College planning tips for students and families

  1. Visit campus. Explore college campuses before the fall of your senior year. Meet students and faculty and tour campus facilities. Visiting campus is the best way to determine whether a school is a good fit for you.

  2. Take the ACT/SAT early. Early testing, between the spring of your junior year and the fall of your senior year, is recommended to ensure that you meet application deadlines. You will need a test score when you apply, and you will be able to enter test scores yourself. Please note, all applicants who are admitted must have their official scores sent directly from the testing agency as part of the final confirmation process. Send your official scores to the University of Minnesota using the code 2156 for ACT and 6874 for SAT. See our ACT/SAT page for details on testing and registration.

  3. Complete your admission applications and self-reported academic record early in the fall of your senior year! Don't procrastinate. Applying early ensures that you'll meet application deadlines. (Plus, you'll be able to relax and enjoy your winter vacation!) Prospective University of Minnesota Twin Cities freshmen should fill out the Freshman Admission Application.

  4. Choose coursework that will prepare you to succeed in college. This means during your senior year, too. The classes you take in high school are a foundation for what you will experience in college. That's why it's really important to take a challenging "college preparatory" curriculum while you're in high school. Work closely with your school counselor to choose the appropriate college preparatory courses offered at your school. See our minimum requirements below.

Minimum High School Course Requirements

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.

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 College of Science and Engineering; biological science and chemistry are required for the Carlson School of Management.
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)

See Frequently Asked Questions about our math requirement along with a list of sample courses.

Schedule changes: The University expects that students will successfully complete the senior year coursework they list on their admission application. Schedule changes of academic coursework during the senior year and/or the unsuccessful completion of senior year coursework may result in the cancellation of admission or a change to the college 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).

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