Education: Preparing for the Future


Whether it’s your education or your child’s, you want only the best. We provide a snapshot of some of the top secondary schools and colleges in the area to help you narrow the sometimes mind-boggling search.

Breck School

What is your criteria for accepting applicants?

Breck’s admission process is designed so that the school, student applicant and parents become well enough acquainted to decide whether Breck is the appropriate environment for the student. Decisions are made by an admissions committee for each division: Lower School (grades preschool through four), Middle School (grades five through eight) and Upper School (grades nine through 12). Students are admitted on the basis of testing and recommendations, beginning with the Gesell Development Examination for preschool and kindergarten applicants, and continuing with age-appropriate testing for applicants to grades first through 12. Campus tours are scheduled through the Admissions Office (763-381-8200 or

How is your school distinctive? What makes Breck distinctive is our spirit, our community and dedication to our mission. We are a community of teachers, students and families working together to produce a new generation of critical thinkers, talented performers and responsible citizens. We are a community dedicated not only to our mission, but to seeing that mission in action every day. And we are a community that deeply believes that instilling values is an integral part of a Breck education. Our single campus affords us a consummate opportunity to reinforce those values by encouraging interaction among students of different ages whether that interaction has as its focus academics, socializing or service.

Contact info:
123 Ottawa Ave., N. Minneapolis, MN  55422-5189
763-381-8200 –

Hill-Murray School

On average, how many applications do you receive every year?

How many students do you accept?  Hill-Murray’s high school (grades 9-12) accepts approximately 150 new students each year, with an additional 75 Hill-Murray students continuing in ninth grade from the previous year’s eighth grade class. The middle school (grades 7-8) is limited to 75 students per grade. Each year, Hill-Murray receives approximately 400 applications for admission.  Applicants have a wide range of academic abilities and each H-M student is encouraged to reach his or her full potential, and to grow in his or her faith.  Minimum criteria for admission include at least a “C” average in elementary school and scores at grade level in a nationally-recognized exam.  Character is also considered in the admissions process.

You might not know … in its 2007 report, “Rigor at Risk:  Reaffirming Quality in the High School Core Curriculum,” the ACT cited Hill-Murray, saying that Hill-Murray has “proven that core courses can be made rigorous and that rigorous content can be effectively taught to students… Your school is clearly a leader in preparing all high school students for postsecondary education.”  Hill-Murray is one of only 382 public or private schools nationwide, eight in all of Minnesota, and only two in the twin cities metro area to be cited by the ACT. From year to year, 92-96 percent of Hill-Murray students go on to a college program.

Contact info:
2625 Larpenteur Ave. E., Maplewood, MN 55109
651-777-1376 –

The International School of MN

What is your admissions deadline?

The International School of Minnesota has an open enrollment admission policy. As long as students meet the academic criteria, they are accepted throughout the school year. Students are enrolled on a space-available basis.

How is your school distinctive? We’re a diverse student body within a close-knit community; we offer rigorous science, math, and humanities courses; we’re a member of the world-wide SABIS® School Network. We also offer world languages, Spanish and French (taught daily by native speakers beginning in preschool), Chinese is offered in the Upper School, sports teams, performing arts, and other extracurricular activities for all levels; 18 potential Advanced Placement Courses; Student Life Organizationâ„¢  promoting leadership skills and life preparation.

You might not know … we offer an exceptional Extended Day program for students age 3 — fifth grade. The program runs before school starting at 7 a.m. and after school until 6 p.m., during which students can participate in outdoor and indoor play, games, computer lab activities, library time, and a quiet room to do homework. The basic Extended Day program is included at no additional cost. All areas are well supervised by the Extended Day staff. For additional fees, students can choose from a vast selection of activities, clubs, music lessons, and a variety of Extended Day classes.

Contact info:
6385 Beach Rd., Eden Prairie, MN 55344
952-918-1840 –

Minnetonka Public Schools #276

What is your application deadline?

There is no set deadline, however, we’d like to receive applications in early February. We continue to accept open-enrollment students on a rolling admission.

How is your school district distinctive? You want an excellent education for your child. So do we. All of us in the Minnetonka Public Schools are committed to helping each student develop the knowledge, skills, confidence and character to thrive in a changing world. We have received national awards and recognition for our academics; and we’re a national leader when it comes to classroom technology. Students in kindergarten through fifth grade use interactive white boards with a surround-sound speaker system that amplifies not only the teacher’s voice, but any multi-media. The real benefit of this is that every student in the class has a front-row seat. The teacher is able to use a regular, calm, classroom voice. Full multi-media and Internet access brings the world into the classroom, whether it’s a field trip to a museum in Washington, DC or a hands-on science demonstration that can be replicated in the classroom.  We also have portable laptop labs, increasing the students’ ability to begin writing and editing. Teachers post information to their websites so that parents can see what’s going on in the classroom. We use technology as an accelerator of learning.

Contact info:
952-401-5000 –


Mounds Park Academy

How much is your application fee?


On average, how many applications do you receive every year? How many students do you accept?  This varies from year to year but typically around 100 new students enroll at MPA each year. 

What is your criteria for accepting applicants? We require recommendations from current teachers, grades and standardized test scores (when applicable) and a development or grade-level assessment, depending on the age of the applicant.  All students come to visit MPA while school is in session and participate in a family interview.  Tours during the school day are encouraged! 

How is your school distinctive? Founded on academic excellence, MPA continues to be a nurturing, yet challenging, learning environment with strong student-parent-school partnerships where teachers and staff members have the opportunity to get to know students on an individual basis. All of our students work with the highest caliber teachers who offer a wide breadth of courses in a joyful and innovative, hands-on setting. These teachers value and take advantage of teachable moments in and outside of their classrooms. MPA encourages students to become actively engaged in their own intellectual, social, physical, emotional, and moral growth.

Contact info:
2051 Larpenteur Ave. E., St. Paul, MN  55109
651-748-5577 –

St. Paul Academy & Summit School

How much is your application fee?


On average, how many applications do you receive every year? How many do you accept? Our largest applicant pools are in kindergarten, sixth and ninth grades. We do have openings in all grade levels, but most are at those three entry points. We receive hundreds of applications each year, and our acceptance rate varies at each grade level.

What is your criteria for accepting applicants? Throughout every grade at St. Paul Academy and Summit School we look for students who are highly motivated and excited about learning and who want to be surrounded by others who are equally engaged.  We look for students who would add a different dimension to the class and the school, not simply to fill a spot.

How is your school distinctive? We offer students an amazing balance between being deeply challenged in the classroom and being involved in a wide variety of non-academic activities. SPA is the sort of place where students are willing to take risks because they feel support from the faculty and from each other.

You might not know … we offer one of the smallest teacher-student ratios in the Twin Cities.  Class size is one of the main reasons families look at independent education, and SPA is committed to maintaining its outstanding ratio. 

Contact info:
1712 Randolph Ave., St. Paul, MN 55105
651-698-2451 –

The Arts Institute International MN

How much is your application fee?


What is your criteria for accepting applicants? A prospective student seeking admission to The Art Institutes International Minnesota must be a high school graduate, hold a General Education Development (GED) Certificate, or have earned an associate’s degree or higher from an accredited institution of postsecondary education as a prerequisite to admission.

How do you award scholarships and financial aid? The Student Financial Services at The Art Institutes International Minnesota assists students and their families with financial plans to help ensure students’ completion of their programs. The Financial Aid Officers from this department also help in the completion of federal and state applications for grants and loans.

How is your school distinctive? Conveniently located in the Theater District of downtown Minneapolis, The Art Institutes International Minnesota is known as a regional leader in design, media arts, creative management, and culinary arts education.

You might not know … of all 2006 Art Institutes International Minnesota graduates available for employment, 92 percent were working in a field related to their program of study within six months of graduation and earning an average salary of $31,696.

Contact info:
15 South 9th St., Minneapolis, MN  55402
612-332-3361/ 1-800-777-3643

Augustana College

How much if your application fee?

There is no fee

On average, how many applications do you receive every year? How many students do you accept? Our three-year average is 1,434; our three-year average on admitted students is 1,160.

What is your criteria for accepting applicants? ACT composite of 20; GPA of 2.7 in college preparatory courses; ranking in the top half of their graduating class; evaluation of an essay (250 word minimum); recommendation from a teacher or school official.

How is your school distinctive? Augustana is a private, residential, comprehensive college (liberal arts and professional) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  We have great professors who provide the academic challenge our students desire and need to reach their full potential, not just as scholars but as good citizens. The highlight of the Augustana experience is learning and living in an engaged community. Students are not mere spectators, they are active participants! Meaningful relationships and friendships formed at Augustana last a lifetime.

You might not know … we are well known for outstanding programs in the performing and visual arts and are proud to have our athletes compete at the NCAA Division II level. 

Contact info:
2001 S. Summit Ave., Sioux Falls, SD  57197
605-274-0770/ 1-800-727-2844


College of St. Catherine

On average, how many students do you accept every year?

We accept around 1,500 students, both domestic and international. Over the past three years, we’ve seen a 30 percent increase in applications. We’re the largest women’s college in the country, but when it comes to private colleges, we’re moderate-sized. Our entering first-year class is between 360 and 375.

What is your criteria for accepting applicants? We look at the student’s academic performance in high school; the rigor of high school courses; potential for leadership and growth; commitment to community; standardized test scores (SAT and ACT); comments from the student’s counselors and teachers; and the essay.

How is your school distinctive? We have a commitment to Catholic social teaching and justice. The notion here is that the world is much bigger than oneself.

You might not know … we’re part of a consortium, the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities, where students can take courses at Augsburg, Hamline, Macalester, St. Kate’s and St. Thomas. The consortium is great because it offers our students the intimate, personal environment of a women’s college with the unique benefit of taking courses at nearby schools. It takes the edge off an all-female environment.

Contact info:
2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul, MN 55105
651-690-6000/ 1-800-945-4599 –

College of St. Scholastica

How much is your application fee?

We waive application fees for online applications and prospective students and families who visit campus or stop by one of our tables at a college fair. Our application fee otherwise is $25.

On average, how many applications do you receive every year? How many students do you accept? Over the past three years, we have averaged about 1,500 applications. This year, however, we are way ahead of any other year in history and will likely surpass that number by January 1. Our denial rate is approximately 15 percent.

What is your criteria for accepting applicants? We look at a combination of cumulative high school GPA and board score (either the ACT or the SAT). We don’t have a minimum ACT or SAT score, so a student with a good-to-great GPA can still be accepted despite a lower board score, and vice versa. On a side note, we don’t like to reduce students to numbers as there is a story behind every applicant, so we also look at those who have risen above great hardships. Those students are very likely to succeed at the college level and are given great consideration in the application process. 

You might not know … St. Scholastica will be fielding its first ever varsity football team in the fall of 2008. Like the rest of the athletics at St. Scholastica, it will be a division III program.

Contact info:
1200 Kenwood Ave., Duluth, MN 55811-4199
218-723-6000/1-800-249-6412 –

Gustavus Adolphus College

How much is your application fee?

Gustavus Adolphus College does not charge an application fee, no matter whether a student applies online, on paper, or uses the Common Application.

On average, how many applications do you receive every year? How many students do you accept? The Gustavus admission office receives about 3,300 first-year student applications and admits about 70 percent of applicants.

How is your school distinctive? Gustavus is a friendly place in the best sense of the term “Minnesota nice.” Other distinctions include a 4-1-4 calendar; signature annual events like the Nobel Conference, Christmas in Christ Chapel, the Building Bridges diversity conference, and MAYDAY! peace symposium; high rankings in various areas like fine arts, studying abroad, student-faculty research, athletics, dining service; and, more than 145 years of campus traditions.  Gustavus is the only Phi Beta Kappa (the prestigious national honor society) liberal arts institution in Minnesota to have adopted a test-optional admission policy.

You might not know … at Gustavus, the oldest Lutheran college in Minnesota, students receive personal attention in small-sized classes and engage in collaborative research with their professors. Fully accredited and known for its strong music, science, writing, athletics, study-abroad, and service-learning programs, Gustavus hosts a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and is internationally recognized for its annual Nobel Conference.

Contact info:
800 West College Ave., St. Peter, MN 56082
507-933-8000 –

Luther College

How much is your application fee?

Our application fee is $25 for the paper version;  there is no fee if a student applies online.

On average, how many applications do you receive every year? How many students do you accept? We receive about 2,100 applications per year, and we typically accept somewhere between 70-80 percent of those who apply.

What is your criteria for accepting applicants? When examining applications we look at a number of different factors, including but not limited to, the ACT/SAT score, the student’s class rank, the student’s grade point average, level of courses taken, progress through high school, the quality of the high school itself, and honors and awards. We try to get the best possible “picture” of the student that we can, and base our admission of each student on as many factors as possible.

How is your school distinctive? Luther is certainly distinctive in a number of ways. There is an incredibly strong community atmosphere here on campus, as students are very involved in over 130 different campus organizations and activities. Athletics and music also set us apart from other schools, as Luther’s athletic teams claimed eight team conference titles during the 2006-07 academic year, which was double the next closest school. In music, over 900 students participate in seven choirs, three bands, three orchestras, and two jazz bands.

Contact info:
700 College Dr., Decorah, Iowa 52101
563-387-1111/ 1-800-4 LUTHER –


North Dakota State University

How much is your application fee?


On average, how many applications do you receive every year? 5,000 (freshman and transfers for fall). How many students do you accept? 4,500

How do you award scholarships and financial aid? Admitted freshman students with a 3.5 GPA and ACT of 24 or higher are encouraged to apply for scholarships. The deadline is Feb. 1 each year. Financial Aid is awarded using the federal formula and information provided by students and families on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

How is your school distinctive? Recognized as an engaged university and considered a leader among its peers, North Dakota State University has set numerous enrollment records in recent years. With more than 12,000 students, NDSU encompasses a broad spectrum of curricular offerings, scholarly activity and service. The university strives to be an innovator in information systems, technology transfer, economic development and lifelong learning. NDSU also is home to the state’s first full NCAA Division I athletic program.

What advice do you have for students or parents hoping to narrow their school search?  Visit campus! The campus visit is the most crucial part of the selection process.

Contact info:
1301 12th Ave. N., Fargo, ND 58102
701-231-8011 –

St. Cloud State University

How much is your application fee?


On average, how many applications do you receive every year? How many students do you accept? We receive approximately 10,000 applications and accept 7,200.

How do you award scholarships and financial aid? Scholarships for new entering students (first year and transfer students) are awarded through the Office of Admissions.  The deadline for applications is Feb. 15, 2008, and the application form is available on our website. 

How is your school distinctive? We offer an extraordinary curriculum with a focus on preparing students for success in a global market. Our faculty is experts in their fields; their primary focus is on quality instruction.

Does your school offer early admissions such as Early Decision or Early Action? We do not offer an incentive for students who apply early. We will begin evaluating applications for each fall semester at the beginning of the previous fall semester, and decisions are sent to students beginning on Sept. 15 of each year. Students may apply at any time for any upcoming semester. Rather than making a decision on an institution early in a student’s senior year, we recommend that students visit the campus and find the best fit.

Contact info:
720 4th Ave. S., St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498
320-308-0121 –

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

How much is your application fee?


What is your criteria for accepting applicants? This depends on the program for which the student is applying, but in general for undergraduate students we look at the number of transfer credits and incoming GPA.  Our Bachelor completion students need to have a minimum of 30 semester credits with at least one basis English composition course completed. Critia for graduate students, include letters of reference, resume, undergraduate GPA and the personal statement as we assess the student’s writing abilities. Graduate students for Master’s programs need to have a minimum incoming undergraduate GPA of 2.75, submit a current resume, a personal statement, and letters of recommendation. In general we look at writing ability, communication, previous academic and work experience, and the student’s academic goals. All applicants (Bachelors completion and Graduate) will have an admissions interview with their program director prior to admission to the program. The minimum incoming Masters level GPA requirement for Doctoral students is 3.0.  Applicants for this program must have a completed masters degree.

How is your school distinctive? Our schools of graduate and professional programs are distinctive in that we offer nontraditional learners an opportunity to apply their experiences and job knowledge to their academic studies for a relevant learning experience.  We also offer courses on evenings and weekends to accommodate the schedules of working adults. In addition, our program directors are available to students for one-on-one meetings, we offer small class sizes, and we strive to make a personal connection with our students.

What advice do you have for adults hoping to return to school? Think about career goals and talk with people in the field to get guidance regarding degree programs that are relevant to the field. Look for schools that have programs designed for adult students (such as offering flexible schedules). Cost is another key factor. Sometimes distance learning programs can cost considerably more than other programs, so this is something to take close look at.  Many employers will offer some form of tuition reimbursement, so always check with your employer first regarding possible tuition benefits and see if they have any recommended programs or schools.  Most importantly, ask questions and review services, programs, costs and schedules to get an idea of how long the program will take to complete and think about what services you may need along the way.

Contact info:
700 Terrace Heights, Winona, MN 55987-1399
507-452-4430 –

University of Minnesota-Duluth

How much is your application fee?


On average, how many applications do you receive every year? 7,600 freshman applications for fall semester starts. How many students do you accept? Approximately 75 percent of applicants are admitted.

What is your criteria for accepting applicants? We consider cumulative high school rank; cumulative high school GPA; college entrance exam scores; curriculum and academic preparation; and trend in grades/GPA as the primary criteria for acceptance.

How do you award scholarships and financial aid? Financial aid is based upon demonstrated financial need;  most  scholarships are awarded based on academic merit as demonstrated by high school rank and entrance exam scores.

How is your school distinctive? We are a national leader in undergraduate research, offering world-class faculty teaching undergraduate courses. Situated on the shores of Lake Superior, we offer an invigorating environment that provides opportunities for recreational team and club sports, individual fitness, and outdoor recreation.

What advice do you have for students hoping to narrow their school search? A tremendous amount of the college search process can be assisted by  the utilization of online resources, including institutional websites. However, visiting a campus in person is an essential part of the process, and is highly recommended to assist the student who has determined that a particular school meets the desired criteria for the college choice “on paper.”

You might not know … UMD offers graduate programs in 20 different fields with six cooperative programs through the Minneapolis campus, including degrees in Master of Arts, Master of Advocacy and Political Leadership, Master of Business Administration, Master of Education, Master of Special Education, Master of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Master of Engineering Management, Master of Fine Arts, Master of Environmental Health and Safety, Master of Liberal Studies, Master of Music, Master of Science, and Master of Social Work. UMD also offers a balanced and competitive athletic program. The Bulldogs compete in seven men’s and nine women’s varsity sports as members of the North Central Conference and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Nationally, UMD belongs to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and competes at the Division II level except for Division I men’s and women’s hockey.

Contact info:
1049 University Dr., Duluth, MN 55812
218-726-8000 –


University of St. Thomas

How much is your application fee?

We don’t charge an application fee. We took the fee away a few years ago in an effort to reduce hurdles for students and parents — especially hurdles for those who might be economically challenged.

On average, how many applications do you receive every year? How many students do you accept? We have received approximately 5,000 applications for new first year students for the fall for the past couple of years.  We typically admit between 75-80 percent of those students.

What is your criteria for accepting applications? We do a thorough and holistic review of a candidate’s application for admission.  We pay close attention to the student’s academic record (cumulative grade point average, ACT Composite Score and individual sub-scores and/or SAT scores and rank in class.) We also pay close attention to the student’s contributions made to school, community and church.  We are looking for well-rounded individuals who would add to the St. Thomas community in a variety of ways.  We also read the essay or writing sample submitted to learn about the student and to make some assessment of their ability to communicate. While we do not require recommendations, if they are submitted, they are read in an effort to learn more about the candidate for admission.

What advice do you have for students hoping to narrow their college search? Get out and visit the schools in which you’re interested. Guide books and rankings can be good tools but they leave much to be desired when it comes to helping you get a real sense of how the student might fit in at any given school. Visit the campus; talk with current students, faculty and staff. Meet with and admission and/or financial aid counselor.  Attend a practice or a rehearsal. Really try the school on for size. Consider location and ask yourself what does the location of school X have to offer me versus the location of school Y? Investigate academic life on campus and ask what majors are offered and can the school meet my academic needs? Talk to people you know who have had a great collegiate experience. Find out why they liked their alma mater and why they would recommend you consider it. And relax…there are many excellent admission professionals working in Minnesota’s colleges and universities. These professionals are eager to help you through the college search process and they do truly have your best interests in mind. Take advantage of their knowledge and expertise.

Contact info: 
2115 Summit Ave., St. Paul, MN 55105
651-962-5000 –

They’ve got ‘College Covered’

Choosing the right college has never been more important than it is today. More employers require a college degree of their employees than at any time in history. At the same time, identifying, applying, and gaining acceptance to the right college has become more cumbersome and confusing than ever.

That’s where College Covered comes in. Because a college education is an enormous investment on so many levels, a team of talented professionals—teachers, counselors, professors, editors, and writers—help students and families get organized and cut through the clutter. They are a college planning service designed to fully cover the process of investigating, planning, applying,  enrolling, and paying for the best possible college education.

Since no two students are alike, College Covered tailors programs to meet the unique needs of individual students. Services include direction counseling (assessment and counseling help students set out on a sound college prep path); academic structuring: presenting the clearest picture (education, volunteer work, and extracurricular activities are structured in the clearest and most complete way to showcase a student’s skills and abilities); test preparation (one-on-one ACT, SAT, and PSAT preparation focuses on preparedness and stress-elimination); college investigation (students’ options are researched and a comprehensive evaluation of schools most closely matching a student’s goals and aspirations is presented); paying for college (college costs and funding are codified); and the application process (the college admission process is streamlined, eliminating the guesswork and tedium). Prepare now for the future you deserve.

For a free, private consultation, call 651-414-0559 or send an email to