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High School Students

Your senior year of high school is a busy yet very exciting time, and we know that the process of choosing a college can be challenging. We are here to help every step of the way, answering your questions, and providing you with information. We look forward to receiving your application.


Admission Requirements:

UT has a competitive, yet holistic admissions process. We want the best and brightest to join our Big Orange family, and our review process takes into consideration many different factors. We can’t wait to learn more about you!

Freshman admission decisions are based on:

UT calculates a weighted core GPA based on your grades in the courses listed below. Completion of all sixteen core courses is not required for admission.

In the core academic subjects, your GPA will be weighted by UT to reflect honors courses (0.5 quality points added), Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and dual enrollment courses (1.0 quality points added). UT will use unweighted high school course grades as the basis for adding these weightings for the UT core GPA calculation.

Core academic subjects:

  • 4 units of English
  • 2 units of algebra
  • 1 unit of geometry
  • 1 unit of trigonometry, calculus, statistics, or other advanced math
  • 1 unit of biology
  • 1 unit of chemistry or physics
  • 1 unit of additional science
  • 1 unit of American history
  • 1 unit of European history, world history, or world geography
  • 2 units of a single foreign language
  • 1 unit of visual or performing arts

Please see the State of Tennessee’s Department of Education website for graduation requirements.

Either ACT or SAT scores (UT does not require the essay). We use the super scoring method of combining test scores into a new composite score. For example:

Super Scoring
Subject 1st ACT 2nd ACT Best Scores Super Score
English 22 25 25 25
Math 24 22 24 24
Reading 24 26 26 26
Science 27 25 27 27
Composite 24 25 25 26

*All scores as prior to March 2016.

Our codes are 4026 for ACT and 1843 for SAT. You can retake the tests and resend us your scores through December 31 if you wish to be considered for institutional scholarships.

Read UT’s test score policy here.

  • Rigor of your high school curriculum
  • Difficulty of senior-level coursework
  • Extracurricular or leadership activities
  • 1 short essay (choose one of three)*
  • Awards
  • Special talents or skills
  • Your personal statement (optional)
  • Letters of recommendation from teachers and counselors (optional)

*The short essay is your opportunity to tell us more about you in a few paragraphs. This is a great way for us to hear “your voice.”

If you want to be admitted to the College of Architecture and Design, Engineering, or Nursing, there are special requirements that will affect your application process.


A portfolio of the applicant’s artwork is not required but is recommended. Admission decisions are made holistically by faculty of the School of Architecture.

Interior Design

A portfolio of the applicant’s artwork is not required. Admission decisions are made holistically by faculty of the School of Interior Design.

Arts & Sciences

Pre-Pharmacy Direct Admit Program—The pre-pharmacy essay in the application is required in addition to a minimum weighted core GPA of 3.5 and ACT of 25 (or SAT CR+M of 1150)*. Applicants are offered admission to the Pre-Pharmacy Direct Admit Program based on holistic evaluation by the faculty and staff of the UT College of Pharmacy. Other pre-pharmacy applicants are admitted by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions based on standard UT admission requirements.


The College of Engineering has established admissions criteria for incoming freshmen based on several performance criteria, including completion of core academic subjects, grades in these subjects and standardized test (SAT or ACT) scores.

All majors have the same special admission requirements. A minimum score of 25 on the ACT math or 570 on the SAT math test is required*. A calculated Success Prediction Index (SPI) of 60 or higher is also required. SPI is calculated by adding the ACT math score (or SAT math score converted to the ACT equivalent) to 10 times the UT calculated core GPA. For example, a 29 ACT math score and a 3.5 weighted core GPA equals a SPI of 64 (29+10×3.5).


Depending on the concentration you choose, you might be required to audition and/or interview. Please see the School of Music’s website for details.


Selection is highly competitive and based primarily on academic achievement at the high school level and scores on the ACT and/or SAT as well as interest in and commitment to nursing.

All applicants must complete the nursing essay in the application. Admission decisions are made holistically by faculty and staff of the College of Nursing.

*All scores as prior to March 2016.

Application Process

Complete and submit a freshman application for admission.

Apply to UT by becoming a VIP (Vol in Progress) or through the Common Application. You can pay the $50 application fee online when you submit your application or you can pay by money order.

Have your high school and/or college mail us official transcripts.
The University of Tennessee
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
320 Student Services Building
Knoxville, TN 37996-0230

If you have completed any high school or college academic work outside the United States, it might be necessary to have an evaluation of your transcript by one of the companies listed below. In some cases, we can evaluate your high school transcript here at UT. International applicants must have a course-by-course evaluation by one of these companies. UT will only be able to process an application after receiving the necessary report from the evaluation company.

Companies offering these evaluation services include:

Have your ACT and/or SAT test scores sent to UT by the testing services.

UT will also accept records of your ACT and SAT exams that appear on your official high school transcripts. We do not use the scores for the writing portion of the ACT/SAT. The test scores must include UT’s codes for ACT (4026) or College Board/SAT (1843).

Applying for Scholarships and Financial Aid

Our One Stop Express Student Services team can guide you on how to apply for financial aid including grants, scholarships, work-study, and loans. Your completed application for admission must be received and you must be admitted before you can apply for scholarships.

You must submit your application for admission by the November 1 deadline to be eligible to apply for competitive scholarships or honors and scholars programs, such as the Chancellor’s Honors Program. Once admitted, students will receive a link to the scholarship application via e-mail and complete a separate merit scholarship and/or honors applications.

Students who apply for admission by December 15 will be considered for institutional scholarships, including the Volunteer Scholarship.

Applying for Honors Programs

Incoming freshmen and transfer students should consult the Honors and Scholars Programs website for application information. If you are interested in the Baker Scholars Program, you can apply during your freshman year or later.

AP, CLEP, IB, and Cambridge

If you took classes or exams in Advanced Placement (AP), the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or Cambridge International, you may be able to receive credit for coursework at UT. Check out more information about course credit on our website and be advised that the information changes often.

Application Checklist

Use this checklist to make sure you have all the items you need for a complete application.

  • VIP (Vol In Progress)* application or the Common Application *As a VIP, you can check your application status, schedule campus visits, register for events, get campus updates, and learn more about our programs.

  • Official high school transcript and/or transcripts from secondary institutions via AP, CLEP, IB, dual enrollment, or Cambridge

  • Standardized test scores. Scores must be sent directly to us from testing agencies or school counselors to be accepted.

  • $50 application fee. If you would like to request a waiver for your application fee, please submit the Fee Waiver Request Form.

  • One required essay—choose one of the following:

    • The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or a time you experienced failure. How did it affect you and what did you learn from the experience?
    • Tell us about a time when you took the lead in solving an issue or a challenge impacting you or your community, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you, what steps you took to identify a solution, and the impact of your efforts.
    • What makes you unique? We strive to know the whole you and want to better understand how your unique qualities will contribute to our campus community. Share with us the qualities you believe make you “you” and/or a unique experience that will help introduce us to you.
    • Please note that if you are applying via CommonApp and have selected any of the 5 prompts in the Personal Essay part of the CommonApp application, you may copy that essay and paste it into your UT required essay on the custom question.
  • College requirements (College of Architecture and Design, Engineering, Nursing)

  • Recommendations (academic, professional, or personal) – optional

  • Personal statement – optional

Freshman Admission Deadlines
Priority admission1 Regular admission2
Summer/Fall entry November 1 December 15
Spring entry December 15 N/A


  1. For competitive scholarships: Apply by this date for priority admission and to be eligible to apply for competitive scholarships or honors and scholars programs, such as the Chancellor’s Honor Program. Once admitted, students must also complete separate scholarship and/or honors applications.
  2. For institutional scholarships: Apply by this date for admission and to be considered for institutional scholarships, including the Volunteer Scholarship.

Admission Decision and Next Steps

After you submit your application, you can check your application status in your VIP account. It’s important to check your VIP account often to see any important communication from UT, along with a list of any documents such as official transcript or test scores that we still need in order to make our admission decision. Keep in mind that transcripts and other documents might take a while to register in our system.

Each year, we receive more than 17,000 applications, and our team reviews each and every one of the files carefully. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to apply for admission as early as possible. This is especially true when it comes to competitive scholarships and honors programs applicants. You must submit your application for admission by the priority deadline of November 1 in order to be eligible to apply for competitive scholarships and honors programs at UT. Once you are admitted, you will be able to access the scholarship and honors application through Academic Works.

Students who have applied by the November 1 deadline will receive a decision in plenty of time for them to apply for scholarships before December 15. Stay ahead of the game by preparing your thoughts and documents in advance. Read more about what you will be asked to provide for your competitive scholarship application.

Students who meet the December 15 application deadline will receive an initial admission decision by the end of March.

If you have been invited to the Volunteer Bridge program, read more about it at





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