Iowa State University Admissions: Everything You Want to and Need to Know

Overview of Iowa State University

Iowa State University is a public research university situated in Ames, Iowa State. The school has strengths in science, engineering, and agriculture. The institution has a large selection of undergraduate and graduate degree programs for students to choose from. A healthy student/faculty ratio backs students, and professors take a personalized approach to the teaching and learning process. Outside of the classroom, students will find plenty of opportunities to engage with the campus community via the university’s many clubs and organizations.


  • Total Enrollment: 34,992 (29,621 undergraduates)
  • Gender Breakdown: 58 percent male/42 percent female
  • 94 percent full-time

Cost of Attendance Information

  • Tuition and Fees: $9,320 (in-state); $24,508 (out-of-state)
  • Books: $1,041
  • Room and Board: $9,149
  • Other Expenses: $2,430
  • Total Cost: $21,940 (in-state); $37,128 (out-of-state)

Financial Aid Information

  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 89 percent
  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
    • Grants: 80 percent
    • Loans: 50 percent
  • Average Amount of Aid
    • Grants: $7,538
    • Loans: $6,158

Academic Programs Offered

  • Most Popular Majors: Engineering; Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services; Agriculture, Agriculture Operations, and Related Sciences; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; and Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs

Retention and Graduation

  • First-Year Student Retention (full-time students): 87 percent
  • Transfer-Out Rate: 18 percent
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 47 percent
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 75 percent

NCAA Athletic Programs

  • Men’s Sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Track and Field, Wrestling
  • Women’s Sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Gymnastics, Soccer, Softball, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball
  • The Iowa State Cyclones play in the NCAA Division I Big 12 Conference.

Overview of Iowa State University Admissions

Iowa State University accepts over 90% of applicants and has a selective admissions process. Students whose SAT/ACT scores and GPA are within the institution’s requirements have a good chance of being admitted. Applicants must complete an online application, and send test scores from either the SAT or ACT and high school transcripts. Students with unique talents and accomplishments can still receive strong consideration even if their GPAs are outside the admission offices’ mean range. After applying, students will receive a message from an admissions counselor about the next steps of the application process. Students should make a campus visit to determine if the institution is a good fit for them.

Admissions Data             

During the 2018-19 admissions phase, Iowa State had an acceptance rate of 91%. for every 100 students who applied, 91 students were admitted, making Iowa State’s admissions process slightly competitive.

SAT Requirements and Scores

During the 2018-19 admissions phase, 19% of admitted students provided SAT scores.

This admissions data reveals that most of ISU’s students fall within the top 35% on the SAT. 50% of students to Iowa State scored between 548 and 682 for the evidence-based reading and writing section, while 25% scored below 548 and 25% scored above 682. 50% of students scored between 544 and 652 on the math section, while 25% scored below 544, and 25% scored above 652. Applicants with a cumulative SAT score of 1330 or higher will be particularly competitive for Iowa State.

ACT Requirements and Scores

During the 2018-19 admissions phase, 86% of admitted students provided ACT scores. This admissions data reveals that most of ISU’s students fall within the top 37% on the ACT. The middle 50% of admitted students received a cumulative ACT score between 22 and 28, and 25% scored above 28 and 25% scored below 22.


In 2019, the mean high school GPA of Iowa State’s freshmen class was 3.68. This data suggests that successful applicants to Iowa State University have A and B grades primarily.

Safety Net Schools: Easy to Gain Admission

If past admission data predicts that you would be a competitive candidate for Iowa State University, it should be easy for you to gain admission to the schools below. If Iowa State University is currently out of your reach, you can be a competitive candidate for the schools below.

Quinnipiac University, Ohio University, University of Alabama, Pace University, University of North Texas, California State University Long Beach, Florida Gulf Coast University

Same Tier: Just As Hard to Gain Admission

If you’re a competitive candidate for Iowa State University, you should have an equal chance of gaining admission to these schools.

Hofstra University, Auburn University, Temple University, Seton Hall University, University of Houston, San Diego State University, University of California, Riverside

Reach Institutions: Gaining Admissions Will Be More of a Challenge

These schools are more challenging to gain admission into than Iowa State University. If you improve your GPA and SAT/ACT scores, you’ll be a competitive candidate.

Stony Brook University, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Connecticut, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Syracuse University, University of Cincinnati

Applying to Iowa State University

Application Deadline: Rolling

Undergraduate Admissions Website:

Undergraduate Application Link(s):

Graduate Admissions Website:

Graduate Application Link(s):

Choose your Reaction!