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Admissions Policies for Traditional Students

Admissions Policies for Traditional Students

Graduating High School Seniors and High School Graduates

Graduating high school seniors and high school graduates who wish to be admitted to the university as matriculating students must complete the following steps:

  1. file an official application form with the University of Massachusetts Lowell prior to November 1 for Early Action and February 1 for Regular Decision;
  2. request high school principals or guidance directors to forward to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions transcripts of secondary school grades;
  3. if necessary arrange to take either the College Entrance Examination Board Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or ACT exam.

Detailed information concerning the College Entrance Examination Board tests and the dates throughout the year on which they are administered may be secured from guidance counselors, or the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey 08540. Special information is provided in the following sections concerning required aptitude examinations for applicants to music programs, portfolio requirements for art majors and for satisfaction of department language requirements through the Foreign Language Achievement Tests of the College Entrance Examination Board.

UMass Lowell does offer a No Test Option for students who do not feel as if their standardized test scores are an accurate reflection of their ability to be successful in a university setting. Applicants who scored an 1120 or higher on the SAT, or 23 or higher on the ACT, are good candidates to submit standardized test scores as part of the application process.

Applicants applying under the No Test Option should have a recommended minimum GPA of 3.25 or higher and evidence of outstanding academic success throughout high school.

The responsibility for having all credentials forwarded to the University of Massachusetts Lowell rests solely with the applicant.

Admission Requirements for Graduating High School Seniors and High School Graduates

The general expectation is that applicants will present course work, which has been taken within college preparatory curricula. However, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions will evaluate the academic units of vocational technical school (Chapter 74) graduates to determine their relevance for University curricula. The ultimate judgment concerning such equivalency rests solely with the University of Massachusetts Lowell. The following pages specify prescribed high school unit requirements and other qualitative requirements for the admission of freshmen students. Applicants must satisfactorily complete prescribed units prior to enrollment. Table 1 specifies the high school unit distribution which is required for general University admission consideration.

Prescribed High School Unit Requirements

Table 1: General University Admission

Subject Required Units
English 4 courses
Mathematics 4 courses (Algebra I & II, Geometry or Trigonometry, Precalculus or Calculus or comparable coursework)
Sciences 3 courses (including 3 courses with laboratory work)
Social Sciences 2 courses (including 1 course in U.S. History)
Foreign Languages 2 courses (in a single language)
Electives 2 courses (from the above subjects or from the Arts and Humanities or Computer Sciences)

Minimum Prescribed Units  17 

Qualitative Requirements for the Admission of Freshman Students

All freshman applicants are evaluated using standards determined by both the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education and the University. Emphasis is placed upon the rigor of the high school course selection as well as scores on standardized tests (if applicable); letters of recommendation, essays and extracurricular activities are also considered during the evaluation of applications.

Entering freshmen in Fall 2019 had an average GPA 3.60 and an average combined Critical Reading and Math SAT score of 1235 (ACT equivalent 26).

Admissions Standards

All applicants are evaluated using standards determined by both the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education and the university. Each new admissions cycle, these standards are proposed by the Dean of Enrollment and the Director of Undergraduate Admissions with final approval made by the Provost. Admissions standards are based on admission and yield rates of the previous fall’s incoming freshman class, retention rates of the previous fall’s incoming freshman class and overall university enrollment goals.

Admissions counselors and policy makers are sensitive to the factors that may result in accomplished students having a lower-than-expected GPA or SAT/ACT score. The applications of students who do not meet the standards, but who demonstrate the potential to be successful at UMass Lowell, are reviewed on a case by case basis.

English Language Learners

An English language learner, or limited English proficient student, is defined as a student who does not speak English (or whose native language is not English) and is not currently able to perform ordinary classroom work in English, or a student who was identified as an English language learner or limited English proficient student at any point during their high school career. Students who were English language learners during high school must complete all required high school level academic courses with two exceptions: 

  1. They may substitute up to two academic electives based on the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for the two required foreign language courses; and 
  2. They may substitute up to two years of English as a Second Language courses for English courses.  

Students who do not meet the DHE exceptions may be reviewed by the English Proficiency Committee to determine ability to succeed in the classroom.  The EPC considers essays, letters of recommendation, general coursework, and grades to determine proficiency.  Students can be admitted through this committee or the committee can recommend students complete TOEFL, IELTS, Pearson Versant, or the UMass Lowell English Proficiency exam to determine proficiency in English.

Music Aptitude and Proficiency Examinations, College of Fine Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Students who wish to apply for music programs are required to demonstrate vocal or instrumental ability in a performance audition with a member of the faculty of the College of Fine Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences. In addition to prepared audition materials, applicants will take a diagnostic theory exam. This exam will not be factored into acceptance into the major. Performance auditions and theory testing are scheduled throughout the spring semester. Applicants will be invited to take these special music tests at the university when all credentials have been evaluated by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and the applicant has applied to the university.

Art Portfolio Requirements, College of Fine Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Students who wish to apply for the university’s art and design programs are required to demonstrate a student’s independent thought and the diversity of their experience in visual arts. The portfolio should consist of 10 original works of art. The portfolio must be submitted through Slideroom as part of an applicant’s supporting document.