Are you planning on applying to the oldest and first university in Scotland but have no idea how competitive it is? Then you are not alone.
As one of the UK’s top academic institutions, one might expect the University of St Andrews’s acceptance rate to be freakingly low. To be sincere, it’s not as selective as you think.
Now, shall we?
Is it hard to get into the University of St Andrews?
Although the University of St Andrews is competitive, anyone who meets their minimum grade requirements can get accepted. Just to show you how selective the school is, only 1 in every 4 applicants is offered admission.
You should know that some courses are more competitive than others. For example, a student who intends to major in economics may find it harder to get admission than someone going for intellectual history or medieval studies.
The Scottish government is responsible for deciding the number of students the University of St Andrews admits and enrolls annually. Also, the percentage of domestic and international students accepted is capped.
If you are applying from the US, things are quite different from how the admission officers at the University of St Andrews review applications compared to American colleges. In Scotland, applications are not reviewed holistically but based on academic qualifications and achievements.
An exception to this will be if all applicants have above-average grades and have met every minimum entry requirement. In this case, personal statements and references decide who gets accepted or rejected.
University of St Andrews acceptance rate
According to 2021 figures provided by UCAS, the University of St Andrews’s acceptance rate is 25%. This means that out of every 100 applicants, only 25 qualified students are selected.
Note that this acceptance rate is only for undergraduate applicants and does not determine the university’s prestige. While the school does not publicly release, its international students admit data, more than 50% of the St Andrews student body are international students from over 130 countries across the globe.
During the 2018/19 academic session, the University of St Andrews had a much higher acceptance rate of 41% for undergraduate studies. In 2019, its postgraduate acceptance rate was 54%.
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St Andrews admission requirements
It’s about time we discuss the things required to get admitted to the University of St Andrews.
For Undergraduate Studies
- You need a high school diploma with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
- Applicants’ grades should be mostly As and Bs; anything less than a C won’t be accepted.
- Advanced Placement (AP) classes and International Baccalaureate courses are acknowledged.
- While standardized test scores like the ACT and SAT are not compulsory, they are used for admission if submitted. If you are not submitting any of them, make sure you include the reason for non-submission in your statement.
- Applicants submitting test scores must have a minimum ACT score of 28, and a minimum SAT score of 1320. The essay section is completely optional.
- You must meet the course-specific requirements.
- Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in the English Language (for international applicants). English proficiency tests such as IELTS, PTE Academic, and TOEFL are accepted.
- Applicant must submit references as well as their statements.
For Postgraduate Studies
- Applicants must possess a BA or BS degree from an accredited, recognized institution.
- If the requirement is a first-class honors degree, applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.7 or above on a 4.0 scale.
- GMAT/GRE is not required for admission.
- Work or research experience is a plus.
Tips to get into the University of St Andrews
Before you go, how about some tips for prospective university students? Sounds cool, right? Let’s dive right in.
1. Only apply if you are qualified. Since you can only apply to 5 academic institutions in the UK, you shouldn’t waste your money and time. The latter is more valuable, though.
Visit the University of St Andrews website and review the admission criteria for your intended field of study and the general entry requirements. Is your GPA higher than what is required? How about your grades? If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact their admission office.
For example, those planning to study medicine must have a 3.5 GPA, 3 Advanced Placement (AP) exams, and a very good UCAT score. There are also other requirements like clinical experience, interview performance, etc.
2. Personal Statement. Often overlooked by most applicants, the personal statement is an absolute game changer. Explain why you like your course and make it subject-focused.
After your first draft, don’t submit it fast; spend some time proofreading and editing it. Remember to keep it formal and mention relevant work experience(s).
3. References. Kind of like the next important factor after your statement. In the US, you only submit about 2-4 recommendation letters; it’s a little different here.
Your referees’ report can be filled out by a teacher, counselor, principal, or someone who understands your academic background. Trust me; it’s not something you can fill out by yourself; there are some details you can’t fake.
4. Application Fee. I know it’s not even part of the requirements for admission; however, if you don’t pay the non-refundable application fee, your application won’t be submitted for review.
For every 10 undergraduate applicants, only about 3 are offered admission to study at the University of St Andrews. This leaves its acceptance rate at 25%, which we discussed in this article.
While it may be one of the ancient universities in the nation, it is nowhere near as selective as Oxford and Cambridge universities. Give it a shot if you know you are qualified for admission at the University of St Andrews.
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Sam is a brilliant young Nigerian biochemistry student and an aspiring entrepreneur. Despite facing many challenges, he has never lost his passion for learning and drive to make a difference in the world. Read more about him here.