University of Tennessee Admissions Statistics

Learn about UT and the GPA, SAT Scores, and ACT Scores You'll Need

University of Tennessee Knoxville
University of Tennessee Knoxville. Ethan Gruber / Flickr

Despite it's relatively high acceptance rate of 77 percent, the University of Tennessee has selective admissions, and most admitted students have grades and standardized test scores that are above average. Students can use the school's application or the Common Application. UT requires SAT or ACT scores, a short essay, and information about extracurricular activities.

The University of Tennessee ranks among the top Tennessee colleges and the top South Central colleges and universities.

Why the University of Tennessee?

  • Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Campus Features: UT's attractive 910-acre campus sits along the banks of the Tennessee River. UT's red brick buildings stand alongside tree-lined walks, quadrangles, and park spaces.
  • Student/Faculty Ratio: 17:1
  • Athletics: The UT Volunteers compete in the NCAA Division I Southeastern Conference
  • Highlights: UT Knoxville is the flagship campus of the state university system, and it has a rich history dating back to 1794. Business fields frequently do well in national rankings, and strengths in the liberal arts and sciences earned the school a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

University of Tennessee Admissions Statistics 2017–18

For students who entered the University of Tennessee Knoxville in the 2017-18 academic year, the school had a 77 percent acceptance rate. Below are SAT and ACT score percentiles for admitted students.

SAT Score Percentiles
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 580 660
Math 560 650
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

If you compare SAT scores for top Tennessee colleges and universities, you'll see that only Rhodes College and Vanderbilt University are significantly more selective. An average SAT score is a little over 500 for each section, so you can see that successful UT applicants tend to be above average.

ACT Score Percentiles
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
English 24 32
Math 24 28
Composite 24 30

The ACT is a much more popular exam than the SAT for UT applicants (although either exam is fine), and as with the SAT, you can see that successful applicants tend to score above the average of 21.

University of Tennessee GPA, SAT Score, and ACT Score Graph

University of Tennessee Knoxville GPA, SAT score, and ACT score data for admission
University of Tennessee Knoxville GPA, SAT score, and ACT score data for admission.  Graph courtesy of Cappex

The University of Tennessee Knoxville GPA, SAT score, and ACT score data in the graph was self-reported by applicants to the university. Grades are unweighted. You can see the real-time graph and calculate your own chances of getting into UT with a free account at Cappex.

Discussion of the University of Tennessee's Admissions Standards

About one in four applicants to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville will not get in. To be successful, an applicant should have grades and standardized test scores that are at least a little above average. In the graph above, the blue and green dots represent accepted students. You can see that the majority of students who got in had high school GPAs of 3.0 or higher, ACT composite scores of 20 or higher and combined SAT scores of 1000 or better (RW+M). Higher grades and scores significantly increase your chances of receiving an acceptance letter.

Note that there are a some red dots (rejected students) and yellow dots (waitlisted students) hidden behind the green and blue in the middle of the graph. Some students who had grades and test scores that appeared to be on target for UT Knoxville did not get admitted. Note also that some students were accepted with test scores and grades a little bit below the norm. This is because UT Knoxville has an admissions process that is partly holistic. Grades and test scores matter most, but the admissions officers will also consider the rigor of your high school courses, your extracurricular activities, and any special talent you might have (such as athletic excellence). Some applicants may also benefit from submitting an optional personal statement and optional letters of recommendation.

More University of Tennessee Information

UT Knoxville represents a good value, especially for in-state applicants. Tuition is relatively low, and close to 90 percent of all students receive some form of grant aid. When calculating costs, however, it's important to note that fewer than half of all students manage to graduate in four years.

Enrollment (2017)

  • Total Enrollment: 28,321 (22,317 undergraduates)
  • Gender Breakdown: 50 percent male / 50 percent female
  • 94 percent full-time

Costs (2017 - 18)

  • Tuition and Fees: $12,970 (in-state); $31,390 (out-of-state)
  • Books: $1,598 (why so much?)
  • Room and Board: $10,696
  • Other Expenses: $5,666
  • Total Cost: $30,930 (in-state); $49,350 (out-of-state)

University of Tennessee Financial Aid (2016 - 17)

  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 93 percent
  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
    • Grants: 88 percent
    • Loans: 45 percent
  • Average Amount of Aid
    • Grants: $8,903
    • Loans: $6,934

Academic Programs

Graduation and Retention Rates

  • First Year Student Retention (full-time students): 86 percent
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 46 percent
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 70 percent

Intercollegiate Athletic Programs

  • Men's Sports: Football, Golf, Basketball, Baseball, Swimming, Tennis, Track and Field
  • Women's Sports: Rowing, Soccer, Softball, Track and Field, Volleyball, Basketball

If You Like the University of Tennessee, Check Out These Other Schools

Applicants to the University of Tennessee Knoxville tend to consider other public universities in Tennessee and nearby states. Popular options include the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, East Tennessee State University, Auburn University , Clemson University, and the University of Georgia.

Strong students often consider some of the excellent private universities in the southeastern United States such as Vanderbilt University and Duke University. Just keep in mind that these schools are much more selective than the University of Tennessee.

Data Source: National Center for Education Statistics