Umbc Application Essay Questions

International Freshmen (First-time University Study)

Students who have completed their high school or secondary education and who have not yet begun studies at the university level should apply to UMBC for freshman admission. U.S. citizens or permanent residents should follow the instructions below, but do not need to provide financial support documentation. Students currently on an F-1 visa or planning to apply for an F-1 student visa to attend UMBC should complete all of the following steps.

Application Requirements

Admission to UMBC is quite competitive. We are looking for students who are academically well prepared and serious about their education. Students must have strong English language skills and have a good understanding of the challenges and excitement that living in a new culture can bring.

You must have a high school diploma or its equivalent and have strong marks. Other criteria may be considered as appropriate. Freshmen who wish to be considered for merit scholarships must sit for the SAT. Otherwise, students educated overseas do not need to sit for the SAT.

Please submit an official or attested copy of your secondary school academic record showing courses and grades received; mark sheets; examination results; and/or leaving results, as appropriate for the country's educational system. All documents must be translated to English. Translations must be as literal as possible, with no attempt to translate information into the U.S. educational system.

Candidates for freshman admission must submit the following:

  1. A completed UMBC Undergraduate Admissions Application
    Apply Online
  2. A $50 nonrefundable application fee.
  3. An official or attested copy of your current high school transcript/academic record including an English translation.
  4. Official results of completion of state/national secondary school examinations.
  5. For scholarship consideration, official SAT scores forwarded to UMBC by the Educational Testing Service or official ACT scores sent by ACT. (The UMBC College Board code is 5835, and UMBC’s ACT code is 1751.)
  6. A final high school transcript/leaving certificate upon completion of your senior year.
  7. All non-native English speakers must submit official test scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language System (IELTS).
    Score Recommended for Admission:
    • TOEFL (Internet Based): 80
    • IELTS: 6.5
    • SAT Evidence-Based Reading Writing section: 500
  8. Results will be reported to UMBC by indicating our code, UMBC R-5835.

For IELTS examination dates and information visit ielts.org.


Integrity is a value at UMBC. As such, applicants are expected to represent their self in the most true and accurate way. Learn more about academic integrity at UMBC.

Students Applying for an F-1 Visa Must Submit the Following Documents:

  • A photocopy of your passport.
  • Funding Documents:
    • A letter of support (you may use the form provided) from your parents or financial sponsor to the effect that he or she is willing and able to provide U.S.$39,363 for each year of study;
    • A bank statement that verifies that the individual(s) providing your support has the U.S. $39,363 on deposit.
  • TOEFL or IELTS results for English proficiency (required for non-native English speakers).
  • Photocopies of both your current visa I-20 form and your I-94 form (for students currently studying in the U.S.).

If you want to get in, the first thing to look at is the acceptance rate. This tells you how competitive the school is and how serious their requirements are.

The acceptance rate at UMBC is 59%. For every 100 applicants, 59 are admitted.

This means the school is moderately selective. The school expects you to meet their requirements for GPA and SAT/ACT scores, but they're more flexible than other schools. If you exceed their requirements, you have an excellent chance of getting in. But if you don't, you might be one of the unlucky minority that gets a rejection letter.

Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected.

The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need for a real chance of getting in. For this, we look at the school's average GPA for its current students.

The average GPA at UMBC is 3.73.

(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA.

With a GPA of 3.73, UMBC requires you to be above average in your high school class. You'll need at least a mix of A's and B's, with more A's than B's. You can compensate for a lower GPA with harder classes, like AP or IB classes. This will show that you're able to handle more difficult academics than the average high school student.

If you're currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 3.73, you'll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate. This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.

Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. Most schools require the SAT or ACT, and many also require SAT subject tests.

You must take either the SAT or ACT to submit an application to UMBC. More importantly, you need to do well to have a strong application.

UMBC SAT Requirements

Many schools say they have no SAT score cutoff, but the truth is that there is a hidden SAT requirement. This is based on the school's average score.

Average SAT: 1280 (Old: 1792)

The average SAT score composite at UMBC is a 1280 on the 1600 SAT scale.

On the old 2400 SAT, this corresponds to an average SAT score of 1792.

This score makes UMBC Competitive for SAT test scores.


UMBC SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)

The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1180, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1370. In other words, a 1180 on the New SAT places you below average, while a 1370 will move you up to above average.

Here's the breakdown of new SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile
Math630590700
Reading322934
Writing323034
Composite128011801370

UMBC SAT Score Analysis (Old 2400 SAT)

The 25th percentile Old SAT score is 1640, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 1940. In other words, a 1640 on the Old SAT places you below average, while a 1940 puts you well above average.

Here's the breakdown of old SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile
Math617570670
Reading593540640
Writing582530630
Composite179216401940

SAT Score Choice Policy

The Score Choice policy at your school is an important part of your testing strategy.

UMBC has the Score Choice policy of "Highest Section."

This is also known as "superscoring." This means that you can choose which SAT tests you want to send to the school. Of all the scores they receive, your application readers will consider your highest section scores across all SAT test dates you submit.

Click below to learn more about how superscoring critically affects your test strategy.

How does superscoring change your test strategy? (Click to Learn)

For example, say you submit the following 3 test scores:

SectionR+WMathComposite
Test 17003001000
Test 23007001000
Test 3300300600
Superscore7007001400

Even though the highest total you scored on any one test date was 1000, UMBC will take your highest section score from all your test dates, then combine them to form your Superscore. You can raise your composite score from 1000 to 1400 in this example.

This is important for your testing strategy. Because you can choose which tests to send in, and UMBC forms your Superscore, you can take the SAT as many times as you want, then submit only the tests that give you the highest Superscore. Your application readers will only see that one score.

Therefore, if your SAT superscore is currently below a 1280, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the SAT and retaking it. You have a very good chance of raising your score, which will significantly boost your chances of getting in.

Even better, because of the Superscore, you can focus all your energy on a single section at a time. If your Reading score is lower than your other sections, prep only for the Reading section, then take the SAT. Then focus on Math for the next test, and so on. This will surely give you the highest Superscore possible.


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UMBC ACT Requirements

Just like for the SAT, UMBC likely doesn't have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.

Average ACT: 27

The average ACT score at UMBC is 27. This score makes UMBC Moderately Competitive for ACT scores.

The 25th percentile ACT score is 24, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 29.

Even though UMBC likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 24 or below, you'll have a harder time getting in, unless you have something else impressive in your application.

ACT Score Sending Policy

If you're taking the ACT as opposed to the SAT, you have a huge advantage in how you send scores, and this dramatically affects your testing strategy.

Here it is: when you send ACT scores to colleges, you have absolute control over which tests you send. You could take 10 tests, and only send your highest one. This is unlike the SAT, where many schools require you to send all your tests ever taken.

This means that you have more chances than you think to improve your ACT score. To try to aim for the school's ACT requirement of 27 and above, you should try to take the ACT as many times as you can. When you have the final score that you're happy with, you can then send only that score to all your schools.

ACT Superscore Policy

By and large, most colleges do not superscore the ACT. (Superscore means that the school takes your best section scores from all the test dates you submit, and then combines them into the best possible composite score). Thus, most schools will just take your highest ACT score from a single sitting.

We weren't able to find the school's exact ACT policy, which most likely means that it does not Superscore. Regardless, you can choose your single best ACT score to send in to UMBC, so you should prep until you reach our recommended target ACT score of 27.


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SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements

Both the SAT and ACT have a Writing section that includes an essay.

UMBC considers the SAT/ACT Writing section optional and may not include it as part of their admissions consideration. You don't need to worry too much about Writing for this school, but other schools you're applying to may require it.


SAT Subject Test Requirements

Schools vary in their SAT subject test requirements. Typically, selective schools tend to require them, while most schools in the country do not.

We did not find information that UMBC requires SAT subject tests, and so most likely it does not. At least 6 months before applying, you should still doublecheck just to make sure, so you have enough time to take the test.



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