Students at graduation

Undergraduate Admissions Criteria

At Naropa University it’s not just about GPAs and SATs. We take a more holistic approach to admissions.


Announcing Naropa's New Undergraduate Admissions Policy, Effective Fall, 2018

Naropa University offers a dynamic and radical approach to higher education for students who desire to be the change they want to see in the world. Naropa is excited to announce that beginning fall 2018, our admissions policy will further reflect this mission.  

Keeping with its founding vision to “reignite the pilot light” in higher education, Naropa is re-prioritizing personalized and inclusive admission standards. Our admissions policy emphasizes our belief in human potential and the desire for a meaningful and rigorous education in a contemplative learning environment.

Naropa’s education is bold; its admissions policy must be too.

Naropa admonishes the exclusionary admissions practices occurring nationwide that can adversely impact the meaningful pursuit of higher education for many prospective students and their families.  Naropa is committed to an admissions policy that mitigates this tension and emphasizes the true nature of contemplative education, enhancing diversity and inclusion.   

Creating the conditions that invite success for all of our accepted students, admitted students will encounter preparatory curriculum to help uncover and articulate their strengths, challenges and goals, while also orienting them to campus resources and opportunities to support their academic success and resilience—affording them the ability to begin to engage in contemplative education months before stepping into their Naropa classrooms.

Journey of Admittance: Three possible paths to Acceptance

  • Students with a cumulative high school GPA of 3.0 or better (or GED score of 175+) are required to submit an application, their official transcripts and/or GED scores, and a disciplinary form. These students stand to receive generous scholarships.*
  • Students with a cumulative high school GPA of 2.0 through 2.99 (or GED score between 165 – 174) are required to submit the same as above, along with an additional personal statement. 
  • Students with a high school GPA lower than 2.0 (or GED score between 145 – 164) are required to submit all of the above, and will be considered through an engaged and holistic review that includes an interview, a professional or academic letter of recommendation, an essay, and a committee review.
  • Students with exemplary academic performance stand to receive generous scholarships.*

Academic Performance


3.0+ GPA

83+ on the 100-Point Grading Scale

GED 164+

  • Application
  • Official Transcripts and/or GED scores
  • Disciplinary Form

2.00 – 2.99 GPA

73-82 on the 100-Point Grading Scale

GED 145-163

Home School transcript

Narrative transcript

  • Application
  • Official Transcripts and/or GED scores
  • Disciplinary Form
  • Personal Statement

> 2.0 GPA

> 73 on the 100-Point Grading Scale


  • Application
  • Official Transcripts and/or GED scores
  • Disciplinary Form
  • Personal Statement
  • Professional or Academic Letter of Reference
  • Interview with admissions committee


We want to be clear:  Naropa’s education requires rigorous engagement and deep learning, involving scholarly investigation, academic research, hands-on exploration, extensive reading, and late-night writing and revising—to name only a few components.  Its curriculum inspires ongoing introspection, self-growth, self-authorship, and a high degree of emotional intelligence. Naropa’s small class sizes and passionate faculty demand thoughtful preparation and a depth of engagement from all students.

Naropa University values contemplative study, inclusion, ecological sustainability, and artistic process. Naropa continues to provide a transformative education that honors each individual and prepares graduates to beneficially impact all segments of society.

We are committed to a positive future—for you, our community, and our world.

Naropa University has a rolling admissions policy through the first day of classes; however, applying early is strongly recommended and offers applicants the best opportunity for financial aid and a well-prepared transition into your studies. 

Naropa University uses a rolling admissions policy. Applicants may apply as early as September for fall and spring admission. To best accommodate your enrollment experience and be eligible for Early Access Registration (a priority registration opportunity), the recommended admissions deadlines are early August for fall and early November for spring. While applications will be reviewed on a rolling, space-available basis following the recommended/preferred deadlines, the final deadline for registration account creation is the first day of classes of the respective semester. All new and transfer students may apply for either the fall or spring semester.

The Office of Admissions strongly encourages applicants to apply online. If an applicant submits a paper application, we request that all transcripts and the letter of recommendation be sent to the applicant in sealed envelopes, and that the entire application should be sent to the Office of Admissions.

*Scholarship funds will not be disbursed if students' FAFSA in incomplete.

Tests? Or No Tests?

There is nothing standardized about Naropa, which is why we have a test-optional admissions policy. We want to know who you are, not how well you take tests. So we do not require you to submit standardized test scores for admissions (including the SAT or ACT).

If you wish to send test scores you may, but they are not required and you will not be penalized if you choose to omit them.

International students from non-English-speaking countries, however, are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores to demonstrate their English language proficiency.