JMU Acceptance Rate and How to Get in Easily

JMU or James Maddison university combines the very best of American education and college life to offer an outstanding study experience. Here’s everything you need to know about the JMU acceptance rate and how to get in easily.

At James Madison University, you enjoy all the advantages of a large public university in America, but the small, friendly community university. The school strongly believes that both intellect and action are required for success, hence you will have the opportunity to participate in life outside school, so as to have a rich university experience.

JMU curriculum is innovative and engaging and students share a close relationship with the faculty and teaching staff. Besides your involvement in the classroom, you will also participate fully in the lab and in activities around and off-campus. Through the service-learning program, you will get the opportunity to apply classroom learning to real-world situations.

At JMU, your ability to think critically is honed. You will learn the importance of a strong work ethic and will become committed and skilled to collaborate with others. Hence, when you graduate, you will become very educated, and know-how to make things happen as well as pursue careers of purpose. JMU graduates are molded by equal parts intellect and action.

This comprehensive article covers an overview of James Maddison university, its history, academics, JMU campus, JMU acceptance rate, and how to get in easily.

JMU Acceptance Rate and How to Get in Easily

About James Madison University

James Madison University (JMU) is a public research university founded in 1908 in Harrisonburg, Virginia. It was first established as an industrial school for women at Harrisonburg. In 1938, the institution was renamed Madison College in honor of President James Madison before finally being named James Madison University in 1977. The school is located in the Shenandoah Valley, west of Massanutten Mountain.

The university’s tagline, “Being the Change”, was created to show the idea of each individual in the JMU community is capable of making a difference in the world. Since the university’s founding, professors, students, alumni, and donors have been inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s quote, “be the change you wish to see in the world.” 

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James Madison University History

James Madison University was founded in 1908 as a women’s college by the Virginia General Assembly. Originally, it was called the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg. In 1914, the name of the university was changed to the State Normal School for Women at Harrisonburg. 

The initial academic offerings of JMU  included similar technical training or junior college courses. In 1916, authorization to award bachelor’s degrees was granted. The campus plan was established during the initial period of the school’s development and six buildings were constructed as well.

In 1924, the university became the state teachers’ College at Harrisonburg. It continued with the same name until 1938 and was later named Madison College in honor of James Madison, the fourth President of the United States. In 1976, the university’s name was renamed James Madison University again.

Julian Ashby Burruss was the first president of the university. In 1909, the university opened its doors to its first student body. The student enrollment was 209 and there was a faculty of 15. In 1911, its first 20 graduates received their diplomas.

In 1919, Burruss became the president of Virginia Polytechnic Institute. The school’s second president was chosen to be Samuel Page Duke was then chosen as. Nine major buildings were constructed during Duke’s administration. Duke was president from 1919 to 1949.

In 1946, the first enrollment as regular day students were men. The third president was G. Tyler Miller in 1949, after Duke’s retirement. Miller’s administration lasted from 1949 to 1970 meanwhile 19 buildings were constructed and the campus was enlarged by 240 acres (0.97 km2). There were significant curriculum changes. In 1954, the university was authorized to grant master’s degrees.

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Late 20th century

In 1966, JMU became a coeducational institution by the action of the Virginia General Assembly. From 1971 to 1998, the institution was headed by Ronald E. Carrier, JMU’s fourth president. Student enrollment and the faculty staff number, national fraternities such as Tau Kappa Epsilon, Sigma Phi Epsilon, and others were seen on campus. 

Doctoral programs were also authorized, with over 20 major campus buildings constructed and national publications recognizing JMU as one of the finest universities of its type in America.

21st century

During the first decade of the 21st century, the university continued to rapidly expand under JMU’s fifth President, Linwood H. Rose. It includes the new construction east of Interstate 81 on the west side of campus. In early 2005, the Rockingham Memorial Hospital campus was purchased by JMU just north of the main campus for over $40 million. Since the hospital moved, JMU made substantial renovations to the site and started it. 

In June 2005, the university leased the former Harrisonburg High School building from the City of Harrisonburg and expanded across South High Street. The university purchased the property in May 2006. In June 2005, the sale was approved for $17 million and named the old HHS building Memorial Hall. On August 11, 2008, the Rose Library on the east side of campus was opened.


James Madison University is regarded by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching to be “More Selective”. For the 2012–13 academic year, 22,648 applications were received for an entering freshman class of 4,325. The 2011–12 freshman class retention rate was 91.4%, and the ratio of female to male students was 60/40. Out of state students were about 38%, representing 89 foreign countries and 50 states.  

115-degree programs are offered by JMU on the bachelor’s, master’s, educational specialist, and doctoral levels. It is made up of 78 academic programs and seven colleges, including the College of Arts and Letters; the College of Business; the College of Education; the College of Health and Behavioral Studies; the College of Integrated Science and Engineering; the College of Science and Mathematics; the College of Visual and Performing Arts; and The Graduate School. 

In the 2012–13 academic year, the total enrollment was 19,927—18,392 undergraduates and 1,820 graduate students. Between 2012–2014, JMU granted 4,908 degrees,096 undergraduate degrees, and 812 graduate degrees.

On October 2, 2009, Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society granted JMU  a chapter. Phi Kappa Phi was the first academic honor society chartered at JMU. Established in 1897, the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi (or ΦΚΦ) recognizes and encourages superior scholarship without restriction in any area of study and promotes the “unity and democracy of education”.

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JMU Campus

JMU’s campus originally had just two buildings, Jackson Hall and Maury Hall, which are now known as Darcus Johnson Hall and Gabbin Hall. Today, there are 148 major buildings on 721 acres (2.92 km2). On social media sites like Instagram and Twitter, It has become Virginia’s second most photographed location, after Kings Dominion.

The campus has five parts: Skyline, Bluestone, Hillside, Lakeside, and the Village. The Skyline area is on the east side of Interstate 81. On the west side, you’ll find the Bluestone, Hillside, Lakeside, and Village areas of the campus. Both sides are connected by a tunnel (Duke Dog Alley) under Interstate 81, and a bridge over. Other amazing campus features include the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum, a 125-acre urban botanical preserve in Harrisonburg and on campus, and Newman Lake, a 9.7-acre (39,000 m2) body of water in the Lake Area next to Greek Row and Sonner Hall. The arboretum is made up of naturalized botanical gardens (33 acres) and forests (92 acres). On a public university campus, it is Virginia’s only arboretum.

The centerpiece of the university’s main quadrangle is Wilson Hall. It contains administrative offices, an auditorium, and the Community Service Learning Office. The cupola of the building has been featured on the university logo, letterhead, and other university stationery and postcards. The building was completed in 1931 and was named after President Woodrow Wilson, born in nearby Staunton, Virginia.

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On South Main Street (also known as U.S. Route 11, and historically as “The Valley Pike”) is the original, historic “Bluestone” side of campus. The campus has expanded both east and west of the 1.65 billion higher education bond package since the late 1990s. For the JMU projects, Kaine’s proposal designated more than $96 million. The construction of a new biotechnology building, Centennial Hall ($44.8 million), and the renovation and expansion of Duke Hall ($43.4 million) were among the projects included. For the purchase of Rockingham Memorial Hospital, the proposal also included $8.6 million as the final installment payment.

In 2002, JMU constructed a state-of-the-art performing arts complex from the state and private funding it received. The facility is located opposite Wilson Hall just across South Main Street and visually completes the Main Quad. In honor of Bruce and Lois Forbes, who gave $5 million to the project, it was named the Forbes center for the Performing Arts. Dorothy Thomasson Estes Center for Theatre and Dance in honor of a $2.5 million gift by the husband of Dorothy Estes is the wing of The Forbes Center dedicated to theater and dance. In honor of a multi-million dollar gift from the husband of Shirley Roberts, the Shirley Hanson Roberts Center for Music Performance dedicated to music was named. The entire PAC was opened in June 2010 after being built at a total cost exceeding $92 million. It houses academic offices and performances by the administrative offices of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, and the schools of Theatre, Dance, and Music.

How to get into JMU Easily

Admission Requirements

You should consider a lot of things that shouldn’t be missed in your college application when it comes to the James Madison university requirements. The important requirement is:

Keep reading to know the admission requirements based on the JMU acceptance rate. 

James Madison university’s acceptance rate is the first criteria you must consider before applying to JMU. The acceptance rate tells you how competitive JMU is and the requirements to be met.

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JMU Acceptance Rate

JMU’s acceptance rate is 71.1%. That means out of every 100 applicants, 71 students are admitted.

The school is lightly selective in its admission process. Yet, you must meet the requirements for GPA and SAT/ACT scores so as to stand a better chance of getting into JMU if you exceed these requirements. Anything less than the minimum GPA and SAT/ACT scores will slim down your chance of getting an admission letter.

James Madison University GPA Requirements

Despite the fact that there are minimum GPA requirements specified by many schools, GPA requirements are just the minimum scores you’re expected to submit along with your application so as not to get rejected immediately. 

The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need to stand a real chance of getting in. Below is JMU’s average GPA for its current students. 


James Madison university’s average GPA is 3.55

If you get a GPA of 3.55, you are expected to be the best in your high school class. You’ll need nearly straight A’s in all your subjects. If you have a lower GPA, you can use courses like AP or IB classes which are quite hard to make up and help boost your weighted GPA and show you can take college classes.

However, your GPA will be hard to change in time for college applications if you’re currently junior or senior. 3.55 GPA or below will require a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate.

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SAT and ACT Requirements

Different schools implement different requirements for standardizing tests. The majority of the schools require the SAT or ACT, while others also require SAT subject tests. 

Before you submit an application to James Madison University, it’s either you take the SAT or ACT  test. You must perform well in the test to have a strong application.

JMU SAT Requirements

Despite the fact that most schools don’t have an official cutoff SAT score, there is actually a hidden SAT requirement based on the school’s average score.

The average SAT score composite is 12705 on the 1600 SAT scale. Therefore, James Madison University is Competitive in SAT test scores.

James Madison University New SAT 25th percentile score is 1120, and the New SAT 75th percentile score is 1290. Getting an 1120 New SAT score puts you below average, while 1290 will put you above average.

Below is the breakdown of new JMU SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile
Reading + Writing610570650

SAT Score Choice Policy

A very important part of James Madison university’s testing strategy is the score choice policy of the “Highest Section”. JMU has an “All Scores” Score Choice policy which means that you can choose the SAT scores to send to the James Madison university admission office.

More commonly, your highest score on a single test date will be taken by the school. Even better, some schools form a Superscore -by taking your highest section score across all your test dates and combining them

We recommend taking at least 4 tests and not more than 6 tests. As long as you take a reasonable number of tests, they just focus on your score and will not care how many times you’ve taken it.

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James Madison University Requirements

Just like for the SAT, based on the JMU acceptance rate, there’s no known hard ACT cutoff mark. However, if your score is low, you won’t stand a chance of being admitted into James Madison.

James Maddison’s average ACT score is 26. The ACT score 25th percentile is 23, while the ACT score 75th percentile is 38.

JMU has no minimum ACT requirement, but if your ACT score is 23 or below, you won’t stand a chance of getting admission, unless your application is very unique.

Therefore, if your ACT score is currently less than 23, you should prepare for the ACT test and retake it so as to stand a higher chance of getting in if you are able to raise your score. 

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James Madison University (JMU) is a public research university that combines the best American education and college life to offer an outstanding study experience. JMU curriculum is innovative and engaging and students share a close relationship with the faculty and teaching staff. This includes your involvement in the classroom, full lab participation, and other activities around and off-campus. 

JMU’s acceptance rate is 71.1%. Out of every 100 applicants, only 71 applications get accepted, making the school lightly selective. 

FAQs on JMU Acceptance Rate and How to get in Easily

1. What GPA do you need to get into JMU?

To get into James Madison University, you need a GPA of 3.55. Your high score grades must be around average, with a mix of A’s and B’s, and very few C’s.  Harder courses like AP or IB classes can be used to compensate if you have a lower GPA. 

2. Is JMU a hard school to get into?

James Madison University has an acceptance rate of 71.1% therefore admissions are selective. 

3. What SAT/ACT score do I need to get into James Madison University

To get admitted to James Madison University, you must have an SAT score between 1120 and 1280 or an ACT score of 23 and 28. 

4.  Can I get into JMU with a 3.2 GPA?

JMU’s average high school GPA for admitted students is 3.56 on a 4.0 scale.

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