Dean Einstein and Director of Admission Mandy Castro answered questions about elements of the application process in a live chat. Watch the entire video or check out tips on applying to TCU.
Stand out by being authentic
We're looking for a well-rounded class and while we want you to be academically well-rounded, we're not looking for you to be completely well-rounded. That means it's OK to be angular in your application. If the majority of your involvement is in band because that's what you're passionate about or you have limited involvement because you've been working to help your family, that's great. Tell your story in only the way you can. The essay questions are your opportunity to tell us about yourself in your own words. So be your authentic self, don't try to write something you think we want to see. The essay is a chance for us to get to know you in a way we can't glean from reading other parts of your application.
A freedom of expression piece is another optional way to tell us more about yourself that we haven't been able to read in your application. This can be a written piece, a video of you doing something you've been passionate about in high school or a photo of an original work you created. Just make sure we're able to view any links you send.
Academic performance is key
That includes your transcript(s) and optional test scores submitted. We value the strength you've challenged yourself with when it comes to curriculum. We prefer to see first-year applicants who've stayed in a math and science class for all four years in high school and who've taken at least two years of a language other than English. Check out our blog about choosing courses for application.
We also take into account co-curricular activities, essay and teacher and counselor recommendations, but these make up a smaller piece of the pie.
Apply in a way that's accessible for you
We continue to waive application fees for first-generation students, free and reduced lunch students and current and former military service members. We accept four different types of applications and we don't prefer any one type over the other. For more information on deciding which application to use, check out this blog post.
We also no longer require interviews as part of the application process. You can reach out to your counselor many different ways to chat and ask questions, but this is for your benefit only. If you don't reach out to your counselor, it won't hurt your chances of admission.
Lastly, we added a new application round called Early Decision II. We did this because we know there are students who decide that TCU is their top choice after Nov. 1. Maybe they can't visit before then, or just have their "aha" moment a little later. We wanted to give students another opportunity to raise their hand and say TCU is their top choice, even if they can't visit early on.
Optional really means optional at TCU
We went test optional during the pandemic and extended that policy. We've found that this policy has allowed our counselors to focus even more on other parts of the application and admit a broader range of students.
During the 2020-21 application season we received more than 20,000 applications, which is typical of the past five years. Test scores weren't used for 51 percent of admitted students. And test scores weren't used for 73 percent of scholarship recipients.
And only 7 percent of applicants and 8 percent of admitted students submitted the optional freedom of expression.
- How many recommendation letters are required? Who should they be from? – 14:09
- Is there an advantage to applying Early Decision? – 22:14
- Are the chances of getting money off your tuition decreased when you apply Early Decision? – 26:51
- Can I submit my website with original works for freedom of expression? – 28:01
- What is the average test score range of students who are accepted? – 28:34
- Is there an advantage to submitting vs. not submitting my test score? – 29:12
- Where do you submit the nursing supplement questions? – 29:46
- Would it make a difference to take statistics instead of calculus senior year? – 31:03
- What's the most attractive thing on a student's application? – 32:35
- Has your yield changed over the past five years? – 34:20
- Can you still be considered for the Chancellor's Scholarship without submitting your test score? – 37:16
- Does TCU conduct interviews as part of the application process? – 38:27
- How much consideration do you put toward admitting siblings or legacy students? – 41:11
- Is there a separate application for the John V. Roach Honors College? – 42:45
- If a student is auditioning for the theatre department, can they apply Early Decision? When does the theatre department release their decisions? – 44:12
- How should we determine if we should apply to the Honors College? – 45:31
- If you were denied the first round of Early Decision, can you re-apply in February? – 46:53
- What criteria are used to identify candidates for the Chancellor's Scholarship? – 50:05
- Can you get into both the nursing program and the Honors College? – 51:55
- Who is considered a first-generation student? – 52:25
- What do you look for in a transfer application? – 52:47
- Will the class of 2026 be smaller than usual because the class of 2025 is over-enrolled? – 54:37
- Does interest in a specific major improve admission chances? – 56:12
- Could a promising student run the risk of being denied if the school exceeds its Early Decision cap? – 57:16
- Do transfer students have fun opportunities like first-year students? – 58:57