Applying as a First-Year Student

We won’t sugar coat it—applying to college can be stressful. But hey, take a deep breath. You’ve got this!

We’ve done our best to keep our first-year admission process straightforward. Our team is here to help every step of the way, so don’t feel like you have to wait until our application opens (August 1, by the way) to ask a question.

What We’re Looking For

We want to get to know the whole you through the application process, but stats are a good way of knowing where you stand. These figures represent the first-year class that entered in fall 2021:

Applicants: 15,340
Enrolling first year students: 1,132
GPA (middle 50%): 3.52-4.15
ACT (middle 50%): 26–31*
SAT (middle 50%): 1160–1330*
SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 580-670; SAT Math: 570-680
*Test scores are for those who did not apply test-optional.

Preparing to Apply

The classes you take in high school and the grades you earn are important factors. Prospective first-year students are expected to have the following academic preparation:

English: 4 years
Mathematics: 3 years
Laboratory Science: 3 years
Social Studies/History: 2 years
Foreign Language: 2 years of the same language

If you’re planning to major in the Natural Sciences, Pre-Pharmacy, Health Sciences, Healthcare and Business, Computer Science, Engineering Dual Degree Program (EDDP), or Mathematics, you should take additional units of science and math.

Students who successfully complete AP, International Baccalaureate, or dual-credit courses in high school are eligible for advanced course placement at Butler. Learn more. 

First-Year Application Checklist

Here’s a summary of what you’ll need to complete your application:

Students applying to Butler can apply using either our Butler Application or the Common App The application requirements are the same, regardless of which method you choose.

Students using the Common App to apply should use one of the essay prompts provided in their platform in 650 words or less.

Students using the Butler Application should explore one of the topics below in 650 words or less.

Alternatively, you may submit a personal statement or essay on a topic of your choice. Submit your writing sample either with your application or after submitting your application by uploading it to your student status page.

Essay Prompts

  • Describe a specific accomplishment or experience and its influence on you.
  • Tell us about a time where you had to either take a risk or stay safe. What did you do? What happened? Would you do it again?
  • If you were limited to just one person to get advice from, tell us who you would choose and why.
  • Describe one thing we should know about you that we won’t find elsewhere in your application.
  • Discuss an event or situation that reinforced the importance of diversity .

Request that your school counseling office or registrar send us your official high school transcript. Include all high schools previously attended. Transcripts should reflect coursework completed through your junior year.

When you list your school counselor/registrar information in your application, we’ll automatically send an email request for these materials on your behalf.

The School Report is a supporting document that should be completed by your high school counselor and commonly accompanies the transcript and high school profile. The report provides Butler with an overview of your high school, including coursework and rigor of curriculum available. This counselor recommendation will include information about your academic performance and assess your potential for success at Butler.

When you list your school counselor/registrar information in your application, we’ll automatically send an email request for this material on your behalf.

We know you’re more than standardized test scores—in fact, in most cases, we’ve made them optional. Learn more about test-optional admission. 

If you choose to apply with standardized test scores, you can submit them in three different ways: submit self-reported scores on the application for admission, submit official scores directly from testing services, or ask your high school to send an official transcript, if your high school includes test scores on its transcripts. We accept the SAT (code 1073) or the ACT (code 1180).

If you self-report your scores, you are required to have official scores sent from the testing service or provided on an official transcript from your high school by July 1 (summer or fall entry) or December 1 (spring entry).

Think of the résumé as a chance to provide us with a summary of your activities and interests. It doesn’t need to be fancy—you are welcome to submit a simple list!  Include your high school activities, clubs, hobbies, and community engagement. And—don’t forget—work and family responsibilities can be important to share as well.

While this is not a requirement, there may be instances where you’d like to have letters of recommendation submitted by your supporters. These letters are often submitted by teachers, but may also be from your school counselor or other non-academic recommenders like coaches, employers, or mentors. These individuals provide insight into your success in the classroom, but can also offer an overview of your interests and activities outside of the classroom.

First-Year Admission Deadlines

Butler offers both Early Action and Regular Decision deadlines for first-year fall applicants. We strongly encourage students to apply before our Early Action Deadline of November 1 to maximize their scholarship and admission consideration.

Early Action benefits include full scholarship consideration, Honors Program eligibility, and an admission decision by December. 

August 1: Application opens
November 1: Early Action Deadline
December 1: Recommended FAFSA Filing Date
March 1: Butler’s Priority FAFSA Deadline
May 1: Enrollment deposit deadline

We share Early Action admission decisions on a rolling basis between October and December. Early Action decisions are non-binding.

August 1: Application opens
February 1: Regular Decision Deadline
March 1: Butler’s Priority FAFSA Deadline
May 1: Enrollment deposit deadline

We share Regular Decision admission decisions on a rolling basis between December and February.

We continue accepting applications for rolling admission after February 1, but you have a better chance at scholarships (and admission) if you apply by the Regular Decision Deadline.

Additional Application Requirements

If you’re applying to one of these programs or identify with a population listed below, you may need to take a few extra steps to complete your application.

Majoring in the arts? You must complete an Art, Arts Administration, Dance, Music, or Theatre supplement in addition to the Butler or Common App.

Audition, portfolio review, or interview: All JCA majors must also complete an audition, portfolio review, and/or interview. After completing your Butler or Common App and supplement, we’ll send you an email to select a date.

Learn more about Jordan College of the Arts admission

In addition to the required items listed above, international students must submit:

  • Proof of English language proficiency
  • A clear copy of your passport
  • Evidence of financial support

Learn more about international student admission

Welcome back! If you are a former Butler student in good standing and wish to return to Butler to finish your undergraduate degree, you don’t have to reapply.

Learn more about coming back to Butler

In addition to the required items listed above, home school applicants must submit:

  • SAT or ACT scores
  • Statement describing home school structure and mission
  • Transcript/record of courses and grades
  • Letter of recommendation from a person other than a parent

We’re grateful for your service, and proud to support you as you earn your college degree. Several members of our admission team can help with the application process.

Learn more about admission information for veterans