Rice University Transfer Acceptance Rate, GPA, and Requirements

Rice University is home to a few thousand students in Houston, Texas. 

Its intimate environment, combined with its location in the nation’s fourth-largest city, makes it an appealing option for students looking to enjoy a quintessential college experience in a city with much to offer its residents.

Rice is perhaps best known for its collaboration with NASA – in 1963, Rice established the first-ever space science department on campus, and the university has graduated fourteen alumni who went on to become astronauts at NASA.

Students who look forward to conducting independent and collaborative research projects will undoubtedly gravitate to Rice University. 

In addition to course-based research opportunities, students can also initiate an independent project based on a topic of interest. A faculty member will work alongside them to guide them as they progress on the research journey.

With an abundance of assets to offer to potential students, it is no surprise that Rice admissions are competitive, especially for transfer students. 

Looking ahead, we’ll discuss the transfer acceptance rate and minimum GPA requirements, the application materials necessary for admission, and more facts that are sure to draw students to Rice’s campus.

Rice University Transfer Acceptance Rate

Rice University
Leonard Lane, Fondren Library, Rice University, CC BY 4.0

While there are no official statistics regarding Rice University’s transfer acceptance rate, applicants should expect a highly competitive process. 

Rice’s overall acceptance rate for first-time degree-seeking applicants has gradually decreased over the last ten years. 

Whereas in 2012, the acceptance rate hovered around 16.5%, 2022 witnessed an acceptance rate of 9.5% – these figures are based on 2,802 admitted students out of nearly 30,000 applicants. Rice’s increasingly competitive acceptance rate could be attributed to higher numbers of applicants – the university accepted more applicants in 2021 than in any previous year. 

The historical number of applicants may be due to Rice’s test-optional policy, with 20% of applicants opting not to report their standardized test scores. 

The top 25% of admitted students who submitted SAT scores averaged a Superscore of 1570, while those who submitted ACT scores averaged a composite score of 36.

Application Requirements & GPA for Rice Transfers

Rice defines transfer applicants as those who have obtained a high school diploma (or its equivalent) and earned a minimum of 12 hours of college credit after graduating high school with at least a 3.2 GPA representing performance on their most recent college work. 

That being said, those who are accepted as transfers usually enter Rice with a previous GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Unlike many colleges, Rice does not stipulate specific coursework requirements for admittance as a transfer student. Transfer students are required to attain at least 60 credit hours as full-time Rice students to be eligible for a bachelor’s degree.

To apply to Rice, hopeful candidates should complete the general application and send a $75 non-refundable fee (which can be waived for U.S. applicants). 

Official copies of high school and college transcripts are required for all previous institutions the applicant has attended.

Transfer applicants are responsible for submitting two letters of recommendation completed by instructors or professors at their current institution of higher learning. 

Ideally, one recommendation of the two should relate to the applicant’s desired area of study. Others who are well-acquainted with the applicant’s abilities and achievements may submit additional letters of recommendation for consideration.

As part of the application process, hopeful transfers will also need to submit the College Report, a confirmation of good academic and behavioral standing typically completed by an academic dean or college adviser. As mentioned previously, it is currently optional for applicants to submit standardized test scores, including SAT, ACT, IB, AP, PSAT, or pre-ACT scores.

Once transfers have completed the basic application materials, they can move on to the supplemental section, which invites candidates to divulge more illuminating information about themselves and their desire to attend Rice University. In 2020-2021, there were three essay prompts that students were required to answer in 150-500 words.

The final part of the supplemental section is the “Rice Box” question, a unique application requirement. Candidates are asked to share a simple, two-dimensional image of something that appeals to them without any explanation required.

It is important to note that some programs – like the School of Music and School of Architecture – only accept transfers for one semester out of the year (typically the fall semester). 

Other areas of focus, such as architecture and visual and dramatic arts, require that applicants submit additional materials, including a creative portfolio or response to more niche-specific essay prompts.

Rice University Transfer Deadline

For U.S. and international transfers intending to enroll at Rice for the fall semester, all application materials are due March 15 – the last applicable ACT to take is in February while the last applicable SAT to take is in March. 

For spring transfers, the application deadline is November 1, with candidates having the option to take the ACT as late as September and the SAT as late as October.

What is the Decision Date for Rice University Transfers?

Rice University grants admission decisions on a rolling basis, meaning that the Office of Admissions will evaluate applications as they receive them, rather than waiting to receive an entire cluster of applications. 

For transfer students hoping to attend Rice in the fall semester, Rice will notify them of their admission status by May 31, while spring transfers will know their status by December 1. All admissions decisions are final, and applicants can expect to receive one of three notifications: admit, waitlist, or deny.

According to the Office of Admissions, the number of admissions offers for waitlisted candidates varies each year and can range from 0 to 150 students.

Deciding Whether You Should Transfer to Rice University

Rice University
Jim Evans, Rice University Mechanical Laboratory and Power House, CC BY-SA 4.0

For many students, tuition and fees are significant factors to consider when making a decision about which college to attend. Rice University stands out among similar elite universities throughitsr Rice Investment commitment, which promises to meet 100% of demonstrated need for all domestic admitted students.

Transfer students are not eligible for merit-based scholarships, and international transfers are required to complete the International Student Financial Statement, wherein they supply the necessary paperwork to demonstrate their ability to finance their tuition at Rice. 

International transfer applicants must also demonstrate English language proficiency by submitting test scores or evidence of participation in an English language curriculum.

Rice offers many appealing programs and a diverse learning environment outside of a guaranteed financial package for need-based applicants. 

They have recently been ranked #1 for Race/Class Interaction and #1 in Quality of Life by The Princeton Review, as well as #7 in Best Colleges in the Nation by Niche.

The undergraduate housing system at Rice is highly unique and designed to foster camaraderie – students are divided into 11 residential colleges, each of which has gained a unique reputation for social offerings. 

Each dormitory hosts a party open to the entire student population on a semesterly basis. Social gatherings range from casino nights and theater productions to cultural festivals and barbeques.

Several specific academic programs at Rice are sure to allure budding architects and business leaders. With a 5:1 student-to-faculty ratio, the School of Architecture networks with some of the nation’s best architecture firms to provide hands-on learning experiences for students. 

In the Preceptorship, B.Arch. students participate in a year-long compensated practicum between years four and five of study. Graduates from the School of Architecture go on to succeed in positions at WeWork, Apple, Inc., and Gensler.

The School of Business is rated as the #1 Graduate Entrepreneurship Program by the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine for 2020 through 2022. MBA students have the opportunity to attend conferences, competitions, and global off-site electives.

RECAP: How to Apply As a Transfer Student to Rice University

Rice makes it simple to apply for admission as a transfer student – virtually all admissions requirements are outlined on one page where students can also access the application portal.

As a reminder, students begin by completing the Common Application and submitting the $75 fee. Students will need to order official copies of their transcripts from all previous collegiate institutions attended and ask a high school guidance counselor to provide the official high school transcript.

Applicants should use the Supplemental section to provide more information about themselves, their experiences, and their talents. This section includes three short-answer essay prompts, the Rice Box, and additional essays (depending on the program to which the student is applying).

As part of the Supplemental section, students should remember to submit a minimum of two letters of recommendation and coordinate with the academic dean of their current institution to submit a College Report. 

While choosing not to submit SAT or ACT scores as part of the application materials, a competitive ACT composite or SAT Superscore may contribute to the holistic profile of a hopeful transfer candidate.