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Frequently Asked Questions About…

-Application Process
-Financial Aid and Scholarships
-Room & Board
-Student Life

Application Process

What is the average GPA/QPA I need to get into Pitt?
We do not publish an average GPA/QPA because grading scales vary so much from school to school. What we do remind students is that almost 60% of our admitted students are in the top 10% of their high school graduating class.

How important is the SAT/ACT in admissions consideration?
When the admissions committee reads a student's application for admission, we look at the whole picture. SAT and/or ACT scores are an integral part, but just one of the primary factors. The student's curriculum and classroom achievements represent the other primary factors in the review process.

What is the average SAT/ACT score for admission?
We publish SAT and ACT mid-ranges for each incoming class. The middle 50% range from 2013 for the SAT was 1210-1450 (out of 1600). However, each academic school's Dean's Office has guidelines that the admissions committee must adhere to, especially professional schools such as Nursing, Pharmacy, and Engineering.

Are extra-curricular activities important when applying to Pitt?
Extra-curricular activities and community involvement are recognized, but they are of secondary importance when compared to academic accomplishments.

How much influence does a letter of recommendation have?
Any and all letters of recommendation are read. We do not require recommendations, but they provide strong support for scholarship candidates and borderline situations.

What is the deadline for admissions applications?
Pitt operates on Rolling Admissions, meaning we do not have a specific application deadline. As we receive student applications, we begin to review them. Once we have a student's completed application (including application, application fee, test scores and high school transcript), the turn-around time is usually about three to four weeks. The following dates are important to keep in mind:

  • January 15: students interested in being considered for merit-based scholarships should apply by this date
  • March 1: financial aid deadline for freshman (FAFSA form)
  • May 1: tuition deposit and housing guarantee deadline

What is your acceptance rate?

Do you conduct interviews?
No. The Office of Admissions and Financial Aid does not conduct formal interviews, and an interview is not part of the admissions process. If prospective students have questions and would like to meet with an admissions counselor, they can make an appointment to meet with a counselor on a one-on-one basis to have their questions answered.

Do Pitt undergraduates have a better chance of getting into Pitt's Medical School?
Not necessarily. All students who apply to Pitt's medical school, as well as most graduate programs, are reviewed individually on an extremely competitive basis, and with little regard to where their undergraduate work was done. Decisions are made according to the admission guidelines of the School of Medicine and/or most other graduate programs.

What are Freshmen Guarantees?
We offer Freshmen Guarantees to outstanding incoming freshmen to many of our graduate programs, including the medical school, law school, and dental school. Guarantees are competitive, and each has their own requirements. Students who are offered the guarantees must fulfill certain requirements during the undergraduate career in order to maintain eligibility for the guarantee. Please refer to for more information.

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How large are classes?
6% of all undergraduate courses have 100+ students enrolled, but 59% of undergraduate courses have 30 or fewer students enrolled. The larger classes REQUIRE students to register for recitation sections. This provides a smaller setting in which students can ask questions, take quizzes, etc. Certain classes in the freshmen year will automatically be limited to about 25 students. These include science labs, math sections, English composition courses, recitation sections, and most Honors courses.

Do Teaching Assistants (TA's) teach classes?
No. The TA's only conduct recitation sections, and under the supervision of professors. They serve as a supplement to the course. Recitation sections are breakdown sections of the large introductory courses with about 20-30 students in each section. They meet one to three times each week to review what the professor has covered in class.

What is the student/faculty ratio?
The ratio is 14:1

What is your freshmen retention rate?

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Financial Aid and Scholarships

Does the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) have to be filled out each year?
Yes. The recommended filing date to apply for incoming freshmen is March 1.

What is Work Study?
Work Study is a form of financial aid. The student holds a job within the university and earns a paycheck each month. The maximum amount a student can earn per year varies according to his or her need-based eligibility. Work Study is not deducted from a student's account; he or she receives a paycheck at the end of each month.

I don't want my son/daughter to have loans, how can he or she get grant or scholarship money?
To be considered for merit-based scholarships and need-based grants, a student must simply apply for admission and financial aid by the appropriate deadlines each year.

When do students hear whether or not they will get merit or academic scholarships?
Typically a student will be notified if they have been awarded a merit scholarship by February of their senior year. Notification is only sent to scholarship recipients.

What types of scholarships are available for freshmen through the University?
Pitt awards merit-based scholarships, ranging in amounts of $2000 per year to the Chancellor's Scholarship, which pays full tuition, room, board, and fees.

What are your scholarship criteria?
We utilize a number of factors when reviewing an applicant for merit-based scholarships. This year, low-end scholarship recipients ($2000 per year) had an average SAT score of 1450 and ranked in the top 5% of their graduating class.

Does a student have to do anything different to be reviewed for merit-based scholarships?
All applications for admission received before January 15th will be automatically reviewed for scholarships.

Does the undergraduate Office of Admissions and Financial Aid offer scholarships to transfer students?
No, OAFA does not offer merit-based scholarships to transfer or non-traditional students. However, some academic schools and departments can offer scholarships to upperclassmen.

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Room & Board

What is the meal plan offered by the University?
Students have a choice of meal plans offering a combination of Ultimate Access (unlimited access to dining halls), Dining Passes (meals) and Dining Dollars (ala carte items) that can be used at a variety of on-campus eateries. If a student lives in a residence hall, they are required to purchase a meal plan.

How many residence halls are there?
There are 15 residence halls with accommodation types including singles, doubles, triples, and quads. Suites, which house from four to eight students, are also available.

What is the location of the residence halls?
The residence halls are scattered across campus, but the majority of them (9) are located in the center of campus (the Litchfield Towers, Nordenberg Hall, and Schenley Quadrangle Residence Halls).

Does the University house sororities/fraternities?
Pitt has eight University owned fraternity houses. The sororities are housed in Amos Hall and on the 2nd floor of Bruce Hall. Also, several sororities and fraternities do have off-campus housing accommodations.

What is the availability of on-campus housing?
If the tuition deposit is paid by May 1, freshmen students will be guaranteed a place in the freshman class and three years of on-campus housing.

Is freshman housing mandatory?
No. Freshmen are not required to live on-campus, however, it is strongly recommended. Familiarizing oneself with the campus is easier while living on campus as a first year student.

Can I live off-campus?
Oakland offers Pitt students diverse apartment housing selections. The nearby neighborhoods of Shadyside and Squirrel Hill also offer a number of apartments for rent of every size, style, and price range. Pitt's Off-Campus Living Office can help students find an apartment.

Are there specialty living arrangements in residence halls?
Students may request a particular specialty living arrangement through a special section on their housing contract. 13 Competitive Edge Communities reserved for freshmen are programmatically designed to help you make the most of your academic interests by linking you with other students who share similar interests. The communities include:

  • College of Business Administration
  • Nursing
  • Engineering
  • Health Sciences
  • Career Exploration
  • Communications
  • Sustainability
  • Exploration of the Arts
  • The Global Village
  • Healthy Living
  • Leadership Development
  • Service to Others
  • Honors College

Can students have a car on campus?
Students are permitted to have a car on the campus. However, PARKING IN THE OAKLAND AREA IS EXTREMELY LIMITED AND EXPENSIVE. The majority of parking in Oakland is street parking, although there are limited parking lots reserved for campus residents who have purchased a term permit. With a vast public transportation system available for FREE, cars are a liability, and are not recommended unless necessary.

Can freshmen have cars on campus?
Yes. The same policy holds true for freshmen as it does for the other students.

What is the parking availability on campus?
There are a very limited number of parking spaces available to students who live on campus. Commuter students may purchase parking per term; however, resident students must purchase parking per year. Permit recipients are selected through a lottery, with additional preference for seniors. Parking fees may change annually.

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What type of security do the residence halls have?
Entrances to all residence halls are monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during academic terms. When entering a residence hall, students must show their valid Pitt ID, indicating that they are a resident of that particular residence hall. If the student does not have a valid Pitt ID indicating they are a resident of that residence hall, they are not given access. All visitors, including parents and other Pitt students, must show picture ID, be signed in and out, and be escorted throughout the building by the student.

With Pitt's campus in an urban setting, is it a safe environment?
As with any campus, and in our society today, incidents can occur. However, the University has taken great strides to ensure a "home-like" and secure environment. With the University of Pittsburgh Police Force, security call boxes located throughout campus, a thorough shuttle system, after-hours shuttle service, monitored residence halls and a well-lit campus, Pitt remains a place where students can learn in safety. Pittsburgh is ranked as one of the safest cities for its size in the U.S. by Century 21 Real Estate Company. A student helps maintain his/her own safety on campus by following all security policies and by using common sense safety practices such as walking in groups, reporting suspicious activity, and not leaving personal items unattended in public places. Please refer to for more information.

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Student Life

What is the full-time undergraduate enrollment?
We have about 17,000 full-time undergraduates

How many students are from Pennsylvania?
About 60% of our students are from Pennsylvania.

What off-campus activities are available in the immediate area?
Oakland offers a variety of activities - museums, coffee houses, restaurants, the Pittsburgh Playhouse, ice and roller skating in Schenley Park, and shopping areas among other things.

What is there to do on the weekends?
Pitt weekends are full of activity! Activities include free movies, concerts, lectures, sporting events, theatrical performances, and social events sponsored by various student groups. Pittsburgh offers museums, cinemas, comedy clubs, theatres, the symphony, ballet, dining, shopping, outdoor recreation, major concert tours, and major sporting events.

What can I do in the city of Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh's four seasons and topography of hills, rivers, and lakes combine for year-round recreational activities such as: golf, skiing, spelunking, hiking, camping, white water rafting, boating, hunting, and ice-skating.

Major City Attractions include: the Carnegie Science Center, Carnegie Institute, Fort Pitt Museum, the Andy Warhol Museum, Gateway Clipper Fleet, Kennywood Amusement Park, Sandcastle Water Park, Phipps Conservatory, Stephen Foster Memorial Hall, the Pittsburgh Zoo, Mellon Arena, the Duquesne and Monongahela Inclines, Mount Washington, Station Square, Heinz Field, and the National Aviary.

Major Annual Events include: the Pittsburgh Marathon, Mellon Jazz Festival, Light Up Night, Three Rivers Arts Festival, and the Three Rivers Regatta.

How close is the Oakland campus to downtown Pittsburgh?
Downtown is approximately three miles west of Oakland, about a 10-minute bus ride straight down Fifth Avenue.

Is the transportation system easy to use? What is the cost?
In addition to Pitt's Shuttle system and cab companies, Port Authority Transit of Allegheny County (PAT) serves the Oakland community and travels almost everywhere within Allegheny County. Buses run in and out of Oakland every ten to fifteen minutes. With a valid Pitt ID, the public transit is FREE.

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