Admission Review Factors & Process

Our admission process has one mission: to identify applicants, who as individuals and as a group, will enrich and benefit from the campus learning environment and the entire student body.

Our admission committee is comprised of a team of professionals who undertake an individualized, rigorous and holistic review of each application, assessing academic merit, achievements and potential in the context of the opportunities and challenges the student faced.

We are charged with admitting and enrolling the most talented, diverse and interesting class possible. With such a large and strong pool of students to review, our task is daunting—but the results are impressive. Our students are smart, involved, curious and innovative.

26 Review Factors

At Maryland, we value all of your strengths and talents. We know there is more to you than grades and SAT scores. While they are important, we also want to know about your interests and background and what makes you unique.

In addition to test scores and transcripts, we’ll review your letters of recommendation, essay and short-answer responses and activities resume. Our thorough review process considers more than 26 factors.

Each category is assessed by a combination of quantitative and qualitative factors. These factors are flexibly applied, so the listing does not reflect order of importance.

  • High school achievement
  • Grades in academic subjects
  • Progression of performance
  • Breadth of life experiences
  • Geographic origin
  • Gender
  • SAT I or ACT scores
  • Work experience
  • Recognition of special achievements
  • Extenuating circumstances
  • Socio-economic background
  • Written express of ideas (as demonstrated in the essay)
  • Rank in class (actual or percentile)
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Special talents or skills
  • Community involvement
  • Community service
  • Demonstrated leadership
  • Learning differences
  • Quality of coursework
  • Residency status
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Family educational background
  • Academic endeavors outside of the classroom
  • English as a second language/Language spoken at home


Holistic Review Process

The University of Maryland admission review process is guided by the principles outlined in the Statement of the Philosophy of Undergraduate Admissions. In keeping with this philosophy, the admission review factors listed above have been identified that will allow the Admission Committee to identify those applicants, who as individuals and as a group, will enrich and benefit from the campus learning environment, and thus benefit the entire student body.

The undergraduate admissions process is rigorous and individualized. As the university must make fine distinctions among large numbers of highly qualified applicants, the ability to assess consistently all information presented in the application becomes increasingly important. Therefore, the university employs a holistic review process that engages the expertise of professional educators whose judgments—based upon consideration of each applicant’s credentials measured by all admissions criteria—build an entering class that will best complement the existing student body and meet the university’s mission objectives.

In this context, academic merit is assessed on the basis of each applicant’s achievements and potential in a broad range of academic categories, as influenced by the opportunities and challenges faced by the applicant. These categories include:

  • Educational Performance
  • Potential for College Success
  • Potential to Promote Beneficial Educational Outcomes and to Contribute to Campus and Community Life
  • Students’ Persistence and Commitment to Educational Success.
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