JMU Requirements for Admission

What are JMU'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 JMU and build a strong application.

School location: Harrisonburg, VA

This school is also known as: JMU, Madison, James Madison University


Admissions Rate: 75.2%

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 JMU is 75.2%. For every 100 applicants, 75.2 are admitted.

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This means the school is lightly selective. The school will have their expected requirements for GPA and SAT/ACT scores. If you meet their requirements, you're almost certain to get an offer of admission. But if you don't meet JMU's requirements, you'll be one of the unlucky few people who gets rejected.


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JMU 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: 3.5

The average GPA at JMU is 3.5.

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(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA. This school did not officially report its average GPA, but we've estimated it here using data from over 1,000 schools.)

With a GPA of 3.5, JMU requires you to be around average in your high school class. You'll need a mix of A's and B's, and very few C's. If you have a lower GPA, you can compensate with harder courses like AP or IB classes. This will help boost your weighted GPA and show your ability to take college classes.

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 3.5, 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 JMU. More importantly, you need to do well to have a strong application.

JMU 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: 1180

The average SAT score composite at JMU is a 1180 on the 1600 SAT scale.

This score makes JMU Competitive for SAT test scores.

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JMU SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)

The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1100, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1260. In other words, a 1100 on the New SAT places you below average, while a 1260 will move you up to above average.

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

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile
Math580540620
Reading600560640
Composite118011001260

SAT Score Choice Policy

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

JMU has the Score Choice policy of "Highest Section."

This is also known as "superscoring." This means that you can choose which SAT tests you want to send to the school. Of all the scores they receive, your application readers will consider your highest section scores across all SAT test dates you submit.

Click below to learn more about how superscoring critically affects your test strategy.

How does superscoring change your test strategy? (Click to Learn)

For example, say you submit the following 3 test scores:

Section R+W Math Composite
Test 1 700 300 1000
Test 2 300 700 1000
Test 3 300 300 600
Superscore 700 700 1400

Even though the highest total you scored on any one test date was 1000, JMU will take your highest section score from all your test dates, then combine them to form your Superscore. You can raise your composite score from 1000 to 1400 in this example.

This is important for your testing strategy. Because you can choose which tests to send in, and JMU forms your Superscore, you can take the SAT as many times as you want, then submit only the tests that give you the highest Superscore. Your application readers will only see that one score.

Therefore, if your SAT superscore is currently below a 1100, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the SAT and retaking it. You have a very good chance of raising your score, which will significantly boost your chances of getting in.

Even better, because of the Superscore, you can focus all your energy on a single section at a time. If your Reading score is lower than your other sections, prep only for the Reading section, then take the SAT. Then focus on Math for the next test, and so on. This will surely give you the highest Superscore possible.


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JMU ACT Requirements

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

Average ACT: 26

The average ACT score at JMU is 26. This score makes JMU Moderately Competitive for ACT scores.

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The 25th percentile ACT score is 23, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 28.

Even though JMU likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 23 or below, you'll have a harder time getting in, unless you have something else impressive in your application.

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 23 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 JMU, so you should prep until you reach our recommended target ACT score of 23.


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SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements

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

JMU considers the SAT/ACT Writing section optional and may not include it as part of their admissions consideration. You don't need to worry too much about Writing for this school, but other schools you're applying to may require it.


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.

We did not find information that JMU requires SAT subject tests, and so most likely it does not. At least 6 months before applying, you should still doublecheck just to make sure, so you have enough time to take the test.



Final Admissions Verdict

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Because this school is lightly selective, you have a great shot at getting in, as long as you don't fall well below average. Aim for a 1100 SAT or a 23 ACT or higher, and you'll almost certainly get an offer of admission. As long as you meet the rest of the application requirements below, you'll be a shoo-in.

But if you score below our recommended target score, you may be one of the very few unlucky people to get rejected.


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We know what kinds of students colleges want to admit. We want to get you admitted to your dream schools.

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Admissions Calculator

What are your chances of admission at James Madison 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: New SAT ACT

SAT Score
Your GPA

Note: Your admission decision relies not only on your GPA and SAT/ACT scores, but also on your coursework difficulty, extracurriculars, letters of recommendation, and personal statements. This tool provides only a simplistic estimate of your chances of admission. Instead of treating this tool as a crystal ball, we recommend you consider the big picture of what your chance means:
  • 80-100%: Safety school: Strong chance of getting in
  • 50-80%: More likely than not getting in
  • 20-50%: Lower but still good chance of getting in
  • 5-20%: Reach school: Unlikely to get in, but still have a shot
  • 0-5%: Hard reach school: Very difficult to get in
We recommend you apply to schools across a range of chances. Applying to some safety schools will guarantee you have a college to go to, while applying to some reach schools will give you a shot at getting into the school at the top of your range.

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?

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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 JMU here.

Application Requirements Overview

  • Common Application Not accepted
  • Universal Application Not accepted
  • Electronic Application Available
  • Essay or Personal Statement
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Interview Not required
  • Application Fee $70
  • Fee Waiver Available? Available
  • Other Notes

Testing Requirements

  • SAT or ACT Required
  • SAT or ACT Writing Optional
  • SAT Subject Tests
  • Scores Due in Office January 15

Coursework Requirements

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

Deadlines and Early Admissions

  •  
    • Offered? Deadline Notification
  • Regular Admission
    • Yes None
  • Early Action
    • Yes None None
  • Early Decision
    • No

Admissions Office Information


Other Schools For You

If you're interested in JMU, 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 JMU.


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Reach Schools: Harder to Get Into

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

School Name Location SAT Avg ACT Avg
Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY 1304 28
Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY 1285 29
Drexel University Philadelphia, PA 1260 27
Syracuse University Syracuse, NY 1255 28
University of Connecticut Storrs, CT 1250 28
Penn State University Park University Park, PA 1247 28
University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH 1233 26

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Same Level: Equally Hard to Get Into

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

School Name Location SAT Avg ACT Avg
Hofstra University Hempstead, NY 1222 27
Temple University Philadelphia, PA 1221 27
Seton Hall University South Orange, NJ 1200 25
University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL 1177 27
Ohio University Athens, OH 1170 24
Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT 1165 25
Pace University New York, NY 1137 24

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Safety Schools: Easier to Get Into

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

School Name Location SAT Avg ACT Avg
Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN 1100 23
University of California, Merced Merced, CA 1100 22
Coastal Carolina University Conway, SC 1098 22
Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA 1091 23
Albright College Reading, PA 1080 23
Georgia State University Atlanta, GA 1054 23
California State University Long Beach Long Beach, CA 1025 22

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Want to build the best possible college application?

We can help. PrepScholar Admissions is the world's best admissions consulting service. We combine world-class admissions counselors with our data-driven, proprietary admissions strategies. We've overseen thousands of students get into their top choice schools, from state colleges to the Ivy League.

We know what kinds of students colleges want to admit. We want to get you admitted to your dream schools.

Learn more about PrepScholar Admissions to maximize your chance of getting in.

Get Into Your Top Choice School

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