The University of Denver is one of the top private research universities in the Rocky Mountain region, known for excellence in global education, entrepreneurship, and civic engagement. In this comprehensive guide, I will outline everything you need to know to position yourself as a strong candidate for admission to DU.
Whether you dream of studying international affairs, business, engineering or another of DU’s over 200 areas of study, following these best practices can help make your dreams a reality. By the end, you’ll have all the insider tips needed to navigate the application process and have the best shot at joining the next class of Pioneers!
Know Your Candidacy Profile
DU receives over 20,000 applications each year for its graduating class of around 3,000. With competition this keen, understanding your candidacy strengths becomes crucial. Your candidacy profile is shaped by:
- Academic Record: Grades, course rigor, SAT/ACT scores define your academic preparation. Aim for a 3.5+ weighted GPA and top 50% test scores or above.
- Extracurricular Activities: Showing leadership, commitments, interests and skills reveals your character beyond grades. Some recommend getting involved in 5+ activities meaningfully.
- Essays: Personal statements reveal your fit for DU’s culture and passions – a glimpse of your potential contributions as a Pioneer. Craft unique, thoughtful responses early.
- Letters of Rec: From teachers able to attest to your academic abilities and character. Ask early before busiest grading periods.
- Demographic Factors: Underrepresented identities may receive further consideration through holistic review.
With intentional planning, emphasize strengths customized to your profile above all else.
Develop Your Academics
Core academic preparation lays the foundation. Excel with a rigorous courseload including:
- 4 Years of College Prep English fostering strong writing skills
- 4 Years of Math through Pre-Calculus/Calculus level advancing quantitative reasoning
- 3-4 Years of Laboratory Sciences like Biology, Chemistry and Physics emphasizing scientific inquiry
- 3-4 Years of World Languages sparking interest in global affairs
- AP/IB/Dual Enrollment where available to demonstrate advanced ability beyond required curriculum
Take highest available levels through senior year and utilize free electives to boost rigor. Research early which classes are preferred or required for your intended major too.
Build Well-Rounded Experiences
DU seeks applicants demonstrating depth and breadth. Consider getting involved in:
- Student Government/Leadership impacting school and beyond through initiatives
- Athletics elevating team and time management alongside hobbies or fitness
- Academic/Interest Clubs cultivating passion through positions, competitions or conferences
- Arts showcasing creativity through performing or visual arts, design, music
- Volunteer/Service activities bettering your community, documenting impact
- Faith/Culture Groups sharing important traditions while welcoming others
- Internships/Apprenticeships gaining real world experience and career exploration
Vary your commitments and invest fully over multiple years in 5+ areas reflecting well-roundedness.
Develop Application Components Early
Start strong essays over a year out and finalize edits with teacher guidance in your application year. Aim to:
- Respond thoughtfully to prompts tailored for DU by interweaving personal insight and specifics about DU fit from research
- Utilize fresh anecdotes from experiences instead of recapping your resume
- Highlight character strengths through storytelling rather than lists
Request teacher LORs 6-8 weeks in advance for comprehensive letters assessing your potential. Prepare:
- Profile of your academic abilities and personal qualities for context
- Small thank you gift like a branded pencil
Order transcripts, standardized test scores, and pay close attention to all application steps and deadlines ahead of time.
Research Funding Opportunities
Meeting with your high school college counselor early facilitates exploration of viable funding options:
- Merit Scholarships assessed through admission will require top credentials. Research program deadlines.
- Need-Based Grants calculated through FAFSA/CSS Profile consider financial need primarily. Submit by priority deadlines.
- Work Study facilitates on-campus employment and skill-building for up to 10 hours weekly.
- State or Federal Education Tax Credits may help offset costs depending on your location.
- Outside Scholarships from local community funds or auto/business clubs matching your background.
Planning funding early relieves worries and lets you focus on the fit rather than cost alone.
Schedule a Campus Visit
Visiting sets the scene and lets you envision belonging. Consider booking:
- Campus Tour providing overview of academics, residence halls and hotspots
- Information Session learning interview insights and application basics directly from admission staff
- Sit-in Class sitting quietly to observe teaching styles across subject levels
- Meet a Professor for Q&A expanding your view beyond coursework
- Overnight Stay immersing yourself through student-led activities when possible
Capturing visits on the Admission Instagram provides extra face time as staff get to know prospective Pioneers too. Make the most of summer and holiday trips by coordinating visits!
Nail the Interview
Should you receive an interview invite, prepare thoroughly to convey your fit:
- Research DU and intended major to speak passionately about alignment
- Draft stories exemplifying leadership, challenges overcome, cultural awareness
- Check over resume, have questions ready about campus resources, involvement
- Practice responses with family to build confidence before virtual or in-person formats
- Dress professionally, make eye contact, be enthusiastic and ask questions too!
Interviews humanize your application. Advocate seamlessly for yourself as an engaged member of the DU community.
Following Up Effectively
After submitting, thank anyone who supported your journey or wrote letters. Then, remember:
- Do not contact admission for status updates before published decision release dates
- Consider enrolling at your state university for the first semester as a backup plan
- Celebrate an acceptance passionately on social media thanking DU
- Promptly submit enrollment deposit securing your spot by the deadline
- If denied, request specific feedback on improving your next application
With strategic preparation over 2+ years, your odds of joining this world-class university greatly increase. Best of success on your journey – let me know if any other questions arise!