College Prep 101

    Choosing the right school is personal—and sometimes stressful. We offer tips on how to stand out in the admissions process.

    Secondary Education, Colleges and Universities
     

    Breck School

    Total enrollment: 1,200 (grades preschool – 12)

    Tuition: Ranges from $13,670 – $19,240 (plus required fees)

    What are your criteria for accepting applications? Depending on the grade, the application process includes written materials, recommendations, day visits and testing.

    How many applicants are there for how many open spots? Approximately 3:1

    What is the deadline for receiving applications for classes beginning in fall of 2009? Applications are due Jan. 31, 2009.

    How do you keep your competitive edge? Administrators, faculty, and staff are constantly in conversation about helping each student reach his or her full potential. It’s the focus of everything we do.

    What one comment do you most hear about why parents/students choose your school? We offer rigorous academics and a wide array of athletic and extracurricular activities within a very welcoming community. We are dedicated to preparing each student for a college that meets their unique needs, interests, and abilities.

    Little-known fact: Breck was founded in 1886, making us one of the oldest independent schools in the upper Midwest.

    123 Ottawa Ave. N.,
    Mpls., MN 763-381-8100
    www.breckschool.org
     


    Hill-Murray School

    Total enrollment: 980

    Tuition: $8,500 (7-8)/ $9,650 (9-12)

    What are your criteria for accepting applications? Students must be maintaining a “C” average and score at or above grade level on standardized tests. Students should be in good standing at their current school with no discipline or attendance issues. All applicants are reviewed by the Admissions Committee. In some instances additional information, including testing or interviews, may be required. If there are more applicants than positions, students may be placed on a waiting list.

    What is your deadline for receiving applications for classes beginning in fall of 2009? Feb. 28, 2009 (We will continue to accept applications beyond that date if openings exist.)

    What one comment do you hear over and over again about why students choose to attend your school? “We know we’ll be ready for college.” Students also point to Catholic values and a commitment to service.

    Would you like to add anything else? Hill-Murray is one of only two metro area high schools cited by ACT for its academic excellence (2007). There were only 8 statewide and only 382 nationwide, out of 15,000 high schools across the country.

    2625 Larpenteur Ave.,
    Maplewood, MN 651-777-1376
    www.hill-murray.org
     


    The International School of Minnesota

    Total enrollment: 600 

    Tuition: $8,000-14,550

    What is the deadline for receiving applications for classes beginning in fall of 2009? Open, but preferred by Feb. 1, 2009.

    How diverse is your student body? As an international school we naturally attract a diverse population. We are often referred to as a mini United Nations.

    How, in your opinion, can a high school student best prepare for college-level work? By focusing on academics, but also participating in extracurricular activities.

    How do you keep your competitive edge? By continuing to deliver top quality academics at a reasonable cost.

    What one comment do you most hear about why students choose to attend your school? Excellent academics

    Little-known fact about your school: Exceptional art, music, drama, and sports programs (including sailing and crewing).

    Would you like to add anything else? We are a school “on the grow.” We just added a new high school wing.

    6385 Beach Rd.,
    Eden Prairie, MN 952-918-1840
    www.ism-sabis.net
     


    Macphail Center for Music

    Total enrollment: 7,750

    Tuition: Varies per program area, semester tuition on average ranges between $200 for group classes and ensembles to $650 for individual lessons.

    What is the overall vision of your school? MacPhail’s mission is to transform lives and enrich the community through music education.

    What are your criteria for accepting applications? MacPhail is open to all ages and levels of students. We seek to place students in the best music education experience with highly qualified instructors. Our age range of students is 6 weeks old to over 100 years old.

    What is the deadline for receiving applications for classes beginning in fall of 2009? New students are accepted into lessons at all times.

    How do you keep your competitive edge? As an organization, MacPhail continues to strive towards creating innovative and state-of-the-art programs. We consistently seek input from current and potential customers to keep our programs customer-focused and relevant.

    Little-known fact: In addition to providing programs at three locations, MacPhail partners with 48 organizations throughout the metropolitan area providing sequential music curricula developed specifically for those partners.
     

    Locations in Minneapolis,
    Apple Valley, White Bear Lake
    612-321-0100 www.macphail.org 

     

     

    Minnehaha Academy: Preschool – Grade 12

    What is the overall vision of your school? “Our teachers don’t just develop our academic abilities. They mold our character, morals, and values as well.” Those words from a member of the class of 2008 describe the overall vision of Minnehaha Academy. We help our students build a strong spiritual and academic foundation. We instill them with a strong moral compass and energize them to reach high personal and educational goals. Members of the Minnehaha faculty truly embody our mission of integrating Christian faith and academic excellence. Ultimately, students enroll at Minnehaha because they feel they “belong.”

    Little-known fact: The Minnehaha Academy curriculum includes the highest number of Advanced Placement (AP) courses of any private school in Minnesota. This award-winning program challenges students to achieve high levels of academic excellence. In 2007, Minnehaha was the only high school in Minnesota – and one of 50 in the nation – to win the Advanced Placement Math and Science Award given by the Siemens Foundation and the College Board. In their letter of congratulations, the College Board wrote, “We believe schools like yours represent the best of American education.” Minnehaha currently offers students 21 AP courses with 25 subject exams. From 2006-2008, Minnehaha’s 615 graduates took 1,434 exams. During that period, all students taking AP exams scored 3 or higher more than 70 percent of the time.

    3100 West River Parkway, Mpls., MN 612-728-7756
    www.MinnehahaAcademy.net
     


    Minnetonka Public Schools #276

    Total high school enrollment: 2,828 (2008-09)

    How, in your opinion, can a high school student best prepare for college-level work? Colleges are looking for students who have made the most of high school by challenging themselves with rigorous coursework (Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate), team or group activities and service and leadership experiences. Research is clear that students who enroll in AP or IB courses are more likely to complete their college education, so Minnetonka students are encouraged to enroll in at least one AP or IB course. Applicants who demonstrate passion, persistence, a dedication to learning, and global awareness have characteristics that are welcomed by colleges.

    How do you keep your competitive edge? In the last five years, student achievement has soared and Minnetonka now ranks among America’s Top High Schools (Newsweek Magazine). A school-record 15 students were named National Merit Semifinalists, with 24 Commended students in 2008.

    Would you like to add anything else? Community support for dedicated technology funding has allowed Minnetonka to become a national leader in using technology as an accelerator of learning. The District has earned national awards for technology integration each of the last four years.

    952-401-5000
    www.minnetonka.k12.mn.us
     


    New Life Academy

    Total enrollment: 731

    Tuition: $7,248 (grades 7-12)

    What is the overall vision of your school? New Life Academy’s main mission is to develop students to influence generations for Jesus Christ through academic excellence, a biblically-based caring environment, and character development.

    What are your criteria for accepting applications? An application packet must be filled out and submitted with a non-refundable application fee. Each student is interviewed by the principal.

    What is the deadline for receiving applications for classes beginning in fall of 2009? As long as there is space available in a grade level, we do accept applications right up to the start of the school year. However, because of the cap on enrollment per grade, we recommend applying early. We will begin accepting applications in January 2009.

    What do you hear most about why students choose to attend your school? New Life is a place where moral principles and values, great relationships, high academic standards, dedicated, caring teachers, a full range of athletic and co-curricular activities, a warm, welcoming atmosphere, and opportunities for character development exist. Students value the Christian environment and education.
     

    6758 Bailey Rd., Woodbury, MN 651-459-4121
    www.newlifeacademy.org
     


    St. Paul Academy and Summit School

    Total enrollment: 867 (K-12)

    Tuition: Lower School $20,620, Middle School $21,520, Upper School $22,410

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

    How do you keep your competitive edge? We offer students an amazing balance between being deeply challenged in the classroom and being involved in a wide variety of non-academic activities. St. Paul Academy and Summit School is the sort of place where students are willing to take risks because they feel support from the faculty and from each other. We are a community of intellectually curious students, supportive parents, and dedicated teachers.

    Little-known fact about your school: We offer one of the smallest student-teacher ratios in the Twin Cities. Class size is one of the main reasons families consider independent education, and we are committed to maintaining this outstanding ratio.

    1712 Randolph Ave., St. Paul, MN 651-698-2451
     www.spa.edu
     


    The Art Institutes International

    Total enrollment: 1,872

    Tuition: $449 per credit or $21,552 per academic year

    What are your criteria for accepting applications? An Admissions Committee reviews the students’ high school GPA and a written essay for acceptance.

    What, from an admissions standpoint, is the single most important way in which a student can present themselves to the school of their choice? Students need to make sure that all of their admissions materials are complete before submitting them to the college. This will prevent any delay in processing the application.

    How do you keep your competitive edge? Our courses are taught by industry professionals who prepare our students for careers in their respected fields.

    What one comment do you hear over and over again about why students choose to attend your school? Students like the smaller class sizes and the personalized attention they receive from our staff.

    Little-known fact: The Art Institutes International Minnesota recently added several evening and weekend degree options for students.
     

    15 S. 9th St., Mpls., MN
    800-777-3643
    www.artinstitutes.edu/minneapolis
     


    Augustana College

    Total enrollment: 1,754

    Tuition: $22,188

    What is the overall vision of your school? Augustana College aspires to become one of America’s premier church-related colleges.

    What are your criteria for accepting applications? Augustana takes a holistic approach to admission, considering all aspects of a candidate’s academic record, essay, and letter of recommendation. The recommended minimum requirements are an ACT of 20, 2.7 GPA in a college prep program, and ranking in the 50th percentile of their class.

    What do admissions counselors look for in a good application? Thoroughness is a good start. Our application for admission is also an application for scholarships so students need to pay attention to detail and be sure to include all pertinent information. An interesting essay is always a plus.

    How do you keep your competitive edge? We don’t ever take a student or a class for granted; this is a challenging market and we have great respect for the colleges and universities with whom we compete. We enjoy working with students and parents, care deeply about Augustana, and fervently believe in the quality of the experience the college provides. We are a great private college without the sticker shock.
     

    2001 S. Summit Ave.,
    Sioux Falls 800-727-2844
    www.augie.edu

     

     

    College of St. Scholastica

    Total enrollment: 3,593

    Tuition: $26,324 (2008-09)

    What are your criteria for accepting applications? Mainly high school GPA and either the ACT or SAT, but we view the students holistically rather than as two sets of numbers.

    What do admissions counselors look for in a good application? Someone who has worked hard to establish a high school resume, meaning someone who proves by what they have on their application that they are going to succeed in college based on prior experiences and successes.

    How do you keep your competitive edge? St. Scholastica does two main things to stay competitive: We always keep our Benedictine heritage top of mind when it comes to our daily lives and making decisions that will affect the College, and we stay nimble and proactive when dealing with the desires of the marketplace.

    Little-known fact: Modern medical records-keeping had its professional beginnings at St. Scholastica, where the first academic program was created in the 1930s. St. Scholastica is still a national leader in its successor profession, Health Informatics and Information management.

    1200 Kenwood Ave., Duluth, MN
    800-447-5444
    www.css.edu
     


    Gustavus Adolphus College

    Total enrollment: 2,573

    Tuition: $29,990 (plus room – $4,710, meal plan – $2,750, and fees – $410).

    What are your criteria for accepting applications? The Gustavus Office of Admission has a holistic approach to admission, which means we evaluate all the information in your application—not simply “the numbers.” That’s much fairer to the students and a much better way for us to build a class. That being said, a student’s coursework is the most important component when making an admission decision, followed by GPA, experiences outside the classroom, writing ability, and recommendations. Submitting standardized test scores (ACT or SAT) is optional.

    What one comment do you hear over and over again about why students choose to attend your school? Beyond the important statistics like average class size (15), four-year graduation rate (80 percent), and post-graduation placement rate (98 percent), many families cite the welcoming atmosphere and observable “friendliness” of Gustavus. Far from being a superficial show, this friendly environment represents the mutual understanding and support among members of the Gustavus community. To experience the personality of Gustavus and learn about anything else that is important to a prospective student, a campus visit is the most important part of the college search.

    800 West College Ave., St. Peter  507-933-8000
    www.gustavus.edu
     


    Luther College

    Total enrollment: 2,423

    Tuition: $30,920

    What are your criteria for accepting applications? We try to look at all parts of a student’s application, including grades, level of classes taken, involvement, ACT/SAT scores, leadership roles, etc. The most recent class entered Luther with an average ACT score of 26, with 50 percent of students’ scores falling between 23 and 29.

    What one comment do you hear over and over again about why students choose to attend your school? “This place is beautiful! I had no idea the campus is surrounded by bluffs and prairie, or that it has a river running through it.”

    Little-known fact about your school? Luther consistently ranks as one of the top schools in the nation for the number of students studying abroad each year.

    Would you like to add anything else? Luther College is a residential liberal arts institution in which over 90 percent of faculty live within five minutes of campus. Twenty percent of our students participate in intercollegiate athletics; over one-third take part in music ensembles; and over 90 percent of the student body is involved in a cocurricular activity. Luther College is quite unlike any other.
     

    700 College Drive, Decorah, IA 800-4 LUTHER
    www.luther.edu
     


    Minneapolis College of Art and Design

    Total enrollment: Approximately 800

    Tuition: $14,100 per semester (2008-09)

    What is the overall vision of your school? Our mission: MCAD educates individuals to be professional artists and designers, effective leaders, and active citizens and, through this work and other activities, advances the cultural life of its community. Our vision: In the quality of its program and what it achieves for its students, MCAD is committed to be among the finest of professional visual arts colleges in the world.

    What is the deadline for receiving applications for classes beginning in fall of 2009? All applications must be received by Feb. 15, 2009 (physically in the office no later than 5 p.m. that day).

    What do admissions counselors look for in a good application? A balance of artistic merit and academic achievement.

    What one comment do you hear over and over again about why students choose to attend your school? Our students feel MCAD is a community of artists and value their peer relationships as part of the learning process.
    Little-known fact about your school: MCAD is one of only three colleges in the country that offers a major in Comic Art.
     

    2501 Stevens Ave., Mpls., MN 612-874-3700
    www.mcad.edu
     


    Normandale Community College

    Total enrollment: 14,400

    Tuition: $4,607 (for 2008-09)

    What is the overall vision of your school? To continue to be the best educational value in the Upper Midwest based on our unique combination of academic excellence, affordable cost and strong reputation with both employers and four-year colleges seeking our students as transfers.

    What one comment do you hear over and over again about why students choose to attend your school? Hands-on, quality instruction; transferability of credits; excellent academic support and student life programs, and; our diverse faculty, staff and student body.

    What, from an admissions standpoint, are ways in which students can best present themselves to the school of their choice? Visit campus, speak with an admissions professional, and find out how your educational and career goals can be met by that institution.

    Little-known facts about your school: An education at Normandale is still very affordable. Normandale credits transfer to four-year colleges throughout the Upper Midwest and those four-year colleges aggressively seek our students as transfers. Research shows that students transferring from Normandale excel at the four-year institutions, academically even outperforming students who start at those colleges as freshmen.

    9700 France Avenue South, Bloomington, MN
    952-487-8201 www.normandale.edu
     


    Northland College

    Total enrollment: Approximately 700

    Tuition: $22,500

    What is the overall vision of your school? Northland College offers each student a unique educational experience from faculty who really care. Our environmental mission is a part of every academic program, from Business to Science to Outdoor Education.

    What do admissions counselors look for in a good application? A good application is one where the essay is written for the specific college and not a simple search and replace of the college’s name within the same essay. If you are interested in the college, tell us why; we know we have a science program but let us know what about our program will help you realize your dreams.

    How do you keep your competitive edge? Northland has been an environmental liberal arts college since 1971. Over the years, we have made changes to our program to always offer classes that are innovative and relevant. To maintain our leadership, Northland College faculty has performed a complete review of our curriculum to ensure that we are preparing students to respond to today’s issues and make the world a better place.

    1411 Ellis Ave., Ashland, WI
    1-800-753-1840
    www.northland.edu

     

     

    North Dakota State University

    Total enrollment: 13,229

    Tuition: North Dakota resident – $5,264; Minnesota resident – $5,504

    What are your criteria for accepting applications? High school or college performance. Guidelines include an ACT of 21 or higher and high school GPA of 2.5. Transfer students must have at least a 2.0.

    What is the deadline for receiving applications for classes beginning in fall of 2009? Aug. 15, 2009

    What do admissions counselors look for in a good application? Excellent academic record

    How do you keep your competitive edge? We consistently provide a top-notch educational experience. One of our guiding themes is “Students are Paramount,” and we live that promise every day.

    What one comment do you hear over and over again about why students choose to attend your school? Students very often tell us they know someone who attends NDSU or graduated from NDSU who have nothing but good things to say about their experiences.
     

    Office of Admission, Box 5454, Fargo, ND 1-800-488-NDSU www.ndsu.edu
     


    St. Cloud State University

    Total enrollment: Approximately 17,000

    Tuition: $6,146 (academic year tuition and fees)

    What are your criteria for accepting applications? Applicants who rank in the upper one-half (top 50 percent) of their high school class are assured of admission as long as space remains available. Other applicants will be individually reviewed, in which case the admissions committee looks closely at students’ high school performance, their ACT or SAT scores, and high school and community activities. Students are eligible for admission as transfer students if they have earned 12 or more college-level credits with at least a 2.0 GPA.

    What is the deadline for receiving applications for classes beginning in fall of 2009? May 1, 2009 (for fall semester). Those applying after May 1 may be placed on a waiting list and considered if space is available.

    How do you keep your competitive edge? We offer the advantages of a large university (city life, more than 200 programs, topnotch faculty), but in a smaller, more personal setting that provides good value.

    What one comment do you hear over and over again about why students choose to attend your school? The wide range of academic offerings— we have more than 200 undergraduate and graduate programs.

    Would you like to add anything else? Within Minnesota’s state university system, St. Cloud State offers the only programs in meteorology, land surveying and mapping, real estate, insurance, radiologic technology and Chicano/Chicana studies. Unique master’s degree programs include applied economics, criminal justice, physical education instruction, social responsibility, exercise science, sports management and travel and tourism.
     

    720 Fourth Ave. S., St. Cloud, MN
    877-654-7278
    www.stcloudstate.edu
     


    University of Minnesota-Duluth

    Total enrollment: 11,366

    Tuition: $8,230

    How is your school distinctive? UMD is a medium-sized, comprehensive campus of a world-renown University system. 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 are your criteria for accepting applications? 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.

    What is the deadline for receiving applications for classes beginning in fall of 2009? Priority is December 15; final is August 1.

    How many applicants are there for how many open spots? Approximately 4:1

    Would you like to add anything else? 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.”

    1049 University Drive, Duluth, MN
    218-726-8000
    www.d.umn.edu
     


    University of Minnesota, Morris

    Total enrollment: 1,607

    Tuition: $8,230 (in-state and out-of-state)

    What is the deadline for receiving applications for classes beginning in fall of 2009? Priority deadline for students who want to be considered for competitive scholarships is December 15. The final application deadline is March 15.

    How do you keep your competitive edge? The University of Minnesota, Morris is student-centric and offers an environment in which meaningful relationships are developed and made for life. Also, as one of the five campuses of the University of Minnesota, students, faculty and staff have access to the resources of a world-renowned university—all on a small campus. Morris offers students personalized support in all aspects of their academic experience.

    What one comment do you hear over and over again about why students choose to attend your school? The close student-faculty interaction allows for an outstanding undergraduate experience, including research, mentoring, internships and study abroad opportunities. Students build relationships at Morris that prepare them for future success.

    Little-known fact: Ourgoal is to be energy self-sufficient and carbon neutral by 2010!

    Would you like to add anything else? Approximately 45 percent of Morris graduates seek advanced degrees. We offer 34 majors and minors and 8 pre-professional programs.

    600 East Fourth St., Morris, MN
    1-888-UMM-EDUC
    www.morris.umn.edu
     


    University of North Dakota

    Total enrollment: 12,748

    Tuition: 2008-2009 Current tuition & fees = $6,846, room and board = $5,404 (undergraduate Minnesota reciprocal rate.)

    What are your criteria for accepting applications? Students are considered for admission on the basis of a complete review of both their standardized test scores and high school cumulative grade point average. A sliding scale is used and an easy to use admission estimator can be found at www.go.und.edu.

    What, from an admissions standpoint, is the single most important way in which a student can present themselves to the school of their choice? Apply early and promptly provide the application fee of $35 along with all academic documentation (transcripts and test scores) as early in the process as possible.

    What one comment do you hear over and over again about why students choose to attend your school? Students choose to attend the University of North Dakota because of our strong academic reputation and the perceived value of a UND education – our grads get great jobs!

    Little-known fact about your school: Our graduates include an astronaut who was recently on the space station, and nationally known politicians.

    Carnegie Hall Room 100,
    250 Centennial Dr. Stop 8135
    Grand Forks, ND
    1-800-CALL-UND, www.und.edu
     


    University of St. Thomas

    Total enrollment: 10,963 (undergraduate, graduate, and law)

    Tuition: $27,328 (tuition per year 2008-2009/ 8 courses-full time each semester)

    What are your criteria for accepting applications? The University of St. Thomas conducts a holistic review of each student’s application for admission. As part of this review we carefully consider the student’s academic credentials (cumulative high school grade point average, rank in class if provided, ACT or SAT scores, the quality of the courses taken in high school, etc.) and the contributions the student has made to his/her school, community or church.

    How many applicants are there for how many open spots? We annually receive in excess of 5,000 applications for 1,300 spots in the freshman class.

    What, from an admissions standpoint, is the single most important way in which a student can present themselves to the school of their choice? At most institutions students have the opportunity to share an essay or a writing sample with the Admissions Committee. Students who take the time to share their “story” have an opportunity to make a very important impression. A great essay/writing sample along with solid academic credentials and a history of extracurricular and co-curricular activities is important.

    What one comment do you hear over and over again as to why students choose to attend your school? Students and parents appreciate many things about St. Thomas…we hear a great deal about the quality of our academic programs and the personal attention students receive from faculty and staff…we hear that students and parents know that St. Thomas is committed to them and to helping them realize their educational goals and dreams while also making certain that one day the student is employed and/or successfully enrolled in graduate school. We also hear about the success of our athletic programs, our location and the benefits it offers students for internships and access to our extensive alumni network.

     2115 Summit Ave., St. Paul, MN 651-962-5000
    www.stthomas.edu
     

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