Admission Requirements

Regent Admission Index

Students who wish to enter Iowa State University directly from high school will be admitted based upon the following four factors: ACT composite score, high school grade point average, high school percentile rank, and number of high school courses completed in the core subject areas.

A Regent Admission Index (RAI) score will be calculated for each applicant, based on the following equation:

RAI = (2 x ACT composite score) + (1 x high school rank) + (20 x high school grade point average) + (5 x number of high school courses completed in the core subject areas)

Note: For purposes of calculating the RAI, SAT scores will be converted to ACT composite equivalents; high school rank is expressed as a percentile with 99% as the top value; high school GPA is expressed on a 4-point scale; and number of high school courses completed in the core subject areas is expressed in terms of years or fractions of years of study.

Applicants who achieve at least a 245 RAI score and who meet the minimum high school course requirements will automatically be offered admission. Applicants who achieve less than a 245 RAI score and who meet the minimum high school course requirements may also be offered admission, but their applications will be reviewed on an individual basis.

Calculate your unofficial Regent Admission Index.

Minimum High School Course Requirements for Admission

Students who wish to enter Iowa State University directly from high school must also meet the minimum high school course requirements for admission as indicated below:

Subject Requirement Description
English/Language Arts 4 years Emphasizing writing, speaking, and reading, as well as an understanding and appreciation of literature
Mathematics 3 years Including one year each of algebra, geometry, and advanced algebra.
Science 3 years Including one year each of two of the following fields: biology, chemistry, and physics.
Social Studies 2 years

Additional entrance requirements for the Colleges of Engineering and Liberal Arts and Sciences

In addition to the high school course requirements listed above, students applying for admission to the College of Engineering must complete two years of a single foreign language. Students applying for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences must complete a third year of social studies and two years of a single foreign language.

Nontraditional students

Nontraditional students are held to the same high school course requirements as all entering freshmen. However, because research has shown that traditional measures of high school performance (e.g., GPA, class rank) are not always good predictors of academic success for nontraditional students, those who achieve less than a 245 RAI score are still encouraged to apply for admission.

General Equivalency Diploma (GED)

General Equivalency Diploma (GED) applicants are welcome to enroll at Iowa State University. In general, GED applicants who have achieved an overall average score at the 50th percentile or higher with no score lower than the 45th percentile will be offered admission. GED applicants whose high school classes graduated after 1990 are also required to achieve GED sub test scores at the 75th percentile for subject areas in which they did not complete high school coursework as stated in the section titled Minimum High School Course Requirements for Admission.

Home schooled students

Each year, Iowa State welcomes students who have been educated at home. Because some of the factors that make up the RAI are frequently not available for these students, increased emphasis is given to standardized test scores in the admission review.

Home-schooled students are asked to provide thorough documentation regarding the subject matter (i.e. subject titles, text books, and syllabus) studied.

Please contact the Office of Admissions for additional details.

Students with disabilities

Students with documented disabilities are held to Iowa State's regular freshman admission requirements. Those who feel their academic record does not accurately reflect their ability to succeed and, therefore, wish to be considered for admission on an individual basis are asked to submit additional documentation explaining their circumstances. This documentation should include:

  • A letter from the applicant requesting special consideration. This letter should identify the disability and include a description of how the disability impacts academic performance.
  • Information pertaining to accommodations and services used in high school or the most recent educational setting.
  • A recent typed report prepared by a qualified provider that contains a specific current diagnosis, treatment history, and existing functional impact as it relates to one's participation at Iowa State University. Please refer to Student Disability Resources Web site for more details on documentation requirements.

For additional information about services for students with disabilities, visit Student Disability Resources.

Summer trial enrollment

Some freshman applicants who are not admitted unconditionally are offered the opportunity to enroll during the summer session on a trial basis. View more information about summer trial enrollment.