Admission Requirements for Freshman Students
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Receipt of the following credentials in the Office of Admissions constitutes a complete application for admission. Requests to have final credentials sent to MSU must be initiated by the applicant. Requests should be made by contacting the high school, the Registrar’s Office at the college/university, or agency. Credentials must be sent directly from the school/agency to the Office of Admissions. Credentials that have been opened, are emailed or are in an unsealed envelope are considered unofficial copies and will not be accepted as official documents.
Application materials and fees will be retained for one year from the original application term. To apply for a semester other than the one originally intended, notify the Office of Admissions as soon as possible.
Be sure to submit the following items (if applicable):
- Admission Application: An application for admission may be submitted online or downloaded and printed; if completing the paper application, please return the completed and signed application form to the Office of Admissions. The application may also be obtained from a high school counselor or directly from the Office of Admissions.
- Application Fee (non-refundable): $38 for the online application or $30 for the paper application. Checks should be made payable to Montana State University. The application fee will not be waived or refunded. The fee must be paid before the application for admission will be processed.
- High School Transcript: After graduation, a complete and official transcript must be sent directly from the high school to the Office of Admissions. Courses completed, GPA (on a 4.0 scale), rank in class (if available), and official date of graduation must be indicated on the transcript.
- Approved High School Equivalency Exam: If an approved high school equivalency exam was taken in lieu of high school graduation, an official score report/transcript must be sent directly to the Office of Admissions from the Department of Education from the state in which the exam was given.
- ACT/SAT Scores: All first-time incoming freshmen are required to take either the ACT or the SAT Test. MSU does not use the SAT Subject Tests (formally SAT II Subject Tests) for admissions purposes. Test scores are used to determine admission status, award certain scholarships, and to assist with academic planning. Non-traditional applicants who graduated three or more years prior to the semester in which they intend to enroll are not required to submit ACT/SAT test results. Arrangements to take the ACT test on campus may be made by contacting MSU Testing Services at 406-994-6984.
- ACT school code: 2420
- SAT school code: 4488
- College/University Transcripts: Applicants who have attended another college or university, whether credit was earned or not, must have an official transcript sent directly from each institution to the Office of Admissions after all final grades have been posted. If the college or university participates in secure electronic transmission of official transcripts, the transcripts should be sent to: MSUadmissionstranscript@sympa.montana.edu. For more information on how college/university courses will transfer to MSU, refer to the "Evaluation of Transfer Credit" section.
- Advanced Placement (AP): Applicants who have completed an Advanced Placement Examination should request that the official scores be sent directly to the Office of Admissions. Scores of 3 or higher on most AP Exams will earn college credit with a Pass grade for the equivalent courses. For more information on how AP courses will transfer to MSU, refer to the AP Course Equivalencies website.
- International Baccalaureate (IB): Applicants who have completed an International Baccalaureate Examination should request that the official scores be sent directly to the Office of Admissions. Scores of 4 or higher on IB Exams (primarily Higher Level) will be granted college credit with a Pass grade for equivalent courses. For more information on how IB courses will transfer to MSU, refer to the IB Course Equivalencies website.
Please note: The requirements listed below apply to first-time freshman undergraduate students (resident and non-resident). If you are a transfer or non-traditional student, please reference our transfer student requirements section.
- Graduation from a high school accredited by the state accrediting agency, or a passing score on an approved high school equivalency exam such as HiSET or GED. Students who complete their secondary education through home schooling or at unaccredited secondary schools may be admitted as long as they have satisfactorily performed on the ACT or SAT test.
- MSU Academic Requirements:
- A 2.5 cumulative high school grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale), OR
- ACT Composite score of 22, OR
- SAT Combined Critical Reading/Mathematics/Writing score of 1540, (prior to March 2016), OR
- SAT Total Score of 1120 (after March 2016), OR
- Rank in the upper half of the graduating class
- Successful completion of a College Preparatory Curriculum. Non-resident applicants
who have not completed the college preparatory requirements stated below may satisfy
the requirements by providing evidence that they have completed a similar college
preparatory program required by their home state.
- Four years of English: courses should emphasize the development of written and oral communication skills and literature.
- Three years of Mathematics: courses should include algebra I, geometry, and algebra II (or the sequential content equivalent of these courses). Students are encouraged to take a math course in their senior year.
- Three years of Social Studies: courses should include one year of global studies (such as world history or world geography), American history, government, economics, Indian history, psychology, sociology, or other third-year courses.
- Two years of Laboratory Science: one year should be earth science, biology, chemistry, or physics, and the other year can be one of the above sciences or another approved college preparatory science.
- Two years of elective courses: foreign language (preferably two years), computer science, visual and performing arts, or approved vocational education units.
The following categories of students are exempt from the admissions requirements above:
- Non-Traditional age students (out of high school more than 3 years from graduation date or expected graduation date)
- Non-Degree undergraduate students
In order to begin a University Academic Plan at Montana State University, students must demonstrate readiness in areas of mathematics and writing. Typically, students demonstrate their readiness through scores earned on standardized examinations:
Math: ACT Math of 22+ or SAT Math of 520+ (prior to March 2016) or SAT Math Test of 27.5+ (after March 2016).
Writing: ACT English/Writing or ELA of 18+ or a minimum score of 7 on the Writing Subscore (prior to September 2015) or 19+ on the Writing Subject Score (effective September 2015). SAT Writing of 440+ or 7 on the Essay Subscore (prior to March 2016) or SAT Writing/Language Test of 25+ (after March 2016).
If a student does not demonstrate full readiness prior to his/her New Student Orientation, academic advisors will help the student register during orientation for the appropriate courses needed to move forward in his/her degree path.
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