Pepperdine University – Acceptance Rate, GPA, Requirements, and More

Pepperdine University is considered one of the most beautiful colleges due to the views of the Pacific Coast and elaborate architecture. 

It has been featured in filming for Battle of the Network Stars and Zoey 101. Along with picturesque surroundings, Pepperdine houses top-ranked programs for both undergraduate and graduate students.

In order to protect the campus and the greater community, Pepperdine is committed to sustainability. The university is recognized by the Princeton Review as a green college. Through renewable energy and recycled water irrigation, 60% of the Malibu campus is preserved in its natural state.

Through practical and unique opportunities, Pepperdine provides an education that emphasizes leadership, service, and purpose. Students graduate with the ability to think critically and apply their knowledge to real-world challenges. Furthermore, Pepperdine graduates are committed to civic engagement and the pursuit of justice.

According to US News, Pepperdine is ranked #49 in national universities and #46 for best value. The university also has strong study abroad programs, placing #1 in the Institute of International Education’s Open Doors Report. To best support a global education, Pepperdine has seven permanent campuses around the world.

87% of all undergraduate students take advantage of Pepperdine’s study abroad programs. They participate in international internships and academic programs across the globe. Students visit the UK, Italy, China, Germany, and Argentina to learn more about global perspectives and serve new communities.

From sustainability to media entrepreneurship, Pepperdine has a variety of research centers for students to participate in. These facilities also provide services to the local community. The Boone Center for the Family provides education and counseling for family needs such as marriage and parenting.

Along with strong academics and research, Pepperdine has a renowned athletics program. The university offers 17 NCAA Division I teams. The school is home to 25 national championships and 7 Olympic gold medals.

Pepperdine’s vast career resources ensure that students are prepared for the job search, advising students on interviews, resumes, cover letters, and career options. The school also has many internship connections throughout the region. 

Within 6 months of graduation, 85% of undergraduates are employed, pursuing further education, volunteering, or serving in the military.

Pepperdine Acceptance Rate

Pepperdine University
Alexander Migl, Malibu Pepperdine University, CC BY-SA 4.0

Pepperdine is considered more selective, with an acceptance rate of 32%

This acceptance rate means that the university denies more students than it admits. In order to get into Pepperdine, students will need to set themselves apart from their peers with an impressive application.

Each year, Pepperdine receives nearly 13,000 applications for under 1,000 seats. 

Due to the growing number of qualified applicants and rising popularity, the admissions process becomes more competitive each year. The number of applications to Pepperdine has steadily increased over the past decade, nearly doubling.

The competitive nature of Pepperdine admissions and low acceptance rate indicate how strong the education is. Applicants across the world recognize the opportunities provided at Pepperdine.


In order to be accepted to Pepperdine, students should aim to have an above-average GPA. The university reports an average GPA range of 3.6 – 3.9. This GPA means that students must earn mainly As and Bs in their classes to be on par with other applicants.

Pepperdine applicants can make themselves stand out by receiving top grades in challenging courses. AP and IB classes show the admissions team that they can handle college-level assignments. The admissions team will be looking at both the rigor of the class schedule and the grades you receive.

The high GPA of accepted students indicates the difficulty of the curriculum. Pepperdine wants to admit students who will succeed at the university. Grades are not the only aspect of the application, but higher GPAs and test scores lead to better chances of admittance.

SAT & ACT Requirements

The average SAT score of Pepperdine students ranges from 1230 – 1450

On the other hand, students who submit ACT results typically score between 27 – 32

Pepperdine students are in the top 15% of ACT test takers on average. If you wish to submit ACT scores, make sure your scores compare with previous class averages.

For both the SAT and ACT, Pepperdine does not require the writing component. 

In addition, the admissions office will consider the highest score from each individual section. For applicants from Fall 2021 to Fall 2023, the application process is test-optional.

Because Pepperdine is highly competitive, qualified students may not be admitted if other areas of their application are lacking. 

On the flip side, applicants below the ACT or SAT range can still be considered if they show promise. Consider retaking the exam or making sure other aspects of your application stand out outside of the average scores.

Requirements & Admission Tips

To evaluate each student, the admissions team reviews each applicant’s academic record, GPA, types of classes, and test scores. 

The holistic admissions process also goes beyond the numbers to see each student as an individual. Strong applicants will also have interesting essays and letters of recommendation.

The academic letter of recommendation must be from a math, science, English, history, foreign language, or religion teacher or counselor. 

The evaluator should be familiar with the applicant’s academic achievements and history. In addition, they should be able to demonstrate how you are a good fit with the university.

It is also important to show participation in extracurricular activities to give the university an idea of your abilities and passions outside of the classroom. Pepperdine looks for students who align with their core values of service, leadership, and purpose. Demonstrate your activities where you have a leadership role or impact on the community.

For students applying in the Fall of 2022, they may request an informational interview to better understand their fit with the university. 

The interviewer will ask about how the student relates to the core components of the university’s mission statement, what they’re excited about at Pepperdine, and if they have any other information to share. 

Afterwards, the evaluator will provide a report that is treated as another letter of recommendation.


Students applying to Pepperdine must submit their Common Application personal statement and additional university-specific essays. 

The personal statement gives the admissions team an idea of who you are and what you are passionate about. On the other hand, the Pepperdine questions give you a chance to show how you will contribute to the university.

In a short-answer essay, Pepperdine asks students to explain how they would contribute to conversations of faith on campus

No matter your religion, students should be able to explain how faith, trust, or hope has played a role in their journey so far. Using a personal experience to show how you examine faith from an intellectual perspective demonstrates your compatibility with Pepperdine.

Pepperdine receives thousands of applicants, but students can make themselves stand out by finding their unique admissions theme. 

Showing a sense of purpose aligns with the university’s mission statement. It is important to highlight your character along with your accomplishments, as Pepperdine is looking for outstanding applicants.

Notable Alumni

Pepperdine has over 120,000 alumni across the world. This prestigious group includes successful scientists, musicians, business leaders, engineers, athletes, actors, and politicians. Many alumni stay connected with the university and offer mentoring to help students launch their careers.

Receiving his MBA from Pepperdine, Jeffrey C Sprecher used his education to become the founder, chairman, and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange. 

This is an innovative online marketplace for energy trading. He came back to his alma mater to give advice to MBA students and their future careers.

Another famous Pepperdine alumna is Christine Blasey Ford, a research psychologist at the Stanford School of Medicine and professor at Palo Alto University. 

She was recently recognized with the Distinguished Alumnus Award by the Graduate School of Education and Psychology for her contributions to the field. At an event at her alma mater, she recognized Pepperdine professors who taught her to maintain individual and community perspectives.

Is Pepperdine Right for You?

As a university, Pepperdine emphasizes the importance of community belonging and diversity. Applicants should respect diverse perspectives from students of different identities, cultures, and ethnicities. 

In addition, Pepperdine is looking for students who are committed to strengthening their community. Helping others is an essential aspect of the school’s mission through service opportunities in Southern California and worldwide. The Pepperdine Volunteer Center had nearly 2,000 volunteers in 2019.

Furthermore, Pepperdine students should be open to changing their mindset and considering other perspectives. They should be interested in contributing their unique voice on campus and stand up for things that matter to them.

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