Why the U is becoming tougher to get into

Here’s what University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler says about this year’s freshman class:

“Our incoming Class of 2015 on the Twin Cities campus is, by all measures, the best qualified group of freshmen in U history. 40,000 applicants. 5,378 enrolled. Highest ACT scores ever. Most National Merit Scholars ever, and, we believe, the most National Merit Scholars among public universities in the Big Ten.”

Provost Tom Sullivan has chimed in that in 2004 the U had 15 National Merit Scholars. This year it projects 167 – first in the Big Ten “by some distance.”

Kaler said:

“Now, some people wonder and, dare I say, complain: “My son or daughter, my grandson or granddaughter didn’t get into the U! How come?”

The fact is, we simply cannot admit many students who we would have admitted in the past nor, frankly, can we admit every qualified student. With 40,000 applicants for 5,300 slots, it’s just not possible. We are becoming a more selective university.

While it’s difficult for any individual student who had his or her sights set on the U, this increased selectivity is good for the institution overall—it bodes well for our retention and graduation rates, our ability to attract the best faculty and graduate students, and the value of a U of M degree over the long run.”

But it’s not coming at the expense of in-state students:

“This year 63.5 percent of our freshmen graduated from a Minnesota high school and that percentage has pretty much held steady over the past decade.”