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How to apply

Freshman application checklist

Here are the main things you need to have prepared to complete your application:

The $65 application fee (or application fee waiver, if you are eligible) is required to officially submit your application for admission.

Have your official transcript(s) sent directly from each school or institution attended to MSU. This includes all your high school transcripts as well as transcripts from any dual enrollment or early/middle college programs. These can be sent through online services or by U.S. mail.

U.S. mail:
Office of Admissions
Hannah Administration Building
426 Auditorium Road, Room 250
East Lansing, MI 48824-2604

As a freshman you do not have to officially declare your major yet, however you will be asked to select your major preference on the application. If you are undecided, select the "Exploratory preference" option.

Changing your major preference
After submitting the application, fall freshman applicants have until May 1 to change their major preference in their account. Any student who applies, or is admitted, after May 1 cannot change their major preference until they meet with an academic adviser at New Student Orientation (NSO).

If you anticipate the completion of any college-level course work prior to attending MSU, it is recommended that you indicate this on your application or contact the Office of Admissions to let us know.

As part of the undergraduate application for admission, each applicant is required to submit one essay (minimum 250 words, maximum 650 words) from the list of prompts. The essay may be considered as a positive factor to enhance admissibility, as well as for scholarship consideration.

Here are the essay prompts for the 2022 application for admission:

  1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  4. Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
  5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
MSU does not require letters of recommendation as part of the application for admission.

Application validity

Applications are valid for one year beyond the semester for which the application is submitted. It is not necessary to submit a new application or application fee during this period. To be considered for an alternate semester, you can change your semester in your account.


Home school applicants

MSU welcomes home school applicants and reviews each application using the same admission criteria used for traditional high school students. Home school students are required to submit all of the application materials listed above, including a transcript. Although the transcript of a home school student may be different than that of a traditional high school student, it should list all courses (including those in progress) from ninth to 12th grade and the time frame (year and semester) of each course. In addition, an assessment of performance (a letter grade, percentage, etc.) is needed. Occasionally, home school applicants are asked to submit additional information describing curriculum or texts used.


Early/middle college applicants

MSU welcomes applications from students in early/middle college programs. Early/middle college students should apply as freshmen if they plan to attend MSU immediately after receiving a high school diploma. This includes students who receive a high school diploma at the same time as an associate degree. Early/middle college students are reviewed the same as other freshman applicants and are eligible for freshman scholarships. Tuition and financial aid can be affected by the number of credits transferred.

Early/middle college students are encouraged to use transfer.msu.edu to identify courses that may transfer to MSU.

Early/middle college students who have completed college course work must submit an official college transcript for credit consideration. In order to be official, transcripts must be sent directly from the school or institution attended to MSU via U.S. mail or online.

U.S. mail to:
Office of Admissions
Hannah Administration Building
426 Auditorium Road, Room 250
East Lansing, MI 48824-2604

Early/middle college applicants planning to transfer 42 or more completed credits to MSU are required to select a major. The majors of exploratory preference, pre-nursing and pre-veterinary cannot be chosen. Many majors at MSU have additional admission requirements. Applicants to these restricted majors should review the additional requirements carefully before applying.


Start Your Application

There are three ways to apply to MSU. Select the option that is right for you, but only submit one application for admission. MSU has no preference for which type of application you submit.

MSU application

Apply through MSU.

Get started

Common App

Apply through the Common App.

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Coalition for College

Apply through the Coalition application.

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Dates and deadlines