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10 Great Essay Writing Tips
Knowing how to write a college essay is a useful skill for anyone who plans to go to college. Most colleges and universities ask you to submit a writing sample with your application. As a student, you’ll also write essays in your courses. Impress your professors with your knowledge and skill by using these great essay writing tips.
Prepare to Answer the Question
Most college essays ask you to answer a question or synthesize information you learned in class. Review notes you have from lectures, read the recommended texts and make sure you understand the topic. You should refer to these sources in your essay.
Plan Your Essay
Many students see planning as a waste of time, but it actually saves you time. Take a few minutes to think about the topic and what you want to say about it. You can write an outline, draw a chart or use a graphic organizer to arrange your ideas. This gives you a chance to spot problems in your ideas before you spend time writing out the paragraphs.
Choose a Writing Method That Feels Comfortable
You might have to type your essay before turning it in, but that doesn’t mean you have to write it that way. Some people find it easy to write out their ideas by hand. Others prefer typing in a word processor where they can erase and rewrite as needed. Find the one that works best for you and stick with it.
View It as a Conversation
Writing is a form of communication, so think of your essay as a conversation between you and the reader. Think about your response to the source material and the topic. Decide what you want to tell the reader about the topic. Then, stay focused on your response as you write.
Provide the Context in the Introduction
If you look at an example of an essay introduction, you’ll see that the best essays give the reader a context. Think of how you introduce two people to each other. You share the details you think they will find most interesting. Do this in your essay by stating what it’s about and then telling readers what the issue is.
Explain What Needs to be Explained
Sometimes you have to explain concepts or define words to help the reader understand your viewpoint. You also have to explain the reasoning behind your ideas. For example, it’s not enough to write that your greatest achievement is running an ultra marathon. You might need to define ultra marathon and explain why finishing the race is such an accomplishment.
Answer All the Questions
After you finish writing the first draft of your essay, make sure you’ve answered all the questions you were supposed to answer. For example, essays in compare and contrast format should show the similarities and differences between ideas, objects or events. If you’re writing about a significant achievement, describe what you did and how it affected you.
Stay Focused as You Write
Writing requires concentration. Find a place where you have few distractions and give yourself time to write without interruptions. Don’t wait until the night before the essay is due to start working on it.
Read the Essay Aloud to Proofread
When you finish writing your essay, read it aloud. You can do this by yourself or ask someone to listen to you read it. You’ll notice places where the ideas don’t make sense, and your listener can give you feedback about your ideas.
Avoid Filling the Page with Words
A great essay does more than follow an essay layout. It has something to say. Sometimes students panic and write everything they know about a topic or summarize everything in the source material. Your job as a writer is to show why this information is important.
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Information and updates about Fall 2023 applicant resources , and Pitt’s Self-Reported Academic Record .
We’re so excited that you’re interested in applying to the Pittsburgh Campus! Let us walk you through what you need to know and keep these tips in mind as you complete the application process.
Admissions Process For First-Year Students
Learn more about our Admissions Process for first-year undergraduate program students.
The University Of Pittsburgh operates on a rolling admission policy, which means that for our first-year students and undergraduate programs, there’s no set deadline for applying to Pitt. We review all university applications and make admissions decisions throughout the year, so it’s to your advantage to apply for college early—it’ll help you stay ahead of deadlines for scholarships , Frederick Honors College , and our Graduate School Guaranteed Admissions Programs . We look for a solid senior year curriculum as part of our university admissions review, so, while applying for college you also should make sure to keep up the good work during your senior year of high school. Every university application receives a holistic review by taking traditional measures of academic achievement into account, while also looking for what makes you unique and a good fit to attend college at Pitt.
During this process, we’ll ask you to rank your campus preferences, so learn about all that each of our four regional campuses has to offer. We’ll also ask you which of our first-year entry schools you would like to apply to and whether or not you would like to apply for consideration to Frederick Honors College, and/or one of our Guaranteed Admissions Programs. Make sure you’re ready with your answers when you start the application! Please note: First-year students who complete and submit an application for admission and all required materials by December 1 are automatically considered for University of Pittsburgh academic scholarships.
Submit your application for admission This can be the University of Pittsburgh Application or the Common Application – we do not prefer one over the other.
Pay your $55 application fee
Submit your Self-Reported Academic Record (SRAR) Completing the SRAR is easy–just fill it out to match your transcript exactly. The SRAR is required of all first-year applicants, with the exception of international students.
Submit your Official SAT or ACT results (if applicable) We will take your highest ACT composite score and your highest SAT superscore. We will accept the ACT superscore if submitted directly from ACT. Please note that the university has extended the test-optional program through Fall 2025.
A personal statement is your opportunity to communicate directly with the Admissions Committee and is required to be considered for scholarships.
The University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh campus is expanding the test-optional policy through Fall 2025.
Frederick Honors College
The University of Pittsburgh has a distinguished David C. Frederick Honors College. Frederick Honors College provides academic challenges, inspires individual effort, encourages self-discovery, and fosters a nurturing community.
When you complete the online application for admission, you may request to be reviewed for a particular program by selecting from a drop-down menu of the Guaranteed Admissions Programs.
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What are your chances of acceptance?
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How to Write the University of Pittsburgh Essays 2022-2023
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The University of Pittsburgh, or Pitt, is a public research university just a few miles east of downtown Pittsburgh. With a campus encompassing 132 acres, Pitt enrolls almost 20,000 undergraduates, and is composed of 17 different undergraduate and graduate schools.
Pitt is moderately selective and is consistently ranked as one of the top public universities in the country. The most popular departments at Pitt are business, engineering, health, and the social sciences.
There are no optional supplements applicable to all applicants, other than the main personal statement on the Common App , Coalition Application , or Pitt Application. Honors applicants must write a separate essay, however, and international applicants are asked to answer another prompt in lieu of the personal statement.
In this post, we’ll break down how to write these essays to improve your chances of acceptance. Read this Pitt essay example to inspire your own writing.
Pitt Supplemental Essay Prompts
All applicants, if you have written a common application personal essay you are not expected to also submit a personal statement below. we will receive your common app personal essay if completed., submission of either the optional personal statement or common app personal essay is required for scholarship review, if applying without sat or act scores, and may increase the likelihood that you are considered for guaranteed admission programs or given special consideration due to extenuating circumstances..
The personal statement is your opportunity to communicate directly with the Admissions Committee. Applicants are welcome to submit anything that helps tell their story, being mindful and thoughtful about the quantity and quality of information shared. Share information not included elsewhere in your application. (750 words)
Describe an experience where you had to adapt to a new environment (i.e. a different culture, situation, or way of thinking). (1500 characters recommended)
If you could change anything in the world, what would it be explain why and how you would change it. (200-300 words recommended), the personal statement is your opportunity to communicate directly with the admissions committee. applicants are welcome to submit anything that helps tell their story, being mindful and thoughtful about the quantity and quality of information shared. share information not included elsewhere in your application. (750 words)..
This personal statement is optional for those submitting the Common App Essay. While we typically encourage you to write all optional essays to demonstrate your interest, this is an exception since this prompt is presented as an alternative to another essay. If you aren’t submitting the Common App, however, then you should complete this personal statement.
The goal of the personal statement is to share a story about what makes you unique. As we mention in our guide to the Common App Essays, a good personal statement should answer these four core questions:
- “Who Am I?”
- “Why Am I Here?”
- “What is Unique About Me?”
- “What Matters to Me?”
This essay should tell a story and use a narrative/creative writing format rather than your standard academic essay format. We recommend reading our Common App Essay guide for more advice on crafting a great personal statement.
Finally, keep in mind that while you have up to 750 words, you don’t need to use the full word count. While we typically recommend maximizing your allotted space, this essay is presented as an alternative to the Common App essay, which only goes up to 650 words. An essay of 550-650 words should be the sweet spot for saying what you want without dragging it on.
Describe an experience where you had to adapt to a new environment (i.e. a different culture, situation, or way of thinking). (1500 characters recommended, about 200-400 words)
Being an international student is a unique experience, and Pitt wants to know that you are prepared for the challenges of adapting to a new country, culture, and environment.
For this prompt, you will want to share a story that illustrates your adaptability, awareness, and open-mindedness. Hone in on one experience and take a deep dive into your thoughts and emotions as you were going through this transition.
Try to steer clear of cliche storylines; many students will generally discuss how it was difficult at first to study abroad, move to a different location, or overcome homesickness at an overnight program. Instead, focus on a specific aspect of the experience you choose to write about. For instance, a student who loved their study abroad experience would tell an anecdote about how they got lost in a foreign city and had to piece together their knowledge of the language to talk to taxi drivers and random strangers. Describing a specific moment like this will showcase your mentality and emotions in the moment where you were adapting to a new environment, which is what admissions officers want to learn from this essay.
Don’t feel obligated to write about experiences that are obviously relevant to being an international student. The prompt also mentions new “situations” or “ways of thinking.” You could also write about joining a new club, trying a new sport, or learning about a different way to approach a problem. The key is to pick a topic that will allow you to be reflective and illustrative of how you will adapt as an international student on Pitt’s campus.
As you decide on a topic and write your essay, ask yourself:
- Which experience best allowed me to demonstrate my adaptability and openness?
- What did I learn from this experience?
- What were my thoughts and emotions as I was going through this experience?
- How will this experience help me thrive as an international student?
Your essay should answer all of these questions, while still being exciting and engaging. For example, you might want to write about how you switched from a public to a private school. Don’t give an overview of your experience. Instead, tell the story of your first homecoming game where you were surrounded by students with pride for their school. Even though it was a new environment you were still getting acquainted with, seeing the school spirit and cheering on your team helped you feel like you belong at your new school. Despite the fear you might have felt the first few weeks of school, you decided that if you could cheer alongside your peers, you could talk to them in class as well. You now know that despite the challenges that might arise the first few weeks of college, when you’re standing in the stadium cheering on the Panthers you will feel the same sense of camaraderie and you will be able to connect with your peers.
There’s so many ways you can go about this essay, and the key is to begin by brainstorming what it is you’re passionate about, and why you’re passionate about it. Pitt Honors College is specifically looking for students who “want to advance research, better the community, and leave a global footprint.” They’re asking you to think big, and think altruistically—so don’t be afraid to write about lofty dreams. Just be sincere and specific.
It would be even better if you have past experiences working towards implementing changes, which would give you more credibility and grounding. Even if it’s as small as being a member of a community service club, or volunteering, you could use these experiences as a jumping off point for your future goals. Also, if there’s a personal reason why you’ve chosen your topic, you should definitely talk about it, as it could lead to strong anecdotes that would make your essay come alive.
At the end of the essay, you could even go into how you see Pitt Honors College fitting into your trajectory towards changing this proposed problem. You could talk about a Pitt Honors first year seminar, like “Power and Resistance,” mention how you would love to engage in meaningful conversations by living in Honors housing, and list a honors pod you would want to join—like the community engagement pod or the health sciences pod.
Here are some examples to think about:
- Maybe you want to study education, and in particular, you want to make a dent in reforming public education. You can acknowledge that this is a huge, structural problem probably unsolvable by a single person, but that you nevertheless want to give it your best try. You want to start by participating in Pitt’s Combined Accelerated Studies in Education, granting you a bachelor’s and a master’s in five years. You could discuss how you want to start as a student teacher, then manage your own classroom to learn how best to help children learn. Maybe after a while, you can go into education policy, and specifically work on creating less segregated public schools, and bringing more funding into underserved areas.
- Maybe your intended major is computer science, and the problem you’d like to address is a lack of rural connectivity to the internet, even in America. You want to take the normal slate of computer science classes, but also many classes in public policy, to know how the government plays a role in broadband access. After graduating, you’d want to both work as a programmer, but also advocate on behalf of rural communities, especially through granting local and state funding to develop better internet service in rural areas.
- Maybe you are really interested in racial justice since you have grown up feeling the effects of systemic racism and discrimination. You want to provide justice to Black Americans by becoming a death row lawyer and working with people who have been wrongly convicted. You plan to take law classes at Pitt that will teach you more about the complex workings of the justice system and how to perfect your public speaking skills. On campus, you want to join the Prisoner Legal Support Project to work with other like-minded students who care about these issues. After graduation, you plan to go to Louisiana, the state with the highest incarceration rate, to get some experience working with lawyers and inmates before law school.
Where to Get Your University of Pittsburgh Essays Edited
Do you want feedback on your Pitt essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays.
If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!
Related CollegeVine Blog Posts
University of Pittsburgh 2022-23 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide
University of pittsburgh 2022-23 application essay question explanations.
The Requirements: 1 essay of 200-300 words
Supplemental Essay Type(s): Oddball
Hello, future University of Pittsburgh grads. (We’re speaking it into existence!) The prompt below is only for applicants who wish to apply to Pitt Honors. Let’s dive in!
I n lieu of an essay or personal statement, we ask interested applicants to answer a short answer question. The Admissions Committee reviews responses for quality rather than length. However, the most effective responses typically range from 200-300 words per question. Responses that are longer or shorter are acceptable. The question is required for Pitt Honors consideration.
1. if you could change anything in the world, what would it be explain why and how you would change it.
The Admissions Committee wants to accept ambitious students who want to change the world for the better. So, if you could change anything in the world, what would it be? Take some time to brainstorm and write down anything that comes to mind. Maybe, if you had the power, you would make sure that no one in your city went to bed hungry. Why is this particular issue important to you? What steps would you take to enact this change? If after reading this prompt you immediately thought of something on the sillier side (flying cars! superpowers! robot dogs!), don’t be afraid to explore how you might talk about that topic, too. So long as you are giving admissions better insight into who you are and what makes you tick, you’re on the right track. Let your imagination run wild and show the University of Pittsburgh admissions committee that you aren’t afraid to dream big.
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University of Pittsburgh Requirements for Admission
Choose your test.
What are University of Pittsburgh's admission requirements? While there are a lot of pieces that go into a college application, you should focus on only a few critical things:
- GPA requirements
- Testing requirements, including SAT and ACT requirements
- Application requirements
In this guide we'll cover what you need to get into University of Pittsburgh and build a strong application.
School location: Pittsburgh, PA
This school is also known as: Pitt
Admissions Rate: 56.7%
If you want to get in, the first thing to look at is the acceptance rate. This tells you how competitive the school is and how serious their requirements are.
The acceptance rate at University of Pittsburgh is 56.7% . For every 100 applicants, 57 are admitted.
This means the school is moderately selective . The school expects you to meet their requirements for GPA and SAT/ACT scores, but they're more flexible than other schools. If you exceed their requirements, you have an excellent chance of getting in. But if you don't, you might be one of the unlucky minority that gets a rejection letter.
We can help. PrepScholar Admissions is the world's best admissions consulting service. We combine world-class admissions counselors with our data-driven, proprietary admissions strategies . We've overseen thousands of students get into their top choice schools , from state colleges to the Ivy League.
We know what kinds of students colleges want to admit. We want to get you admitted to your dream schools.
Learn more about PrepScholar Admissions to maximize your chance of getting in.
University of Pittsburgh GPA Requirements
Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected.
The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need for a real chance of getting in. For this, we look at the school's average GPA for its current students.
Average GPA: 4.07
The average GPA at University of Pittsburgh is 4.07 .
(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA.
With a GPA of 4.07, University of Pittsburgh requires you to be at the top of your class . You'll need nearly straight A's in all your classes to compete with other applicants. Furthermore, you should be taking hard classes - AP or IB courses - to show that college-level academics is a breeze.
If you're currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 4.07, you'll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate . This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.
SAT and ACT Requirements
Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. Most schools require the SAT or ACT, and many also require SAT subject tests.
University of Pittsburgh SAT Requirements
Many schools say they have no SAT score cutoff, but the truth is that there is a hidden SAT requirement. This is based on the school's average score.
Average SAT: 1350
The average SAT score composite at University of Pittsburgh is a 1350 on the 1600 SAT scale.
This score makes University of Pittsburgh Moderately Competitive for SAT test scores.
University of Pittsburgh SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)
The 25th percentile SAT score is 1260, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 1440. In other words, a 1260 on the SAT places you below average, while a 1440 will move you up to above average .
Here's the breakdown of SAT scores by section:
SAT Score Choice Policy
The Score Choice policy at your school is an important part of your testing strategy.
University of Pittsburgh has the Score Choice policy of "Highest Section."
This is also known as "superscoring." This means that you can choose which SAT tests you want to send to the school. Of all the scores they receive, your application readers will consider your highest section scores across all SAT test dates you submit .
Click below to learn more about how superscoring critically affects your test strategy.
For example, say you submit the following 3 test scores:
Even though the highest total you scored on any one test date was 1000, University of Pittsburgh will take your highest section score from all your test dates, then combine them to form your Superscore. You can raise your composite score from 1000 to 1400 in this example.
This is important for your testing strategy. Because you can choose which tests to send in, and University of Pittsburgh forms your Superscore, you can take the SAT as many times as you want, then submit only the tests that give you the highest Superscore. Your application readers will only see that one score.
Therefore, if your SAT superscore is currently below a 1350, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the SAT and retaking it . You have a very good chance of raising your score, which will significantly boost your chances of getting in.
Even better, because of the Superscore, you can focus all your energy on a single section at a time. If your Reading score is lower than your other sections, prep only for the Reading section, then take the SAT. Then focus on Math for the next test, and so on. This will give you the highest Superscore possible.
Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and SAT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.
University of Pittsburgh ACT Requirements
Just like for the SAT, University of Pittsburgh likely doesn't have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.
Average ACT: 31
The average ACT score at University of Pittsburgh is 31. This score makes University of Pittsburgh Strongly Competitive for ACT scores.
The 25th percentile ACT score is 28, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 33.
Even though University of Pittsburgh likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 28 or below, you'll have a harder time getting in, unless you have something else impressive in your application.
ACT Score Sending Policy
If you're taking the ACT as opposed to the SAT, you have a huge advantage in how you send scores, and this dramatically affects your testing strategy.
Here it is: when you send ACT scores to colleges, you have absolute control over which tests you send. You could take 10 tests, and only send your highest one. This is unlike the SAT, where many schools require you to send all your tests ever taken.
This means that you have more chances than you think to improve your ACT score. To try to aim for the school's ACT requirement of 31 and above, you should try to take the ACT as many times as you can. When you have the final score that you're happy with, you can then send only that score to all your schools.
ACT Superscore Policy
By and large, most colleges do not superscore the ACT. (Superscore means that the school takes your best section scores from all the test dates you submit, and then combines them into the best possible composite score). Thus, most schools will just take your highest ACT score from a single sitting.
However, in our research, we found that University of Pittsburgh does in fact offer an ACT superscore policy . To quote their Admissions Office:
We combine your highest ACT subscores from all tests submitted.
Superscoring is powerful to your testing strategy, and you need to make sure you plan your testing accordingly. Of all the scores that University of Pittsburgh receives, your application readers will consider your highest section scores across all ACT test dates you submit .
For example, say you submit the following 4 test scores:
Even though the highest ACT composite you scored on any one test date was 20, University of Pittsburgh will take your highest section score from all your test dates, then combine them to form your Superscore. You can raise your composite score from 20 to 32 in this example.
This is important for your testing strategy. Because you can choose which tests to send in, and University of Pittsburgh forms your Superscore, you can take the ACT as many times as you want, then submit only the tests that give you the highest Superscore. Your application readers will only see that one score.
Therefore, if your ACT score is currently below a 31, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the ACT and retaking it . You have a very good chance of raising your score, which will significantly boost your chances of getting in.
Even better, because of the Superscore, you can focus all your energy on a single section at a time. If your Reading score is lower than your other sections, prep only for the Reading section, then take the ACT. Then focus on Math for the next test, and so on. This will give you the highest Superscore possible.
Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and ACT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.
SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements
Both the SAT and ACT have an optional essay section.
University of Pittsburgh requires you to take the SAT Essay/ACT Writing section . They'll use this as another factor in their admissions consideration.
SAT Subject Test Requirements
Schools vary in their SAT subject test requirements. Typically, selective schools tend to require them, while most schools in the country do not.
We did not find information that University of Pittsburgh requires SAT subject tests, and so most likely it does not . At least 6 months before applying, you should still doublecheck just to make sure, so you have enough time to take the test.
Final Admissions Verdict
Because this school is moderately selective, strong academic performance will almost guarantee you admission . Scoring a 1440 SAT or a 33 ACT or above will nearly guarantee you admission. Because the school admits 56.7% of all applicants, being far above average raises the admission rate for you to nearly 100%.
If you can achieve a high SAT/ACT score, the rest of your application essentially doesn't matter. You still need to meet the rest of the application requirements, and your GPA shouldn't be too far off from the school average of 4.07. But you won't need dazzling extracurriculars and breathtaking letters of recommendation to get in. You can get in based on the merits of your score alone.
But if your score is a 1260 SAT or a 28 ACT and below, you have a good chance of being one of the unlucky few to be rejected.
Here's our custom admissions calculator. Plug in your numbers to see what your chances of getting in are. Pick your test: SAT ACT
- 80-100%: Safety school: Strong chance of getting in
- 50-80%: More likely than not getting in
- 20-50%: Lower but still good chance of getting in
- 5-20%: Reach school: Unlikely to get in, but still have a shot
- 0-5%: Hard reach school: Very difficult to get in
How would your chances improve with a better score?
Take your current SAT score and add 160 points (or take your ACT score and add 4 points) to the calculator above. See how much your chances improve?
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Every school requires an application with the bare essentials - high school transcript and GPA, application form, and other core information. Many schools, as explained above, also require SAT and ACT scores, as well as letters of recommendation, application essays, and interviews. We'll cover the exact requirements of University of Pittsburgh here.
Application Requirements Overview
- Common Application Not accepted
- Universal Application Not accepted
- Electronic Application Available
- Essay or Personal Statement Recommended for all freshmen
- Letters of Recommendation
- Interview Not required
- Application Fee $55
- Fee Waiver Available? Available
- Other Notes
- SAT or ACT Required
- SAT Essay or ACT Writing Required
- SAT Subject Tests
- Scores Due in Office None
- Subject Required Years
- Foreign Language 2
- Social Studies 2
- Electives 3
Deadlines and Early Admissions
- Offered? Deadline Notification
- Yes Rolling Rolling
Admissions Office Information
- Address: 4227 Pittsburgh, PA 15260
- Phone: (412) 624-7488
- Fax: (412) 624-4138
- Email: [email protected]
Our Expert's Notes
We did more detailed research into this school's admissions process and found the following information:
- A minimum SAT score of 1450 (Math + Critical Reading) or a 33 ACT (Math and English subscores average)
- overall ‘A’ average
- top 5% class rank (if applicable) while participating in challenging high school curriculums consisting of AP/IB/Honors courses
- record of excellence in various academic and nonacademic activities outside of the classroom
Other Schools For You
If you're interested in University of Pittsburgh, you'll probably be interested in these schools as well. We've divided them into 3 categories depending on how hard they are to get into, relative to University of Pittsburgh.
Reach Schools: Harder to Get Into
These schools are have higher average SAT scores than University of Pittsburgh. If you improve your SAT score, you'll be competitive for these schools.
Same Level: Equally Hard to Get Into
If you're competitive for University of Pittsburgh, these schools will offer you a similar chance of admission.
Safety Schools: Easier to Get Into
If you're currently competitive for University of Pittsburgh, you should have no problem getting into these schools. If University of Pittsburgh is currently out of your reach, you might already be competitive for these schools.
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College essay resources
Create your Prompt account and get free resources to help you write strong college essays.
How to Write Great Answers to the University of Pittsburgh Essay Questions
It’s a good idea to write the supplemental Pitt essays. They’re optional, but they will help you show that you’re a good fit for Pitt and increase your chances of admission and scholarships.
Pitt asks applicants to choose two out of four prompts. There’s no word limit for these essays, but Pitt’s instructions say, “The Admissions Committee reviews responses for quality rather than length. However, the most effective responses typically range from 200-300 words per question. Responses that are longer or shorter are acceptable." So we'd keep it at that length!
Let’s take a look at the University of Pittsburgh essay questions!
Pitt Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Essay
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are integral to the Pitt community. Please identify and describe one element of your personal identity, and explain how that element would positively impact and/or progress the Pitt community.
How to write this essay
When most students read this prompt, they will think about common identity markers like race, religion, sexual orientation, ability, and gender. But really, you could write about any element of your personal identity that will positively impact the Pitt community! Maybe you’re a theatre kid who has learned how to be a generous collaborator. Or maybe you’re a big sister who knows how to motivate and uplift others.
Whether you choose to write about your religious identity or your identity as a die-hard Cubs fan, make sure you address how it has shaped your values. How you will enact those values on campus? Which student organizations will you join? How will you impact them positively?
Pitt Resumé and List of Activities Essay
Resumes and lists of activities provide the Admissions Committee with an overview of your accomplishments. Please use this opportunity to provide more information by identifying one of your accomplishments and explaining how it has prepared you for a transition into collegiate life.
This prompt specifically mentions “resumes and lists of activities,” leaving out transcripts. That indicates that Pitt readers are most interested in learning about something you accomplished outside the classroom. What is one challenge that you are particularly proud of overcoming? Alternatively, how have you made your community or school a better place? What is one thing you have done to leave a lasting impact on your favorite student group or organization?
After choosing an accomplishment, make sure you describe the skills you gained from this experience. How will these skills help you succeed in college? How will they help you contribute to the Pitt community?
Pitt "Create Something New" Essay
If you could create a new product, process, business, or organization, what would this entity look like? (We especially encourage applicants interested in the College of Business Administration or the Swanson School of Engineering to respond to this question.)
For this University of Pittsburgh essay, try to pick an idea that relates to one of your interests. Your essay will be stronger if you’re writing about something that you’re really passionate about. For example: If you love computer programming, you could write about an app you want to create. If you’re fired up about marine conservation, you could invent an organization to help reduce ocean pollution.
If you’re struggling to come up with a topic, try answering these questions: What is something you want to change in the world? If you had the resources to change it, how would you do it?
Why is Pitt a Good Choice for You Essay
With thousands of colleges and universities in the United States alone, discuss why the University of Pittsburgh is a good fit for you.
This is a classic “ Why This College ” essay! With this essay, we suggest you explain your educational goals and make a case for why Pitt is the next logical step in your journey. How will Pitt’s unique resources, professors, class offerings, and extracurricular opportunities help you reach your goals? You might also choose to focus on the University of Pittsburgh’s mission or institutional values and describe how they align with your ideals.
So if the University of Pittsburgh is your dream school, you'll want to set aside some time to dig into these essays. If you've taken the time to brainstorm lots of experiences for your Common Application essay , you'll have no shortage of topics!
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University of Pittsburgh
Tuition & Aid
If you are planning on applying to Pitt, the application fee is $55.
Pitt Admissions Stats at a Glance
The following is an overiew of some of Pitt's admissions stats.
University of Pittsburgh Application Deadlines
These are the application deadlines for University of Pittsburgh.
Applying Early to Pitt?
Pitt does not offer early decision or early action.
➡️ Explore a list of some competetive colleges that accept significantly more applicants during early decision or early action than during regular admission.
More on University of Pittsburgh Admissions
Is pitt hard to get into.
Getting into Pitt is very difficult . Pitt evaluates applicants carefully based on multiple criteria to decide who to admit, and who to deny or waitlist.
In 2021, Pitt accepted 67% of all applicants , approximately 23,109 of the 34,656 students who applied.
Schools that are very difficult to get into, like Pitt, accept fewer than 60% of all applicants. At least 50% of all admitted students have GPAs in the top 10% of their high school class and scored over 1230 on the SAT and over 26 on the ACT.
Transferring to University of Pittsburgh
It is moderately difficult to be admitted as a transfer student.
For Students Waitlisted to Pitt
In 2022, Pitt waitlisted 2,434 students and 1,116 accepted a place on the waitlist. Of those, 16 eventually were offered a spot.
What's Most Important for Getting Into Pitt?
Colleges consider a range of factors when deciding who to admit for their next incoming class. Each college has a different way of determining which factors are they consider most important when choose which applicants to admit, and which to deny. When creating your list of schools to apply to, you may want to consider your strengths and any possible weaknesses in your application, and apply to colleges that prioritize the areas where you're strong.
Admissions Factors at Pitt
What does Pitt consider during the admissions process? Take a look at the list below to see which factors are most important during the admissions process.
Make sure to check with Pitt for more information on admission factors.
Pitt 2022-2023 Application Requirements
To apply to Pitt, all applicants must submit the following items. Make sure to check in with Pitt's admissions department to confirm all application materials and requirements.
GPA and Testing
What gpa do i need to get into pitt.
Pitt has not provided an information about GPAs of accepted students. Any questions regarding applicant expectations should be addressed directly with the school.
Out of all students that were admitted, 36% submitted a class rank. At Pitt 45% of students ranked in the top 10% of their graduating class in high school, 80% were in the top 25% and 98% were in the top 50%.
GPAs of Admitted Students
At University of Pittsburgh, student GPAs fall in the following ranges.
This chart depicts the percentage of all enrolled, degree-seeking, first-time, first year (freshmen) students who had high school grade point average within the given ranges.
Note: Some schools choose not release this information. If you have any questions regarding missing numbers, be sure to reach out to Pitt directly.
Your high school grade point average (GPA) is a number that highlights your high school academic performance. A weighted GPA or an unweighted GPA are the two possible GPA scores considered by colleges.
An unweighted GPA is an average of your scores from each class on a four-point scale. Unweighted GPAs range from 4.0 to under 1.0. A weighted GPA considers your average grade and the difficulty of your classes. A weighted GPA boosts your average by adding extra points for honors or Advanced Placement courses.
Standardized Test Scores
Pitt considers ACT or SAT scores as part of the admissions process.
Pitt is a test optional school. Test optional schools allow students to choose if they want to submit ACT or SAT scores with their applications or not.
In 2022, 49% of Pitt's first-year students submitted their SAT scores with their application. 16% of admitted applicants sent ACT scores.
What is a Good SAT Score for Pitt?
On the SAT Math Section , 25% of Pitt students scored 750 or higher and 75% of students scored 630 or higher. On the SAT Critical Reading section (formerly called the Verbal section), 25% of Pitt students scored 720 or higher, and 75% scored a 630 or higher.
What is a Good ACT Score for Pitt?
To be most competitive at Pitt, you should strive to earn between 28 and 33 on the ACT.
An ACT score of 33 means you fall in the 75th percentile for Pitt's admitted students. One out of every four students scored above a 33, and three out of four students scored lower than 33 on the ACT.
A 28 on the ACT is the 25th percentile for Pitt students. Only one out of every four students scored below 28.
Want To Bring Up Your ACT Score? Access ACT practice tests and study tips and see upcoming ACT test dates .
More Information on Transferring to University of Pittsburgh
For transfer students, it is moderately difficult to get admitted to Pitt. Transfer applications are processed on a on a rolling basis as they are received.
Transfer students can enroll in Pitt during the following terms:
• Fall Term
• Spring Term
• Summer Term
Pitt Admissions FAQs
Can I defer my acceptance to Pitt?
✅ Yes, admitted students can defer their admission to Pitt.
Does Pitt accept transfer credits?
✅ Pitt accepts eligible transfer credits from accredited institutions. Pitt accepts:
• CLEP subject tests
Does Pitt accept Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) credits?
✅ Pitt accepts International Baccalaureate credits (IB) credits and Advanced Placement (AP) credits.
Do I have to submit test scores to Pitt?
❌ No, Pitt is test optional, so it's up to you if you want to submit test scores or not. If you have higher than average scores, you should strongly consider submitting them. If your scores are average or below average, you may want not want to include them in your application.
What is Pitt's acceptance rate?
✅ The acceptance rate for Pitt is 67%.
What is the early decision acceptance rate at Pitt?
❌ Pitt does not offer early decision.
Want To Learn More About Pitt?
To learn more about Pitt, choose from the options below:
Visit the College Confidential forums to join the conversation about Pitt
Explore other colleges in Pennsylvania or use the college admissions predictor to calculate your chances of getting into some of the top colleges and universities in the U.S.
Pitt Admissions Requirements
How hard is it to get into Pitt? Pitt is a very selective institution. The Pitt acceptance rate is 67%. This means that the institution accepts 66 out of every 100 applicants.
Pitt Application Deadline
First-Year Applications are Due
Transfer Applications are Due
The deadline for Fall first-year applications to Pitt is Continuous processing.
The deadline for Fall transfer applications to Pitt is Continuous processing.
Check the school website for more information about deadlines for specific programs or special admissions programs
Pitt ACT Scores
Estimated chance of acceptance by act score.
33 and Above
28 and Less
Stand out on your college application
- • Qualify for scholarships
- • Most students who retest improve their score
Pitt SAT Scores
Composite SAT Range
Math SAT Range
Reading SAT Range
Avg. High School GPA (non-weighted)
Data Source: IPEDs and Peterson's Databases © 2022 Peterson's LLC All rights reserved
Tuition and Fees
Fall Freshmen Application Deadline
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University of Pittsburgh Admissions
What is the acceptance rate for pitt, will you get in, will you get into pitt.
Test Scores and High School GPA for University of Pittsburgh See Other Colleges
Admissions deadlines, admissions requirements.
- High School GPA Recommended
- High School Rank Considered but not required
- High School Transcript Required
- College Prep Courses Required
- SAT/ACT Considered but not required
- Recommendations Considered but not required
Add to list.
University of Pittsburgh
If you think that all the things you want out of a college experience can't be found in one place, Pitt is happy to prove otherwise. We're a world-class research university committed to undergraduate teaching, with a 14:1 student ratio. We're an amazing value compared with our peers. And while we're very good at thinking big and acting on a global scale, we're also a tight-knit community, with a shared, rock-solid work ethic and strong sense of responsibility for one another. You'll love the way Pitt helps you lead a life of success and significance.
- Liberal Arts
- Art & Design
- Government/Political Science
- Health Science
- Performing Arts
- Social Science
- Visual Arts
- Co-op/Internship Opportunities
- Disability Services
- Intramural/Club Sports
- LGBTQIA Services
- Military/Veteran Services
- On-Campus Housing
- ROTC Program
- Study Abroad
- Undergraduate Research
- Veteran Fee Waiver
4227 Fifth Avenue Pittsburgh , PA 15260 , United States of America
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A “who am I” essay is a simple type of open-ended introductory essay. It is used in certain schools, workplaces and around the world to help members of a group introduce themselves through their writing. They are generally about a page long...
Knowing how to write a college essay is a useful skill for anyone who plans to go to college. Most colleges and universities ask you to submit a writing sample with your application. As a student, you’ll also write essays in your courses.
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The personal statement can be submitted with your application to apply to Pitt. This can be the University of Pittsburgh Application or the Common Application–
If you're struggling to come up with what to write, list out some traits, skills, passions, or experiences you might want to highlight. Think about what
We operate on a rolling admission policy, which means that there's no set deadline for first-year-students applying to Pitt. Apply early today.
There are no optional supplements applicable to all applicants, other than the main personal statement on the Common App, Coalition Application
The Admissions Committee wants to accept ambitious students who want to change the world for the better. So, if you could change anything in the world, what
Application Requirements Overview · Common Application Not accepted · Universal Application Not accepted · Electronic Application Available · Essay or Personal
It's a good idea to write the supplemental Pitt essays. They're optional, but they will help you show that you're a good fit for Pitt and
Make sure to check with Pitt for more information on admission factors. Pitt 2022-2023 Application Requirements. To apply to Pitt, all applicants must submit
The University of Pittsburgh is proud to be among your college choices. Completing this application is the next step. With rolling admissions, decisions are
Will you get in? View University of Pittsburgh admissions statistics, acceptance rate, SAT/ACT scores, and admissions requirements.
If you think that all the things you want out of a college experience can't be found in one place, Pitt is happy to prove otherwise.