Tulane University – Acceptance Rate, Tuition, Requirements, and More

It is said that Tulane University has an official and unofficial motto: “non sibi, sed suis” (“Not for oneself, but for one’s own”) and “work hard, play hard.” These messages seem disparate and incongruent but, in fact, they encapsulate the essence of Tulane.

Because of its outstanding academics, salient research profile, and world-class faculty Tulane is deemed one of the best schools in the South. It is guaranteed that you will work hard as a Tulane student. But academics alone are not the only attraction. The campus is located in uptown New Orleans, one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in the United States, synonymous with mouth-watering Southern cuisine, music, and Mardi Gras. With that said, Tulane students also play hard.

But the school is not all hard work, Crawfests, and social engagements. The official motto underscores Tulane’s demonstrated commitment to public service. It is one of the few schools with a mandatory public service requirement. So far, Tulane students have logged over 780,347 hours of community service!

Want to know what Tulane has to offer? Read this guide.

Acceptance Rate

Tulane University
EEJCC, Gibson Hall, 2019, CC BY-SA 4.0

Tulane’s acceptance rate is one of the lowest in the country, becoming increasingly selective over the last few years. It would be inaccurate to suggest that Tulane is a “safety” school, given its acceptance rate over the years. Tulane is “almost ivy” at this point, and rightfully so.

According to the latest US News & World Report, Tulane’s acceptance rate is 13% and 17% for early admissions. This is a steep drop from a 26% acceptance rate in prior years. According to College Learners, the acceptance rate hovered around 20% as recently as the entering class of 2020. Among the over 45,517 applications received in the Fall 2021 admissions cycle, only 9% of applicants were offered admission as part of the class of 2025.

There are several factors that may have driven the number of applications. College Learners suggests that Tulane has increased financial aid packages, which is attractive to applicants looking for the “best value” in their education. Tulane offers high-quality, affordable education through its financial aid packages and scholarships.

Another factor is that low acceptance rates often signal prestige and exclusivity. For years, Tulane’s acceptance rate has been quite competitive. Therefore, lower rates of acceptance in later years signal rising reputation and popularity.

Requirements & Admission Tips

Lower acceptance rates mean a competitive pool of applicants, which, in turn, means that you need to stand out from everyone else with a 3.5+ GPA and high SAT scores. What does it take to get into Tulane? Let us start with some stats and numbers.

The SAT score and ACT score range for the class of 2024 was 1430-1530 and 31-34, respectively. This suggests that students with composite SAT and ACT scores that fall within those ranges have a much higher chance of getting in. Over the years, the average GPA for the incoming class has been 3.5 or higher. Over a quarter of applicants boast GPAs of 3.75 or higher. Needless to say, an exceptional academic record would significantly boost your chances of getting admitted, but it does not guarantee getting your foot in the door.

When it comes to these incoming class profiles, it is a mistake to assume that the admissions committee views each applicant as a compilation of numbers. In fact, the more competitive a school, the more it pays to stand out in other areas of the application.  The Tulane admissions committee follows a holistic process in which no single factor determines the outcome. Just as every applicant should determine whether a school is a good fit, the admissions committee does the same.

Notable Alumni

Alumni of the Green Wave school have left their mark on the arts, sciences, politics, and business. Notable alumni include the Pulitzer Prize-winning John Kennedy Toole, author of The Confederacy of Dunces, and co-founder of Yahoo!, David Filo.

How many schools can count former country presidents among their alumni? Not many! Former president of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solís, earned a master’s degree in Latin American Studies at Tulane.

Did you know that American film and television actor, Harold Sylvester, turned down Harvard to attend Tulane?! He was also the first African-American to receive an athletic scholarship from the university. 

Being a university with demonstrable, high research activity, Tulane has no shortage of academic all-stars among its alumni. The school boasts numerous Rhodes Scholars and National Science Fellows.


Tulane is noted for its voluminous research output, with research expenditures in the millions. It is home to various research centers, including the esteemed Amistad Research Center. The center produces and collects research documenting the African-American experience. With such an impressive research profile, it is no surprise that Tulane faculty are world-class scholars and teachers.

Faculty undertake cutting-edge and impactful research in a broad range of fields. Renowned economist and Executive Director of the Murphy Institute, Gary Hoover, is an esteemed leader in the field of policy analysis of poverty and income distribution. He has published his research in some of the most highly-ranked journals in economics. He is also a founding editor of the Journal of Economics, Race, and Policy. Besides a stellar research profile, Professor Gary Hoover serves as an invaluable mentor to minority and first-generation undergrads who aspire to doctoral studies.

Vicky Mayer has earned her place among the likes of Bill Moyers, Studs Terkel, and other legendary journalists. The professor of communication was awarded the prestigious Professional Freedom & Responsibility Award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Hoover and Mayer are just two luminaries among many at Tulane, attesting to the world-class quality of this institution.

Similar Schools & Ranking

Tulane University’s place among top schools is well deserved with exceptional faculty, notable alumni, and an overall stellar educational program!

Tulane was ranked among the top 50 institutions nationally by the latest US News & World Report. The USNWR is one of the most trusted sources for anyone looking at the best schools and programs; schools are selected based on an eclectic and relevant combination of factors, such as social mobility, selectivity, retention, faculty resources, and graduation rates.

Tulane is also very highly regarded by the equally reputable Princeton Review. According to PR, Tulane is a top-choice across multiple categories, including “Best Quality of Life,” “Happiest Students,” and “Best Run Colleges.” At Tulane, students get the best of both worlds: high-quality academics and an excellent collegiate experience!

Niche.com consistently picks Tulane as one of the best colleges for architecture, accounting, the performing arts, and communications. Tulane is also ranked as one of the top party schools for those who are keen on social scenes.

Based on these rankings and characteristics, comparable schools include the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, New York University, Vanderbilt, and University of Miami. These schools, like Tulane, boast exceptional faculty, excellent curricula, and the promise of vibrant social life.

Tuition & Scholarships

It is not exactly news that the cost of attending college has risen sharply over the years. Tuition alone can increase 2-3% every year. Now tack on other expenses such as room and board, exorbitant textbook prices, meal plans, fees, and more. An excellent education comes at a hefty price.

The total cost of attendance for a resident freshman at Tulane is 80k (plus the cost of transportation). But do not let sticker shock deter you from applying. After all, you do not want to pass up on an excellent education when there are ways to help you tackle the costs. The good news is that Tulane offers a variety of full and partial scholarships and awards.

For starters, every applicant is automatically considered for partial tuition merit scholarships, which can offset up to 32k a year. Applicants with exceptional academic records, outstanding community involvement, and promise can compete for full-tuition scholarships that are renewable for up to 4 years. The Dean’s Honor Scholarship (DHS), the Paul Tulane Award, and the Sotomayor Public Service Scholarship are examples of full-tuition scholarships. Note that eligibility requirements and required materials differ for each merit-based scholarship.

Is Tulane University Right For You?

You have done your research. You’ve combed through the university’s website for all of the pertinent information. Tulane has great academic offerings, generous scholarships, excellent faculty, and is a reputable school. But one thing you should consider is whether the school is a good fit for you.

Is Tulane University right for you?

Based on what we have presented to you so far, Tulane is a high-caliber school that draws some of the best and brightest students from all over the country. Without a doubt, you will find yourself in the company of highly accomplished fellow scholars. However, the undergraduate experience encompasses more than just academics. Social and recreational opportunities outside of the classroom are essential facets of college. Location is a big deal as well.

Different schools may be comparable in terms of the quality of their academics but differ markedly in terms of their atmosphere and culture. With that said, you may not care so much about Tulane’s A+ plus party scene or the humid subtropical climate of Louisiana. Or, for one reason or another, the concept of community service as a graduation requirement does not jive with you.

Tulane is a great fit for bright students with a penchant for public service and a vibrant social life.