Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

Undergraduate Admission and Holistic application Review Process

This past year, nearly 41,000 students applied to the university.  With an acceptance rate of 48%, it was a very selective process, and we expect this admission cycle to be equally as selective.  In an effort to keep our class size small (23) and our student-teacher ratio low (13:1), we only enroll a freshman class between 2000-2100 students each year.  One of the most challenging parts of the selection process is that our applicant pool is comprised of many talented students and we only have a limited number of spaces. Therefore, many candidates to Fordham will possess many of the characteristics outlined below and still may not gain admission to Fordham. 

What is Fordham's philosophy on application review?

The Office of Undergraduate Admission is committed to a holistic review of all submitted applications.  This review is comprised of all required elements, which include: 

Official High School Transcript
Test Scores (SAT I or ACT with writing)
One letter of recommendation from a teacher or guidance counselor

Additionally, we are looking to admit students who have demonstrated academic success in their high schools and who display the personal qualities that have been show to correlate with academic success including leadership, interpersonal skills, perseverance, and integrity.

What characterizes a strong application to Fordham University?

American High School Programs:  Students should pursue a challenging high school curriculum (ideally the most rigorous curriculum available at his or her school) with progressively rigorous courses through the senior year.  Candidates for admission to Fordham must have completed a rigorous college preparatory program or its equivalent.  This preparation should include a minimum of 16 academic units in the following areas:

English (four years)
Science (three to four years)
Mathematics (three to four years)
Social Studies (three to four years)
Foreign Language (two to four years)

Students who intend to pursue a mathematics, science, or pre-medical curriculum should present at least four units of math and one each of physics and chemistry.  Business students should have four years of college preparatory mathematics.

• International High School ProgramsThose students pursuing secondary education outside of the USA may not have the same curriculum options available in USA high schools.  Fordham understands this, and we review international applications with this awareness.  However, please note that we expect international applicants to pursue a challenging university preparatory curriculum within the country of their secondary study. 

Competitive Standardized Test Scores: SAT and ACT scores are only one indicator of a student’s potential and are most valuable as a predictor of success when viewed in the context of the high school transcript.  We will review composite or combined scores and look for consistency in the sub-scores and sections.  Our Core Curriculum and academic programs require students to pursue the humanities, math and science so these scores are important in determining student preparation.  

Note:  Due to the quantitative nature of the Gabelli School of Business majors, strong math scores (+650) are preferred.  

(Combined Critical Reading, Math and Writing) 
Middle 50% for Admitted Students 1830-2040

      ACT Composite 
Middle 50% for Admitted Students   27-31
*Please note that we do require the ACT with writing*

English Language FluencyInternational non-native English speakers must demonstrate English fluency through standardized test results.



Essay: In evaluating a pool of nearly 41,000 applications, our committee views the essay as the most personal component.  As a writing sample it serves many purposes in the review process:

o Who You Are.  The essay provides insight into the applicant as a person and should be self-reflective and have a clear voice.  We want to get to know you better and determine if you are a good match for our community.

o How Well You Write. The essay should be well written and free of grammatical errors, typos and other mistakes.  It should demonstrate that you are ready to produce college level composition.  At Fordham, writing and communication skills are considered essential, and our cornerstone Eloquentia Perfecta courses are directed at developing these skills.

o Do You Think Critically? You will be given a series of essay prompts from which to choose from in the application.  How you answer the questions and the logic of your composition is an indicator of your readiness to engage in complex analysis and argument at the college level.

Note: Fordham does not require a Writing Supplement. Only the primary application essay is required.

Letters of Recommendation: We only require one academic letter.  We would like it to be from a counselor or teacher who knows you well and can provide us information and in some cases context about you and your high school career.  Additional letters of support may be supplied but please only send those that will give us a different dimension concerning who you are and add perspective to your overall application.  Remember, when choosing which documents to submit, quality and not quantity, is what is important.

Extra and Co-Curricular Activities: This list will be different for every student (that is our expectation!).  Your activities, both in and out of school, should be a reflection of you, your interests and your goals.  What is important to us is consistency of involvement and whenever possible an increasing level of commitment and leadership.  Service is always a plus.

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