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Admission Review Factors and 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.

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 expression 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


*UMD has decided to extend its practice to make SAT and ACT scores optional through to the Spring and Fall 2025 application cycles. For more information please review our test-optional FAQs.

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 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 consistently assess 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.


Terps love a challenge. A problem that needs a solution. A barrier that needs breaking down. You are smart, scrappy and determined. You value diversity, innovation, entrepreneurship and imagination. Ready to start your fearless journey?

Be A Terp


You can only learn so much about a school from a brochure. Even if we tell you how beautiful our campus is, or how fantastic our students and faculty are, you will not know for yourself until you experience it for yourself!

Come try on our campus for size! Stop by one of our top-notch athletic facilities. Have a scoop of homemade ice cream at the Dairy. Rub the nose of one of our beloved Testudo statues for good luck. Get all your questions answered. It won't be hard to picture yourself at home here for the next four years. 

Please visit our updates page for information regarding visit opportunity changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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You've done your research and explored your options, and you know that UMD is the perfect place for you. Now it's time to apply. 

COMMON APP >>   StandOut Admissions Network >>

Freshman applicants can apply using either the Common App or StandOut Admissions Network platforms. At this time, transfer applicants can only apply using StandOut Admissions Network.


Consistently ranked as one of the best values in public higher education, you can rest assured that you will receive an affordable world-class education.

College is a major investment for you and your family. The university is here to help. We offer an array of financial aid programs—including scholarships, grants, loans and student employment—as part of our commitment to making an excellent education affordable.


State of Maryland Residents   Non-Maryland Residents

The University of Maryland has launched a new investment in need-based financial aid, the Terrapin Commitment program, which will provide up to $20 million annually for students from the state of Maryland.

The goal of the Terrapin Commitment program is to reduce the gap between a student’s total financial aid package and the cost of an education. The program will begin in January 2023 and ensures that tuition and fees are fully covered for Pell eligible, in-state students, who are enrolled full time and have unmet financial need. More details can be found on the Office of Student Financial Aid's website.


Congratulations on your admission to the University of Maryland! We are excited to welcome you into our world of fearless ideas.

You’ve received your admission letter, checked out your major and started celebrating with family and friends. To make enrollment official, check out information for newly admitted students to get everything you need to start your academic career at UMD. 

ENROLL (Freshman)    ENROLL (Transfer)