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USM Admissions Requirements

While the exact admissions requirements forUSM logo University System of Maryland (USM) schools vary from school to school, there are some core classes that applicants to all USM schools are advised to take in high school:

English: 4 years of English composition and literature

Social Science and History: At least 3 years

Biological and Natural Sciences: 3 years. Courses completed must be in 2 different subject areas, and 2 must include laboratory experience. For students interested in science-oriented careers, 4 years of science are recommended in 3 different science areas, with 3 laboratory experiences

Mathematics: 4 years, including: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Trigonometry, Statistics, Pre-Calculus, Calculus                                                         

Language (other than English): 2 years of the same language. American Sign Language is accepted

You can get on track to fulfill these requirements by following these grade-by-grade recommendations:

6th & 7th Grades

Talk to your school counselor about courses that will prepare you for college.

Take English.

Take Mathematics, such as Pre-Algebra.

Develop good study habits, maintain a good attendance record, and work to earn good grades.

Develop your talents and leadership skills by getting involved in clubs, teams, or volunteer service.

8th Grade

Take Pre-Algebra or Algebra I.

Take English and begin studying a language other than English.

Register to take the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test) in October. Remember, you will have a chance to retake the test in the 9th and 10th grades. Learn more at www.collegeboard.com.

Master the study skills and work habits that you need to be successful in high school and college.

9th Grade

Take courses to prepare for college-level study: 

o English 

o Algebra I or Geometry

o Biological and Natural Sciences

o Social Science and History

o Foreign languages

Take elective courses that meet USM’s admission standards.

Register to take the PSAT in October. Learn more at www.collegeboard.com.

Earn good grades, keep up your good study habits, and stay on top of homework.

10th Grade

Take Geometry or Algebra II.

Take other courses that prepare you for college-level study.

Register to take the PSAT or ACT PLAN (ACT’s college readiness assessment test) in October. Learn more about ACT PLAN at www.act.org/plan.

April: Register to take the SAT II subject tests. Learn more at www.collegeboard.com.

Earn good grades, keep up your good study habits, and stay on top of homework.

11th Grade

Attend college information programs, browse college web sites, and visit college campuses.

Review with your guidance counselor the classes you need to take to be considered for admission to USM universities, including Algebra II and English with emphasis on writing and critical reading.

Take Algebra II or an advanced math course, such as Trigonometry, Statistics, Pre-Calculus, or Calculus. 

Register for the SAT (www.collegeboard.com) or the ACT (www.act.org) a month before the exam. If you take the exam in the spring or summer, you will get the results in time to see if you need to retake it in the fall. Some USM universities require you to take the SAT by October of your senior year.

12th Grade

Take English and other courses that prepare you for college-level study. Advanced math courses such as Trigonometry, Statistics, or Calculus are recommended.  Beginning with students entering ninth grade in 2011, a fourth year of math − Algebra II or an advanced math course − in the senior year is required.

Early September: Register for the October SAT (www.collegeboard.com) or ACT (www.act.org).

October-November: Submit your college applications. Early application deadline for most USM universities is November 1. Final application deadlines run February 1 to April 1. Check with the colleges to which you apply.

Apply for scholarships. Check with your guidance counselor for information. 

Early November: Register for the December SAT (www.collegeboard.com) or ACT (www.act.org) if you are retaking the exam.

January-March: Apply for financial aid.

Late Spring: Students taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Should register to take the AP exams in the spring.


Get more tips on how to stay on track to attend a USM school.

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