Parsons Acceptance Rate: Key Factors Influencing Admissions

For prospective students eyeing a top design school, Parsons School of Design stands as a beacon of creativity and innovation in New York City. One important aspect to consider when applying is the acceptance rate, which reflects the level of competitiveness. Parsons has an acceptance rate of around 63%, making it somewhat selective yet accessible for dedicated applicants.


Factors that impact admissions include a strong portfolio and well-crafted essays. Additionally, while standardized test scores like the SAT or ACT are optional, showcasing one’s unique talent and creativity is essential. Beyond the numbers, Parsons offers an engaging campus life and a broad range of programs that attract students from around the globe.

Potential students and their families should also consider the financial aspects of attending Parsons. A significant portion of students receive institutional financial aid, helping to offset the costs. Exploring the vibrant community and numerous academic resources at Parsons can offer insight into why so many choose this prestigious institution.

Key Takeaways

  • Parsons has an acceptance rate of 63%.
  • A strong portfolio and essays are crucial for admission.
  • Financial aid is available to a majority of students.

Parsons’ Historical Overview


Parsons School of Design, located in New York, is one of the most prestigious art and design schools globally. Established in 1896, it has made significant contributions to the field of design.

Originally called the Chase School, it was founded by American impressionist painter William Merritt Chase. The institution later became Parsons and focused more on a modern design approach.

Key Figures and Alumni:

  • Gilbert Adrian: Notable for his contributions to fashion design.
  • Joel Schumacher: Renowned film director and screenwriter.
  • Mark Badgley and James Mischka: Famous for their fashion label, Badgley Mischka.
  • Alexander Wang: Prominent fashion designer known for his unique style.
  • Jasper Johns: Pioneering painter and printmaker.
  • Norman Rockwell: Renowned illustrator and painter.

Key Events:

  • 1921: Renamed after its director Frank Alvah Parsons.
  • 1970: Became part of The New School, expanding its programs.
  • 2005-2015: Known as Parsons The New School for Design.

Parsons offers a variety of programs through its five schools, including the School of Art and Design History and Theory, and the School of Art, Media, and Technology.

Throughout its history, Parsons has maintained a commitment to innovation. Its alumni have profoundly impacted various design fields, demonstrating the school’s influence and legacy in art and design education.

Admissions Overview


The admissions process at Parsons School of Design is moderately selective. The acceptance rate is approximately 44.2%. This means that out of 100 applicants, 44 are admitted.

GPA Requirements

GPA Scores Needed:

  • 31% of admitted students have a GPA between 3.75 and 4.0.
  • 50% have a GPA between 3.25 and 3.75.
  • 8% have a GPA between 2.5 and 2.99.

Application Process

Steps to Apply:

  1. Fill out the Common Application.
  2. Submit transcripts.
  3. Provide letters of recommendation.
  4. Write personal essays.
  5. Submit a portfolio (for design programs).

Application Deadlines

  • Regular Admissions Deadline: January 15.
  • Early Action: Not specified in the search results.

Test Scores

  • ACT Scores: Average scores range between 21-26.
  • SAT Scores: Not mentioned, but prepare academic scores well.

Financial Aid

Financial Assistance:

  • 80% of students receive institutional financial aid.

Types of Applicants

Parsons accepts both undergraduate and graduate students. Each group must meet specific criteria and deadlines.

Meeting these requirements can significantly enhance the chances of admission and financial aid.

Acceptance Rate Insights

Parsons School of Design is known for its reputation and competitive admissions.

In the United States, the acceptance rate for Parsons is somewhat selective. Approximately 63% of applicants are admitted, making it accessible to many students, but still requiring strong academic and creative credentials.

Parsons is part of The New School, enhancing its appeal as it offers interdisciplinary opportunities.

For a more detailed breakdown, 31% of admitted students have GPAs of 3.75-4.0, while about half range from 3.25 to 3.75. Only 8% have GPAs between 2.5 and 2.99.

The school also values standardized test scores. Accepted students typically have ACT scores between 21-26. This range indicates a balance between accessibility and selectivity.

Parsons attracts a diverse group of applicants due to its stature as a leading design school. This contributes to its competitive edge in the field of design education.

The regular admissions deadline is January 15, and students are encouraged to apply early to increase their chances of acceptance.

Understanding these figures helps prospective students gauge their fit and readiness for Parsons. For further information, the official admissions page provides comprehensive guidelines.

Academic Requirements


Parsons School of Design has specific academic requirements for both undergraduate and graduate programs. These requirements include standards for GPA, standardized test scores, and additional materials such as portfolios and essays.

Undergraduate Admission Standards

For undergraduate programs, applicants need to meet several academic criteria. The average accepted GPA at Parsons for admitted students is high, with many students having a GPA between 3.25 and 3.75. Applicants should have a strong high school GPA and provide their high school transcript during the application process.

Extracurricular activities and leadership roles can also enhance an application. The school seeks students who not only excel academically but also show creative potential and commitment to their field of interest.

Graduate Admission Standards

Graduate applicants must adhere to specific standards that differ from those for undergraduates. For most graduate programs, a bachelor’s degree is required, and applicants must submit official college transcripts. A high GPA in their previous academic programs is expected.

Graduate applicants often need to include a detailed resume that highlights professional and academic achievements. Letters of recommendation from professors or professionals in the field can significantly strengthen an application.

Portfolio and Essay Considerations

A critical part of the Parsons application process is the portfolio submission. Both undergraduate and graduate applicants must submit a portfolio that showcases their technical and conceptual abilities. The portfolio is assessed on the creativity, originality, and level of skill displayed.

In addition to the portfolio, applicants are usually required to submit essays. These essays help the admissions committee understand the applicant’s motivations, experiences, and goals. Writing quality, clarity of thought, and alignment with the program’s focus are essential.

Standardized Tests and GPA

Standardized test scores are part of the admission process at Parsons. For undergraduate applicants, the SAT or ACT scores are required. The SAT scores of admitted students typically range from 1150 to 1300, while the ACT scores should be in the range of 24 to 30.

Graduate programs might not always require GRE scores, but strong academic performance at the undergraduate level is essential. The average high school GPA for admitted undergraduates falls between 3.25 and 3.75, and this reflects a strong academic background.

Supplementary Materials

Additional materials that can support an application include letters of recommendation, a school report, and a detailed resume. Letters should come from teachers, mentors, or professionals who can speak to the applicant’s strengths and potential.

A well-prepared school report can provide insights into the applicant’s academic journey and achievements. For graduate applicants, a professional resume detailing relevant experience is crucial.

International Student Applications

International students applying to Parsons need to meet specific requirements, including demonstrating proficiency in English. This often involves submitting TOEFL scores. The school requires official, translated transcripts of academic records, and understanding visa requirements is essential.

International students bring diverse perspectives and enhance the student body. Parsons provides resources and support to help them transition smoothly into their academic programs.

Financial Information


Paying for a Parsons School of Design education involves understanding tuition costs, as well as available financial aid and scholarships.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition at Parsons varies depending on the program. Undergraduates should expect to pay around $47,276 per year for full-time enrollment.

Other costs include student fees and housing. Student fees typically add around $1,100 per year. Housing costs can vary widely based on location but expect costs of $12,000 to $18,000 annually.

For specific programs, there may also be additional per-credit fees. Parsons provides detailed information on their website for each program, ensuring transparency in their pricing.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Parsons offers a range of financial aid options to help students manage costs. This includes federal financial aid, which can be applied for using the FAFSA.

They also offer merit-based scholarships which reward academic excellence and need-based scholarships to support students with financial constraints. Scholarships can cover a significant portion of tuition, reducing the overall financial burden.

Parsons reports that 85% of its students receive some form of financial aid. This comprehensive support helps ensure that education is accessible to a diverse group of students from various backgrounds. For more details, check out their financial aid page.

Programs and Majors


Parsons School of Design offers a wide range of programs that cater to various interests and professional ambitions. The programs are structured to provide both theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

Undergraduate Programs

Parsons offers several notable undergraduate programs. The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Fashion Design is prestigious, training students in innovative design and craftsmanship. The BFA in Communication Design focuses on visual communication, covering graphic design, typography, and branding.

The Integrated Design BFA allows students to customize their curriculum, blending different design disciplines such as Interior Design and Product Design. The Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Design and Management bridges creative practices with business strategies, preparing students for leadership roles in the creative industries.

Graduate Programs

Parsons also has robust graduate programs. The Master of Arts (MA) in Urban Design addresses issues related to urban planning and development. Meanwhile, the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Transdisciplinary Design encourages students to solve complex social and environmental problems through design.

The MFA in Interior Design trains students in creating functional and aesthetically pleasing indoor spaces. The MFA in Fashion Design and Society is another key program, focusing on advanced fashion concepts and innovations. The MA in Design and Technology explores the intersection of technology and design, preparing graduates for cutting-edge roles in various tech-driven fields.

Campus Life and Resources


Parsons School of Design offers rich campus life filled with diverse student community, state-of-the-art facilities, and a strong support network for career advancement. From collaborative spaces to vibrant New York City surroundings, students have numerous opportunities for growth.

Student Community

The student community at Parsons is diverse and dynamic. Students from all over the world come to this top-ranking design school, bringing a mix of cultures and perspectives. This diverse environment fosters creativity and innovation.

Community events and student organizations are a big part of campus life, providing plenty of opportunities for networking and collaboration. Collaborative projects and workshops are common, allowing students to work together and learn from each other.

Dormitories and off-campus housing options are available to suit different preferences and budgets. Living in New York City also means students have access to endless cultural experiences and opportunities to engage with the professional world around them.

Facilities and Academic Support

The facilities at Parsons School of Design are top-notch, offering students access to modern tools and resources essential for their academic growth. The school boasts cutting-edge studios, workshops, and computer labs equipped with the latest technology. The university library provides an extensive collection of design books, periodicals, and digital resources.

Faculty members at Parsons are highly qualified and often come with a wealth of industry experience. They provide personalized academic support and mentorship, helping students succeed in their studies and beyond. Advising services are available for academic planning, while tutoring services assist with specific coursework challenges.

Specialized facilities, such as the Making Center, offer spaces for hands-on learning in areas like fashion, product design, and digital media. These resources ensure that students can fully explore their creative potential.

Career Services and Alumni Network

Parsons offers robust career services to help students and alumni navigate the job market. The school’s Career Services office provides counseling, job search assistance, and internship placements. These services are designed to help students gain practical experience and build professional networks.

Internships in New York City are incredibly valuable, given the city’s status as a global hub for design and the arts. Internships allow students to apply what they learn in real-world settings and often lead to job offers post-graduation.

The alumni network at Parsons is extensive and well-connected. Graduates often return to share their experiences and provide mentorship. This network is a valuable resource for current students, offering guidance and opportunities in various design fields.

Cultural and Social Impact


Parsons School of Design has a significant cultural and social impact through its emphasis on integrating design with societal issues. This impact is evident in how design is applied in society and the impressive work of its alumni.

Design in Society

Parsons School of Design focuses on creating solutions for real-world problems. The school’s curriculum encourages students to tackle social issues such as sustainability and community enrichment. They promote the idea that design can drive positive change.

Design plays a crucial role in sustainability efforts. Students often work on projects that incorporate renewable materials and practices. This aligns with a growing global need for eco-friendly solutions. Parsons also fosters partnerships with organizations to implement these designs in real communities.

This socially responsible approach to design education ensures that Parsons graduates are equipped to make a meaningful impact. They learn how to address pressing societal challenges creatively and effectively.

Notable Alumni Contributions

Parsons has produced many influential designers who have shaped various industries. Gilbert Adrian, known for his Hollywood costume designs, brought glamour and creativity to the big screen. Joel Schumacher transitioned from fashion to become a notable film director.

Tom Ford, an alumnus, has made significant contributions to fashion and film, becoming a household name. Designers like Mark Badgley and James Mischka have become icons in bridal and evening wear. Alexander Wang’s impact on contemporary fashion is widely recognized.

Artists like Jasper Johns and Normal Rockwell have also studied at Parsons, contributing to cultural and artistic movements. These alumni demonstrate the school’s broad influence across different fields, reflecting the robust education and creative inspiration provided by Parsons School of Design.

Admission Tips and Strategies


Getting into Parsons School of Design involves understanding the application process, crafting an impressive personal statement, and showcasing your artistic skills through a strong portfolio. Here’s what you need to know to gain admission.

Application Process Overview

Applicants should start with the Common Application, ensuring all sections are completed accurately. They should be mindful of important deadlines: January 15 for regular admissions, with some programs offering Early Action. Transfer students must follow similar steps but should also provide transcripts from their previous institutions.

It’s important applicants review Parsons’ specific requirements, such as submitting SAT or ACT scores if needed. Staying organized and meeting all deadlines can significantly enhance the chances of acceptance.

Writing a Compelling Personal Statement

The personal statement should reflect the applicant’s passion for art and design. They should explain why they chose Parsons and how the school aligns with their creative goals. Specific examples enhance the narrative, showcasing unique experiences or projects that have shaped their artistic journey.

Applicants should avoid generic language and focus on their distinctive voice. Clear, engaging writing that conveys genuine enthusiasm and professionalism makes a positive impression. Revising multiple drafts ensures clarity and impact, making the personal statement stand out.

Building a Strong Portfolio

A compelling portfolio is crucial for Parsons’ applicants. Prospective students should curate their best works, demonstrating their skills and creativity. The portfolio must include a variety of projects, showing versatility and technical expertise in different mediums.

Details about the required portfolio content can be found on Parsons’ website. Each piece should be accompanied by a brief description, explaining the concept and process. High-quality images and professional presentation are essential. Checking Parsons’ guidelines and visiting portfolio review sessions can provide valuable feedback and improve submission quality.



The acceptance rate at Parsons School of Design is 44.2%. This makes it a moderately selective school.

Parsons, located in New York, is known for its strong focus on design and art education. Future students should have a solid academic background. Most admitted students have a GPA above 3.25.

Key Points:

  • Acceptance Rate: 44.2%
  • Competitive Admission: Strong GPA required
  • Location: New York

Students aspiring to join Parsons School of Design should prepare well. They should focus on maintaining high grades and showcasing exceptional creative talent.

For more details, visit the Parsons School of Design admissions page.

A well-rounded application can significantly improve chances of acceptance.

Frequently Asked Questions


Parsons School of Design has specific requirements for admissions, varying acceptance rates by major, and details about tuition costs and GPA expectations. Below, find answers to these common inquiries.

What are the admission requirements for international students at Parsons?

International students must submit their high school transcripts, proof of English proficiency (TOEFL or IELTS scores), and a portfolio showcasing their best work. Additional documents like a personal statement and letters of recommendation are also required.

How does the acceptance rate for Parsons vary by major?

Acceptance rates at Parsons can vary depending on the major. Programs like Fashion Design and Graphic Design tend to be more competitive, while other majors, such as Urban Design or Management, may have slightly higher acceptance rates.

What is the average tuition cost for attending Parsons?

The average tuition cost for attending Parsons is approximately $50,000 per year. This estimate includes tuition fees but does not cover additional costs such as housing, materials, and other living expenses.

Does Parsons have different acceptance rates for in-state and out-of-state applicants?

Parsons does not differentiate between in-state and out-of-state applicants regarding acceptance rates. All students, regardless of their state of residence, are evaluated using the same criteria and standards.

What GPA must applicants typically have to be competitive for admission to Parsons?

Most students admitted to Parsons have a GPA between 3.75 and 4.0. About half of the first-year students have a GPA ranging from 3.25 to 3.75. Only a small percentage, around 8%, have GPAs between 2.5 and 2.99 link.

Is the SAT a mandatory component of the admissions process at Parsons?

The SAT is not mandatory for all applicants at Parsons. While it can strengthen an application, students can apply without submitting SAT scores, especially if they have strong portfolios and academic records. Most focus on showcasing their artistic talents through their portfolios instead.

Helpful Resources

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