Preparing to Apply

We received over 30,000 applications for approximately 4,000 places in the fall 2015 freshmen class. We operate on a rolling admission policy which means there is no specific deadline to apply for admission, but it is to your advantage to plan ahead and apply early. With this in mind here are a few things you can do to stay competitive as you prepare to apply to the University of Pittsburgh:

  • Honors, AP, International Baccalaureate (IB), and College in High School classes. It’s good to take a number of such classes, but don’t take so many you can’t do reasonably well in them.
  • Advanced level classes. The Committee is looking for a well-rounded curriculum from all applicants. Whenever possible, go beyond the minimum requirements. Four years of French and/or math, for example, looks better on a transcript than three.
  • Taking the SAT or ACT more than once. We recommend that you test once in the junior year and once early in the senior year. We combine your highest SAT critical reading and/or ACT English and math sub scores from all tests submitted. We also require that you submit a writing score.
  • Retaking a class with a lower-than ‘C’ grade. If you earn less than a ‘C’ grade in a key class, think about retaking the class in the summer.
  • A rigorous senior year curriculum. We recommend a solid curriculum even in your senior year. It is to your benefit in the admissions review. Also, you’ll make an easier transition to college-level work during your freshman year.

Application Requirements

Your application is considered complete for review and will be sent to the admissions committee when we have received:

  • Completed online application for admission.
  • $45 application fee
  • High school academic information using the Self-Reported Academic Record or submitting an official high school transcript.
  • Official SAT or ACT test results (writing section required). Please arrange for all of your test results to be forwarded directly to Pitt from the testing agency.

Short Answer Questions

In lieu of an essay or personal statement, we ask interested applicants to answer a series of short answer questions. Answering the following questions is optional, but strongly encouraged. Your answers may increase the likelihood that you are considered for scholarships, guaranteed admission to graduate or professional school, or given special consideration due to extenuating circumstances. The Admissions Committee reviews responses for quality rather than length. Keep your answers concise and purposeful. The most effective response typically ranges from 250-500 words in total for all three questions. Responses that are longer or shorter are acceptable. If you decide to submit short answers, please answer all three questions:

  • How have you overcome failure and what did you learn from it?
  • How have you exhibited outstanding leadership?
  • Why is Pitt a good choice for you?

In order to submit your responses to the Short Answer Questions, you must first complete University of Pittsburgh application. You will then receive an e-mail with a link to complete the Short Answer Questions online. If you have already completed the application, you may complete the Short Answer Questions online.


Submitting a completed application for admission will have you automatically reviewed for University Honors College eligibility, Graduate/Professional School Guaranteed Admissions Programs, and merit-based scholarships.


Letters of Recommendation

While we appreciate your teachers, counselors, and other mentors taking the time to write recommendation letters on your behalf, we find letters are beneficial in very limited circumstances (for example: providing context for variance in your overall academic performance). We recommend that you submit responses to the Short Answer Questions and use that space to explain or clarify what most recommenders would cover in a letter.

Questions about your application materials? Contact the appropriate admissions processor.