Freshman Admissions Overview

Freshmen accepted to the University of Minnesota are admitted directly to one of eight colleges based on their academic interests and preparation. (See a complete list of colleges and majors.)

Admission to the University of Minnesota is competitive. The competitiveness of admission each year is based on the number of applications received, the academic qualifications of the applicants, and the number of spaces available. To learn more about the students admitted for fall 2019, see the academic profile of fall 2019 admitted freshman applicants.

Enrolling an academically qualified, diverse student body is essential to the University's mission. The academic and social environment of the campus is greatly enhanced, and our educational environment prepares students to contribute to and thrive in a global society.

Admission Decision Timing

Early action deadline applicants: Students who submit their compete applications by the November 1 early action deadline will receive an admission decision on Application Tracker by January 31.

Regular deadline applicants: Students who submit their complete applications by the January 1 regular deadline will receive an admission decision on Application Tracker by March 31.

Decisions: Admission decisions are based on a holistic review of each student's application materials. Each student who submits a complete application by either the early action or regular deadline will receive one of the following decisions. Please note that admission decisions are posted on the University's Application Tracker.

  • Admit: Based on our holistic review, the student has been admitted to the University of Minnesota.
  • Defer: A deferred admissions decision means that 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.
  • 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.

Admissions Review and Selection Process

Holistic Review Process

At the University of Minnesota, 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. Note that no single factor is the deciding factor in the decision. Applicants are first considered for admission to the colleges listed in their application, in the order in which they are listed. Then, applicants are automatically considered for other U of M freshman-admitting colleges that may be a good fit with their academic interests and preparation.

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 honors, AP, IB, 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

Course Requirements

High School Courses and the Senior Year

A very strong curriculum during high school will enhance your success in college, because college courses build on the skills and knowledge you acquire in high school. Your senior year is especially important. We expect students to continue with academic coursework, including math and science, for all four years of high school. In addition, we expect that students maintain their strong academic performance through graduation. Please note that admission is competitive, so successful applicants typically exceed these requirements listed below.

Minimum High School Course Requirements

Applicants are expected to complete the minimum course requirements listed below. Admission is competitive and successful applicants typically exceed these requirements.

English 4 years Emphasis on writing, including instruction in reading and speaking skills and in literary understanding and appreciation.
Mathematics 4 years Elementary algebra, geometry, intermediate algebra (integrated math 1, 2 & 3). Examples of 4th year math include calculus (preferred), pre-calculus, analysis, integrated math 4.
Science 3 years Including one year each of biological and physical science, and including a laboratory experience.

Note: Biological science, chemistry, and physics are required for the College of Biological Sciences and the College of Science and Engineering.
Social Studies 3 years Including one year each of U.S. history and geography (or a course that includes a geography component such as world history, western civilization, or global studies)
Single Second Language 2 years If English is not your native language, a second language is not required.
Visual and/or Performing Arts 1 year Including instruction in the history and interpretation of the art form (e.g. theater arts, music, band, chorus, orchestra, drawing, painting, photography, graphic design, media production, theater production)

* As of 2015, all applicants are required to complete four years of math.

Schedule changes and senior year performance

We consider the application to be a contract between the student and the University, with the student agreeing to successfully complete senior year courses listed on the application and achieve grades consistent with their academic performance through 11th grade.

In August, after final transcripts are received, we review each student's senior year coursework and the grades earned in those courses to confirm course completion and that the performance during the senior year is consistent with the academic performance at the time of application. Unsuccessful completion of senior year coursework and/or a significant decline in academic performance during the senior year may result in the cancellation of admission.

Students considering making schedule changes, or those who are concerned about their academic progress in any of their courses, must consult with their U of M admissions counselor (1-800-752-1000 or 612-625-2008).

President’s Emerging Scholars Program

The mission of the President’s Emerging Scholars Program is to ensure the timely graduation of its participants. This four-year program serves students who have demonstrated the potential to succeed academically at the University, but whose high school academic records suggest participation the Program will ensure a smooth transition to college and their successful development as student scholars.

President’s Emerging Scholars benefit from a full range of services that enhance and support the academic success of students with diverse backgrounds and characteristics, including: urban students, rural students, first-generation college students, student parents, students with disabilities, students of color, older students, students who have overcome barriers that have impacted their success, and students for whom English is not their first language.

Key benefits of the President’s Emerging Scholars Program include:

  • Academic guidance and support to help ensure academic success and timely degree completion including regular meetings with both academic advisers and peer mentors
  • Programming and activities that encourage campus engagement and help create a sense of belonging to the University community
  • Scholarship support to help make a University education possible for eligible students (Eligible participants receive a $1,000 President’s Emerging Scholar Award.)
  • Optional participation in the Summer Seminar for new incoming freshmen President’s Emerging Scholars are admitted to one of the eight freshman-admitting colleges based on an individual, overall assessment of the primary and secondary factors listed above. Preference is given to first-generation students and other students whose applications demonstrate evidence of having overcome social, economic, or physical barriers to educational achievement. As a condition of their admission, selected students are required to participate in all programmatic elements of the President's Emerging Scholars Program in their first year. Participants are primarily Minnesota residents.

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