University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) Admissions

SAT Scores, Acceptance Rate, Financial Aid, and More

University of Nevada Las Vegas Sam Boyd Stadium
University of Nevada Las Vegas Sam Boyd Stadium. Ethan Miller / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

The University of Nevada Las Vegas accepted 81 percent of applicants in 2017, and admitted students tend to have grades and standardized test scores that are at least slightly above average. Students can apply using the Common Application or the UNLV Application. An applicant's grades, high school curriculum, and standardized test scores are the primary factors used for admission decisions.

Why University of Nevada Las Vegas?

  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Campus Features: UNLV's 350-acre campus is just a mile from the famous Las Vegas Strip. Despite its urban location, the campus features award-winning garden spaces. The school's football stadium seats over 35,000 fans.
  • Student/Faculty Ratio: 21:1
  • Athletics: The UNLV Rebels compete in the NCAA Division I Mountain West Conference.
  • Highlights: UNLV has one of the most diverse student bodies in the country. Students can choose from over 390 majors, minors, and certificate programs. The Boyd Law School frequently does well in national rankings.

UNLV Admissions Statistics 2017-18

For the 2017-18 admissions cycle, the University of Nevada Las Vegas had an 81 percent acceptance rate. Below you'll find the standardized test score data for admitted students organized by score percentile.

SAT Score Percentiles
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 520 620
Math 510 620
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

Average SAT scores are just a little over 500 for each section, so the score ranges show us that about 75% of students who attend UNLV had scores that were above average.

ACT Score Percentiles
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
English 17 24
Math 18 25
Composite 19 24

The ACT is more popular than the SAT in Nevada, and roughly 4 out of 5 applicants submit ACT scores. Nationally, the average ACT score is a 21, so UNLV students tend to be average or better.

UNLV GPA, SAT Score, and ACT Score Graph

UNLV GPA, SAT Score, and ACT Score Data for Admission.
UNLV GPA, SAT Score, and ACT Score Data for Admission.  Data courtesy of Cappex.

The GPA and SAT/ACT data in the graph is self-reported by applicants to UNLV. This means it hasn't been filtered or manipulated by the university. GPAs are unweighted. To see how you measure up at UNLV, you can see the real-time graph and calculate your chances of getting in with a free account from Cappex.

Discussion of UNLV's Admissions Standards

UNLV, the University of Nevada Las Vegas, has moderately selective admissions. Most hard working high school students shouldn't have a hard time earning an acceptance letter, but applicants will need decent grades and standardized test scores to be admitted. The university will accept scores from either the ACT or SAT, so be sure to take the exam on which you are likely to perform best. In the scattergram above, the blue and green dots represent students who were accepted. Most had combined SAT scores (RW+M) of 950 or higher, an ACT composite score of 18 or higher, and a high school average of a "B" or better. To have a good chance of admission, you'll want at least one of these measures to be above the lower range on the graph. 

You'll notice that a few students were admitted with grades and test scores below these lower ranges, and you'll also see that some students were rejected (red dots) or wait listed (yellow dots) with grades and/or test scores above these ranges. This is because the UNLV admissions process is not a simple mathematical equation of GPA and test scores (although these are by far the most important factors). The graph above presents unweighted GPA, but UNLV considers weighted GPA calculated from your English, Math, Social Science, and Natural Science classes. The university looks for a 3.0 weighted average in these core subjects. If you don't have a 3.0, strong test scores can still make you eligible for admission (a 1120 SAT RW+M, or a 22 ACT composite score). 

Students who don't have the grades or standardized test scores to qualify for admission to UNLV still have options through the schools admission alternatives. One option is to take courses as a non-degree student. If you do well in those courses, you can become eligible to matriculate as a regular student. Along similar lines, you can enroll at a different college or university and, if you do well, transfer to UNLV. Finally, you may be admitted if you appeal to the admissions committee and undergo a more holistic evaluation of your credentials. An appeal includes a personal statement addressing your academic performance and two letters of recommendation. The school will also look for special talents (such as athletic or musical ability), an upward trend in your high school grades, or other indicators of potential college success. Finally, the admissions committee will consider special hardships and circumstances that you may have had to overcome. If you do appeal, put significant effort into the personal statement since it will be central to the final admissions decision.

More University of Nevada Las Vegas Information

UNLV is an excellent educational value, especially for in-state students. That said, applicants should be aware of the university's extremely low four-year graduation rate. You'll want to balance the low cost of tuition with the fact that few students graduate in four years, and less than half graduate in six years.

Enrollment (2017)

  • Total Enrollment: 30,471 (25,279 undergraduates)
  • Gender Breakdown: 43 percent male / 57 percent female
  • 75 percent full-time

Costs (2017-18)

  • Tuition and Fees: $7,665 (in-state); $21,853 (out-of-state)
  • Books: $1,298 (why so much?)
  • Room and Board: $10,806
  • Other Expenses: $3,682
  • Total Cost: $23,451 (in-state); $37,639 (out-of-state)

UNLV Financial Aid (2016-17)

  • Percentage of Students Receiving Aid: 93 percent
  • Percentage of Students Receiving Types of Aid
    • Grants: 85 percent
    • Loans: 34 percent
  • Average Amount of Aid
    • Grants: $4,998
    • Loans: $5,345

Academic Programs

  • Most Popular Majors: Accounting, Biology, Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Elementary Education, Exercise Science, Finance, General Studies, Hospitality Administration, Mass Communication Studies, Nursing, Psychology
  • What major is right for you? Sign up to take the free "My Careers and Majors Quiz" at Cappex.

Retention and Graduation Rates

  • First Year Student Retention (full-time students): 74 percent
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 13 percent
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 42 percent

Intercollegiate Athletic Programs

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

If You Like UNLV, You May Also Like These Schools

Applicants to the University of Nevada Las Vegas often apply to other public universities in the western United States. Some of the California State University campuses are popular such as CSU Long Beach and CSU Fullerton. Other popular options include the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and the University of Oregon.

Don't rule out private options. If you qualify for financial aid, you may find that there is little price difference between public and private institutions. UNLV applicants tend to consider schools such as the University of San Diego and Hawaii Pacific University.

Data Source: Graph courtesy of; all other data from the National Center for Education Statistics