University of Colorado Boulder Admissions: Everything You Want to and Need to Know

Overview of University of Colorado Boulder

The University of Colorado Boulder is a public research institution that is considered the flagship campus of Colorado’s university system. The institution has a large selection of 85 undergraduate and graduate degree programs for students to select from. A robust 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. The CU Boulder Buffaloes play in the NCAA Division I Pac 12 Conference. Popular sports include basketball, Track & Field, cross country, and golf.


  • Total Enrollment: 36,548 (30,152 undergraduates)
  • Gender Breakdown: 55 percent male/45 percent female
  • 93 percent full-time

Cost of Attendance Information

  • Tuition and Fees: $12,500 (in-state); $38,318 (out-of-state)
  • Books: $1,200
  • Room and Board: $14,778
  • Other Expenses: $2,556
  • Total Cost: $31,034 (in-state); $56,852 (out-of-state)

Financial Aid Information

  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 64 percent
  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
    • Grants: 50 percent
    •  Loans: 32 percent
  • Average Amount of Aid
    • Grants: $11,109
    • Loans: $6,473

Academic Programs Offered

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

Retention and Graduation

  • First-Year Student Retention (full-time students): 88 percent
  • Transfer-Out Rate: 18 percent
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 47 percent
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 71 percent

NCAA Athletic Programs

  • Men’s Sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Skiing-Snowboarding, Track and Field
  • Women’s Sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Lacrosse, Skiing-Snowboarding, Soccer, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball

Overview of University of Colorado Boulder Admissions

The University of Colorado Boulder accepts over three-quarters of applicants and has a slightly selective admissions procedure. 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. Glowing recommendation letters can bolster your application, along with being involved with student organizations and attempting a challenging course load. Students with unique talents and accomplishments can still receive strong consideration even if their GPAs are outside of the admissions offices mean range. After applying, students will receive a message from an admissions counselor about the next steps of the application process. Interested students should check out the university’s website, which has helpful tips and contact information for the admissions offices.

Admissions Data                        

Throughout the 2018-19 admissions phase, the University of Colorado had an acceptance rate of 82%. For every 100 students who submitted applications, 82 students gained admission, making CU Boulder’s admissions procedure less competitive.

SAT Requirements and Scores

Throughout the 2018-19 admissions phase, 69% of students provided SAT scores. This admissions data reveals that most of CU Boulder’s students fall within the top 35% nationally on the SAT.  50% of admitted students scored between 580 and 670 on the evidence-based reading and writing part, while 25% scored under 580 and 25% scored over 670. 50% of students scored between 570 and 690 on the math part, while 25% scored under 570, and 25% scored over 690. Applicants with a cumulative SAT score of 1360 or higher will have a competitive advantage at the University of Colorado.

ACT Requirements and Scores

Throughout the 2018-19 admissions phase, 53% of students provided ACT scores. This admissions data reveals that most of the University of Colorado’s students fall within the top 22% nationally on the ACT. The middle 50% of admitted students to CU Boulder received a cumulative ACT score between 25 and 31, while 25% scored over 31, and 25% scored under 25.


In 2019, the mean high school GPA for incoming University of Colorado Boulder freshman was 3.65, and most students had mean GPAs ranging from 3.0 to 4.0. Successful applicants to CU Boulder have primarily B grades.

Safety Net Schools: Easy to Gain Admission

If past admission data predicts that you would be a competitive candidate for University of Colorado, then it should be easy for you to gain admissions to the schools below. If University of Colorado is currently out of your reach, then you are sure to be a competitive candidate for the schools below.

University of Alabama, Colorado State University, Quinnipiac University, Ohio University, University of North Texas, University of Texas at Arlington, California State University Long Beach

Same Tier: Just As Hard to Gain Admission

If you’re a competitive candidate for University of Colorado, then you should have an equal chance of gaining admissions at these schools.

United States Military Academy, Penn State University Park, University of Cincinnati, Hofstra University, Texas Christian University, Temple University, Auburn University

Reach Institutions: Gaining Admissions Will be More of a Challenge

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

University of California, Santa Barbara, University of Texas at Dallas, Stony Brook University, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, University of Connecticut, Rochester Institute of Technology, American University

Applying to University of Colorado

Application Deadline: January 15

Undergraduate Admissions Website:

Undergraduate Application Link(s):

Graduate Admissions Website:      

Graduate Application Link(s):

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