First-Year FAQ

Mount Holyoke welcomes questions from prospective students and their families. Don’t see the answer you’re seeking? Feel free to contact admission.

Does Mount Holyoke accept the Common Application?

Yes, and we require applicants to complete the MHC Common Application supplement. Should you experience any difficulty submitting the Common Application, please contact admission. More about how to apply...

What are the application deadlines?

They vary depending on the type of application. For instance, Mount Holyoke offers two Early Decision deadlines and a special admission program for nontraditional students. Check our deadlines...

How is an application read?

In reading applications, the Office of Admission looks for students whose talents, interests and aspirations match the programs and opportunities offered by the College. We begin with a student’s transcript, as this reveals an applicant’s performance over time. Next, the student’s essay is examined along with the short answers. Then, activities and involvement and letters of recommendation are reviewed.

How can I assess my chances of admission?

It is impossible to make a prediction about an applicant’s admissibility. Keep in mind that many nonobjective factors contribute to admission decisions and that there are no “cut-offs” for grade point averages or test scores. A couple of resources: Check out Who Studies at Mount Holyoke?

How important is rigor?

Mount Holyoke looks for evidence that a student has sought challenge rather than the easy way out. If your school offers advanced courses, you should consider taking them.

What standardized tests are required?

  • Home-schooled students who feel that their overall evaluation for admission may be enhanced by traditional measures like standardized tests may choose to submit an SAT or ACT. While not definitive in the review process, scores, like grades in college-level courses, may add information and context to a student’s file.
  • Students whose native language is not English or whose primary instruction throughout secondary school was not in English are required to take the TOEFL or IELTS. More about international applications...

Are admission interviews required?

While interviews are not required, they are strongly recommended. The Office of Admission also reserves the right to reach out to applicants to request additional information or an interview after the application deadline. Interviews are available both on and off campus — in person or via Skype, with either a current student, an alumna or an admission counselor. (Note: Interviews are weighted the same, no matter who you speak with.) Learn more about interviews.

Is the College “need-aware” or “need-sensitive”?

Need-aware, also known as need-sensitive, is a policy in which a student’s financial resources are considered along with other admission criteria. Mount Holyoke College employs this policy for students who fall at the margin of the admitted applicant pool. Because there are occasions when the level of required institutional support must be considered, students must indicate their intention of applying for financial aid at the time they submit their admission application.

Are transgender students welcome to apply?

Yes. Mount Holyoke remains committed to its historic mission as a women’s college, yet we recognize that traditional ideas of gender are being challenged by those whose identity does not conform to the biology of their bodies. We review applications from students who are female, as well as from individuals who identify as women.

What is required of home-schooled students?

Mount Holyoke welcomes applications from students who have been schooled at home. In addition to completing the standard Common Application or Coalition Application forms, home-schooled applicants are required to submit two letters of recommendation that speak to the candidate’s academic and personal qualifications. Standardized test submission is optional (see Standardized Test question above). We advise home-schooled candidates to contact the admission office with any additional questions about the application process.

Can I apply with only three years of high school?

Yes, the Office of Admission will consider an early entrance application, but the student must demonstrate exceptional maturity (both personally and intellectually). More about early admission...

If I am admitted, can I defer admission?

Yes, every year some students decide to defer their admission because they want to travel, perform community service or take time to explore an activity of their choosing. Be aware that students are not allowed to defer admission in order to study at another institution where they will receive academic credit. More about deferring...

Can I take a gap year or semester?

Yes. Each year, a handful of students admitted to Mount Holyoke choose to take a gap year or gap semester prior to matriculation. Some spend that time working or exploring their interests independently while others enroll in a gap program designed to help them gain professional or skills-based experience. Read more about the gap experience options and the deferral process.