George Mason University

For years now, people have probably been talking to you about your potential. Now that you’re getting ready to graduate from high school your time has come.

College may be the only time in your life when you can truly think without limits, take risks, break boundaries, and even reinvent yourself. In an age that demands originality and imagination, George Mason University is here for you.

We are excited that you are considering joining the Mason Nation, a dynamic and diverse community of scholars, leaders, and innovators. Admission is competitive and is done using a holistic approach—all aspects of a student's application, including high school transcripts, standardized test scores, essays, and letters of recommendation, among other supplemental documents, are reviewed by the admissions committee.

The university prefers all applicants to apply online. You may access our admission application at your convenience, 24 hours a day. The undergraduate application fee is $60 for online applications and $100 for paper applications. All application fees are non-refundable

Important Deadlines

Information about important application deadlines.

Deadline Type

Date Decisions Mail
Freshman Non-Binding Early Action Deadline* November 1 December 15
Freshman Honors College and University Scholars Consideration* November 1 Mid-February
Freshman Merit-Based Scholarship Consideration* November 1 Mid-February
Freshman Regular Decision Deadline*  January 15  Late March
Mason Financial Aid Deadline March 1 Early April
Freshman Priority Application Deadline (for Spring Semester) October 1 November 1

*All freshman applicants who apply to Mason by November 1 will automatically be considered for merit-based scholarships and our non-binding, Early Action decision.

Freshman General Admission Requirements

The following factors are evaluated in the decision process:

  • Cumulative high school grade point average (GPA) for work completed in grades 9-12 along with level of difficulty of courses selected, particularly in core academic courses. Request your high school send an official copy of your transcript.
  • Official scores on the SAT or ACT. We receive scores directly from each testing agency. Student score reports will NOT be accepted. Mason accepts both the current and redesigned SAT, which begins March 2016, for the purposes of admissions and scholarship review. Applicants may also apply as Score Optional if they meet the requirements (see below).
  • Secondary School Report and counselor recommendations. We suggest sending two (2) letters of recommendation, one from your high school counselor and one from a teacher. There is no special recommendation form and letters can be submitted electronically or via e-mail to admissions@gmu.edu. (If you have been out of school for more than five years, this is not necessary.)
  • An optional, but strongly encouraged Personal Statement of approximately 250 words highlighting your leadership achievements or significant service contributions to your high school or community. Submit your statement online when prompted during the online application process.
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores from non-native English-speaking applicants to supplement other standardized test results. If you do not speak English at home, you are highly encouraged to take the TOEFL. If you are in doubt as to whether you need to complete an English-language proficiency examination please contact the Office of Admissions.
  • Extracurricular activities and community service participation listed on your online application or sent within an activity sheet or resume.

Majors with Selective Admission

Admission to the university and a major are usually simultaneous. The Art and Visual Technology, Computer Game Design, Dance, Film and Video Studies, Music and Theater majors in the College of Visual and Performing Arts are exceptions,  requiring an audition or portfolio review before being accepted to a major. You are encouraged to submit your application for admission to the university before scheduling auditions or portfolio reviews. Please be aware of the priority deadlines. 

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing program also requires a separate departmental application. Transfer applicants must first apply to Mason before applying to the BSN major. Acceptance to the nursing program is contingent upon admission to the university, but the BSN program is highly competitive and admission to the university does not guarantee acceptance to major. For additional information, please visit the BSN Admissions website.

Additional Information for Non-Traditional Qualifications

Home-Schooled Students

We welcome applications from home-schooled students or those who have pursued pre-college educational opportunities that may not be accredited. You will be reviewed no differently than those who apply from traditional high schools. However, we would like to clarify a few points that we feel will be beneficial for home-schooled applicants.

  • Ensure that you have completed (or will have completed) the minimum preparatory course work required for admission before enrollment at Mason.
  • We understand that in many instances, home-schooled students may not have a traditional “official” transcript. However, in order to evaluate your preparation for higher education, we require some form of transcript. Your home educator can prepare this document. Ideally, we expect to see a listing of courses completed and either a grade or evaluative description of your performance in each. In the event that we need additional information, an admissions representative will contact you.
  • You will note that a “Secondary School Report” which usually accompanies a guidance counselor recommendation is one of our requirements. While a parent or guardian may certainly complete the form, we ask that you solicit a recommendation letter from someone outside of your immediate family who can attest to your academic achievements and abilities.
  • Official ACT and/or SAT scores must be sent to the Office of Admissions directly from the testing agency. Home-Schooled applicants are not considered for Score Optional admission.
  • If you have enrolled in or will have completed dual-enrollment college coursework prior to high school graduation, be certain to indicate this on the admission application and have official transcript(s) sent to the Office of Admissions at time of application. All dual-enrollment students are considered freshman applicants regardless of the number of college-credits earned while in dual-enrollment status.)
Score Optional Consideration

The Score Optional consideration is an alternative for students who believe that the SAT or ACT test scores do not adequately reflect their level of academic achievement and/or predict their potential. Score Optional review provides an opportunity for applicants to be considered for admission without submitting standardized test scores. Admission to Mason remains a highly competitive process, and score optional candidates will be considered on their own merits. Please read the following information carefully before choosing to apply as a Score Optional candidate.

Qualifying Criteria

Grade point average, class rank, and curricular options vary widely between high schools. Use these guidelines to determine, in the context of your school, whether the Score Optional process is appropriate for you.

  • A minimum cumulative high school grade point average of 3.50 on a 4.00 scale (grades 9-11).
  • Evidence of strong performance in a challenging academic curriculum as demonstrated by having taken a robust college preparatory selection of courses.
  • An actual or estimated class rank in the top 20 percent of your high school class.
  • Strong leadership and motivation, as demonstrated in your extracurricular, work, or service experiences.

Requirements for Score Optional Students

  • A maximum of two letters of recommendation. One letter must be from a teacher in an academic subject who can attest to your academic abilities, in addition to the Secondary School Report Form noted above.
  • Students whose native language is not English may be asked to submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). If this is needed, the admissions office will contact you.

Applicants WHO DO NOT Qualify for Score Optional:

  • Those who want to be considered for the University Scholars Scholarship and Program. (Note: Score Optional candidates are eligible to be considered for all other scholarships.)
  • Applicants applying to computer science and engineering majors within the Volgenau School of Engineering.
  • Home-schooled applicants.
  • Applicants who are seeking to become a member of one of Mason's NCAA intercollegiate athletic teams.
Academic Credit by Exam

Students may accelerate their graduation by the award of transfer credit from any of the following exams. Official transcripts from the testing agency should be sent to the Office of Admissions during the application process. Transfer credit evaluations are considered final after the first academic year of enrollment. No additional credit, including external credit by exam, will be considered.

Honors College

Ready for a challenge? Interested in smaller class sizes, priority registration, and a supportive environment? Mason’s Honors College provides talented students in all majors with an enriched and unique academic and social environment that enhances their college experience.

University Scholars Program

Each year approximately 20 University Scholars are selected from among the most outstanding students invited to the Honors College. This award is the highest academic distinction that Mason offers to undergraduate students. Each University Scholar receives a scholarship award covering the full cost of tuition over four years. University Scholars have:

  • Exemplary records of academic achievement
  • Intellectual vision and creativity
  • Potential to solve problems and overcome obstacles
  • A commitment to meaningfully contributing to their communities

The deadline to apply to the Honors College curriculum and/or the University Scholars Program is November 1. You’ll find a check box for both programs in the online application. Applications submitted after the deadline will be considered on a space available basis.

In addition to the freshman application requirements, you must submit a supplemental essay as prompted within the application. The essay topic can be found in the online application and should be no longer than 750 words.

In addition, we strongly recommend that applicants submit:

  • At least one letter of recommendation from an academic, core-area teacher
  • Resume or list of activities

If you are already submitting these documents as a part of your online application, you do not have to submit additional copies to the Honors College. Applications are reviewed within the same online system.