Ithaca College – Acceptance Rate, Tuition, Requirements, and More

Located in the Finger Lakes region of New York, Ithaca College is a private institution housed among beautiful waterfalls and gorges. The main campus is located in Ithaca, a thriving city of arts and culture. The total undergraduate enrollment is around 6,000 students. Despite its relatively small size, the school is nationally ranked. 

The culture of innovation enables Ithaca College to remain forward-thinking and adapt to social and technological changes in the world around them. There are over 200 student organizations, allowing undergraduates to pursue their passions. The campus also brings in people from diverse backgrounds and experiences to drive innovation. Over 20% of undergraduates are students of color, and 15% are first-generation.

Ithaca College is one of the top schools for journalism, film, media, and entertainment nationwide. Beyond these specialties, undergraduates can choose from dozens of majors across the five departments or pursue graduate degrees. Known for an impressive list of entertainment alumni, graduates from Ithaca College go on to Broadway, Hollywood, Wall Street, and Washington DC. 

Acceptance Rate

Ithaca College School of Music
Kenneth C. Zirkel, Phillips Hall Campus Center, Ithaca College, CC BY-SA 4.0

As of 2020, Ithaca College has an acceptance rate of 72.8%, meaning that 73 students are admitted for every 100 that apply. With an average of 68%, the acceptance rate has fluctuated significantly over the past decade, dipping as low as 59%.

The school’s somewhat selective admissions mean that applicants with average and above GPAs and test scores are likely to get in. Although admission is based on academic achievement, other factors such as courses, extracurriculars, letters of recommendation, and personal statements will also impact a candidate’s chances.

Ithaca College does not believe that acceptance rates are a significant indicator of a school’s success. Although the most prestigious schools fight to have the lowest admission statistics, every student admitted to Ithaca was selected based on their ability to find success at the school. With a retention rate between the first and second year of 87%, compared to the national average of 81%, Ithaca College shows its ability to admit students who are a good fit for the college.

Requirements & Admission Tips

Despite Ithaca’s relatively high acceptance rate, applicants will still need competitive test scores and GPAs. The incoming class of 2023 has an average GPA of 3.33, meaning that admissions is looking for students that perform above average in their high school classes. By taking a challenging course load, applicants show that they can handle the rigor of college courses. The admissions team also considers class rank.

Ithaca is text-flexible, meaning that students only need to submit scores if the score helps represent them as a student. However, by not submitting scores, the school has one less dimension to consider. The average SAT score for incoming freshmen is 1255 out of 1600, and the average ACT score is 28 out of 36.

Submitting letters of recommendation and a personal statement is also an excellent way for applicants to show that they are dedicated students. Ithaca College looks for students who are service-minded, focused, curious, and compassionate. The incoming class wrote about many topics, from starting organizations in their community to working on social issues. 

Notable Alumni

Ithaca College alumni are known as innovators, breaking boundaries in their fields. David Muir, the anchor of ABC World News Tonight, exemplifies this. As a freshman, he became the youngest anchor at ICTV and became the youngest anchor on network television. He has helped his network top ratings and has won multiple Emmy Awards for his work. Through speeches to the Ithaca community, Muir inspires the next generation of journalists.

Robert Iger, the president and CEO of Disney, took advantage of the resources at Ithaca College for his professional success. He left the institution with a great passion that has led him to run one of the largest entertainment companies in the world. Despite his busy schedule, he talks with Ithaca students every year.

Despite the school’s focus on liberal arts, Ithaca also has strong technical programs. Steve Van Slyke, Class of 1978, invented the OLED technology used in smartphones worldwide. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and received over 20 patents for his work.


As leaders in their respective fields, Ithaca faculty are qualified to teach students and go above and beyond to ensure their success. Rod Serling, known for hosting The Twilight Zone, taught at Ithaca from 1967 – 1975. His role in the television industry inspires students to this day. He was an active member of the Ithaca community, providing feedback on projects, appearing in films, and even hosting students at his nearby family home.

Asma Barlas, Professor Emerita at Ithaca, has been a part of the politics department since 1991. She was also the Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity for more than ten years. 

Students in the media arts, sciences, and studies program can take courses with Nicholas Muellner. As an accomplished photographer and writer, Muellner has been recognized by Time Magazine and the Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation. His books investigate the use of photography as an interface to compelling narratives.

Similar Schools & Ranking

Ithaca is nationally recognized due to its robust academic programs and dedication to students. Niche ranks Ithaca as the #413 best college in America out of over 5,000 based on its value, diversity, and academics. Placing at #56, the Communications and Music programs are recognized for their curriculum and reputation. 

Another major publication, US News, ranks Ithaca as #9 in Regional Universities North. With a score of 84 out of 100, the school is the highest-ranked institution of its kind in New York. Ithaca’s impressive graduation and retention rates, social mobility, reputation, faculty, selectivity, and financial resources contribute to their top ten placement.

Similar schools to Ithaca include strong universities with great teaching, innovation, and value. In addition, a strong arts, entertainment, and media program and successful alumni network are important qualities. With these specifications in mind, similar schools to Ithaca include Emerson College, Loyola University, and Simmons University.


95% of incoming freshmen were awarded scholarships, both need and merit-based, placing Ithaca in the top 20th percentile nationwide for financial aid. An average need-based scholarship of $29,000 was awarded to first-year students. Along with incoming freshmen, returning students have the opportunity to receive scholarships with varying requirements of academic performance or financial need. Ithaca has a variety of aid programs, including scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study, to meet the needs of most students.

Students with demonstrated leadership, artistic ability, community service, and more qualify for various scholarships available through the school. The Ithaca College Scholarship is awarded to entering undergraduates of exceptional academic ability and talent regardless of financial need. Applicants with financial need who are majoring in computer science, mathematics, or physics can apply to the S-STEM Scholar Program for up to $10,000 per year. In addition to scholarships, the program provides academic, professional, and social support.

Is Ithaca College Right For You?

Ithaca attracts curious and creative students who are ready to be challenged. The impact of the school’s alumni is felt worldwide, whether that’s in the entertainment, technical, or political field. In the school’s own words, they look for thinkers, doers, dreamers, and explorers.

In all of Ithaca’s 90+ academic programs, students have opportunities for personalized attention. While the campus houses expert faculty and first-rate facilities of a larger school, small class sizes and personal mentorship make the school unique. The spirit of drive, support, and professionalism are present throughout the entire community. The college lives by the motto “Theory, Practice, and Performance,” integrating hands-on practice with performance opportunities.

After graduating, students become part of a growing network of alumni. The shared background connects academics, entrepreneurs, artists, and innovators to develop incredible collaborations worldwide. Ithaca students, past and present, care about using the knowledge and expertise gained in their classes to make a difference.


Aside from impressive academics, Ithaca is known as one of the top green colleges and is recognized by the Princeton Review for its efforts. Due to the school’s sustainability initiatives and a Gold Star rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, Ithaca received a near-perfect score of 98 out of 99.

The sustainability efforts are apparent throughout the campus. Earning a platinum LEED certification, the Roy H. Park Center for Business was the first business school worldwide to earn the distinction. Other buildings on campus have been recognized for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, like the Peggy Ryan Williams Center, Athletics and Event Center, and Classroom Link corridor.

Ithaca demonstrates its environmental responsibility by offering over 150 sustainability courses across all five schools. By taking these classes, students better understand the impact of their decisions on the community and planet. The campus as a whole has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 50% over the last decade, with 100% of its energy coming from renewable source

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