will have an opportunity on the application to tell us if you do not want your test scores used in your evaluation. Rice recommends first-year and transfer student applicants to undergraduate degree-seeking programs to submit SAT or ACT test scores, if available.

How does Rice review applications?

Our holistic admission process is centered on evaluating each student in the context of their background, community, and school circumstances. At Rice, we consider your entire application and all of the information contained therein helps us to understand as much as we can about you before making a decision. In addition, we evaluate applications through committee based evaluation which ensures that every application to Rice is evaluated and discussed by a minimum of two admission officers to identify the strengths and potential of each student. For more information, visit the Admission Philosophy page.

When you apply to Rice, how do you indicate an interest in a particular major?

As a part of your application, you will select a Division of Study and up to three majors/areas of interest including minors. You will have the opportunity to elaborate on your academic areas of interest in your Rice Writing Supplement. Students will be assessed on their preparedness and alignment to the majors they selected. For more information, visit the Admission Philosophy page.

I believe my circumstances are somewhat unique. How can I share this with the admission committee?

The application process is designed to accommodate the broad spectrum of experience a transfer student might bring to the process. The application offers several opportunities for students to discuss their reasons for seeking a transfer, their interest in a particular field of study, their specific interest in Rice, what they believe is distinctive in their background and life experiences that would add to the Rice community, and if they experienced an education interruption. If you do not feel that the application questions allow you to fully explain your circumstances to the admission committee, you may email the information to us at riceapps@rice.edu.

If I have been out of high school for a long time, do I still need to upload a HS transcript?

Yes! However, our evaluation process considers the most recent academic coursework, so if you have been out of school for more than two years, you may want to consider taking some college coursework and applying as a transfer student. If your high school is no longer in existence, you must contact your state or district for transcripts to prove high school graduation.

What credits do I need to transfer?

We do not have specific credit prerequisites or a checklist for students who are seeking to transfer. However, we do pay close attention to the ways that you have engaged with your academic interests in and out of the classroom. This is one lens with which we view your application. The Office of the Registrar evaluates credits from previous institutions after a student has been admitted to Rice.

When will I know of my admission decision?

Fall Transfer decisions are released in June. Spring Transfer decisions are made by December 1.

Do transfer students receive financial aid?

Yes! Our Office of Financial Aid is committed to meeting 100% of demonstrated need for domestic students. Transfer students are not eligible for merit-based scholarships.

How many credits must be completed at Rice to graduate?

Transfer applicants must complete at least four semesters of coursework (60 semester hours) as a full-time student at Rice to be eligible for a bachelor's degree.

For any further questions about this, please contact the Office of the Registrar.

Special Populations

If I am a homeschooled student, should I submit testing?

Some students may feel that their standardized test performance demonstrates their academic preparation beyond the context of their secondary education curriculum. If you feel as though your level of academic preparation may be reflected through testing, then you may submit your scores or other materials listed on our website. Rice recommends first-year and transfer student applicants to undergraduate degree-seeking programs to submit SAT or ACT test scores, if available.

Can I apply to Rice to pursue a second Bachelor’s degree if I already have one from another institution?

Students who already have a Bachelor’s degree are not eligible to enroll as a degree-seeking undergraduate student at Rice.

If I have been out of high school for a long time, do I still need to upload a HS transcript?

Yes! However, our evaluation process considers the most recent academic coursework, so if you have been out of school for more than two years, you may want to consider taking some college coursework and applying as a transfer student. If you are unable to get the transcript directly from your high school, try contacting the district administration.

Who should write the letters of recommendation for homeschooled students?

Of the three required letters of recommendation (one counselor recommendation and two teacher recommendations), at least two letters must be completed by someone who is not related to the student.

Do homeschooled students need to take standardized tests?

While we do not require testing, Rice recommends first-year and transfer student applicants to undergraduate degree-seeking programs to submit SAT or ACT test scores, if available.

What homeschool programs does Rice accept?

We do not have a specific list of accepted homeschool programs. Homeschooled applicants are encouraged to provide detailed information about their curriculum, assessment tools and learning experiences, as well as a list of educational texts and materials used. Additionally, if a homeschooled applicant has completed coursework at one or more traditional high schools, colleges or universities, they are required to submit official transcripts from each institution attended.

Which military tuition assistance programs do we accept?

We accept the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery Bill, VR&E, Dependents Education Assistance Program, Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship and the Hazlewood Act. See the Office of the Registrar for more information.

Waitlist

How many students are on the waitlist?

The size of our waitlist is dependent on how many students accept the opportunity to remain on the waitlist; therefore, we cannot give an estimate at this time.

How many admission offers will be made to waitlisted students?

This number varies from year to year depending upon a variety of factors. In the past, the number of offers has ranged from zero students to around 150 students.

What can I do to increase my chances of admission?

We strongly encourage you to provide us with any new updates since you initially submitted your application to Rice. In addition to informing us of your continued interest in Rice, we also ask that you provide us with new and compelling information such as notable achievements, awards and accolades.

Please do not send additional letters of recommendation from school officials, Rice alumni or others. Additions to the file should be directly from the student. Please upload updates directly via your Rice Admission Student Portal. We cannot guarantee that updates sent via other methods will be included in our future considerations.

Is the waitlist rank-ordered?

No. All students who accept their place on the waitlist will be reviewed for any available spaces.

Is it appropriate for me to accept an offer of admission from another school while I wait to hear from Rice? What about other waitlists?

Yes, you may commit to another school and remain on the waitlist for Rice. If you are offered admission from the waitlist and choose to attend Rice, you must then withdraw your previous enrollment.

If admitted from the waitlist, how will I be notified?

We will contact you by phone or email if you are admitted from the waitlist. For this reason it is important that you notify us of any changes to your contact information. Please ensure that we have a correct phone number where we can reach you throughout the summer months.

Is admission from the waitlist need-blind?

Admission is need-blind for domestic students, including those admitted from the waitlist.

Are financial aid opportunities different for students admitted from the waitlist?

We guarantee need-based financial aid for all admitted students who qualify. If your financial aid application is complete, then we will prepare an aid package at the time of acceptance.

Is on-campus housing guaranteed for students admitted off the waitlist?

We are usually able to accommodate all incoming students from the waitlist who desire on-campus housing. In the extremely unlikely event that you are admitted but housing is not available, we will notify you at the time you receive your offer of admission.

When will I know if I am taken off the waitlist?

You will be notified by phone or email between May 1st and Orientation Week (one week before the official start of the fall semester) if you have been taken off the waitlist.

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