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Applying as a Freshman

What we're looking for

JMU's admission process is competitive. We receive more qualified applications than we can accommodate. For the 2014 admissions process, 62 percent of the applicants were admitted; however, 87 percent of the applicants were competitive. We do not have a prescribed formula for gaining admission. JMU works to select the strongest candidates from a high-quality pool. We consider the following factors in evaluating applicants: program of study; academic achievement; standardized test scores; secondary school report form and recommendation; extracurricular activities; and personal statement (optional). Each applicant is rated in the following areas, listed in order of importance:

1. Program of Study

Competitive applicants should minimally have the following:

  • 4 years of math (one full year beyond algebra II);
  • 3 years of laboratory science (preferably including biology, chemistry and physics OR an AP/IB/DE science; general science or earth science usually does not count as a lab science);
  • 3 to 4 years of the same foreign language or two years of two different foreign languages;*
  • 4 years of English; and
  • 4 years of social science.

Students who challenge themselves with the upper-level courses offered in their high school (i.e. Honors-level courses, Advanced Placement classes, International Baccalaureate, dual enrollment, etc.) increase their competitiveness.

Because strong students come from many different types of schools, we examine each applicant within the context of his or her high school.

*For students taking American Sign Language, two or three years of ASL and two years of a traditional foreign language will satisfy this recommendation.

Although schools provide different opportunities, you should pursue the most demanding college preparatory programs available.

2. Academic Achievement

To evaluate your achievement in high school, we evaluate your grades in core subject areas: mathematics, English, foreign language, social studies and lab sciences. A competitive candidate is an A/B student in core courses. We look at your performance throughout your entire high-school career.

3. Standardized Tests

Performance on the SAT I or ACT helps us discern your past academic achievements and your potential for future academic success. JMU's application review process will only consider the mathematics and critical reading sections of the SAT. For the ACT, we use your single highest composite score. SAT IIs are not required nor considered in the admissions process. JMU requires that your official test results be sent to us electronically direct from the testing agency and arrive by the application deadline.

4. Secondary School Report and Recommendation Letter (optional)

When you ask your guidance counselor to send us your official high school transcripts, also ask him/her to complete the Secondary School Report Form (download PDF PDF icon). Many high schools have developed their own version of this form. Either is acceptable.

You also have the option of sending us one letter of recommendation. If you choose to do this, it must be sent with the original submission of your high school transcript in order to be considered or read. This should be a formal letter from someone who can speak towards your academic and personal strengths (ex. teachers, counselors). 

5. Extracurricular Activities

Please list your extracurricular activities in the space provided in the online application, as we will not accept supplementary resumes. We are looking for quality rather than quantity. For instance, we like to see what you have done in clubs, organizations and athletics beyond just being a member. We also consider community service and part-time jobs. We look at the variety and depth of your involvement. You must be academically competitive before your extracurricular activities are reviewed.

6. Personal Statement (optional)

This is the space for you to tell us more about yourself or any topic of your choosing. What does the committee need to know about you that can't be found in your application? Be creative. Have fun. Your personal statement should be no more than 500 words.

James Madison University requires new freshmen to start in the fall semester.

This requirement is founded on our No. 1 concern: your success. JMU’s 1787 August Orientation for freshmen is designed specifically to address the difficult transition from high school to college and introduces you to the wealth of support services available university-wide. Beginning in the fall also lays the foundation for your academic achievement. Many of our programs are predicated on fall entry for freshmen and cannot be replicated during other terms.

Earning College Credit for Advanced Courses

Students can earn college credit for Advanced Placement courses, International Baccalaureate courses and Cambridge International Examinations taken in high school. See the 2013-2014 undergraduate catalog for course listings and required scores: AP | IB | Cambridge International Exam

Freshman Dates and Deadlines

Early Action (non-binding)

Regular Decision

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