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Michigan State University Application Essay

Submit an application

The fall 2018 application opened on August 15, 2017. Prospective freshman students should submit an online application as soon as possible in their senior year of high school and by November 1 for maximum scholarship consideration. If you prefer, MSU also has an application available on the Coalition Application. 

Start your application now.


Personal Statements

As part of the undergraduate application for admission, each applicant is required to submit a 200-word personal statement on each of the two designated topics. The statements may be considered as a positive factor to enhance admissibility as well as for scholarship consideration. These are the personal statement topics on the 2018 application for admission:

  1. Describe a difficult or challenging situation you have faced. Briefly state the situation, how you responded and why, would you have done anything differently, did you turn to anyone for help, and if so for advice, consultation, assistance, and/or encouragement?
  2. Briefly describe a situation where you or someone close to you was not treated fairly. What did you do at the time and why, would you do anything differently, has it impacted or changed who you are today?

Send your test scores

All freshman applicants must submit testing scores from either ACT or SAT. The writing portion is recommended, but not required. Test scores must be sent directly to MSU from the testing agency. The ACT code is 2032; the SAT code is 1465.

Michigan State considers the highest total SAT or composite ACT score on file. There is no disadvantage in sending multiple test scores to the Office of Admissions since the lower test scores are disregarded. MSU does not combine subscores from different sittings of the SAT or ACT to make a "best" total or composite score.


Send your transcripts

Have your official high school transcript(s) sent electronically to MSU by your high school through an electronic delivery service such as Docufide, Naviance or E Scrip-Safe. Schools that do not have access to these services may send official paper documents via U.S. mail to the Office of Admissions.


Apply now

Once you’re ready to apply, this is where it all begins. 

Online applicants create a password and are issued an applicant ID. This enables you to save your application and submit it when you are ready. The $65 application fee (or application fee waiver if you are eligible) is required to officially submit your application for admission.


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 Michigan State is 66%. For every 100 applicants, 66 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 Michigan State is 3.68.

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

With a GPA of 3.68, Michigan State 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 3.68, 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 Michigan State. More importantly, you need to do well to have a strong application.

Michigan State 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: 1190 (Old: 1651)

The average SAT score composite at Michigan State is a 1190 on the 1600 SAT scale.

On the old 2400 SAT, this corresponds to an average SAT score of 1651.

This score makes Michigan State Competitive for SAT test scores.


Michigan State SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)

The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1050, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1310. In other words, a 1050 on the New SAT places you below average, while a 1310 will move you up to above average.

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

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile
Math620560710
Reading282531
Writing292732
Composite119010501310

Michigan State SAT Score Analysis (Old 2400 SAT)

The 25th percentile Old SAT score is 1440, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 1840. In other words, a 1440 on the Old SAT places you below average, while a 1840 puts you well above average.

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

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile
Math607530680
Reading522450580
Writing522460580
Composite165114401840

SAT Score Choice Policy

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


Michigan State ACT Requirements

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

Average ACT: 26

The average ACT score at Michigan State is 26. This score makes Michigan State Moderately Competitive for ACT scores.

The 25th percentile ACT score is 23, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 28.

Even though Michigan State likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 23 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 26 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 Michigan State, so you should prep until you reach our recommended target ACT score of 26.


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SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements

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

Michigan State requires you to take the SAT/ACT Writing section. They'll use this as another factor in their admissions consideration.


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 Michigan State 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.