Msu Application Essay Prompt 2014

Admission Application for MSU Students

The admission application for the MSU Teacher Preparation Program is now CLOSED. The application is open each fall and will reopen this year on Tuesday, September 4, 2018. The information below is for the Fall 2017 application process. Please watch this site for updated information about the Fall 2018 application process, which may differ. Thank you!


Information important for successfully completing the application process is contained here. Please print this information so you will have ready access to instructions as you proceed. You will be asked to indicate that you have read and printed the instructions before proceeding with the application.

Criteria for admission to the teacher preparation program include:

  • Academic accomplishments and promise
  • Commitment to teaching and dispositions that support learning to teach
  • Disposition to teach students of all races and ethnicities, students in poverty, students in urban settings and students with special needs
  • A contribution to the diversity of the program


The undergraduate application process is intended for MSU undergraduates who (1) are currently enrolled; (2) will have earned at least 28 credits by the end of Fall Semester 2017; (3) have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 at the end of Fall Semester 2017; (4) have demonstrated (or will demonstrate during the 2017 Fall Semester) basic skills in Reading, Mathematics and Writing using a test approved by the Michigan Department of Education (see detailed information below); (5) have successfully completed any developmental coursework required in mathematics and/or writing (e.g., MTH 1825, WRA 1004); and (6) wish to be considered for admission to the teacher preparation program in Spring Semester 2018.

Applicants should understand that meeting minimum requirements makes their complete application eligible for consideration. It does not guarantee admission. Each application receives a thorough and holistic review by several evaluators. Essay fees and test registration fees cannot be refunded to students who are not admitted to the program. Applicants who apply more than once must submit a new essay with each application.

Test Scores Required for Admission

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) requires that all teacher candidates demonstrate basic skills in reading, writing and mathematics.

The MDE will accept passing scores on the MTTC Professional Readiness Exam (PRE), the ACT (if taken before 9/23/17) and the "new" SAT (if taken on or after 3/5/16) for this purpose. If you have already taken the PRE, the ACT, or the new SAT and have scores that are considered passing, you have met the testing requirement. If your scores do not meet the passing criteria established by MDE, you will need to take or retake the SAT. Although PRE scores and ACT scores from before 9/23/17 are acceptable, SAT is the only test that can be taken after 9/23/17. Passing SAT scores may be combined with passing PRE scores and passing ACT scores until October 1, 2025 (only ACT scores from test administrations before 9/23/17 are acceptable). If you have taken the PRE, ACT or SAT more than once, we will use your best score in each subarea across multiple test dates.

SAT scores required for admission are:

  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 480 or higher
  • Mathematics: 530 or higher

ACT scores (from tests administered before 9/23/17) required for admission are 22 or better on the Reading, Mathematics and English + Writing subtests. 

Although the MDE requires an ACT score of 22 in English + Writing, ACT no longer offers an English + Writing subtest. Effective September 1, 2015, the ACT English + Writing subtest was replaced by a new ACT Writing subtest. A score of 22 or higher on an ACT English + Writing subtest taken prior to September 2015 is still acceptable. A score from the new ACT Writing subtest (taken September 2015 or later) can be combined with your best ACT English score using the ACT Writing/English Combined Score table and several simple steps:

  1. If you took the ACT Writing test between 9/1/2015 and 9/1/2016, you will need to convert your ACT Writing subscore to a “concordant value” using the two horizontal rows at the top of the table. Find your ACT Writing subscore in the top (green) row and convert it to the concordant value in the (gold) row below it. If you took the ACT Writing test on or after 9/1/2016, you may skip this step.  
  2. Combine your best ACT English score in the vertical column on the left with your ACT Writing score taken after 9/1/2015. If your combined score lies in the area highlighted in green, your score is 22 or greater and acceptable for admission. If your combined score lies in the area highlighted in red, it is less than 22 and does not qualify for admission to the teacher preparation program.

For applicants who have passed two subtests on the PRE and/or ACT (e.g., for those who have passed two PRE subtests, have passed two ACT subtests, or have passed one PRE subtest and one ACT subtest), a scaled PRE score within -1 Standard Error of Measurement (SEM) of the PRE passing scaled score (220) may substitute for a pass in the third area. SAT scores (or MTTC Basic Skills scores) may not be combined with PRE subtests or ACT scores for this purpose. Minimally acceptable scores (within -1 SEM of the passing score) for each test administration have been posted on the MTTC website. Generally speaking, scores within -1 SEM of the passing scaled score (220) are:  193-200 (depending on the test administration) for Reading, 196-198 (depending on the test administration) for Mathematics, and 197-202 (depending on the test administration) for Writing.

In Summary:

  1. The final administration of the MTTC PRE was on 9/23/17. PRE results will always be valid (as will the results of an earlier test, the MTTC Basic Skills Test).

  2. ACT scores must be based on test administration dates before 9/23/17. ACT scores and PRE -1 SEM scores from test administrations before 9/23/17 will be valid until 10/1/2025.

  3. On October 1, 2025, ACT scores and PRE -1 SEM scores will no longer be acceptable as alternate pass measures, even if the test administration was on or before 9/23/17.

  4. For students who do not meet minimum test scores for either the ACT or PRE based on tests taken prior to or on 9/23/17, the only acceptable test (after 9/23/17) is the new SAT test (administered 3/5/16 or later). Acceptable scores are 480 or higher on Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and 530 or higher on Mathematics. Applicants must take the entire SAT. Taking only portions of the SAT will make it impossible for us to use the results for admission to the teacher preparation program. This point bears repeating. Applicants must take the entire SAT if the results are to be used for admission to the teacher preparation program. Taking the additional Writing test is not necessary.

  5. Until October 1, 2025, scores on SAT subtests may be combined with scores on ACT subtests and PRE subtests.

Additional Assistance

If you need to improve your SAT scores, you will find free test preparation information and materials on the College Board SAT website. Tutoring and test preparation support is also available in the college. To access that service, please follow these steps.

  1. Go to the College Board SAT website and download the following materials: SAT Practice Test 8, SAT Practice Test Answer Sheet, Scoring Your SAT Practice Test 8 and SAT Practice Test 8 Answer Explanations.
  2. After you have completed SAT Practice Test 8 and reviewed your scores, please call the Student Advising Office (517 353 9680) for scheduling information.
  3. You must bring your completed version of SAT Practice Test 8 when you visit the tutor for help. The tutor will use the practice test as a diagnostic tool. This service is free.

Using Your Scores to Apply for Admission to the Teacher Preparation Program

Before students can be admitted to the teacher preparation program, MSU must receive official notification that they have demonstrated basic skills in reading, mathematics and writing. Applicants who are registered to take/retake a test, but have not yet taken it, may apply; however, they cannot be admitted until official, passing results have been received.

For students in our current applicant pool, we will apply alternative pass measures automatically (i.e., it is not necessary for applicants to request this). However, we cannot speculate or advise students who are not in our current applicant pool about their scores, as we are unable to predict what MDE policies will be in effect if/when they apply for admission in the future.

Deadlines for Taking the ACT, PRE or SAT in the Current Admission Cycle

  • The last opportunity to take the ACT was September 9, 2017.
  • The last opportunity to take the PRE was September 23, 2017.
  • For admission to the teacher preparation program in 2018, the last opportunity to take and pass the SAT is December 2, 2017.

There can be no exceptions to these deadlines, so students should plan carefully.

Online Application

The undergraduate application is open only during the fall semester. This year, the application is available beginning September 5, 2017. The applicant's application is permanently closed when the applicant's timed and proctored essay is submitted from the testing center (see below). You will need Adobe PDF Viewer to access the online application and the additional paper materials that may be required (see below).

After logging on to the application from your MSU email account, a unique password will be sent to your MSU email address. The password is necessary to complete the application process, so please treat it carefully.

Timed and Proctored Essay

As part of the online application, all applicants must write a timed and proctored essay at a testing site on campus (view a sample essay question, sample essay answer and essay scoring guide).

At the end of the online application, you will have an opportunity to select a time and date to write the essay.

Test dates for 2017:

  • Saturday, December 2, 2017
  • Saturday, December 9, 2017
  • Sunday, December 10, 2017

You must arrange your schedule to be available on one of the test dates. If you must schedule an essay after the last test date, you will be charged a $40 late fee by the MSU Testing Center. At the end of the online application, please reserve a seat in one of the essay sessions. If you postpone making a reservation, you may find that your preferred session is full. Scheduling the essay requires online payment of a $20.00 essay fee using a credit card or electronic check. After you have reserved space in a session, you will receive an email message confirming the date, time and location. Please print and keep that information so you know where and when to write your essay.

Reserving an essay session and closing your application will not prevent you from re-entering the application at a later time to make changes; however, once you have written the essay your application will be closed. Your essay will be electronically loaded into your application from the testing site, and your application will be complete at that time. You will not be able to re-enter your application after you have written your essay.

You may reserve a seat in an essay session until eight hours before the session begins. If you miss your scheduled session, you will be able to re-enter your application and reschedule if there are seats available in other sessions at that time. If all sessions are full, please check again. It is possible that additional sessions on one of the three test dates may be opened.

You will not be allowed to write an essay without (1) picture identification, (2) your application login and application password and (3) your essay fee receipt. You must bring these items with you to the testing site.

Please arrive at the assigned testing site on the correct date at least 20 minutes early. You will need this time to receive instructions and complete pre-test paperwork. You will not be permitted to enter the session late. Do not bring a dictionary, thesaurus, backpack, books, computer disk, computer software, food or drink to the testing site. You will be given one hour to complete the essay using word-processing software. You will not be permitted to print or save copies of your essay, except as directed at the testing site. Software used to detect cheating is applied to all essays. Evidence of plagiarism, cheating or falsification will result in denial of admission. Essays that do not directly address the essay prompt will not be considered (view sample).

Acceleration Grids

Applicants who have earned 56 or more credits (junior standing) before the beginning of Fall Semester 2017 and who plan to graduate and meet all internship requirements by Spring or Summer 2019, should complete an Elementary or Secondary Acceleration Grid (see below). Other applicants are not eligible to accelerate. Please complete as much of your Acceleration Grid as possible, and then meet with your major advisor to discuss it. Your major advisor must sign the form. Additional instructions are provided on the Acceleration Grids. You will not be eligible to accelerate your program if you do not submit a signed Acceleration Grid before the deadline.

UECP and GECP Students

Students admitted to UECP and GECP are required to meet all admission requirements. However, they are not required to complete the entire application for admission to the teacher preparation program. In the online application, they are required to complete only the Personal Information and Application pages. They are not required to write an essay or answer questions about their experiences with children/youth or diversity. Cohort students who are denied admission as sophomores must complete the full application (including the essay) if they decide to reapply the following year. Cohort students applying for the special education major, the elementary mathematics teaching major, and/or to accelerate their programs must submit additional materials (see below).

Applying for the Elementary Mathematics Teaching Major

In addition to meeting minimum requirements for admission to the teacher preparation program, admission to the elementary mathematics teaching major is competitive and requires submission of the Supplemental Application for Admission to the Elementary Mathematics Teaching Major before 5:00 PM on Friday, December 15, 2017 (see link below). Applicants will receive decisions about admission to the teacher preparation program the week before spring break. However, decisions about admission to the mathematics teaching major are made and communicated before the beginning of spring semester so students can adjust their spring semester schedules accordingly. Therefore, applicants who do not submit the supplemental application and required transcripts before the December 15 deadline, or who are not fully admissible to the teacher preparation program on January 3, 2018 cannot be considered for immediate admission to the elementary mathematics teaching major. Please follow the instructions on the supplemental application.

The Application Package

A complete application package includes the following items. Incomplete applications will not be processed. Paper materials must be submitted in a single package to 134 Erickson before 5:00 p.m. on December 15, 2017:
  • A complete online application, including the timed and proctored essay
  • Official passing scores on the ACT (taken before 9/23/17), MTTC Professional Readiness Exam (PRE) and/or SAT (taken post 3/5/16)
  • Acceleration Grid (Elementary) (only for students who already have at least 56 credits)
  • Acceleration Grid (Secondary) (only for students who already have at least 56 credits)
  • Students applying for admission to the Special Education major must complete a pre-admission experience and submit documentation to 134 Erickson Hall before the end of the first week of Spring Semester 2018:  Special Education Pre-Admission Experience
  • Students applying for admission to the elementary mathematics teaching major must submit the Supplemental Application for Admission to the Elementary Mathematics Teaching Major. This is the only elementary teaching major that is space-limited and requires a separate admission decision. Applicants who are not fully admissible to the teacher preparation program on January 3, 2018 or who did not submit the supplemental application and required transcripts before the December 15 deadline cannot be considered for admission to the elementary mathematics teaching major.


The application is open during the fall semester of each year. Undergraduates are not admitted at other times of the year. All materials, including acceleration grids, applications for the elementary mathematics teaching major and other documents, are due before 5:00 p.m. on December 15, 2017. Please note that other materials are required during the admission process (e.g., after admission decisions have been communicated, students are required to return a Reply Form before an established deadline). Under extreme circumstances, it is possible that materials may be accepted late. However, when that occurs late fees will be applied.

Thinking of either the University of Michigan or Michigan State as an option for college?  Read on.  Despite the fact that I call Ann Arbor home (and for complete disclosure, I have a BA and MSW from the University of Michigan,) I am also a fan of Michigan State as an excellent option for college.  For example, recently I tried some delicious chocolate by a company named Bon Bon Bon, made in Hamtramack by Michigan State graduate Alexandra Clark.  It’s not just amazing or disastrous football games (depending on your view) that brings University of Michigan and Michigan State together.  Alexandra has brought her Michigan State skills to Ann Arbor, selling her brilliantly packaged goodies at the site of the old Jerusalem Garden restaurant on 5th Avenue.

With that sweet beginning, let’s move on to another way that University of Michigan and Michigan State might get together:  in this article. Recently I interviewed Michigan State Director of Admissions Jim W. Cotter and University of Michigan Interim Director of Admissions Erica Sanders, to learn the answer to some questions high school seniors and their parents might be asking right now. Read on to find their college application advice.


  1. What are your most asked questions from parents?  

University of Michigan Interim Director of Admissions Erica Sanders:

This varies based upon the age of their student.  Earlier on in their career parents focus on summer programs and how to explore interests.  As their students move closer to senior year, emphasis on admissions criteria, financial aid/ scholarships and career services becomes a bigger influence.




Michigan State Director of Admissions Jim W. Cotter:

Jim Cotter, MSU.

Cost—they ask what is appropriate debt load and who should take debt on — student or parent? This has to be an individual discussion within a family—a family must have that discussion prior to enrollment. I personally think that the student needs to take some responsibility—even if the parent can pay for everything. Research has shown that a student who works during his or her freshmen year has a higher GPA.


  1. What are the biggest problems that students have when completing their application?  

University of Michigan: The essays continue to be the place where students struggle because it provides the most opportunity for self expression.

Michigan State: Students have a hard time grasping income and don’t understand first generation. Students take the personal essay seriously and I’m concerned about sanitizing the personal statement. We aren’t so concerned about the structure as much as what they bring to the table. We want to hear the student’s voice. The senior year is most important as a year of transition.

  1. Is it possible to be a 3.9 or 4.0 student and not get admitted to your school?  

University of Michigan: – Yes, challenge to the high school curriculum based upon what is available to the student is very much a strong influence.  In addition, preparation for the School or College to which the student has applied (e.g. the student is applying for engineering but has minimal math/science course work completed) and fit/ interest in the university overall are key as well.

Michigan State: Is it possible to be a 3.9 or 4.0 student and not get in? It would be hard for them not to. We ask criminal conduct and academic integrity questions, and those are integral. High grades are particularly important for the honors college and scholarships.

4  Any other deadlines to be aware of other than those below?

University of Michigan

Complete application and materials — postmarked by November 1 Early Action ONLY.  Please note, Architecture and Music, Theater And Dance do not offer the Early Action option.  Also, Test Scores MUST be received by November 1st, NOT ordered.
Early Action decision release — no later than December 24
Final equal consideration deadline — February 1  —DEC 1st for Music Theater and Dance

Michigan State

The year of college applications is like the four quarters of a football game:

Quarter 1: Aug. Sept. and Oct. — Prime time to apply

Quarter 2: Nov, Dec. and Jan. — Students should send in their FAFSA

Quarter 3: February, March and April — Decide where to attend

Quarter 4: May, June and July –Freshman orientation and transition to college

One more bit of college application advice: Remember, whether you Go Blue or Go Green, enjoy the opportunity to Go to College!

Related blog: How is a College Application Essay Different from a High School Essay?

Advice from Jim Cotter on MSU site: Information for Parents and Families

[Need more assistance with writing your story or your college application essay?  Would you like to work with an award-winning writer who helps businesses, authors and students tell their story in a compelling, meaningful way?  Write Debbie Merion: ]


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