Undergraduate Admission
Rice: Unconventional Wisdom

Frequently Asked Questions About Admission

  1. Are my chances better if I apply Early Decision? 
  2. Do I need to apply to one of the six specific academic schools? Can I change my mind? 
  3. What do I need to do if I am interested in applying to the Shepherd School of Music? 
  4. What do I need to do if I am interested in applying to the School of Architecture? 
  5. Is an interview required for freshman applicants? 
  6. May I submit supplemental materials with my application? 
  7. Does Rice grant college credit for AP, IB and Dual Enrollment courses? 
  8. Does Rice offer merit based scholarships? 
  9. How can I receive an estimate on my financial aid eligibility before I apply? 
  10. I would like to play on a Division-I athletics team at Rice. How can I learn more about the recruitment process? 
  11. Does Rice have a wait list? 

1. Are my chances better if I apply Early Decision?
Historically, students who apply to Rice under the Early Decision plan are accepted at a higher rate than our overall rate of admission. Our acceptance rates vary year to year depending on the number of applicants and the strength of the pool. In 2014, we admitted 20 percent of applicants under Early Decision and filled about 30 percent of our freshman class with students from Early Decision.

We do not have a quota for any of our decision plans, so the applicant's strengths and quality of application are more important than the choice of decision plan. Remember that the advantage you may receive by applying early should never be the most important factor in whether you decide to apply Early Decision to a college or university.

The most important consideration must always be whether the university is your absolute top choice and you are ready to make a commitment to enroll.

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2. Do I need to apply to one of the six specific academic schools? Can I change my mind?
Yes, in your application to Rice you must specify which one of our six academic schools is your primary area of interest. The six schools are architecture, engineering, humanities, music, natural sciences or social sciences. Although this is not a binding choice, the decision should not be made lightly. We are looking for a thoughtful response to this question. Our academic schools are looking for different strengths and qualities in applicants, so you will need to choose the school in which you feel the most confident of your abilities and interest. If your application is denied, you cannot be reconsidered under a different school.

If admitted to Rice, you can change your mind as to your school of study. Enrolled students do not declare a major until the second semester of sophomore year. And you may change your major or school at any time. In fact, many students double major across academic schools and still graduate in four years. The exception to the rule is music and architecture—you must be admitted to the music or architecture schools either as an entering student or as a current Rice student who applies and is accepted for the major. Admission to the bachelor of music program requires that you complete a minimum of one full year of study in the Shepherd School of Music before considering transfer to another academic division within the university.

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3. What do I need to do if I am interested in applying to The Shepherd School of Music?
Applicants to The Shepherd School of Music must submit their application for admission and an Audition Profile Form or Preliminary recording by December 1. Applicants to The Shepherd School of Music may not apply to Rice as Early Decision candidates.

Auditions are held during the winter and spring at The Shepherd School on the Rice campus. For details, review The Shepherd School of Music website. 

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4. What do I need to do if I am interested in applying to the School of Architecture?
A portfolio of creative work is required for all applicants to the School of Architecture. Portfolios should be emailed to the Office of Admission at riceapps@rice.edu. Note: Submissions exceeding the specifications listed below will not be accepted.

The portfolio should demonstrate creative potential and is not expected to be architectural in focus nor professional in quality. It may include examples of sketches, paintings, photography, models, etc. Examples of mechanical or computer drafting are strongly discouraged. The School of Architecture does not accept CDs or DVDs.

Portfolio specifications:

  • PowerPoint file labeled with applicant name (example: JohnDoe.ppt)
  • 10 MB maximum file size
  • 10 slides maximum (more than one image per slide acceptable)
  • Image files must be JPG, JPEG, or GIF
  • No image should exceed 1024 x 768 pixel resolution and 96 dots per inch
  • No sound or animation permitted

In addition, an interview with a faculty member in the School of Architecture is highly recommended. Completion of this interview satisfies all admission interview criteria; no additional interview is recommended.

Students who plan to visit should contact the School of Architecture directly. To schedule an interview, contact
Rice University, School of Architecture-MS 50
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77251-1892
Telephone: 713-348-4864
Email: arch@rice.edu 

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5. Is an interview required for freshman applicants?
Although an interview is not required, we recommend an admission interview for all freshman applicants as an excellent opportunity to discuss concerns and interests and to find out more about Rice. The Admission Committee values on- and off-campus interviews equally in the admission review process. You can find more information about our admission interviews on our website.

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6. May I submit supplemental materials with my application?
You may augment your application with additional materials if you wish, but we ask you to be selective in what you include. Think about adding to the quality, not the quantity, of your application. You are welcome to submit additional class work, lab work, slides through a Power Point file limited to 10MB, newspaper articles, etc. Please note that supplemental materials must be submitted electronically.

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7. Does Rice grant college credit for AP, IB and Dual Enrollment courses?
Rice awards transfer credit for scores of 4 or 5 on most AP exams and scores of 6 or 7 on IB higher level exams. Rice also grants credit for some international examinations. Please visit the Office of the Registrar's Exam Credit webpage for more information. If you wish to transfer college credit completed during high school, your course work must meet several criteria, as explained on the Registrar's Transfer Credit webpage.

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8. Does Rice offer merit-based scholarships?
Yes. There is no separate application to be considered for these scholarships; the scholarship committee considers all admitted students for our scholarships on the basis of the student's application for admission. Other merit scholarships include athletic and Navy ROTC scholarships. More information about merit scholarships at Rice can be found on the Office of Financial Aid website.

Note that all international freshman applicants who are admitted will also be considered for merit awards based on academic and individual excellence.  

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9. How can I receive an estimate on my financial aid eligibility before I apply?
Rice offers a net price calculator to provide a preliminary estimate of federal, state and institutional aid eligibility. This calculator is particularly helpful if you are considering applying Early Decision to Rice.

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10. I would like to play on a Division-I Athletics team at Rice. How can I learn more about the recruitment process?
Please visit the Rice Owls Recruiting Page to learn more about Rice's varsity sports teams and to find contact information for the coaches.

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11. Does Rice have a wait list?
Yes, we do. This list is reserved for students in whom the admission committee is very interested. A Rice offer of wait list is one of the decision responses students may receive by April 1. A student must respond to the offer in order to be placed on the wait list. Our wait list is not ranked; all students on the list are considered for any openings.

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