Frequently Asked Questions about Freshman Admission

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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. This process ensures that each application is given a thorough, fair, and consistent review. Because we are committed to ensuring that each application receives very careful consideration, our review takes time to complete.

What factors do you consider when making an admissions decision?

Each and every application is read very carefully by more than one staff member in the Office of Admissions before a decision is made. This process ensures that each application is given a thorough, fair, and consistent review. Admission decisions are based on a very careful, overall assessment of each student's academic and context factors. Note that no single factor is the deciding factor in the decision.

Holistic Review

Academic Factors

Because the greatest predictor of college success is academic preparation, the strongest consideration in the decision is given to a student's high school record. We know that COVID-19 might have changed your school's course offerings and grading systems. Our promise to you is that we will look at the overall trend of your high school performance to understand your academic preparation. The following academic factors are considered:

  • 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
  • Rigor of academic curriculum based on what is available in the high school (including enrollment in honors, AP, IB, or college-level courses when available.)
  • ACT or SAT scores (Submitting an ACT/SAT score is not required for 2022 applicants. All students, whether or not they submit a test score, will receive full consideration for admission, scholarships, and the University Honors Program. For more information and frequently asked questions, please visit our ACT/SAT FAQ)
  • Applicant's academic interests (We review a student's academic preparation related to the major/college for which they are seeking admission.)

Context Factors

Individual circumstances 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 context factors in our decision review:

  • Outstanding talent, achievement, or aptitude in a particular area
  • 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

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 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.

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

  • Admit: Based on our holistic review, the student has been admitted to the University of Minnesota. Frequently asked questions about how we determine college of admission.
  • Defer: A deferred admissions decision means that although the student met the Early Action I or Early Action II deadline, we need more time and more information about our applicant pool in order to make our final decision. The overall strength of our applicant pool and the number of spaces available in each freshman-admitting college will determine the admission decision. An update will be provided to the student by March 31. Frequently asked questions about defer decisions.
  • 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. Frequently asked questions about deny decisions.
  • 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. Waitlisted applicants will receive an update on the status of their applications by mid-June. If we determine that spaces remain available, the overall strongest applicants will be admitted from the waitlist. Frequently asked questions about waitlist decisions.

What is the academic profile of students who are admitted?

Admission decisions are based on an individual, overall assessment of each application, using the academic and context factors listed above.

Academic Profile of Fall 2021 Admitted Freshman

The table below provides a general overview of the high school rank percentile and standardized test scores of freshman applicants admitted for Fall 2021 they are not admission criteria and they do not account for all of the factors considered in our application review. Overall, admitted freshmen:

  • Ranked in the top 15 percent of their high school classes
  • Received a 3.73 unweighted calculated grade point average (GPA)
  • Scored an average of 29.9 on the ACT composite*
  • Scored an average of 1402 on the SAT total*
  Average High School Rank Percentile Average High School GPA (unweighted) *Average ACT Composite *Average SAT Total
Biological Science  91.9 3.88 30.7 1413
Design 80.8 3.62 28.1 1342
Education and Human Development 78.9 3.61 26.9 1302
Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences 79.2 3.57 28.1 1346
Liberal Arts 81.1 3.65 28.9 1375
Management (Carlson School of) 90.2 3.81 30.2 1396
Science and Engineering 89.9 3.83 31.5 1431
School of Nursing 92.4 3.92 30.3 1378

*Please note: the University of Minnesota Twin Cities will not be requiring an ACT or SAT score for the 2022 undergraduate application.

Am I at a disadvantage if my school’s grading system, course offerings, or activities changed due to COVID-19?

We acknowledge that many elements you intended to include on your application may look different this year. Your activities, sports academics, and family responsibilities have likely changed, and we encourage you to use the short-answer questions on our application to tell us about your circumstances.

Your application will be read in its entirety, and we promise to review your experiences with compassion and understanding. Rather than using equations to grant admission, we get to know your individual story—and that includes the ways in which you faced the challenges of COVID-19.

  • Sports and Activities - sports, clubs, teams, and other group activities have all had to change since spring 2020. We understand you may not be participating in any of these activities at this time. In the short-answer questions on the application, please share what you have done over your high school timeframe and what adjustments you had to make in 2020 and beyond.
  • Grades - Many high schools adjusted their grading scales to accommodate the shifts in courses last spring. We are expecting to see different grading patterns (such as Pass/Fail) and will look at the overall trend of your high school grades—not just a single semester—to understand your academic performance.

The U of M has proudly joined 350 colleges across the country in signing Care Counts in a Crisis: College Admissions Deans Respond to COVID-19. Care Counts is a promise to you on what our admissions professionals value as we read your applications this year: self-care, academic work, service and contributions to others, family contributions, and extracurricular activities.

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. See a list of holistic review factors.

Am I at a disadvantage if I don't submit an ACT/SAT score?

All students, whether or not they choose to have an ACT/SAT score considered as part of their application, will receive full consideration for admission, scholarships, and our University Honors Program. Application review for students who do not submit a score will place greater emphasis on the other academic factors and the context factors in our holistic review process. See our Frequently Asked Questions on ACT/SAT scores for more information.

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 academic and context review factors. Although the strongest consideration in the scholarship review is given to the academic factors, no single factor is the deciding factor in the decision.

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

Students who are admitted to the University Honors Program are notified by the end of March. 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.

I was admitted to the University of Minnesota, but I received low grades. Can my admission be rescinded?

Yes. Senior year courses and grades are very important, and are considered when making admission decisions. After final transcripts are received, we review each student’s senior year coursework and grades to confirm completion and that student performance during the senior year is consistent with their academic performance at the time of application. Changes in senior year coursework may result in a change to the student’s college of admission. Unsuccessful completion of senior year coursework and/or a significant decline in academic performance during the senior year will result in reconsideration of the admission decision and may result in the cancellation of admission.

If you are making changes to your senior year courses, or are experiencing declining grades in your courses, you must consult with a U of M admissions counselor right away at 612-625-2008 or 1-800-752-1000.

Please visit our Final High School Transcripts and Senior Year Grades policy website for more information.

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

Yes. The University of Minnesota Twin Cities welcomes more than 2,000 transfer students each year. Visit our transfer admissions page for more information on application deadlines and transfer admissions requirements.

How do I request a gap year/defer my enrollment?

Please visit our gap year page for more information.

Can I learn more about defer decisions?

Can I learn more about deny decisions?

Can I learn more about waitlist decisions?