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College review : University of Minnesota

From Vinayak, BS in Economics from University of Minnesota
I am proud to say that the University of Minnesota is one of the more complete universities that I know of. Students are in for a truly once in a lifetime experience at this Big Ten campus. What with the U inventing cheer leading and being a cutting edge research institution among other things, a student is bound to find his or her niche in the Twin Cities.

The acceptance rate at the freshman level is not too bad at 47.8%. The University of Minnesota - Twin Cities is the fourth-largest campus by enrollment with 51,853 students in 2012-2013. At the PhD level, a lot of the programs are hard to get into with several departments ranked in the top 20 by the U.S. News and World Report.

For instance, the highly regarded economics PhD program had 480 applicants for 24 spots in the entering class for Fall 2012. The average GRE scores for admitted students who took the old version were 790 on the quantitative section and 580 on the verbal. One good thing for aspiring applicants is that over 90% of admitted students were awarded financial support. International students should be pleased to note that a majority of the graduate student body is made up of foreign students.

The situation differs greatly at the undergraduate level with about 60% being Minnesota residents. There is also sizeable representation of students from neighboring states that the university has tuition reciprocity with such as Wisconsin, South Dakota, North Dakota and the Canadian province of Manitoba. A lot of in-state students receive generous financial aid packages and the out-of-state and international students pick up most of the bill. But these out-of-state residents enjoy a better chance at admission at the U because of the additional tuition dollars they bring. There is a Global Excellence scholarship program for international undergraduate students that either ensures that students pay the resident rate or 50% of the difference between non-resident and resident rates.

These scholarships are limited and despite my high school credentials being stellar (A average), I was not awarded one. It may have been my less than impressive SAT score of 1260 (out of 1600) that may have let me down. Nonetheless, I did run into quite a few foreign nationals that managed to win a Global Excellence scholarship during my time in college. The average SAT for admitted students ranges from 1168 to 1381 with the science departments namely the College of Biological Sciences and the College of Science of Engineering having the highest scores. The same trend is observed with the ACT that ranges from 24.7 to 30.6.

The median GMAT to get admitted to the full-time MBA program at the prestigious Carlson School of Management is 690 and the median GPA is 3.44 on a 4.0 scale. This is a far cry from the 3.82 GPA that admits to the PhD economics program boast of.

The one thing that is wonderful about the University of Minnesota is the great opportunities and the prime location in the Twin Cities that enabled me to get several relevant internship experiences. The Twin Cities is home to 6 Fortune 500 companies and there is always an internship opportunity available to build the necessary experience. I interned at an investment bank in downtown Minneapolis that laid the foundation for me to land a Financial Analyst position at Wells Fargo Advisors after graduating.

There are plenty of part-time jobs and most students work during college. As for international students, they could make around $8-$9 working on campus at anywhere from the University Dining Services to the University of Minnesota Police Department. Furthermore, a Freshman Job Guarantee ensures a job for you when you arrive on campus!

The U of M has a very productive student body and most students that I talked to or came across online on sites such as LinkedIn had scored at least one internship during their time in college. As for full-time jobs, there isn't much information out there regarding placement statistics for undergraduates. This is the case for most top universities across the United States. Nonetheless, the U has a stellar record in its graduate school students securing great jobs. I do agree that international students find it hard, but this is not always the case especially at the masters or PhD level. U of M alumni are doing remarkable things and bringing pride to their alma mater.

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