Aerial view of Old Main in the fall at dusk.
Admission Requirements (Traditional Students)

Admission Requirements (Traditional Students)

Policy title
Admission Requirements (Traditional Students)
Financial Aid
Purpose of this policy

To inform prospective traditional students of the requirements for the application for admission. 

Policy statement

Requirements for Admission

  • Application for admission
  • High school transcript
    • Students applying Early Action (EA) self-report their academic credentials.
  • ACT/SAT scores
    • NWU offers a test-optional admission process. The ACT or SAT requirement is waived for students with a cumulative high school GPA of 3.5 or above.


Recommendations for Admission

Nebraska Wesleyan University uses a comprehensive process to review applicants. We select incoming classes with a variety of talents, views and achievements.

The general standard for admission is a cumulative high school GPA of 3.0 or higher and a composite ACT score of 20 or higher (1030 SAT). Students below either standard of admission (less than 3.0 GPA or a composite ACT score lower than 20 are reviewed holistically, guided by the “Standards for Admission Ratings (StAR)” process. 

Holistic Application Review & StAR

The goal of the Nebraska Wesleyan University Admissions Office is to attract students who are most likely to thrive in our educational environment and persist through graduation. The Admissions Office has a process for application assessment that prioritizes students with the strongest profile for academic success. The Standards for Admission Ratings (StAR) will provide an objective means of rating each student’s academic preparedness. All ratings are based on a five-point scale, with a rating of three or higher indicating sufficient strength for admission in a respective variable. The ratings are intended to complement other demographic qualities of successful students. A profile of students who are most likely to persist and flourish will result from this combination of ratings and other demographic qualities, which will guide future admission policies. 

The admission of students will reflect NWU’s core values, including: demonstrated academic excellence, a knowledge and understanding of the liberal arts, an appreciation of close relationships with faculty, an embracing attitude for diverse cultural expressions, a respect for our community and traditions for Christian concern, and a thoughtful regard for wise stewardship of personal and community resources.

The resources for admission may include the application, recommendations from teachers or high school counselors, internal recommendations from faculty or coaches, as well as personal interactions with the admissions staff. Admission decisions will also take into context the historic enrollment of students from a specific high school and the actual academic performance of those students at NWU. The percentage of students retained at that school will also be reviewed, which provides deeper context to the admission decision. 

Elements of StAR:

The Admissions Office places a value on each of the following criteria and assigns a rating for each on a five-point scale. 

  • Assessment of the high school academic program
  • Senior high school curriculum
  • HS Grade Point Average
  • College placement (percentage of HS graduates that enroll in 4-year Colleges)
  • ACT or SAT standardized test score
  • Community Engagement

Academic Program

The student’s high school curriculum is assessed by the honors, AP/IB, or dual-enrollment courses completed.

1. Technical or Agricultural prep courses

2. College prep program

3. College prep curriculum with honors courses

4. One AP/IB/community college or dual-enrollment credit

5. Two or more AP/IB/community college or dual-enrollment credits

Senior Curriculum

The number of core academic courses taken during the senior year is assessed (technical and agricultural courses are not counted as core).

1. Two core courses

2. Three core courses

3. Four core courses

4. Five core courses

5. Six core courses 

Grade Point Average

Academic achievement as measured by the grade point average is converted to a 4.0 Scale. Admissions decisions will take into consideration the upward or downward trend of the student’s HS GPA. The final grades will be reviewed and admission may be rescinded if appropriate.

HS GPA Range

  1. <= 2.7 GPA
  1. 2.71-2.99 GPA
  1. 3.0-3.29 GPA
  1. 3.3-3.59 GPA
  1. 3.6-4.0 GPA

College Placement

A high school rating will be assigned to gauge a school’s success in placing graduates in four-year Colleges or universities. The student’s rank-in-class is reviewed in context with the college placement percentage.

1. <25% attending four-year institutions

2. 26-45% attending four-year institutions

3. 46-60% attending four-year institutions

4. 61-80% attending four-year institutions

5. 81-100% attending four-year institutions 

Standardized Test Scores

Standardized Test Scores

  1. <= 16 ACT
  1. 17-19 ACT
  1. 20-23 ACT
  1. 24-27 ACT
  1. 28-36 ACT

Community Engagement

The student’s potential to contribute in a core extracurricular NWU program is assessed based on the student’s high school experience and accomplishment.

1. No noted involvement

2. Cites membership in music/theater/athletics/club, but no key role and no evidence of commitment; inconsistent involvement or newly established interest in organizations

3. Intends to pursue music/theater/athletics/club; consistent involvement in organizations for three or more years (talent with potential to contribute to music, theater, or athletics as indicated by faculty or coaches)

4. Intends to pursue music/theater/athletics/club and held a leadership position (talent highly regarded by music, theater, or athletics)

5. Intends to pursue music/theater/athletics/club and held a leadership position and received state or national recognition (significant talent to impact music, theater, or athletics as determined by faculty or coaches)