- View our majors
- View our publications online
- Come for a visit
- Join our mailing list
- Review financial aid and scholarships
- Keep up your senior year grades!
- Complete your application. Include:
- The online application
- $50 application fee
- Official high school transcripts including senior year schedule
- ACT or SAT I test scores sent directly from the testing agency
- Fine arts and nursing majors have special requirements
- View dates and deadlines
- More on the freshman application process
Check your status
- Check your status on MyMadison. We'll email you access instructions a few days after your application is received.
- Application/mail processing status. See what documents our office is currently processing.
- View MyMadison tutorial
You got IN!! Now what?
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 2012 admissions process, 58 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:
- four years of math (one full year beyond algebra II);
- three years of laboratory science (preferably including biology, chemistry and physics; general science or earth science usually does not count as a lab science);
- three to four years of the same foreign language or two years of two different foreign languages;
- four years of English; and
- four 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.
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 ). 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 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 ActivitiesWe 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 2012-13 undergraduate catalog for course listings and required scores: AP | IB | Cambridge International Exam
Freshman Dates and Deadlines
Early Action (non-binding)
- November 1 - Application deadline for all pieces (application, transcripts, SAT/ACT scores etc.)
- Mid-January - Admission decisions posted online in the Applicant Center of MyMadison
- May 1 - Intent to enroll deposit deadline
- Frequently asked questions about Early Action
- How to apply - freshman application process
- Applying Early Action
- Financial aid and scholarship information
- Special admissions requirements for art, music, theatre, dance, and nursing majors
- Information for admitted students