Frequently Asked Questions about Fall 2017 Freshman Admission

We very much respect that your application is important to you. Each application is reviewed individually to ensure that everything a student submits is carefully considered and that each student receives a fair and consistent admission decision. Admission is very competitive. For example, for fall 2016 admission, we received more than 49,000 applications for a freshman class of approximately 5,700 students. While we are very grateful for the strong interest in the University of Minnesota, the number of applications submitted and the strength of the applicant pool have also created a competitive admissions situation for fall 2017.

We have prepared several Frequently Asked Questions below to provide detailed information about how we review applications and make admission decisions.

Special note for students applying to the College of Science and Engineering

Why are some students placed on a waitlist?

What are the possible admission decisions that an applicant could receive?

Students who submitted a complete application will receive one of the following decisions:

  • Admit: The student has been admitted to the University of Minnesota.
  • Waitlist: The student's application has been placed on a waitlist. Although we have determined that the applicant is academically prepared to succeed at the University of Minnesota, we must make certain that we do not exceed the number of spaces available in each of the freshman-admitting colleges. An update was emailed to waitlisted students on April 6, 2017. If we determine that spaces remain available, the overall strongest applicants will be admitted from the waitlist. Why are some students placed on a waitlist?
  • Deny: We are not able to offer freshman admission. Students who are denied admission are encouraged to apply for transfer admission for a future semester. Transfer admission is also competitive so it is important that students achieve a strong academic record at another college or university.

Please note: Applicants are automatically considered for admission to all U of M colleges that are a good fit with the academic interest(s) listed on their applications. Because of this, it is possible that a student may be admitted to a college that was listed as an alternate choice on the application, or to a college we feel is a good fit but that was not listed on the student's application.

What factors do you consider when making an admission decision?

We believe that selecting students from a highly talented group of applicants requires an individual assessment of all application materials submitted for each student; every application is read in its entirety.

Admission decisions are based on a very careful, overall assessment of each student's academic preparation and performance, as well as the additional information provided in the application, based on the primary and secondary factors listed below. The strongest consideration in the decision is given to the primary factors, and no single factor is the deciding factor in the decision.

Applicants are considered for up to two colleges listed on the application in the order the interest is indicated. If we are unable to admit the student to one of the colleges listed, the applicant is automatically considered for admission to all other U of M colleges that are a good fit with the academic interests, academic preparation, and other information included in a student’s application materials. Admission decisions are based on a comprehensive, individualized review of the a student’s application, the overall strength of the applications received, and the number of spaces available in each of the University’s freshman admitting colleges.

Primary Factors

Because academic preparation is key to student success in college, the strongest consideration in the decision is given to student’s academic preparation, or primary review factors.

  • Coursework through high school graduation. (Admitted students typically exceed the University's high school requirements. See course requirements)
  • Grades in academic coursework
  • Class rank/Grade point average
  • ACT or SAT scores

Secondary Factors

Individual circumstances listed below are also considered as part of the overall assessment of each application. Enrolling a diverse student body—with students bringing differing experiences, talents, and perspectives to their scholarly community—is essential to achieving the development outcomes of a University of Minnesota education. Our university community is strengthened by our students representing different races, economic backgrounds, geographic origins, genders, religions, ethnicities, sexualities, talents, and beliefs.

Our holistic review takes into consideration the individual circumstances that make each individual student unique. We consider the following secondary factors in our decision review.

  • Outstanding talent, achievement, or aptitude in a particular area
  • An exceptionally rigorous academic curriculum (enrollment in honorsAPIB, or college-level courses)
  • Strong commitment to community service and leadership
  • Military service
  • Contribution to the cultural, gender, age, economic, racial, or geographic diversity of the student body
  • Evidence of having overcome social, economic, or physical barriers to educational achievement
  • First-generation college student
  • Significant responsibility in a family, community, job, or activity
  • Family employment or attendance at the University of Minnesota
  • Personal or extenuating circumstances
  • Information received in open-ended questions

What is the academic profile of students who are admitted?

Admission decisions are based on an individual, overall assessment of each application, using the primary and secondary review factors listed on the previous page.

Overall, the middle 50 percent of students admitted for fall 2016 scored between a 27 and 32 on the ACT, between an 1850 and 2110 on the SAT, and had a high school rank percentile between 82 and 97.

The table below provides a college-by-college overview of the middle 50 percentile of freshman applicants admitted for fall 2016, broken down by high school rank and standardized test scores. Please note the data presented in the table are a composite picture of admitted freshman applicants; they are not admission criteria.

  Biological Sciences Design Education & Human Development Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences Liberal Arts Management (Carlson School of) Science and Engineering
High School Rank
High School Rank (if provided) - Range of the Middle 50 Percentile of Admitted Freshmen 90 - 99% 75 - 92% 78 - 94% 76 - 93% 78 - 94% 87 - 97% 93 - 99%
ACT Composite
ACT Composite Score 29 - 32 25 - 29 23 - 28 25 - 29 26 - 30 28 - 32 30 - 34
SAT Total
New SAT
(estimated score out of 1600)
1280 - 1440 1185 - 1360 1160 - 1310 1160 - 1320 1210 - 1370 1260 - 1410 1360 - 1490
Old SAT
(score out of 2400)
1910 - 2160 1750 - 1990 1740 - 1963 1740 - 1965 1800 - 2040 1890 - 2110 2010 - 2220

*Special note for students interested in the College of Science and Engineering

We have experienced increases in applications in all seven of our freshman-admitting colleges. For fall 2017, we must note that we anticipate the greatest shift in competitiveness of admission in the College of Science and Engineering (CSE). We are finding that students applying have exceptionally competitive academic records. We are very grateful for the strong increase in students applying to this program. Although the University has increased capacity in CSE over recent years, admission to this college will be even more competitive than last year. As we maintain our focus on retention and student success, we must keep our enrollment within the limits of the resources available to support student success and timely graduation.

Am I at a disadvantage because my high school does not provide high school rank information?

No. Students whose high schools do not provide high school ranks receive full consideration for admission, through an individualized and overall assessment of the application. For a complete list of the factors that we consider to make an admission decision, see the question above. ("What factors do you consider when making an admission decision?")

Do you really review every application?

Yes! Each and every application is read very carefully by more than one staff member in the Office of Admissions before a decision is made. We know that your application is important to you and your family, and we do not take your interest in the University of Minnesota for granted.

Because we are committed to ensuring that each application receives very careful consideration, our review does take some time to complete. We work very hard to ensure that we each student is given the time and attention needed to make a fair admission decision. Our comprehensive and individualized review process ensures that each application is given a thorough, fair, and consistent review.

Can students who received a deny admission decision apply for transfer admission to the U of M in the future?

I was admitted to the University of Minnesota. Will I receive an academic scholarship?

Scholarship decisions are based on a very careful, overall assessment of each student's academic preparation and performance, as well as the additional information provided in the application. Our freshman scholarship review process ensures that each application is considered individually, based on our primary and secondary factors. Although the strongest consideration in the scholarship review is given to the primary factors, no single factor is the deciding factor in the decision.

Last year's fall 2016 freshman applicants were exceptionally strong. The competitiveness of the applicant pool for fall 2016 made for a highly competitive scholarship situation, and we expect the same for fall 2017 admission. Unfortunately, we do not have enough funding to award scholarships to all students whose records demonstrate strong academic achievement.

I was admitted to the University of Minnesota. Will I be admitted to Honors?

Students who are admitted to the University Honors Program will be notified by the end of March 2017. Admission to the University Honors Program is highly competitive, and the degree of competitiveness varies by college of admission. Honors admission is offered to the overall most competitive applicants from each freshman-admitting college. Jump to frequently asked questions about Honors admission.

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