We’re eager to get to know you: to learn about your academic background, your activities and accomplishments, your hobbies and passions, and where you hope to take both your studies and your life. Throughout our application process, we’ll work together to discover how Catholic University fits into your goals.

Please Note: We know that throughout the country, during the Spring 2020 semester many high school students experienced a significant disruption to their traditional studies. Some students may have had their coursework cut short and others may have received Pass/Fail grades for a portion of their studies. We will not penalize any applicants based on changes to their curriculum or grading scale during the Covid-19 national health emergency. We will continue to look at the totality of your high school career and will consider your Spring 2020 transcript in the context of your overall high school performance. 

If there is specific information you wish to share about this impact on you or your family, please us the "Additional Information" writing prompt on the Common Application.

The Application Review

Your high school career is the foundation of our review of your application for admission. We closely evaluate the depth of your curriculum and classroom performance in the context of both your program of study and high school, and in so doing believe we can make effective admission decisions without requiring SAT or ACT scores. Your success in the classroom is the best indicator of your success here at Catholic.

Your academic preparation matters, of course, but so does much more — including aspects of your character that are less easy to quantify. Your personality, spirit, judgment, and heart are as much a part of you as your grades. Your activities profile, letters of recommendation, and essay play an important role in our evaluation, as we enroll a global and welcoming group of undergraduates looking to make an impact in our rigorous and diverse community.

Academic Requirements and Recommendations

Students admitted to Catholic University typically pursue a competitive high school curriculum, including:

  • 4 years of English
  • 4 years of Mathematics
  • 4 years of History/Social Studies
  • 3 years of Science (including 2 laboratory sciences)
  • 2 years of a Foreign Language

In addition, the School of Engineering, the School of Nursing, and the physical science departments recommend prospective students take additional science and math courses. This includes a mathematics curriculum through pre-calculus, and a minimum of three laboratory sciences.

Successful applicants to Catholic University pursue a combination of college preparatory, Honors, and AP/IB courses that fit their interests and strengths. All students are reviewed within the context of their high school, with course offerings and schedules and class rank taken into account when appropriate.

Test-Blind Admission Policy

Beginning in the 2020-2021 application year (spring 2021 and fall 2021 enrollment terms), the Committee on Admission at Catholic University will not consider standardized tests as part of the review for admission, the University Honors Program, and for all merit scholarships.

For the past five years, Catholic University has been test-optional, giving students the choice about whether to submit their SAT or ACT scores as part of their application. Over this time, the Committee on Admission has determined that the submission of standardized test scores does not add significant value to the evaluation of each candidate. 

For Catholic University, our five years of test-optional admission has reinforced previous studies that demonstrated that the combination of the caliber of each candidate’s program of study and classroom performance is the best predictor of success in our classroom. The evaluation also considers each candidate's extracurricular profile, the required essay and Catholic University statement, academic and personal recommendations, and other pertinent information to select a class with the academic talent and personal qualities that are the best fit for the University. In fact, over the past three entering classes, first-year retention has steadily improved and is at the highest level in more than 20 years (87.6% for the fall 2019 entering cohort).

The policy includes the evaluation of candidates for the University Honors Program and for all merit-based scholarships. Merit scholarships are awarded based on each student’s academic performance over the course of the high school career and not on testing ability.

This policy applies to all undergraduate applicants, including home-schooled and international candidates.


  • Home-schooled students are encouraged to submit detailed course descriptions and/or syllabi to assist the Committee on Admission with the assessment of the depth of their high school curriculum.
  • International students whose native language is not English are required to demonstrate English proficiency through the TOEFL or IELTS examinations.

The University will continue to require first-year students to submit SAT or ACT scores after enrollment as part of ongoing academic assessments.

  • Female students talking in dorm room

    First-Year Application Options

    Whether you’re applying Early Decision (binding), Early Action (non-binding), or Regular Decision, it’s best to begin early.

    Learn More
  • Students studying in on-campus restaurant

    Home-Schooled Students

    Catholic University welcomes applications from home-schooled students. Find out how to apply.

    Learn More