What We Look for in a Student

Gettysburg College students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and secondary school programs–but they are all united by the drive to Do Great Work.

Admission to Gettysburg is highly competitive. The College encourages applications from students of all ethnic, religious, racial, economic, and geographic backgrounds who have demonstrated a capacity for academic achievement, responsiveness to intellectual challenge, eagerness to contribute their special talents to the campus community, and an awareness of social responsibility. Such persons give promise of possessing the ability–and the motivation–that will enable them to profit from the outstanding opportunities that Gettysburg College offers.

Since the admissions process at Gettysburg is highly selective, the admissions staff gives careful consideration to each application. We expect students to make the most of the academic offerings of their high school, and decisions are based on four categories of evidence:

  • Evidence of High Academic Achievement: Participation in a solid college preparatory program with enriched, accelerated, or Advanced Placement courses is expected. Grades in academic courses, quality and distribution of subjects, and rank in class (when available) are highly significant parts of the applicant’s credentials.
  • Standardized Test Scores: Students should submit the SAT of the College Board or the test results of the American College Testing (ACT) program; the highest section scores of both the ACT and SAT will be considered in the admissions process. Strong applicants who believe that standardized tests do not represent their academic achievement can choose to apply testing-optional by choosing this option on the Gettysburg College Member Screen of the Common Application.
  • Evidence of Personal Qualities: The College is very interested in individuals of character who will make positive contributions to the campus community and beyond. In estimating such qualities, we rely on what students say about themselves through essays and interviews, along with the recommendations from secondary school counselors and teachers. In-depth involvement in extracurricular and community service activities–both in and out of school–is favorably considered in the admissions process.
  • Demonstrated Student Interest: Demonstrated interest can be a deciding factor in an admissions decision. Interest may be demonstrated through an official campus visit, attendance at a virtual event, a meeting with an admissions officer at a student’s high school, or correspondence with the admissions office. An admissions interview is strongly recommended, as is a campus visit.