How Hard Is It to Get Into Howard University?

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Are you looking to attend “the REAL HU” and don’t know where to start? Are you curious about what it will take for you to get accepted? Don’t worry; we have got you covered!

Howard University is a historically black college with many accolades under its belt. Founded by Civil War general and hero Oliver O. Howard, the school has a rich history and strong alum network, which have kept it thriving.

With this article, we will help you understand your chances of getting into Howard University, the requirements for admission, and even provide things you can do to increase your chances. Keep reading to find that information and more.

What is Howard University Known For?What is Howard University Known For?

Howard University is known for several things, the most notable being that it is and has consistently been a leading producer of African American students in several disciplines. This includes black students entering the medical field within the United States and even being the “No. 1 producer of African Americans earning degrees in communications and journalism” (

In addition to these honors and the numerous ones not mentioned, Howard University boasts an unmatched alum network of individuals we see on our TV screens and even in the white house today. This includes the likes of Kamala Harris, Chadwick Boseman, Thurgood Marshall, Toni Morrison, Sean Combs, Taraji P. Henson, and so many more. These alumni are heavily vocal about what their university has done for them and always find ways to give back.

With all of this in mind, it’s no secret that getting into Howard is hard. However, hard does not mean impossible.

How Difficult Is It to Get Into Howard University?

How Difficult Is It to Get Into Howard University?

If you’re wondering how hard it is to get accepted, let’s start by looking at the Howard University acceptance rate. This rate hovers around 36% on average, only slightly dipping to 35.2% in 2021. The university is harder to get accepted into than George Washington University and the University of Maryland.

Though the university is extremely popular, being able to call yourself a Howard student is a privilege you must earn. Howard’s total enrollment is slightly less than 10,000 students. This includes graduates, undergraduates, and professional students. During the class of 2025 admission cycle, Howard received 29,391 applications.

Howard University has not become one of the top schools by simply looking for students who can get by. The university seeks out top learners who can continue their mission of service while continuing their legacy of strong academic leadership. The school is highly selective and often referred to as a Black Ivy League institution due to its selective nature and high standards.

What are Howard University's Admissions Requirements?

What are Howard University’s Admissions Requirements?


Several things must be submitted to be considered for undergraduate admission to Howard University. These items include the following:

In addition to these traditional items, certain programs require additional submissions. Students seeking undergraduate admission to the Arts and Architecture program will require additional submissions, as shown in the table below. Individuals within these majors will be conditionally admitted until the final evaluation of program materials is complete.

Program Type Program Specific Requirement
Architecture & Design Portfolio: Minimum 1, Maximum 3 Creative Expression Examples
Format: Written, Graphic, Audio Visual
Art Slide Portfolio: 12 –15 images & videos
Music Instrument/Voice Audition
DVD/CD accepted. If a physical audition is not possible
Theater Audition, portfolio, and/or interview required

Howard University admission requirements for international students are similar, with subtle differences. International students are encouraged to apply one year before they would like to attend. This is due to the additional evaluation needed potentially for immigration-related issues and ensured receipt of documents.


The requirements will differ slightly if you are seeking admission to Howard University as a Graduate student. The following items will need to be submitted:

  • Proof of completion of a Bachelor’s degree
  • Completion of the online application
  • Statement of Purpose Essay: This essay will outline your goals and motivations for pursuing a graduate degree
  • 3 Letters of recommendation
  • Postsecondary Transcripts
  • Resume
  • Some programs may also require GRE scores, writing samples, autobiographical statements, or TOEFL scores.

What GPA Does Howard University Requires?

It is no secret that Howard’s admission standards are high, but what does that mean? Using the class of 2025 as a baseline, the average GPA was an unweighted 3.66. This represents the use of a 4-point scale.

Though Howard boasts a minimum GPA of 2.8, students in this range represent less than 2% of the students accepted to the university.

Does Howard University Require SAT and ACT Scores?

For the 2022-2023 school year, the university will not mandate that students submit either the SAT or the ACT to be considered for admissions. However, if they are submitted, they will be evaluated with your application. The average SAT and ACT scores for the 2025 graduating class were a composite ACT score of 24 and SAT score of 1184. Howard understands that the COVID pandemic has had a strong impact on standardized testing and will evaluate if these exams will continue to be an option or if they will only be temporary.

Though optional, if you feel that the submission of your test scores will better your chance of acceptance, we encourage you to do it. There is no sense in hiding something that can only help you. However, if you fell asleep during your exam or tanked the tests as a whole, it would be a good idea to leave them off.

Does Howard University Require a Letter of Recommendation?

Letters of recommendation are required for anyone looking to be admitted to the university. These recommendations are very important and can increase the chances of getting into Howard University. In total, two letters must be submitted. Though individuals can submit letters via traditional mail, the university highly recommends that they be submitted through the common application online. This allows students to track the status of their recommendations and nudge individuals onward if needed.

Students will need one letter from a high school counselor as well as one letter from a high school teacher. These letters should not just come from anyone. They should be submitted by someone familiar with your work ethic, has a good grasp of your personality, and can speak strongly of your strengths.

Are Supplemental Essays Needed?

Essays are a mandatory requirement to be considered for admission. Students are provided essay prompts through the common application. The main essay component must be submitted. However, Howard does offer an additional optional essay. This essay is used as an opportunity to learn more about the candidate and express who they are outside of their academics.

Does Extracurriculars Matter at Howard?

Howard University requirements do not mandate that students are solely scholars with no personal life. They want to admit well-rounded individuals who are not only sore academically but outside as well. The ideal candidate will be well-rounded. It will be someone who is not only book smart but a leader in other areas like their community or even within their workplace.

Howard University wants to see that you are more than a GPA. It would be best if you were pursuing your passions in and outside of the classroom.

3 Tips to Increase Your Chances of Getting Into Howard University

3 Tips to Increase Your Chances of Getting Into Howard University

Apply Early

It’s easy to see why the Howard University acceptance rate may have you stressed but do not let that stop you from applying. If this is your top school, we advise planning early. Howard’s early acceptance rate is 63.5%, considerably higher than during the regular admission season.

Several students will be fighting to get their chance to go to Howard; set yourself apart by applying early. Unlike the regular decision deadline, which is generally in February. Early decision and early action students must submit their application and all of the subsequent materials in November. Students will then receive a decision by January of the following year.

If you are unfamiliar with what early decision and early action are, we’ve got you covered there too. We don’t want you to make a mistake and get stuck with your choice. Early action means you will receive your acceptance letter early but are not obligated to attend the university. You have until the traditional decision deadline to confirm your attendance. Early decision, on the other hand, is binding. Students accepted via early decision are committed to attending and should only apply via this method to one school.

This can be scary for some; however, if you know that Howard is the school of your dreams, go for it.

Take a Rigorous but Manageable Course Load

Undoubtedly, your academics will be important in helping you get into Howard. AP classes and IB courses are a good way to set yourself apart from your potential classmates. However, this does not mean taking any and every class that you can find just because it is advanced. Be strategic in your course selection. Take courses that enhance the passions that you already have. That way, when the nights are long, and you are doing homework until midnight, it feels worth it.

Use the Optional Essay to Your Advantage

If you are afraid that your admissions pack won’t wow the judges, use your essay to your advantage. The optional essay is meant to showcase you as a person, academics aside. Focus on why attending Howard would be pivotal in your success and how you would be an asset to your community.

If you are someone who doesn’t have the best GPA but still has the hope of attending, put your efforts into your essay. Be authentic and create something that will captivate the reader’s attention and heart. You never know; your essay could be the thing that pushes you over the edge.

Wrapping Things Up: How Hard Is It to Get Into Howard University?

You are sadly mistaken if someone told you that you were getting into a school with a rich history, strong alum network, and the leading producer of black students easily. This “black ivy league” school strongly emphasizes not only a student’s academics but also their skills outside the classroom. The Howard University acceptance rate is 35%, making it extremely selective but not impossible. By applying early action and using your option essay to your advantage, you can greatly increase your chances of getting into Howard University and attending the “REAL H-U.”

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Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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