Frequently Asked Questions
You're bound to have questions about life at Davidson. Below are some of the common questions we are asked and the answers. Should your own inquiries be more specific, don't hesitate to call or email one of our admission staff.
- What does Davidson look for in an application for admission?
Admission officers engage in a holistic review of each applicant. Applications are examined thoroughly by individual readers and are then discussed in committee settings, sometimes at great length. These discussions give us a better sense of each applicant as an individual and as a potential member of our student body.
We emphasize certain factors in the review of an application, such as the difficulty of high school course selection, and depth and breadth of extracurricular pursuits. Learn more about our applicant selection process and our admission requirements.
- Does Davidson require SAT/ACT in its application?
No. Davidson is test optional. Beginning in Fall 2021, Davidson does not require that applicants submit SAT or ACT scores for the purpose of admission. All enrolling students must submit official test scores. Read more about our testing policy.
- For students who want to submit testing, does Davidson accept self-reported SAT and ACT scores?
Yes. For the admission process, Davidson will accept scores reported on the application, by the counselor, or sent by the student as a PDF via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. All enrolling students must submit official test scores.
Is standardized testing required for certain applicants?
Yes. Home-schooled applicants are required to submit either ACT or SAT test results.
- How many students applied last year? How many were admitted?
We received 5,973 applications for the class of 2023. We admitted 1,091 students for an overall acceptance rate of 18.27 percent and enrollment yield of 48.3 percent.
- How should I apply? When will I hear?
- Is there a selectivity advantage to applying Early Decision?
Statistically speaking, yes. A higher percentage of our applicants are admitted under an early decision plan than under regular decision. Learn more about applying by early decision.
- If admitted, may I defer my admission or take a gap year?
Yes, and we are big fans of gap year experiences. Approximately 6 students in each incoming class opt to take gap years. An admitted first-year student may, with the permission of the Dean of Admission, defer matriculation for one year. The student must confirm his or her intent to enroll at Davidson, submit the required $1,000 enrollment deposit, and a written request for deferral by May 1. The request must detail the student's plans for the interim year, inclusive of programs, locations and dates. If the deferral request is approved, the student must return a signed deferral contract, coupled with an additional non-refundable deposit in the amount of $1,500, within one week of the notice of approval.
First-year students offered admission from the wait list and all admitted transfer students are not eligible to defer.
- Are there resources available for Undocumented and DACA students?
To learn more about resources available to prospective and current students who are undocumented or hold DACA status, please access our resource page.
- What courses and majors are offered?
Learn more about our academic programs.
- Do you offer graduate programs? Will I have contact with professors?
We do not offer graduate programs, allowing our professors to focus solely on the undergraduate. Our professors are terminal degree-holding faculty members in classes normally capped at 35 students. We are proud of our student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1.
Our professors are expected to be available often-usually via established office hours. It is common for them to provide their phone numbers, welcome students into their homes to share meals, and to invest in the lives of their students outside of the classroom. This personal connection is a hallmark of our community.
- Are there study abroad programs?
Nearly 80 percent of our students will travel internationally through our numerous academic programs abroad.
Our Dean Rusk International Studies Program funds student travel and research abroad. More than $200,000 is set aside annually for travel grants.
- What about opportunities for significant research?
We are consistently recognized for excellence in undergraduate research. Throughout the academic year-and in the summertime-you will have the opportunity to carry out directed research projects.
While being mentored by our professors, you will contribute substantively and originally to the academic world, perhaps even presenting your work at conferences and association meetings, or publishing your work in academic journals.
Our Research Initiative supports student research. Funded by a $750,000 grant from the Duke Endowment, it enables you to pursue research opportunities in biology, chemistry, ecology, neuroscience, and public policy (to name a few) for up to ten weeks over the summer.
- Does Davidson have an arts supplement?
Yes. We invite you to share your interest and engagement in the arts: creative writing, music, theatre, visual art, and dance. Access the arts supplement.
To submit an arts supplement, you must first be an applicant to Davidson. Then you can use the Portfolio upload tool on your Application Status page to submit an image file, audio file, or video file. Those media files and this form should be submitted no later than your chosen application plan deadline (Early Decision I, Early Decision II, or Regular Decision). Further instructions will appear once you select your area(s) of interest below.
If you would like to apply for the Cornwell Creative Writing Scholarship, a Music Scholarship, or the Pepper Visual Art Scholarship, please use the following applications, not the arts supplement form.
- Tell me about the advising system.
You will find a great network of academic support. During your first year, you are assigned an academic adviser at random; that adviser helps with course selection and acclimation to academic life.
You are required to declare a major by the end of your sophomore year and will then solicit your own academic adviser.
- What sorts of student groups exist on campus?
We have more than 200 student-run organizations. Among them are:
Arts & leisure groups
Civic engagement organizations
Culture and diversity organizations
Gender & sexuality groups
Health & wellness organizations
Media outlets (television, newspapers, radio)
Fraternities, sororities, and eating houses
From Amnesty International to Queers & Allies; and from Androgyny, a co-ed a cappella group, to the Davidson Mock Trial Association, we offer great experiences outside the classroom.
- What is there to do for fun?
You will have many social options, including:
Nightly events at the Alvarez College Union
Fraternities, sororities, and eating houses
NCAA sporting events
Arts and cultural groups
Our campus calendar includes a full list of activities. During the late summer and spring, you can enjoy beach volleyball, grilling, or lounging with friends on the "peninsula" at Lake Norman.
- Is Davidson an NCAA Division I college?
We are Division I in all 21 varsity sports, and just over 25 percent of our student body is involved in varsity athletics. You will also have the opportunity to participate in club or intramural sport offerings. The combination of outstanding facilities and school spirit makes Davidson an exciting place year-round.
- Tell me about residence life.
More than 95 percent of our student body lives on campus, and you are required to do so during your first year.
Within our 19 residence halls, rooms vary from traditional dormitory-style "doubles" to suite-style and single rooms. Apartments are available for seniors. Housing preferences are given based on a yearly lottery. Most housing is double occupancy, though some single and triple occupancy rooms exist.
Most residence halls separate the genders by floor, though the college allows for co-ed living within grouped single rooms that share a common living space. Gender Neutral Housing is a housing option in which two or more students share a multiple-occupancy apartment or suite, or specifically designated halls regardless of the students' sex, gender, gender identity, or gender expression.
Theme housing is available based on demand and interest, including foreign language halls, an environmental co-op house, substance-free halls, international interest halls, arts-focused halls, and others. All buildings are wireless and, of course, air-conditioned.
We feature a unique first-year roommate selection process: the results from a personality exam (the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) are factored into roommate pairings.
- What about the surrounding area?
The town of Davidson offers several attractions within walking distance: a coffee shop, a book store, Ben & Jerry's, several pizza joints, a sushi bar, several restaurants, an organic grocery store, and a drugstore.
Just down the interstate, Charlotte, with its NFL and NBA teams, dynamic arts scene, and vibrant nightlife, provides a big-city supplement to Davidson social life. Davidson is situated just 20 minutes north of center-city Charlotte. It is easily accessible by public transportation.
The Appalachian Mountains lie less than two hours to the west and the Atlantic Ocean is within an afternoon's reach.
With a temperate climate, all the cultural offerings of a major city, and quick access to an international airport, the Appalachian Trail and the Outer Banks—it's clear that you'll reap the benefits of a highly desirable location.
- Tell me about the Honor Code.
The Honor Code is a way of life at Davidson; it governs our community and allows freedoms rarely found in a college setting.
- How diverse is Davidson?
We believe that the college experience should be based on bringing different kinds of people together to learn from one another, and we are committed to building a diverse academic and social community.
While the true diversity of background and experience comprising our community can never be reduced to a few statistics, it may be helpful to see a snapshot:
African American: 8.4%
Asian American: 6.2%
Hispanic /Latino: 7.8%
Native American: 0.6%
Other or Unreported: 2.8%
Secondary Schools Attended
Public Schools: 45.5%
Independent Schools: 45.6%
Non-traditional or Foreign: 8.9%
- How religious is Davidson?
We maintain a deep-seated connection with the Presbyterian Church-USA. That connection values the life of the spirit, but necessarily demands an openness to and respect for the world's various faith traditions.
However you identify yourself in a religious sense — from Jewish to spiritual to Roman Catholic to atheist to Methodist — it is likely that others view life from a similar perspective. Many make religious practice a part of college life. Many do not.
Every week, our campus plays host to a Presbyterian worship service, a Catholic mass, a Muslim prayer meeting, an Episcopal Eucharist, and a Quaker meeting. Shabbat services and Hillel Fellowship programming are also staples of our on-campus religious life.
Within walking distance and in nearby Charlotte, you can find services and meetings that touch many other religious and cultural traditions.
Additionally, there are many student organizations that focus on faith and religion.
- Davidson has a reputation for academic challenge. How hard is it?
At Davidson you will be challenged-as you should be. That challenge will be both manageable and exciting, if you are engaged academically in the things that you're passionate about.
You'll look back on the time you spent reading, discussing, writing, probing, and debating with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
There will be free time. Students often cite the time they spent outside of class-running track, planning fundraisers, spending time with friends, writing music, going to basketball games, and tutoring elementary school children-as the reasons they loved their Davidson experiences.
- What should I do if I have questions or concerns about my financial aid award?
First, you can always call our office and speak to a financial aid counselor—we are happy to help. Call 704-894-2232.
Davidson is intentional in awarding need-based and merit aid, meeting 100% of calculated financial need. If, however, you believe that there has been an error in the calculation of financial need, you may submit an online request for a Financial Aid Award Appeal. Appeals for first-year students for the 2020-21 academic year must be submitted by April 27, 2020 to allow for full review and notification prior to the May 1 enrollment deadline. Financial Aid staff will begin a review of your request and provide a response within ten working business days. Please note, only students who have been admitted to Davidson College are eligible for an aid award review.
- How can I learn more?