As a scholar's university, entrance requirements are selective, while screening for academic performance continues up to graduation.

Admission to the undergraduate education is governed by the PLM Admission Test (PLMAT) for undergraduate colleges. The College of Law Admission Test (CLAT) and the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) select those who will be admitted to the professional schools. The graduate schools administer their respective admission processes.

General Education (GenEd) until SY 2008-2009
Starting SY 2005-2006 until SY 2008-2009, the principle of liberal arts education prescribed that a general admission will characterize a common track of study for all freshmen until they will be ready for admission into specific fields of study towards their sophomore year. Hence, undergraduate scholars were only to be categorized according to specific courses after their first year of studies, based on the satisfaction of the specific criteria set for the course. Each academic division at PLM had its own admission policy for prospective sophomores and retention criteria for higher years. Admission to one academic division did not guarantee admission to another. Except for the Professional schools, Graduate schools and Off-campus programs, all scholars should satisfy specific proof of Manila residency and other supporting documents to secure eligibility to take the PLMAT.

In order to ensure one's admission to a specific degree program, a scholar's overall grade on the first year of college work, or the cumulative grade point average on all previous college work attempted, should fall within the prescribed GWA of the particular college or school to which the scholar intends to apply. Once admitted at a particular college or school, the scholar is expected to achieve the required GWA to ensure retention in the degree program. Academic screening continues from admission until graduation.

New Policy starting SY 2009-2010
Starting SY 2009-2010, all freshman scholars, upon passing the PLMAT, were immediately categorized upon admission according to specific courses they have elected as choices to which they have qualified. They follow the regular track as prescribed by the new curriculum as approved by the University Council and ratified by the Board of Regents. Those who were admitted under the GenEd curriculum (SY 2005-2006 to SY 2008-2009) will continue to be covered by the GenEd policies.