Office of Admission Coronavirus Update


Application FAQs

We value all our applicants and want to clearly communicate how we make decisions and what you can expect from the Southwestern Admission Team.


The Office of Admission




Wilhelmina Cullen Admission Center

The Office of Admission

The content below is for first-year students. View transfer student FAQs

  • Our mission is to treat all applicants fairly and with respect. In all cases, our decisions are reached by multiple individuals reviewing the application and voting in a manner s/he believes is in the best interest of both the student and the University. We take this responsibility seriously and realize we are dealing with the lives and future directions of our applicants.

    • Early Decision (binding): November 1
    • Early Action (non-binding): December 1
    • Regular Decision: February 1
    • Late Decision: After February 1 on a space available basis
  • Upon receipt of your application for admission, you will receive a confirmation via email that contains login information for your Personal Application Portal. This portal will allow you to see your checklist of required materials, your admission decision, as well as your scholarship and need-based financial aid package, as appropriate.

    Ultimately, it is your responsibility to complete the application. Beyond our reminders, you are encouraged to contact your admission counselor whenever you have questions. 

    Access the Personal Application Portal



  • In some cases, we will ask for mid-year or mid-term grades (first semester senior year or mid-point of college semester for transfer students), additional recommendations, or a personal interview. When we ask for mid-year grades and/or a personal interview, etc., you must take responsibility for getting the grade report to Southwestern and for completing the interview.

  • Southwestern University has a test-optional admission policy for first-year applicants. Candidates who choose not to submit test scores will be required to complete a special evaluative interview. Our full test-optional policies and procedures are outlined in this document . Please note that standardized test scores are required for international and homeschooled applicants. Standardized test scores are also required for some of our competitive scholarships.

  • Students can order reports on the College Board or ACT websites. Southwestern will also accept scores that appear on a student’s high school transcript as official. In addition, Southwestern will accept an unofficial score report that a student has downloaded from the College Board or ACT website and submitted to the Office of Admission.

  • We consider academic performance above all else. Additionally, participation and demonstrated leadership in extracurricular activities, strength and depth of writing samples, SAT and/or ACT scores (if not applying under our test-optional path), cogency and content of recommendations, visit to campus, legacy connections, United Methodist Church membership, and recognition/achievement in national programs may also be considered.

  • The Early Decision round is meant only for those students who know Southwestern is their first-choice school. Early Decision applicants, if offered admission, are required to commit to Southwestern by January 1, by submitting a non-refundable $700 deposit and withdrawing applications at all other institutions.  Please note students applying Early Decision must submit the Early Decision Agreement along with their other required application materials.

    Early Action is meant for students with a high level of interest in Southwestern who still wish to consider other institutions.  It offers the benefit of receiving an expedited decision, (no later than March 1), while still allowing the student to reach his/her final decision by June 1.

  • Early Decision applicants will receive notification no later than December 1, provided their applications were complete prior to November 1. If an Early Decision applicant’s file is incomplete after November 1, we may choose to defer the application to our Early Action round and provide a decision no later than March 1.

    Early Action applicants will receive notification no later than March 1, provided their applications were complete prior to December 1. Some Early Action students with strong credentials may be offered admission on a “rolling” basis prior to the March 1 notification date.  The majority of students will be either offered or denied admission. However, in a few cases we may notify students we are requiring additional information (e.g., 7th semester grades and/or an interview) before reaching a final decision. In those cases, a student will receive final notification by April 1. If an Early Action applicant’s file is incomplete after December 1, the decision may be received after the March 1 notification date. 

    Regular Decision applicants will receive notification no later than April 1, provided their applications were complete prior to February 1. Some Regular Decision students with strong credentials will be offered admission on a “rolling” basis prior to the April 1 notification date. If a Regular Decision applicant’s file is incomplete after February 1, it will be considered on a space-available basis, and the student may be notified after the April 1 notification date.