What U-M Recommends
The college admissions process can be tricky. To set your family members up for success, familiarize yourself with the course requirements of their choice university, consider the size of the university, and understand the impact of standardized tests. The Alumni Association has provided some guidelines to get you started.
U-M Recommended High School Course Work
|Area of Study||Recommendation|
|English||4 years (covering literature, composition, standard language usage, essay/theme writing including a research paper and 1/2 year of speech)|
|Mathematics||3 years; 4 years strongly recommended (including intermediate algebra)|
|Social Studies||3 years (U.S. and world history strongly recommended)|
|Natural Science||3 years (including 1 year of biological science and 1 year of physical science). At least 1 year of laboratory science also is strongly recommended.|
|Other Recommended Units|
|Foreign Language||Minimum 2 years required; 4 years strongly recommended|
|Computer Literacy||1 year of hands-on experience strongly recommended|
|Fine & Performing Arts||2 years strongly recommended|
Consider the Size of the School
Colleges vary greatly in size. While some schools enroll fewer than 100 students, others may have many thousands on campus. When deciding upon the type of school to attend, here are some different factors to consider.
Large colleges may offer:
- More areas of specialized study
- More courses in each area
- More anonymity
- Greater range of extracurricular activities and organizations
- Larger libraries
- More laboratory facilities
- Graduate departments
Small colleges may offer:
- A more personal atmosphere
- Small classes, more discussion and fewer lectures
- Greater opportunities for individual participation and experience in athletics, clubs and leadership positions
- Less distance between students and faculty
- More flexible programs and opportunities for students to experiment
Suggestions for Navigating the College Admission Process
- Show initiative and be assertive: Parents and students should take command of the college planning process! Asking questions now may ease some difficult decisions you might face later.
As students move through their senior year in high school, they will have to make a final college choice. Keep in mind that careful study and preparation up to this point have focused their attention on one or more colleges that offer the best mix of opportunities, given the student's preferences and needs. They should keep rethinking their goals and plans, and evaluate options at each college.
- Talk with counselors, students, and alumni: Parents and students should not feel they are in this alone. Selecting a college is usually a family decision. Keep your communication lines open. Others can help you, too. School counselors, other students, college admission counselors and financial aid officers can all contribute significantly to the decision-making process.
- Follow up with colleges: If your family has done your homework to this point, you will have maximized the odds of selecting a college that meets your needs and preferences.
Once the student has made a final decision and has attendance plans confirmed, he or she should notify all the other colleges to which they applied and let them know they will not be attending. Quite often colleges are holding space in residence halls, scholarship money and positions in their freshman classes for certain students. Clearing the record may give institutions an opportunity to offer an educational experience to another worthy student.
- College success factors: Parents should help their students place attention on preparing themselves for the college they've chosen. Learning as much as they can beforehand about life at college will help them get off to a good start when they reach the campus. Help them determine what they can do to take advantage of the many opportunities that college offers.
Students should be confident that they can be successful—help them look to the future with enthusiasm! It's up to them to determine the kind and quality of education they receive. Their own curiosity, hard work and perseverance will make the difference.
Test scores and high school grades are important. However, they measure only part of a student's potential.
How Standardized Tests Relate to Admission Standards
|Admission Standard||Typical ACT Composite Averages*||Typical SAT I Total Score (V+M) Score Averages*|
|Open – All high school graduates are accepted until the school's enrollment capacity is reached||17-20||830-950|
|Liberal – Some freshmen who are accepted are in the lower half of their high school graduating class||18-21||870-990|
|Traditional – The majority of those freshmen who are accepted are in the top 50 percent of their high school graduating class||20-23||950-1070|
|Selective – The majority of those freshmen who are accepted are in the top 25 percent of their high school graduating class||22-27||1030-1220|
|Highly Selective – The majority of those freshmen who are accepted are in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class||27-31||1220-1380|
* Specific high school course requirements vary from institution to institution. Be sure to check with the schools you're interested in to see what they recommend or require. The score range for the ACT is 1-36; the range for the SAT I (total score) is 400-1600.