University of Massachusetts Amherst

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The Admission Decision

The University of Massachusetts Amherst uses a holistic review process to carefully consider applicants in an individualized context. This requires a deep, comprehensive understanding of the academic context from which you are applying. Since we receive applications from across the country and around the world, our Admissions Counselors work diligently to understand the nuance of each learning environment, which in turn informs the context in which your application is evaluated. In addition to academic achievements, we are interested in the behaviors and attitudes, such as a love of learning and intellectual curiosity, that make students great learners and full contributors to the vibrancy of a campus community. We seek to admit students who will contribute fully to campus life. No specific grade point average, test score, or other qualification by itself ensures admission.

Here is a listing of what we think about when considering who to admit as an undergraduate:  

  • Record of Achievement: beyond grades earned, we focus on rigor of classes you have taken. We carefully study trends in your record to monitor increases or decreases in performance. 

  • Personal Qualities: intangible aspects of yourself that are best demonstrated versus talked about.  Leadership skills and ability, character, motivation, insight, tenacity, initiative, maturity, intellectual independence, responsibility, demonstrated concern for others, and more, will be considered.

  • Co-Curricular Involvement/Achievement: more than quantity, we look for sustained involvement and achievement in any field of intellectual or creative endeavor; accomplishments in extracurricular activities such as the performing arts or athletics; leadership in school or community organizations; employment; and volunteer service.

  • Standardized Tests: performance on standardized tests like the SAT or ACT is considered, but you should be sure to familiarize yourself with the minimum requirements for admissibility as defined by the state of Massachusetts.  If you meet the minimum requirements, you are eligible to compete in our pool, though meeting the minimum does not guarantee admission. (All freshman applicants and all transfer applicants in their first year of college study after high school graduation must submit test scores.)

  • Writing Ability: your opportunity to show us what you believe in, how you think, who you are, and what you will bring to our campus will be held in your college essay or statement.  Think about what we need to know to get a better sense of who you are at your core.  If there is something in your record that is not easily explained without further context, consider using your essay or the additional information section of your application to explain. 

  • Life Context: your background, past and current life situations that directly impact your performance.  These include areas like socioeconomic status, experience in a single parent home, family responsibilities, experience overcoming adversity, cultural background, race and ethnicity, the language spoken in your home, and other information in your file.

  • Recommendations: at minimum, one recommendation must be submitted for all Freshman applicants.  The recommendations may come from a teacher, guidance counselor, school official, or program counselor. 

Freshman: Early Action (Fall)

Admission decisions will be communicated beginning in mid-December. There are three possible decisions for Early Action applicants:

  • Students may be offered admission for the fall term, contingent on successful completion of the senior year. They will have until May 1 to decide whether to enroll at UMass Amherst.

  • A select group of students will be deferred to the Regular Decision applicant pool. We will reexamine these students in the context of the entire pool, taking into account mid-year grades and other new academic information.

  • We may make the difficult decision to deny some students whose academic records are not competitive within the overall applicant pool. A deny decision at the EA stage is final.

Freshman: Regular Decision (Fall & Spring)

Admission decisions will be communicated beginning in early March for fall applicants and by mid-December for spring applicants. There are three possible decisions for RD applicants:

  • Students may be offered admission for the upcoming fall term, contingent on successful completion of the senior year. They will have until May 1 to decide whether to enroll at UMass Amherst.

  • A select group of students who present strong academic credentials will be offered the option of being placed on our waitlist. Specific details regarding this option will be included in the waitlist offer letter.

  • Students whose academic records are not competitive within the overall applicant pool will be denied admission. A deny decision is final.

Transfer Decisions

Admission decisions will be communicated once the application file is complete and has been reviewed by the Admissions Committee. Students may be offered admission for the upcoming term, contingent on successful completion of their current coursework (if applicable). Students will have two weeks from the date of release of their decision to decide reply to our offer of admission.