Frequently Asked Questions About Applying to Arcadia

My Application

What are the most important parts of my application as an incoming freshman?

Arcadia University’s Enrollment Management staff members are most interested in the following pieces of your application:

  • High school or college transcript (emphasis is placed on your type of program followed, grades and class rank)
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • School and community activities
  • Work experience
  • SATs or ACTs (optional)
  • Personal essay (optional)
  • Portfolio review (for art majors only)
  • Audition (for students interested in the BFA in Acting)
What is the minimum SAT/ACT score?

Arcadia is test optional.  For students that choose to submit scores, we do not have a minimum required for admission. We accept students with a range of scores and evaluate standardized test scores in balance with other parts of the application.  We look at your highest Evidence-based Reading and Writing score and highest math score. We do not require the SAT Subject Tests.

How many letters of recommendation do I need?

We ask for one from a teacher of an academic subject or your school counselor. You are certainly welcome to send additional letters, but they are not required.

I am an art student. How do I schedule my portfolio review?

Portfolios can be submitted online.  We also offer days during which you can have a portfolio review

I am a Acting student. How do I schedule an audition?

Please contact the Enrollment Management Office for audition dates and related information. Please note that if you are applying to the BFA in Acting program, you are required to audition.

What is the difference between full-time and part-time?

Students who want to enroll on a full-time basis will pursue, on average, 16 credits per semester (with a minimum of 12 credits) on a matriculated basis. More about part-time enrollment.

Do I need to choose a major when I apply?

In most cases (see exceptions below), you do NOT need to formally choose a major when you apply. We consider the program or field of study you indicate in your application as subject to change. By your sophomore year, you will likely formally declare a major.

If you are considering the following majors or pre-professional programs, you should check the program for special requirements and plan to meet with your adviser as early as possible to plan your schedule:


Is there a deadline to apply?

No, we are on a rolling admissions cycle and do not have a specific deadline. However, there is a January 15 priority deadline to automatically be considered for Distinguished Scholarships, Accelerated Degree Programs, the Gateway to Success program, the Honors Program, and the First-Year Study Abroad Experience. We encourage you to submit your application as early as possible. 

Does Arcadia offer early admission?

Yes. Well-qualified, highly motivated students who have demonstrated personal and social maturity may enter Arcadia University at the end of their junior year rather than completing graduation requirements in high school. If you would like to pursue this option, you will need to:

  • Schedule a personal one-on-one meeting with an Enrollment Management Counselor
  • Submit written approval from your parent(s)/guardian(s), and school counselor, and principal
  • Submit the application materials required of all freshman applicants
When will I find out if I got in?

We usually let applicants know of our admission decision within several weeks of receiving a completed application.

Can I apply to the spring semester instead of the fall?



When should I apply for scholarships?

You do NOT need to submit a separate application to be considered for Arcadia scholarships. If you are admitted to Arcadia University, we will automatically review your eligibility.

What scholarships does Arcadia offer?

For Fall 2020/Spring 2021, we offer Distinguished Scholarships for academic performance that go up to $25,000 annually and Achievement Awards for involvement in extra-curricular activities and/or community service that go up to $6,000 annually. 

High School Courses and Credit for Prior Learning

What courses should I have taken in high school?

Recognizing the value of a well-rounded and balanced education, Arcadia recommends the following distribution of high school units:

English    4
History and Social Studies   4
Mathematics 3 (including Algebra II and Geometry)
Modern Language 2 (in one language)
Laboratory Science 3
Additional units in modern language, mathematics and laboratory science are desirable as electives.  

If you are interested in Pre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Forensic Science, Pre-Physician Assistant, Pre-Medical and other pre-health professions programs or the combined Engineering program, we recommend a strong background in the sciences and mathematics.

If your high school program does not match the recommended distribution of subjects, but your academic record and supporting application materials show the potential for success, we invite you to apply with the assurance that we will carefully review and consider your records.

Can I receive credit for Advanced Placement?

If you earned three or higher on your College Board Advanced Placement examinations, you will receive credit toward your bachelor's degree for courses comparable to those offered at Arcadia University.

Full List of Courses

Can I receive credit for International Baccalaureate courses?

Arcadia University reviews and evaluates International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher Level courses on an individual basis. Normally, we grant course credit for scores of five or higher in courses that are applicable your selected degree program. We evaluate full IB diploma holders on an individual basis as well. Typically no credit is given for subsidiary-level courses.

Full List of Courses

Can I receive credit for prior learning?

In addition to Advanced Placement Exams (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB), Arcadia University may award limited credit for prior learning experiences and employment. For a full list of qualifying programs and requirements, please visit our Credit for Prior Learning web page.

If I Get In

Can I start at Arcadia later than originally planned?

You can request to defer your enrollment for up to one year. We review such requests on a case-by-case basis.

To ask to start later, send us the following information by mail or email:

  • The semester in which you want to enroll (can be no later than one year after original term of admission)
  • Explicit reason(s) for deferring, including detailed and specific plans for what you will do before starting at Arcadia
  • Explanation of how the time will improve your suitability for college, and/or better prepare you for your academic career, and/or what you plan on accomplishing before college

Mail to:
Office of Enrollment Management
Arcadia University
450 South Easton Road
Glenside, PA 19038

Email to: (you can email an attachment or include the information in the body of the email)

Does Arcadia have an honors program? Can I apply to it?

Yes. Arcadia has an Honors Program. There is no separate application for admission to the program. You will automatically be considered for the program if:

  • You are a freshman who scored 1350 or better on your SAT or 29 or better on your ACT composite and are ranked in the top 10 percent of your high school class (if your school ranks students); or if
  • You are a transfer student with a GPA of 3.50

If you are a current full-time Arcadia student, you can self-nominate for the program if you have a 3.35 GPA or higher.

Is it possible to graduate in less than four years?

Arcadia offers several three-year degree programs for students who are able and willing to complete their degree programs within a shorter time. Due to the pressure and intensity of fitting all requirements into three years, these programs are intended for students with high academic ability.

Admission criteria for the three-year programs are the same as for the Honors Program.