What’s (app) ening?
The Common Application Announces 2016-2017 Essay Prompts
The Common Application has announced that the 2016-2017 personal statement essay prompts will be the same as the 2015-2016 prompts. By conducting a review process every other year, rather than annually, we can hear from admissions officers, as well as students, parents, and counselors, about the effectiveness of the essay prompts.
These prompts are designed to elicit information that will strengthen the other components of the application. “We want to make sure that every applicant can find a home within the essay prompts, and that they can use the prompts as a starting point to write an essay that is authentic and distinguishing,” said Scott Anderson, former school counselor and current Senior Director for Programs and Partnerships for The Common Application.
Among the more than 800,000 unique applicants who have submitted a Common App so far during the 2015-2016 application cycle, 47 percent have chosen to write about their background, identity, interest, or talent – making it the most frequently selected prompt; 22 percent have chosen to write about an accomplishment, 17 percent about a lesson or failure, 10 percent about a problem solved, and four percent about an idea challenged.
With the release of the essay prompts and the announcement that student accounts created now will roll over to 2016-2017, counselors can introduce their juniors to the Common App now, or whenever they are ready.
1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
2. The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
4. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.
UMBC Requirements for Admission
Choose Your Test
What are UMBC’s admission requirements? While there are a lot of pieces that go into a college application, you should focus on only a few critical things:
In this guide we’ll cover what you need to get into UMBC and build a strong application.
School location: Baltimore, MD
This school is also known as: University of Maryland Baltimore County
Admissions Rate: 59%
If you want to get in, the first thing to look at is the acceptance rate. This tells you how competitive the school is and how serious their requirements are.
The acceptance rate at UMBC is 59%. For every 100 applicants, 59 are admitted.
This means the school is moderately selective. The school expects you to meet their requirements for GPA and SAT/ACT scores, but they’re more flexible than other schools. If you exceed their requirements, you have an excellent chance of getting in. But if you don’t, you might be one of the unlucky minority that gets a rejection letter.
UMBC GPA Requirements
Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected.
The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need for a real chance of getting in. For this, we look at the school’s average GPA for its current students.
Average GPA: 3.73
(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA.
With a GPA of 3.73, UMBC requires you to be above average in your high school class. You’ll need at least a mix of A’s and B’s, with more A’s than B’s. You can compensate for a lower GPA with harder classes, like AP or IB classes. This will show that you’re able to handle more difficult academics than the average high school student.
If you’re currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 3.73, you’ll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate. This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.
SAT and ACT Requirements
Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. Most schools require the SAT or ACT, and many also require SAT subject tests.
You must take either the SAT or ACT to submit an application to UMBC. More importantly, you need to do well to have a strong application.
UMBC SAT Requirements
Many schools say they have no SAT score cutoff, but the truth is that there is a hidden SAT requirement. This is based on the school’s average score.
Average SAT: 1280 (Old: 1792)
The average SAT score composite at UMBC is a 1280 on the 1600 SAT scale.
On the old 2400 SAT, this corresponds to an average SAT score of 1792.
This score makes UMBC Competitive for SAT test scores.
UMBC SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)
The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1180, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1370. In other words, a 1180 on the New SAT places you below average, while a 1370 will move you up to above average.
Here’s the breakdown of new SAT scores by section:
UMBC SAT Score Analysis (Old 2400 SAT)
The 25th percentile Old SAT score is 1640, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 1940. In other words, a 1640 on the Old SAT places you below average, while a 1940 puts you well above average.
Here’s the breakdown of old SAT scores by section:
SAT Score Choice Policy
The Score Choice policy at your school is an important part of your testing strategy.
UMBC has the Score Choice policy of “Highest Section.”
This is also known as “superscoring.” This means that you can choose which SAT tests you want to send to the school. Of all the scores they receive, your application readers will consider your highest section scores across all SAT test dates you submit.
Click below to learn more about how superscoring critically affects your test strategy.
For example, say you submit the following 3 test scores:
Even though the highest total you scored on any one test date was 1000, UMBC will take your highest section score from all your test dates, then combine them to form your Superscore. You can raise your composite score from 1000 to 1400 in this example.
This is important for your testing strategy. Because you can choose which tests to send in, and UMBC forms your Superscore, you can take the SAT as many times as you want, then submit only the tests that give you the highest Superscore. Your application readers will only see that one score.
Therefore, if your SAT superscore is currently below a 1280, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the SAT and retaking it. You have a very good chance of raising your score, which will significantly boost your chances of getting in.
Even better, because of the Superscore, you can focus all your energy on a single section at a time. If your Reading score is lower than your other sections, prep only for the Reading section, then take the SAT. Then focus on Math for the next test, and so on. This will surely give you the highest Superscore possible.
Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and SAT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you’ll study smarter and make huge score improvements.
UMBC ACT Requirements
Just like for the SAT, UMBC likely doesn’t have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.
Average ACT: 27
The average ACT score at UMBC is 27. This score makes UMBC Moderately Competitive for ACT scores.
The 25th percentile ACT score is 24, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 29.
Even though UMBC likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 24 or below, you’ll have a harder time getting in, unless you have something else impressive in your application.
ACT Score Sending Policy
If you’re taking the ACT as opposed to the SAT, you have a huge advantage in how you send scores, and this dramatically affects your testing strategy.
Here it is: when you send ACT scores to colleges, you have absolute control over which tests you send. You could take 10 tests, and only send your highest one. This is unlike the SAT, where many schools require you to send all your tests ever taken.
This means that you have more chances than you think to improve your ACT score. To try to aim for the school’s ACT requirement of 27 and above, you should try to take the ACT as many times as you can. When you have the final score that you’re happy with, you can then send only that score to all your schools.
ACT Superscore Policy
By and large, most colleges do not superscore the ACT. (Superscore means that the school takes your best section scores from all the test dates you submit, and then combines them into the best possible composite score). Thus, most schools will just take your highest ACT score from a single sitting.
We weren’t able to find the school’s exact ACT policy, which most likely means that it does not Superscore. Regardless, you can choose your single best ACT score to send in to UMBC, so you should prep until you reach our recommended target ACT score of 27.
Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and ACT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you’ll study smarter and make huge score improvements.
SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements
Both the SAT and ACT have a Writing section that includes an essay.
UMBC considers the SAT/ACT Writing section optional and may not include it as part of their admissions consideration. You don’t need to worry too much about Writing for this school, but other schools you’re applying to may require it.
SAT Subject Test Requirements
Schools vary in their SAT subject test requirements. Typically, selective schools tend to require them, while most schools in the country do not.
We did not find information that UMBC requires SAT subject tests, and so most likely it does not. At least 6 months before applying, you should still doublecheck just to make sure, so you have enough time to take the test.
Final Admissions Verdict
Because this school is moderately selective, strong academic performance will almost guarantee you admission. Scoring a 1940 SAT or a 29 ACT or above will nearly guarantee you admission. Because the school admits 59% of all applicants, being far above average raises the admission rate for you to nearly 100%.
If you can achieve a high SAT/ACT score, the rest of your application essentially doesn’t matter. You still need to meet the rest of the application requirements, and your GPA shouldn’t be too far off from the school average of 3.73. But you won’t need dazzling extracurriculars and breathtaking letters of recommendation to get in. You can get in based on the merits of your score alone.
But if your score is a 1640 SAT or a 24 ACT and below, you have a good chance of being one of the unlucky few to be rejected.
Here’s our custom admissions calculator. Plug in your numbers to see what your chances of getting in are.
How would your chances improve with a better score?
Try to take your current SAT score and add 160 points (or take your ACT score and add 4 points) to the calculator above. See how much your chances improve?
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Every school requires an application with the bare essentials – high school transcript and GPA, application form, and other core information. Many schools, as explained above, also require SAT and ACT scores, as well as letters of recommendation, application essays, and interviews. We’ll cover the exact requirements of UMBC here.
Application Requirements Overview
- Common Application Accepted, supplemental forms required
- Universal Application Not accepted
- Electronic Application Available
- Essay or Personal Statement Required for all freshmen
- Letters of Recommendation 2
- Interview Not required
- Application Fee $50
- Fee Waiver Available? Available
- Other Notes
- SAT or ACT Required
- SAT or ACT Writing Optional
- SAT Subject Tests
- Scores Due in Office February 1
- Subject Required Years
- English 4
- Math 4
- Science 3
- Foreign Language 2
- Social Studies
- Electives 3
Deadlines and Early Admissions
- Offered? Deadline Notification
- Regular Admission
- Yes February 1 Rolling
- Early Action
- Yes November 1 December 15
- Early Decision
Admissions Office Information
Other Schools For You
If you’re interested in UMBC, you’ll probably be interested in these schools as well. We’ve divided them into 3 categories depending on how hard they are to get into, relative to UMBC.
Reach Schools: Harder to Get Into
These schools are more selective and have higher scores than UMBC. If you improve your SAT score, you’ll be competitive for these schools.
Same Level: Equally Hard to Get Into
If you’re competitive for UMBC, these schools will offer you a similar chance of admission.
Safety Schools: Easier to Get Into
If you’re currently competitive for UMBC, you should have no problem getting into these schools. If UMBC is currently out of your reach, you might already be competitive for these schools.
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UMBC Admissions Counselors' Blog
Essays, essays, essays
Now that school is back in session (in Maryland, anyway) many senior high school students are diving into the college application process. UMBC’s online application for students applying for the fall of 2009 will be up on our website by the end of September, so until then I thought I’d give those of you who are itching to get a start on your applications some advice: start working on your application essays now!
If you’ve looked at the application for undergraduate admission already you’ll know there are a few options for essays–these are not going to change with the updated application. Three options are specific, so if one of them inspires you, go for it. Often students find it is more enjoyable, however, to write an essay using the fourth option, which asks you to discuss your educational and career goals or personal experiences. Generally the best essays we counselors see are those responding to this option. After all, since grades and SAT scores only tell us so much about a student, the essay is a key part of the college application. Sure, it’s great that Billy has a 3.5 GPA and got a 1200 on the reading and math portions of the SAT, but what’s this guy really like? Oh, I see…according to his essay, he’s passionate about everything from Shakespeare to Led Zeppelin and would love to double major in English and recording. Or, hmmm…it looks like Jenny was doing really well in high school her freshman and sophomore years, but her grades slipped a lot her junior year. She must have been slacking off…but wait! Her essay explains that her family experienced some serious financial difficulties that year, and as a result of the extra job she took on to assit them, her grades suffered. Now that things at home are back on track and now that she has a better work schedule, her grades are creeping back up.
A well-written essay can make a big difference in your overall college application, so do spend some time on it and for pity’s sake, read it over before submitting it! See a previous posting of mine from December 19th of last year for more tips on writing those essays. Good luck!
What is the essay topic for enrollment in the 2011-2012 school year? I was unable to find it. Thank you
If you would like to preview the essay topics you can find them in the PDF version of our application: http://www.umbc.edu/undergraduate/pdf/full_application.pdf
The essay topics UMBC uses are the same that are found on the Common Application.
Umbc application essay
The Admissions Committee weighs a number of factors in making its decision. In addition to grade point average and standardized test scores, the strength of your curriculum, class rank and other achievements as well as your essay will be considered. Reviewing the 2017 Freshman Class Profile in UMBC’s Fast Facts may give you an idea of the students who are admitted to UMBC. UMBC expects applicants to have completed a strong college preparatory program of study from an accredited high school. The minimum program of study should include:
- English: four years
- Mathematics: four years including Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II. Additionally, applicants are expected to be enrolled in an eligible mathematics course in their senior year of high school study.
- Social Science/History: three years
- Science: three years
- Language other than English: two years
The Redesigned SAT
As of March 2016, the College Board has launched a redesigned SAT. To learn more about how UMBC will use the redesigned assessment as part of our admissions application, please visit our FAQ page for the redesigned SAT.
How to Apply for Freshman Admission
- Complete the Common Application in its entirety.
1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, MD 21250
1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, MD 21250
Integrity is a value at UMBC. As such, applicants are expected to represent their self in the most true and accurate way. Learn more about academic integrity at UMBC.
Freshman Application Timeline
The timeline detailed below is meant to give applicants a general idea of the steps involved in the application process.
- Application and supporting documents are received by UMBC Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Orientation.
- Once the application is processed, an acknowledgement e-mail is sent to applicant which includes instructions on how to create a myUMBC account and monitor their application status.
- Completed application and supporting documents are reviewed by UMBC Admissions Committee. Additional information may be requested via the applicant’s myUMBC account at this point.
- Applicant is notified by mail of the admissions decision. Applicants are welcome to contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Orientation at email@example.com with questions.
Early Action – Decision letters for complete applications are mailed in late-December.
Regular – Decision letters for complete applications are mailed beginning in February.
Decision letters for complete applications are mailed within two weeks of completion date.
Home Schooled Applicants
UMBC welcomes home-schooled applicants. In addition to the above admissions materials, home-schooled applicants should submit curriculum vitae describing course content, instructional materials, and an evaluation of the student’s work.
Umbc application essay
Getting Started With Undergraduate Admissions
UMBC is a unique place that welcomes students with interests of every type from the entire world over. Whether you are just starting college, transferring from another school, or taking individual classes, at UMBC you will have access to the exceptional resources, stimulating teachers and individual attention that makes our community unique.
Start here to begin your journey to becoming a Retriever. And if you have questions along the way, we invite you to contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at any time at 410-455-2292. We look forward to hearing from you!