University of Colorado Admissions Statistics

Learn About CU and the GPA, SAT Scores and ACT Scores You'll Need to Get In

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The University Of Colorado at Boulder. Andrew Burton / Getty Images

With a 77 percent acceptance rate, the University of Colorado at Boulder may not appear very selective, but don't be misled by that number. The great majority of successful applicants have grades and SAT/ACT scores that are above average. To apply, you will need to submit an application that includes scores from the SAT or ACT, high school transcripts, a personal essay, and a letter of recommendation. Along with strong academic performance, the university is looking for students who have been active outside of the classroom.

Why You Might Choose the University of Colorado

The University of Colorado at Boulder (CU Boulder) is the flagship campus of Colorado's university system. The 600-acre campus is located right in the heart of Boulder. The university is a member of the prestigious American Association of Universities because of its strong research programs, and it ranks among the top public universities for its level of sponsored research. CU is one of the top colleges in Colorado and top schools in the Mountain States.

CU Boulder offers 85 undergraduate majors in its five colleges and four schools. The university was awarded a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for its strengths in the liberal arts and sciences. Outside of the classroom, students can participate in a number of clubs and organizations, including academic honor societies, recreational clubs, and performing arts groups. On the athletic front, the CU Boulder Buffaloes compete in the NCAA Division I Pac 12 Conference. Popular sports include basketball, track and field, cross country, and golf.

University of Colorado GPA, SAT and ACT Graph

University of Colorado Boulder GPA, SAT and ACT Data for Admission
University of Colorado Boulder GPA, SAT Scores and ACT Scores for Admission. See the real-time graph and calculate your chances of getting in with this free tool from Cappex. Data courtesy of Cappex.

Discussion of the CU-Boulder's Admissions Standards

Although the University of Colorado Boulder has a relatively high acceptance rate, successful applicants typically have high grades and standardized test scores. In the graph above, the blue and green dots represent accepted students. The great majority of admitted applicants had a high school average of "B" or higher, a combined SAT score of 1050 or higher (RW+M), and an ACT composite score of 21 or higher. The higher those numbers, the better. You'll notice very few rejected students (red dots) or waitlisted students (yellow dots) in the upper-right corner of the graph.

Note that there are a few red and yellow dots in the middle of the graph, so some students with grades and test scores that were on target for CU did not get accepted. Note also that several students were accepted with test scores and grades a bit below the norm. This is because the University of Colorado has holistic admissions. CU takes into consideration the rigor of your high school courses, your application essay, and your extracurricular activities. Applicants also need to submit a letters of recommendation, so be sure to choose someone who knows you well. Applicants to the College of Music need to audition.

Admissions Data (2016)

  • The University of Colorado - Boulder Acceptance Rate: 77 percent

Test Scores: 25th / 75th Percentile

  • SAT Critical Reading: 520 / 640
  • SAT Math: 550 / 670
  • ACT Composite: 25 / 30
  • ACT English: 24 / 31
  • ACT Math: 24 / 29

More University of Colorado Information

As you create your college wish list, be sure to consider factors such as school size, academic offerings, costs, aid, and graduation and retention rates.

Enrollment (2016)

  • Total Enrollment: 33,977 (27,901 undergraduates)
  • Gender Breakdown: 56% Male / 44% Female
  • 92% Full-time

Costs (2016 - 17)

  • Tuition and Fees: $11,531 (in-state); $35,079 (out-of-state)
  • Books: $1,800 (why so much?)
  • Room and Board: $13,194
  • Other Expenses: $2,294
  • Total Cost: $29,215 (in-state); $52,763 (out-of-state)

The University of Colorado at Boulder Financial Aid (2015 - 16)

  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 64%
  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
    • Grants: 51%
    • Loans: 35%
  • Average Amount of Aid
    • Grants: $9,410
    • Loans: $8,036

Academic Programs

  • Most Popular Majors: Business Administration, Communication Studies, Economics, English, Environmental Design, Global Studies, Journalism, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology
  • What major is right for you? Sign up to take the free "My Careers and Majors Quiz" at Cappex.

Transfer, Graduation and Retention Rates

  • First Year Student Retention (full-time students): 86%
  • Transfer Out Rate: 20%
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 47%
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 70%

Intercollegiate Athletic Programs

  • Men's Sports: Football, Golf, Skiing, Basketball, Track and Field, Cross Country
  • Women's Sports: Track and Field, Lacrosse, Soccer, Tennis, Volleyball, Golf, Basketball

If You Like the University of Colorado at Boulder, Check Out These Other Schools

Many applicants to CU apply to other colleges and universities in Colorado including Colorado School of Mines, University of Colorado Denver, and Colorado State University. The Colorado School of Mines is more selective than CU, but it also has some of the top-rated career outcomes of any college in the United States.

CU applicants also tend to apply to other large public universities in the western half of the U.S. Popular choices include the University of Arizona, University of Oregon, and University of Texas at Austin.

Data Sources: Graph courtesy of Cappex; all other data from the National Center for Educational Statistics.