Southern Methodist University: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Statistics

Southern Methodist University

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Southern Methodist University is a private research university with an acceptance rate of 51%. Located in the University Park area of Dallas, Southern Methodist University consistently ranks among the top 100 national universities. The Cox School of Business and Meadows School of the Arts are both highly regarded, and the university was granted a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for its strength in the liberal arts and sciences. The university offers 90 bachelor degree programs through its five undergraduate schools. SMU is affiliated with the Methodist Church, but its teaching is nonsectarian. In athletics, the SMU Mustangs compete in the NCAA Division I American Athletic Conference.

Considering applying to Southern Methodist University? Here are the admissions statistics you should know, including average SAT/ACT scores and GPAs of admitted students.

Acceptance Rate

During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, Southern Methodist University had an acceptance rate of 51%. This means that for every 100 students who applied, 51 students were admitted, making SMU's admissions process competitive.

Admissions Statistics (2017-18)
Number of Applicants 12,603
Percent Admitted 51%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled (Yield) 24%

SAT Scores and Requirements

SMU requires that all applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, 49% of admitted students submitted SAT scores.

SAT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 630 710
Math 650 750
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

This admissions data tells us that most of SMU's admitted students fall within the top 20% nationally on the SAT. For the evidence-based reading and writing section, 50% of students admitted to SMU scored between 630 and 710, while 25% scored below 630 and 25% scored above 710. On the math section, 50% of admitted students scored between 650 and 750, while 25% scored below 650 and 25% scored above 750. Applicants with a composite SAT score of 1460 or higher will have particularly competitive chances at Southern Methodist University.


SMU does not require the SAT writing section. Note that SMU participates in the scorechoice program, which means that the admissions office will consider your highest score from each individual section across all SAT test dates. SAT Subject tests are not required at SMU, but are recommended for home-schooled applicants.

ACT Scores and Requirements

Southern Methodist University requires that all applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, 63% of admitted students submitted ACT scores.

ACT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
English 29 35
Math 27 31
Composite 29 33

This admissions data tells us that most of SMU's admitted students fall within the top 9% nationally on the ACT. The middle 50% of students admitted to SMU received a composite ACT score between 29 and 33, while 25% scored above 33 and 25% scored below 29.


Southern Methodist University does not require the ACT writing section. Unlike many universities, SMU superscores ACT results; your highest subscores from multiple ACT sittings will be considered.


In 2018, the average high school GPA of SMU's incoming freshmen class was 3.6, and over 69% of admitted students had average GPAs of 3.5 and above. These results suggest that most successful applicants to Southern Methodist University have primarily A and high B grades.

Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph

Southern Methodist University Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph.
Southern Methodist University Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph. Data courtesy of Cappex.

The admissions data in the graph is self-reported by applicants to Southern Methodist University. GPAs are unweighted. Find out how you compare to accepted students, see the real-time graph, and calculate your chances of getting in with a free Cappex account.

Admissions Chances

Southern Methodist University, which accepts half of all applicants, has a selective admissions process. If your SAT/ACT scores and GPA fall within the school's average ranges, you have a strong chance of being accepted. However, SMU has a holistic admissions process involving other factors beyond your grades and test scores. A strong application essay and glowing letters of recommendation can strengthen your application, as can participation in meaningful extracurricular activities and a rigorous course schedule. Applicants with particularly compelling stories or achievements can still receive serious consideration even if their test scores are outside of SMU's average range. Applicants to SMU's music, theatre, and dance programs should note that there are audition requirements, and art students are encouraged to submit a portfolio.

In the graph above, the blue and green dots represent accepted students. You can see that most students who were admitted had high school averages of "A-" or higher, combined SAT scores of about 1200 or better, and ACT composite scores of 25 or higher. The higher those grades and test scores, the better your chances are of gaining admission. You'll notice that nearly all applicants whose scores placed them in the upper right corner of the graph were accepted.