Below you’ll find answers to questions commonly asked by applicants. We provide them for your quick reference, but we’d love to hear from you if something is unclear or you have a special circumstance. Send us your comments or questions.

Who does Carnegie Mellon consider to be a First-Generation student?

    Defined differently at many colleges, to Carnegie Mellon, you are a First-Generation student if neither of your parents completed a Bachelor’s (4-year college) degree or higher. You’re still considered the first in your family to go to college if your parents received an Associate’s degree, attended a 4-year college but did not graduate, or if your siblings attended and graduated from college.

    Is being a First-Generation student considered as part of the admission process?

      Carnegie Mellon’s vision is to have a transformative impact on society through education. One way we aim to do that is to expand the impact of a Carnegie Mellon experience to families that traditionally have not had access to a college education. Still, students must demonstrate an ability to meet the demands of the rigorous academic curriculum and contribute to and enrich the thriving, diverse campus community. 

      How do I know if I should apply Early Decision or Regular Decision?

      Generally speaking, applying Early Decision is worth considering if you've done plenty of research (online and in-person), have a strong application compared to the traditional applicant pool, you want to know your college destination as soon as possible, and you are absolutely certain of your fit within the campus culture. If your college decision is going to rely heavily on your financial aid package, it may not be recommended to apply Early Decision. We offer a Financial Aid Estimator (we recommend that you complete our Estimator, which is below the Net Price Calculator) that you could complete to get a sense of your potential Carnegie Mellon financial aid package. If these conditions don't apply to you, or your enrollment is dependent upon financial aid, applying Regular Decision could be a great option.

      What is an admission counseling session? Does Carnegie Mellon require it for admission? How important is it for my application?

      An admission counseling session allows a student to speak with an admission staff member about his or her background and interests, get a personalized introduction to campus and determine if Carnegie Mellon and our majors or programs are a good fit. We're interested in discussing your senior year courses, extracurricular activities and potential major interests at Carnegie Mellon. Admission counseling sessions last about 20-30 minutes and also allow time for family members visiting with the student to ask questions. 

      Admission counseling sessions are not required. However, they do help the admission committee make better, more informed decisions when selecting the freshman class. Thus, an admission counseling session could prove to be valuable to both the student and Carnegie Mellon.


      My test scores do not meet the averages for Carnegie Mellon. Should I still apply?

        Carnegie Mellon evaluates applicants holistically, meaning everything an applicant submits is taken into consideration. We recognize that there are many factors that might indicate an applicant’s strength. Test score are important but are just one piece of a complicated evaluation puzzle.

          We’re here to help you make an educated decision. Feel free to reach out to our First Generation Student inbox.

          Where can I learn more about applying for Financial Aid?

          Applying for Financial Aid can be a confusing process. Please visit our Financial Aid FAQ for a list of commonly asked questions and helpful answers to guide you through the process.