Welcome First-Year Applicants

We perform a holistic review of every individual application. This means that that we look at each and every piece of information, accomplishment, and involvement - and always in the context of your personal, school and local environment. Below is all the information you need to apply!

At A Glance

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Fall Deadlines

Fall 2024: Still Accepting Applications

Non-Binding Early Action 11/15Regular Decision 2/1; Spring 11/1

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How to Apply

Submit via Common Application for our holistic review process!

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All students are considered for merit-based scholarships; and travel grants available

Navigating Roger With The Pros

While on campus, filming The College Tour, the Vice President of Enrollment Management and Provost both sat down with The College Tour host Alex Boylan to chat about Roger. 

Ask Admissions

Vice President of Enrollment Management Amy Tiberio talks about what we look for in applicants, affording college, and entering college undeclared. 

Coffee with the Provost

Provost Margaret Everett discusses academics, what's new at Roger, and our powerful degree combinations. 

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At RWU, supporting our students and their families is our priority. Understanding the challenges posed by changes in FAFSA timelines, we've taken proactive steps. We're accepting the College Board College Scholarship Service Profile (CSS Profile) to ensure students stay on course and receive their financial aid packages promptly. View more details.

RWU Commits to an Equitable Admission Process

The Supreme Court recently ruled on race-conscious admission. As part of our response to this, RWU and its Admission Offices have reaffirmed our commitment to an equitable admission process. Our approach to enrolling an inclusive and diverse community has always been a holistic admission process, and that will not change. We provide applicants the opportunity and space to speak to how their unique experiences, perspectives, and strengths will contribute positively to our thriving community where everyone feels valued, respected and a sense of belonging. 

We are excited for future generations to benefit from our close-knit community. While we value the lasting impact our community has on our alumni and all the ways their success makes us stronger as an institution, we state explicitly that our admission process does not give specific preference or advantage to legacy status in the review process. 

RWU is committed to equal access: we are an open, accepting and affirming community of citizen scholars that stands firmly committed to creating a campus that is diverse and inclusive as well as welcoming to and accepting of all people of all backgrounds.  

The Five Areas We Review

Our admission committee competitively weighs all factors of the review process to assess to the fullest extent we can: who you are, what you have achieved so far, your future potential, and whether your preparation would ensure a successful career at Roger Williams.

  1. Academic Preparation.  We look not only at your grades earned, but also the rigor of your curriculum and school. We consider any trends in performance over the years, along with understanding the subjects that are your strengths and weaknesses. We review your academic performance within the context of the major for which you apply. This means we consider your performance in the foundational subjects on which your major of interest is based to ensure that you can perform successfully in the curriculum.

    We will also consider and accept applicants as undeclared majors if we are not able to admit them directly into their program of interest. These students will then have the opportunity to plan a transition into their intended major.
  2. Activities and Involvement. How you spend your time outside the classroom, such as participation in school clubs, sports, jobs, or volunteering matters. We value the impact you have in the communities around you because that is a critical component of the RWU experience as well.
  3. Your Essay and Optional Question. The application essay gives us an understanding of who you are. While it gives us a chance to hear you in your own words, we also use the essay to assess your level of writing ability (i.e. grammar, spelling, and ability to communicate a thought).

    We've added an optional question to our application, in an effort to provide students with the opportunity to share more about their lived experiences. 

    The question will appear on the Common App as such:

    Roger Williams University is an open, accepting and affirming community of citizen scholars. We stand firmly committed to creating a campus that is diverse and inclusive as well as welcoming to and accepting of all people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, ability, socio-economic class, age or spirituality.

    We reflect this in our many programs, initiatives, organizations, and clubs throughout the university, ranging from our undergraduate programs to the School of Law.

    In what ways do you believe your distinctive experiences and background would positively impact and enrich our university community?

    (please feel free to respond in your own authentic voice, and use any format – including bullet points - to share a brief statement)

  4. Optional Test Score Submission. For admission and scholarship review, we are test-optional*.  We recognize that standardized test scores are merely one measure of a student’s academic performance. In some cases, students feel that their high school transcript and other accomplishments are better representations of their ability and potential. Therefore, it is your choice to have test scores considered as a portion of our admission review. 

    * The Rhode Island Department of Education requires the submission of test scores, along with a minimum test score achievement for direct admission into the Elementary Education or Secondary Education majors by the end of your college sophomore year. However, in the absence of test scores, an alternative exam may be taken.
  5. Letter(s) of recommendation. Although we only require one letter of recommendation, we welcome more if they help tell your complete story. Letters of recommendation provide details from a school or community member that expand upon something we have learned from your application in other places, or share something entirely new. The best recommendations are personal and tell more about YOU, not just that you are “a pleasure to have in class.”

Please note: RWU supports the right of students to exercise freedom of expression through peaceful protests and demonstrations. Our namesake, Roger Williams, fearlessly advocated for freedom of conscience, equality, and tolerance to help improve his community. Thus, our values embrace intellectual exchange, critical thinking, inclusiveness and innovation as a means of improving a free society. Nonviolent activism that is reported as disciplinary action will not, in its own, disadvantage applicants in any way during our admission process.

While we will abide by the ruling, the decision does not change who we are as a university or the diverse community we are working to build and aspire to become. We remain committed to recruiting and supporting a diverse student community, and we will continue to uphold our values and commitments in our efforts. Because of this decision, we have an optional question on the Common Application allowing students to talk about their distinctive experiences and background and how it would impact and enrich our community.

  • Official – Official credentials are those that are sent directly from the responsible institution. For example, an official transcript is sent directly from the secondary school or college whereas an unofficial transcript is a copy or downloaded version submitted by the applicant. Official test scores are sent directly from the testing agency whereas self-reported test scores are shared by the applicant.
  • Holistic – An admission review that considers all aspects of the applicant including both academic and personal qualities. A holistic review considers academic performance in the context of curriculum, school, and environment. It also considers involvements and responsibilities outside of the classroom, personal qualities and achievements, and the information shared through letters of recommendation.
  • Complete Application – An application is complete when the application itself as well as all required supporting credentials have been received. Each applicant is responsible for ensuring that credentials that are sent directly from their school, recommender, and/or testing agency are received. Students may log into their applicant portal (instructions are provided as soon as the application is received) to check on the status of their credentials.
  • Credential – A piece of information that supplements the admission application. Credentials include transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, auditions, portfolios, senior grades, etc. 

Resources and Information by Populations

RWU Travel Grant

Beyond tuition, room, and board, we know that many other factors impact the total cost of affording a college. For families from farther away, the purchase of flights to and from home over breaks will mean increased cost in choosing RWU. RWU is sensitive to the total cost of an education that families may face, including transportation, books, and other expenses. Therefore, starting in fall 2020, to support our out-of-region enrolled students, we created a special Travel Grant for students from states outside of the U.S. northeast. This grant is awarded to all qualified students in addition to merit scholarships awarded at time of admission (with the exception of full-tuition scholarship recipients). Students meeting the geographic criteria will automatically qualify for this award.

Given the unique academic environments in which home-schooled applicants are educated and the varying factors on which they’re assessed, it is important to apply a similarly unique review to their applications so we may best understand the achievements and abilities of these prospective students.  It is important that we capture and consider academic assessment practices, grading criteria and scales, variances in curricular structure and rigor, indications of personal and social preparedness, access (or limitations) to extracurricular activities, and many other factors.  As such, any information that home-schooled students, families, or educators can provide to share context in any of these areas adds great value to our review process. Frequently, home-schooled students provide synopses of their academic experience to provide perspectives on their home-schooled, online or collaborative home-schooling environments. 
Some home-schooled applicants opt to submit supporting academic credentials such as AP/IB exam scores, transcripts from community colleges or other college-level coursework, or standardized test scores.  It should be noted; however, that none of these are required by the application process, and absent these, students may still be offered admission to the University.
Admission interviews may be recommended at the discretion of the reviewer or admission committee (especially in a case in which none of the supporting academic credentials listed above are presented for review), but will be offered to any home-schooled student who requests to do so.  Admission interviews may be held any time from spring of the student’s junior year into their senior year.  Interviews may be conducted in-person, by video conference, or over the phone.  Home-schooled students may contact the Office of Admission to request an interview.

At RWU, we form a community to help you succeed and adjust to life in the U.S. We welcome students, like you, from all over the world and help them each step of the way. We value what you add to our community and are focused on your success. To aid you, we provide a range of services that includes peer mentors and support groups.

Learn More

¿Necesita ayuda? Haz una cita con Keane para ayudarte con el proceso. 

Regístrese para reunirse conmigo. (Schedule a time to meet with me.)

Deadlines and Decision Timeline 

Early Action

Deadline: November 15
Our non-binding Early Action (EA) program serves as an early notification program for those who apply prior to November 15 for fall semester enrollment. EA does not bind you to RWU nor does it restrict you from applying to other schools. We want you to make an informed decision and have the time to make the right choice. All applicants have until June 1 to confirm enrollment. Applicants for the University Honors Program are encouraged to apply through Early Action for priority consideration.

Regular Decision

Deadline: Still accepting Applications
Though our Regular Decision (RD) program has a listed deadline of February 1, applications can be submitted at any time leading up to this deadline and will be reviewed on a rolling basis. This means that the earlier you submit and complete your application (by submitting all required items), the earlier we will review it for an admission decision. RD applicants should submit at least first marking period grades for senior year. Even though our official fall application and enrollment deadlines have passed, we're still here for you. If you decide to reconsider your interest in Roger Williams University, or plans change and you want to explore our programs in more detail, we're here.

Spring Admission

Early Action Deadline: November 1 (Rolling admission thereafter)
First-year students can apply to enroll for the spring semester (beginning January 24 in 2024). If you've taken some time off after high school, or graduated early, this can be the right time for you to begin college. We tend to think of the academic year as always beginning in the fall, but there are great reasons why a mid-year start can be ideal for many students.


If your application, along with all supporting documents, are received by the deadline date to which you are applying, your admission decision notification will be sent as outlined below.

 Early ActionRegular DecisionSpring
Application DeadlineNovember 15Still Accepting ApplicationsNovember 1
Admission Notification DateMid-DecemberRollingRolling
FAFSA Priority DeadlineFebruary 1February 1December 1
Honors ProgramPriority ConsiderationReviewed on a space-available basisReviewed on a space-available basis
Student Reply DateMay 1 May 1December 1

Application Checklist 

☑️ A submitted Common Application

 ⚠️First-Year Applicants for admission are expected to be graduates of four-year secondary schools or provide evidence of equivalent preparation. In addition to strong academic preparation in high school, candidates must meet additional requirements for certain degree programs.

☑️ Your personal essay.

☑️ Official high school transcript(s) 

☑️ A minimum of one (1) letter of recommendation; additional letters welcome

☑️ First marking period grades for senior year, as well as mid-year grades (once available) 

☑️ Standardized test scores are optional but if you choose to submit, students should use the following RWU school code: College Board SAT and TOEFL: 3729; ACT: 3814

 ⚠️Applicants may submit test scores by having them sent to RWU directly from the testing agency, or applicants may self-report their scores by entering them into the Common Application, sending a copy or screenshot of the test report (clearly showing the student's name), or requesting that they be sent by their secondary school. Students who submit self-reported test scores will be asked to provide the official score report only upon enrollment. 

There are additional application requirements for the following majors:

A portfolio of two and/or three-dimensional work demonstrating evidence of an applicant’s creative potential is required for all applicants for admission to the B.S. in Architecture program.  The intent of the portfolio requirement is twofold—to offer applicants some idea of activities you will be engaged in as an architecture student, and to allow the school to begin to estimate your emerging potential at this earliest stage of your architectural education. Consistent with the mission of our program, Roger Williams University is interested in and celebrates the variety of expression that applicants demonstrate. Applicants come from a variety of backgrounds, and we appreciate this variety as a basis for beginning the study architecture at the college level.

The portfolio should consist of 8-12 examples of the applicant’s work, each piece clearly labeled. Your work should be submitted through SlideRoom at this address: 

Your work portfolio should be submitted through one of the following:  

Office of Undergraduate Admissions  
Roger Williams University  
One Old Ferry Road, Bristol, RI 02809.

The portfolio should contain reproductions of two and three-dimensional work recently executed in high school art course work, independent works by the applicant, or summer programs in Art or Architecture that you may have completed. High quality black + white copies and color copies as relevant to the work are acceptable.

While Roger Williams University is a test-optional institution, students applying to the Elementary and Secondary Education programs are required to submit either SAT or ACT scores in accordance with Rhode Island Department of Education guidelines for direct entry by the end of their college sophomore year. These scores must be official scores sent from Collegeboard or ACT.  The Rhode Island Department of Education standardized test minimums are as follows:


Students who are unable to test, send only self-reported scores, or do not meet the requirements through SAT or ACT scores may still qualify for these programs by taking an alternative academic skills exam or through faculty approval.

Students who do not meet these thresholds at the time of application may be considered for admission as an undeclared education student until they attain the necessary scores or meet alternative requirements.

In addition, applicants to the Secondary Education program must select one of the following additional majors within the Feinstein College of Arts and Sciences: Biology, Chemistry, English, Modern Languages, History, and double major in Dance Performance Studies and Secondary Education.

How to Submit Your Supplemental Application Materials (Credentials)

  • Transcripts, including senior grades, are sent directly by your school/school counselor. Please request that your school sends your transcript(s) to RWU in one of the following ways:
    • Submit via Naviance
    • Submit via another electronic document delivery service
    • Emailed to admit@rwu.edu
    • Faxed to: (401) 254-3557
    • Mailed to: 
      Office of Undergraduate Admission
      One Old Ferry Road
      Bristol, RI 02809-2921
  • Letters of recommendation should be sent directly from the recommender in one of the following ways:
    • Submit via Naviance
    • Emailed to admit@rwu.edu
    • Faxed to: (401) 254-3557
    • Mailed to: 
      Office of Undergraduate Admission
      One Old Ferry Road
      Bristol, RI 02809-2921
  • Audition videos, portfolios, and any other optional supplemental materials an applicant would like to share can be submitted in one of the following ways:
    • Upload through your RWU Applicant Status Portal account (login credentials will be sent once you’ve submitted your application) 
    • Submit via email to admit@rwu.edu 
    • Mail to:
      Office of Undergraduate Admission
      One Old Ferry Road
      Bristol, RI 02809-2921
  • Test scores may be sent directly from the testing agency or self-reported. Refer to the Application Requirements section for details on self-reporting test scores.

Scholarships and Financial Aid  

All students applying for admission will automatically be reviewed for merit scholarships. Merit awards are guaranteed for four consecutive years of full-time enrollment in Good Academic Standing. 

Students who are interested in qualifying for need-based financial aid such as RWU grants, federal or state grants, loan opportunities and student employment on campus, need to complete the FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) should complete the FAFSA as soon as it becomes available in December 2023. Since the FAFSA won't go live until the end of December (previously October 1) and its information might reach us later in January, we're providing another option. We're accepting the College Board College Scholarship Service Profile (CSS Profile) to ensure students stay on course and receive their financial aid packages promptly. Our commitment is to assist students every step of the way. Please note: You will still need to complete the FAFSA (once live) so that we can confirm your federal aid. 

We recommend that you submit the FAFSA at the time that you submit your admission application. This allows you to receive a full financial aid award shortly after your admission decision if admitted. 

Please visit our Financial Aid pages.

Learn about what's changing on the 2024-25 FAFSA

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

Intercultural Leadership Ambassador Scholarship (ILA) - students who qualify will have demonstrated academic achievement, leadership and positive contributions to their communities. Qualifying students also identify with one of the following: first generation college student; speak a first language other than English or live in a home where English is not the primary language; live or attend high school in an under-resourced community; or live in a geographically underrepresented community. The program includes a scholarship covering 95% of tuition for four consecutive years of undergraduate study in addition to a co-curricular program which provides mentorship and academic support while furthering the holistic and leadership growth of recipients throughout their time at RWU. 

Decision Rescission Policy

The Office of Undergraduate Admission reserves the right to rescind an offer of admission under any of the following circumstances:

  • If there’s a significant deterioration in your academic work during your final months of school or you do not graduate and receive a diploma by the end of this school year.
  • If your application you submitted and/or your behavior brings into question your honesty, integrity or character and is contrary/inconsistent to our community values.
  • If your official test scores from the College Board or the ACT do not align with your self-reported test scores.
  • Failure to complete required steps for enrollment by the appropriate deadlines.

We encourage students in jeopardy of rescission to be proactive and contact us as soon as possible.

Need Help? Have Questions?

Your admission counselor can help answer any of your questions - from the little things to your bigger questions. They are your personal guide to everything about RWU, and can put you in touch with other resources across the university, including athletics and academic support services. Meet your counselor now!