How to Get Into St. Andrews from the U.S.

The University of St. Andrews is the third-oldest university in the English-speaking world. It’s also Scotland’s very first institution for higher education. Because it’s so prestigious, many students from across the globe are enticed to complete a program from it. And this might leave you wondering how you could get into it.

To get into the University of St. Andrews as an American, one must have a competitive application. This is especially true since the school’s acceptance rate is only around 8.63%. St. Andrews prefers applicants with a rigorous high school curriculum and high honor level grades and test scores, too.

As of this writing, the University of St. Andrews has 1,575 students from the US. They make up less than 20% of the entire studentry of the institution.

Thinking about being one of the select Americans earning a degree from St. Andrews? Read on.

Below, you will come across just about everything you need to know to gain admission into the prestigious school in Scotland. By the time that you reach the concluding paragraph, you will have a much better idea of whether adding the University of St. Andrews to your college list is a fantastic idea or a total waste of your time.

St. Andrews University

Acceptance Rate at St. Andrews

The acceptance rates at the most selective colleges and universities in the UK range from 8% to 44%. The University of St. Andrews is one of those with the lowest, accepting only about 8.63% of all undergraduate applicants. Still, more than 45% of the school’s students are from outside the UK.

Some of the most competitive academic institutions in the US have single-digit acceptance rates. This is especially true for the Ivy Leagues and other selective ones such as CIT, MIT and the University of Chicago.

Outside the US, there are many highly selective schools that attract a lot of international students.

Case in point: the University of St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland. As a matter of fact, based on data available online, more than 10,000 students from around 170 countries apply to St. Andrews in hope of getting admitted. Unfortunately, due to the school’s very low acceptance rate, the vast majority of them receive denials.

Needless to say, if the likes of Harvard University and Dartmouth College can only serve as reach schools on your college list, your chances of getting accepted into the University of St. Andrews are slim to none.

The bottom line: If your application isn’t competitive enough for some of the most selective colleges and universities in the country, it’s probably a horrible idea to attempt to apply to St. Andrews.

This is true if you are not 100% committed to being on an entirely different continent far away from your family and friends for four long years.

Related Article: How to Get Into McGill as an American

How Much Does It Cost to Attend St. Andrews?

The sticker price of the University of St. Andrews for undergraduate students, as of the academic year 2021 to 2022 rate, is $53,761 (£39,575) yearly. The tuition alone is $32,314 (£23,787), which is higher than the average for US public institutions: $9,970 (in-state) and $25,620 (out-of-state).

In the UK, colleges and universities charge students anywhere from £10,000 ($13,584) to £38,000 ($51,620) in tuition. The cost can be up to two to three times higher for certain degrees, such as medicine.

Here’s a breakdown of the estimated cost of attending St. Andrews for a year as an undergraduate student:

Room and board£9,258$12,575
Books and supplies£1,200$1,630
Cost of Attendance at St. Andrews

Your application says that you are what the University of St. Andrews is looking for exactly but your family’s income does not agree with the cost of attendance entirely?

Do not fret because international students, including those from the US, who will be studying at the Scotland-based school as undergraduate students may apply for scholarships. These scholarships come in the form of tuition reduction of up to £1,000 ($1,358) per year of being a St. Andrews attendee.

But just like need-based scholarships at US colleges and universities, there are eligibility requirements to meet.

US applicants, in order to be eligible, must be able to demonstrate a gross annual household income below the average household income in the US. This means that you will have to provide all sorts of supporting documents, including but not limited to the following:

  • Employment or salary statement (most recent last three months)
  • Tax certificates or returns
  • Tax credits
  • Council tax statement
  • Confirmation letters from the department of work and pensions
  • Letters from the local government
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Dividends
  • Pension
  • Annuity
  • Completed FAFSA form
  • Bank or ebank statements (if evidence is not available)

How International Students Apply to St. Andrews

Students from the US may apply to the University of St. Andrews in three ways. First, via the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), which is used by students to apply to various UK schools. Second, via the Common App. Lastly, by applying to St. Andrews directly through its website.

In the US, more than 900 colleges and universities accept applications by means of the Common App.

What’s nice about the Common App is that, believe it or not, you can also use it to apply to some schools outside the US, and one of them is the University of St. Andrews.

Especially if you are applying to many different US institutions via the Common App, you will find the process of applying to St. Andrews using it, too, a less stressful and arduous task. That’s because you are already familiar with the Common App. For the most part, all you have to do is edit St. Andrews-specific questions or sections.

Besides the Common App, you may also use UCAS, which is basically the Common App of the UK. UCAS and the Common App share something in common: both of them have seven sections.

Let’s take a look at the different sections of the two:


  1. Profile
  2. Family
  3. Education
  4. Testing
  5. Activities
  6. Writing
  7. Course and grades


  1. Personal details
  2. Additional information
  3. Student finance arrangements
  4. Course choices
  5. Educational history
  6. Employment history
  7. Personal statement and reference

Other than the Common App and UCAS, students from the US may also apply to the University of St. Andrews directly by paying its website a visit.

By the way, before choosing among the different application methods available for St. Andrews aspirants from the US, keep in mind that you may use the Common App to apply to the prestigious public institution in Scotland only if you are not applying through UCAS or directly to the school.

Related Article: How to Get Into Oxford From the US?

Application Deadline for St. Andrews

The deadline for application for the University of St. Andrews for international students is May 1. It’s not just the completed application that the school should receive by this date but also all supporting materials. In some instances, on a case-to-case basis, St. Andrews accepts late applications.

In the US, the most common application deadlines at colleges and universities are January 1 and January 15. Early admission plans such as Early Decision or Early Action, needless to say, have earlier deadlines.

Planning to obtain a degree from the University of St. Andrews?

Then see to it that you submit the completed Common App or UCAS and all the required documents well before May 1 — the goal is to make sure that everything gets to the admissions office of St. Andrews on or before the deadline. Otherwise, your application may not be considered.

Wondering when the University of St. Andrews releases application decisions? According to the school itself, its admissions officers aim to make all of their decisions by March 31.

It’s no secret that St. Andrews is one of the most prestigious public institutions in Scotland, UK and the rest of the globe.

As a result of this, many graduating high school students from various parts of the planet apply to it, and thus available slots tend to fill up quickly. It’s for this reason why the school recommends applying as early as possible.

Normally, the University of St. Andrews receives the bulk of applications between September and February.

Just in case your application wows the admissions office, St. Andrews will let you know about it through email. What’s more, you will also get a physical acceptance letter as well as a booklet containing more pieces of information about your offer to attend the school in the mail.

Students who apply via UCAS will also receive notifications through the app’s UCAS Track.

St. Andrews University
St. Andrews University Graduation Ceremony

GPA You Need to Get Into St. Andrews

Unlike many US colleges and universities, the University of St. Andrews has a published minimum GPA requirement applicants should meet. Surprisingly, despite being a highly ranked and selective school, St. Andrews requires aspirants, including those from the US, to have a 3.2 high school GPA at least.

Some institutions for higher education in the US do not require applicants to have a minimum high school GPA.

This is a good thing because it means that you are free to apply to them no matter your GPA. However, this can also leave you with even more stress and anxiety because you have no idea of your chances of getting accepted based on your high school GPA alone. Well, at least until you check out the Common Data Set (CDS) of the school.

Harvard University, for instance, does not have any published minimum GPA aspirants need to have. However, its latest CDS will reveal that as many as 75.76% of its first-time, first-year admits have 4.0 high school GPAs.

Like Harvard, the University of St. Andrews is one of the most popular and prestigious institutions on the face of the planet. But the difference between these two is that even slightly above-average high school students who dream of attending St. Andrews have a shot at getting accepted into it.

In the US, the average high school GPA is 3.0 — the University of St. Andrews expects to see at least 3.2.

Refrain from assuming that meeting the minimum GPA requirement guarantees admission into St. Andrews. No matter how low the minimum high school GPA it likes to see on your application, the fact remains that it’s a highly selective school. Needless to say, your overall application should be strong if you want to be a part of the 8.63% admitted students.

Does St. Andrews Require SAT or ACT Scores?

The University of St. Andrews requires applicants from the US to submit standardized test scores. Because the school is competitive, its admissions officers want to see nothing but high SAT or ACT scores. For instance, applicants should have a minimum SAT score of 1320 and a minimum ACT score of 28.

Colleges and universities in the US require the submission of standardized test scores in order for them to have a much better idea of the college readiness of applicants.

As of this writing, the average SAT score of graduating high school students in the US is 1060. Meanwhile, the average ACT score of high school students gearing up for US institutions for higher education is 21.

Based on the given figures, you will need to have an above-average standardized test score if you dream of attending St. Andrews.

Having an SAT score of 1580 or an ACT score of 36 will put you in the top 25% for most Ivy Leagues.

In order to increase your chances of receiving an offer to enroll at the University of St. Andrews, as mentioned earlier, you will have to submit an SAT score of not less than 1320 or an ACT score of not less than 28. At St. Andrews, by the way, the SAT Writing section and the ACT Essay section are both optional.

Everyone knows that some US colleges and universities have a test-optional policy, which means that applicants may or may not submit their standardized test scores.

In most instances, applicants who choose to not submit their SAT or ACT scores are not asked to provide a reason.

Well, it’s a different story at the University of St. Andrews. According to the school’s website itself, international students should discuss in their Personal Statement on their applications why they were unable to take the SAT or ACT. And like test-optional schools in the US, those who do not submit standardized test scores will not be penalized.

By the way, St. Andrews superscores standardized test scores. So, if you took the SAT or ACT more than once, you may submit all your scores across all test dates — the school will only consider the highest section scores.

St. Andrews and AP Exam Credits

The University of St. Andrews considers AP exams when evaluating applicants. Needless to say, high AP exam grades may help increase a student’s chances of getting admitted into the school. However, it’s important to note that St. Andrews uses AP exams for admissions purposes only and nothing else.

Nothing can make the college or university of your dreams impressed more with your application by demonstrating that you are as college-ready as you can be.

One way to show just how ready to enter and succeed in secondary education you are is by taking AP exams.

True enough, a competitive institution such as the University of St. Andrews looks for competitive applicants by checking out whether or not they took AP exams and if their AP exam grades are high. As a general rule of thumb, the more challenging the AP courses and the higher the grades in the AP exams, the better.

At St. Andrews, some programs require applicants, including international students from the US, to have a particular background in certain subjects. This is what the school refers to as prerequisite knowledge.

Interested in, say, a Computer Science, Mathematics or Physics program the University of St. Andrews offers?

Then it’s a must that you have an AP exam score of five on AP Calculus BC or an equivalent course. But keep in mind that prerequisite knowledge isn’t all about having a certain AP exam score. Sometimes, the GPA or test score is the one involved. For instance, an SAT Subject Test in French of 700 or higher is required to study French at St. Andrews.

Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, AP exams are used by the University of St. Andrews for admissions purposes solely. So, in other words, they will not allow you to earn college credits.

Just Before You Apply to St. Andrews

The University of St. Andrews is just as prestigious as some of the most competitive and elite colleges and universities in the US. But because it’s located on a totally different continent, you can’t just shortlist it as a reach school and consider your college list balanced and realistic.

Above, we established the fact that the requirements to get into St. Andrews are not that different from the requirements to gain admission into top-notch US institutions. But since it’s overseas, there are more things to take into account than meeting everything that the school requires of aspirants.

Read Next: How to Get Into Cambridge: A Guide for US Students

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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