Carnegie Mellon Requirements for Admission

What are Carnegie Mellon's admission requirements? While there are a lot of pieces that go into a college application, you should focus on only a few critical things:

  • GPA requirements
  • Testing requirements, including SAT and ACT requirements
  • Application requirements

In this guide we'll cover what you need to get into Carnegie Mellon and build a strong application.

School location: Pittsburgh, PA

This school is also known as: CMU, Carnegie Mellon University


Admissions Rate: 24%

If you want to get in, the first thing to look at is the acceptance rate. This tells you how competitive the school is and how serious their requirements are.

The acceptance rate at Carnegie Mellon is 24%. For every 100 applicants, 24 are admitted.

image description

This means the school is very selective. If you meet Carnegie Mellon's requirements for GPA, SAT/ACT scores, and other components of the application, you have a great shot at getting in. But if you fall short on GPA or your SAT/ACT scores, you'll have a very low chance of being admitted, even if you meet the other admissions requirements.


Carnegie Mellon GPA Requirements

Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected.

The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need for a real chance of getting in. For this, we look at the school's average GPA for its current students.

Average GPA: 3.76

The average GPA at Carnegie Mellon is 3.76.

image description

(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA.

With a GPA of 3.76, Carnegie Mellon requires you to be above average in your high school class. You'll need at least a mix of A's and B's, with more A's than B's. You can compensate for a lower GPA with harder classes, like AP or IB classes. This will show that you're able to handle more difficult academics than the average high school student.

If you're currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 3.76, you'll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate. This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.


SAT and ACT Requirements

Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. Most schools require the SAT or ACT, and many also require SAT subject tests.

You must take either the SAT or ACT to submit an application to Carnegie Mellon. More importantly, you need to do well to have a strong application.

Carnegie Mellon SAT Requirements

Many schools say they have no SAT score cutoff, but the truth is that there is a hidden SAT requirement. This is based on the school's average score.

Average SAT: 2150 (New: 1490)

The average SAT score composite at Carnegie Mellon is a 2150 on the old 2400 SAT scale.

On the new 1600 SAT, this corresponds to an average SAT score of 1490.

This score makes Carnegie Mellon Strongly Competitive for SAT test scores.

image description

Carnegie Mellon SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)

The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1430, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1560. In other words, a 1430 on the New SAT places you below average, while a 1560 will move you up to above average.

Here's the breakdown of new SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile
Math760740800
Reading373538
Writing373639
Composite149014301560

Carnegie Mellon SAT Score Analysis (Old 2400 SAT)

The 25th percentile Old SAT score is 2030, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 2300. In other words, a 2030 on the Old SAT places you below average, while a 2300 puts you well above average.

Here's the breakdown of old SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile
Math744710800
Reading697650740
Writing709670760
Composite215020302300

SAT Score Choice Policy

The Score Choice policy at your school is an important part of your testing strategy.

Carnegie Mellon has the Score Choice policy of "All Scores."

This means that Carnegie Mellon requires you to send all SAT scores you've ever taken to their office.

This sounds daunting, but most schools don't actually consider all your scores equally. For example, if you scored an 1800 on one test and a 2100 on another, they won't actually average the two tests.

In fact, we researched the score policies at Carnegie Mellon, and they have the following policy:

Applicants are required to submit all official results of either the SAT Reasoning Test or the ACT with Writing and SAT Subject Tests. While we're interested in the general pattern of your scores, we give most weight to the highest score you've received on any of the exams.

Source

Some students are still worried about submitting too many test scores. They're afraid that Carnegie Mellon will look down on too many attempts to raise your score. But how many is too many?

From our research and talking to admissions officers, we've learned that 4-6 tests is a safe number to submit. The college understands that you want to have the best chance of admission, and retaking the test is a good way to do this. Within a reasonable number of tests, they honestly don't care how many times you've taken it. They'll just focus on your score.

If you take it more than 6 times, colleges start wondering why you're not improving with each test. They'll question your study skills and ability to improve.

But below 6 tests, we strongly encourage retaking the test to maximize your chances. If your SAT score is currently below a 2300, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the SAT and retaking it. You don't have much to lose, and you can potentially raise your score and significantly boost your chances of getting in.


Exclusive: Want to learn how to improve your SAT score by 160 points? image description

Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and SAT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.

Get eBook: 5 Tips for 240+ Points

Carnegie Mellon ACT Requirements

Just like for the SAT, Carnegie Mellon likely doesn't have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.

Average ACT: 32

The average ACT score at Carnegie Mellon is 32. This score makes Carnegie Mellon Strongly Competitive for ACT scores.

image description

The 25th percentile ACT score is 31, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 34.

Even though Carnegie Mellon likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 31 or below, you'll have a very hard time getting in, unless you have something else very impressive in your application. There are so many applicants scoring 32 and above that a 31 will look academically weak.

ACT Score Sending Policy

If you're taking the ACT as opposed to the SAT, you have a huge advantage in how you send scores, and this dramatically affects your testing strategy.

Here it is: when you send ACT scores to colleges, you have absolute control over which tests you send. You could take 10 tests, and only send your highest one. This is unlike the SAT, where many schools require you to send all your tests ever taken.

This means that you have more chances than you think to improve your ACT score. To try to aim for the school's ACT requirement of 34 and above, you should try to take the ACT as many times as you can. When you have the final score that you're happy with, you can then send only that score to all your schools.

ACT Superscore Policy

By and large, most colleges do not superscore the ACT. (Superscore means that the school takes your best section scores from all the test dates you submit, and then combines them into the best possible composite score). Thus, most schools will just take your highest ACT score from a single sitting.

We weren't able to find the school's exact ACT policy, which most likely means that it does not Superscore. Regardless, you can choose your single best ACT score to send in to Carnegie Mellon, so you should prep until you reach our recommended target ACT score of 34.


Studying for the ACT instead? Want to learn how to improve your ACT score by 4 points? image description

Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and ACT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.

Free eBook: 5 Tips to 4+ Points on the ACT

SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements

Both the SAT and ACT have a Writing section that includes an essay.

Carnegie Mellon requires you to take the SAT/ACT Writing section. They'll use this as another factor in their admissions consideration.


SAT Subject Test Requirements

Schools vary in their SAT subject test requirements. Typically, selective schools tend to require them, while most schools in the country do not.

Carnegie Mellon has indicated that SAT subject tests are required for admission. Read further to see how many and which ones they require.

Typically, your SAT/ACT and GPA are far more heavily weighed than your SAT Subject Tests. If you have the choice between improving your SAT/ACT score or your SAT Subject Test scores, definitely choose to improve your SAT/ACT score.



Final Admissions Verdict

image description

Because this school is very selective, strong academic scores are critical to improving your chances of admission. If you're able to score a 2300 SAT or a 34 ACT or above, you'll have a very strong chance at getting in.

For a school as selective as Carnegie Mellon, rounding out the rest of your application will also help. We'll cover those details next.

But if you apply with a score below a 2300 SAT or a 34 ACT, you unfortunately have a low chance of getting in. There are just too many other applicants with high SAT/ACT scores and strong applications, and you need to compete against them.



Admissions Calculator

What are your chances of admission at Carnegie Mellon University?
Chances of admission with these scores:

Here's our custom admissions calculator. Plug in your numbers to see what your chances of getting in are.

Pick your test: Old SAT New SAT ACT

SAT Score
Your GPA
Note: This is only an estimate for the average student, based on data collected from thousands of students. Other factors in your application may come into play, such as extracurriculars and recommendation letters.

How would your chances improve with a better score?

Try to take your current SAT score and add 160 points (or take your ACT score and add 4 points) to the calculator above. See how much your chances improve?

At PrepScholar, we've created the leading online SAT/ACT prep program. We guarantee an improvement of 160 SAT points or 4 ACT points on your score, or your money back.

Here's a summary of why we're so much more effective than other prep programs:

There's a lot more to PrepScholar that makes it the best SAT/ACT prep program. Click to learn more about our program, or sign up for our 5-day free trial to check out PrepScholar for yourself:

SAT Free Signup

Application Requirements

Every school requires an application with the bare essentials - high school transcript and GPA, application form, and other core information. Many schools, as explained above, also require SAT and ACT scores, as well as letters of recommendation, application essays, and interviews. We'll cover the exact requirements of Carnegie Mellon here.

Application Requirements Overview

  • Common Application Accepted, supplemental forms required
  • Universal Application Not accepted
  • Electronic Application Available
  • Essay or Personal Statement Required for all freshmen
  • Letters of Recommendation 2
  • Interview Not required
  • Application Fee $75
  • Fee Waiver Available? Available
  • Other Notes Audition/portfolio for fine arts recommended for some freshmen

Testing Requirements

  • SAT or ACT Required
  • SAT or ACT Writing Required
  • SAT Subject Tests Required
  • Scores Due in Office December 1

Coursework Requirements

  • Subject Required Years
  • English 4
  • Math 4
  • Science 3
  • Foreign Language 2
  • Social Studies
  • History
  • Electives 3

Deadlines and Early Admissions

  •  
    • Offered? Deadline Notification
  • Regular Admission
    • Yes January 1 April 15
  • Early Action
    • No
  • Early Decision
    • Yes November 1 December 15

Admissions Office Information


Other Schools For You

If you're interested in Carnegie Mellon, you'll probably be interested in these schools as well. We've divided them into 3 categories depending on how hard they are to get into, relative to Carnegie Mellon.


image description

Reach Schools: Harder to Get Into

These schools are more selective and have higher scores than Carnegie Mellon. If you improve your SAT score, you'll be competitive for these schools.

School Name Location SAT Avg (1600) SAT Avg (2400) ACT Avg
Yale University New Haven, CT 1540 2265 33
University of Chicago Chicago, IL 1540 2260 34
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 1520 2221 34
Princeton University Princeton, NJ 1520 2220 33
Stanford University Stanford, CA 1520 2220 33
Rice University Houston, TX 1510 2200 33
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 1510 2181 32

image description

Same Level: Equally Hard to Get Into

If you're competitive for Carnegie Mellon, these schools will offer you a similar chance of admission.

School Name Location SAT Avg (1600) SAT Avg (2400) ACT Avg
Brown University Providence, RI 1500 2178 32
Dartmouth College Hanover, NH 1500 2160 32
Tufts University Medford, MA 1490 2149 32
Cornell University Ithaca, NY 1480 1430 32
Northeastern University Boston, MA 1470 2110 33
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 1450 2085 32
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 1450 2080 31

image description

Safety Schools: Easier to Get Into

If you're currently competitive for Carnegie Mellon, you should have no problem getting into these schools. If Carnegie Mellon is currently out of your reach, you might already be competitive for these schools.

School Name Location SAT Avg (1600) SAT Avg (2400) ACT Avg
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, NY 1420 1376 30
University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, CA 1440 2060 32
Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA 1440 2050 32
Emory University Atlanta, GA 1430 2046 31
New York University New York, NY 1410 2016 30
Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA 1370 1315 30
University of California, Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 1370 1947 29

If You Liked Our Advice...

Visit our blog for free strategy guides on college admissions and test prep.

Our experts have written hundreds of useful articles on improving your SAT score and getting into college. You'll definitely find something useful here.

Visit our blog now.

Subscribe to our newsletter to get FREE strategies and guides sent to your email. Learn how to ace the SAT with exclusive tips and insights that we share with our private newsletter subscribers.

Get Free SAT Tips to Boost Your Score
100% Privacy. No spam ever.


You should definitely follow us on social media. You'll get updates on our latest articles right on your feed. Follow us on all 3 of our social networks:


Twitter and Google+