Prior to the turn of the new millennium, the University of Maryland welcomed 75% of the applicant pool into the Terrapin family. In recent years, the UMD acceptance rate has been as low as 44% and the number of applicants has more than doubled since the end of the Clinton Presidency. A generation ago, many Maryland freshmen possessed solid-but-unspectacular academic credentials; in 2021, first-year Terrapins sport a median SAT score of 1375 and an average weighted GPA of over 4.3. Yes…it’s really THAT competitive.

Given this sharp rise in selectivity, the intent of this article is to give those considering applying to the University of Maryland:

1) An understanding of what you are up against.

2) More data on which to accurately assess your chances of admission.

3) Advice for how to get your application to the University of Maryland stand out, even against other superb applicants.

To accomplish these goals we will touch on the following topics:

  • University of Maryland’s Early Action acceptance rate
  • University of Maryland’s Class of 2024 acceptance rate
  • SAT, GPA, and class rank of accepted University of Maryland applicants
  • Admissions trends from the Class of 2024
  • University of Maryland’s system for rating applicants
  • A look at the demographics of current University of Maryland undergraduates
  • The percent of accepted students that attend the University of Maryland (yield rate)
  • Tips for applying to the University of Maryland
  • UMD Supplemental Essay Advice
  • How to assess whether applying to the University of Maryland is even worth the $75 application fee (for you)

Let’s begin with an examination of the most recent admissions data.

University of Maryland Early Action Acceptance Rate

Based on the most recent data available, applying to the University of Maryland during the Early Action round is almost a requirement. The Class of 2023 saw 59.4% of EA applicants accepted and just 4% (not a typo) of Regular Decision applicants achieving the same positive result. A stunning 97.3% of the incoming class was accepted via Early Action. The overall acceptance rate for that cohort was 44%.

University of Maryland Acceptance Rate – Class of 2024

There were 32,211 applications for admission into the Terrapin Class of 2024. Only 16,437 or 51% of that group were accepted. Maryland does grant favor in the admissions process to in-state applicants but, unfortunately, they do not release the in-state versus out-of-state admission rates so we are unable to quantify that advantage.

University of Maryland Admissions – SAT, GPA, and Class Rank

For Class of 2024 members, the mid-50% SAT range for enrolled freshmen was 1290-1460, the ACT range was 29-34, and 93.6% possessed a weighted GPA of 4.0 or greater. Among enrolled 2019-20 first-year students, an impressive 73% hailed from the top 10% of their high school class, while 89% earned a place in the top 25%.

Admissions Trends & Notes

  • 75.7% of current undergraduates are Maryland residents.
  • The average weighted high school GPA was 4.36 for those first-year students arriving in the fall of 2020; the previous two years, it was 4.32 and 4.28.
  • 17.3% of freshmen entered with enough college credit to begin with sophomore standing.
  • The number of applications dipped slightly for the Class of 2024 from the previous two years.
  • Due to COVID-19, UMD was test-optional for the fall 2022 admissions cycle and will be again for the following cycle (entering Class of 2026).

How the University of Maryland Rates Applicants

University of Maryland considers only three factors as “very important” to the admissions process: rigor of high school course load, GPA, and standardized test scores. Items that are “important” as part of the admissions process are: class rank, first-generation status, essays, recommendations, talent/ability, and state residency. “Considered” factors are: geographical residence, extracurricular activities, character/personal qualities, alumni relation, racial/ethnic status, work experience, and volunteer work.

Diving a bit deeper, the university does list 26 factors that are considered during their review process. Some of these are identical to those listed above, but many are different, shedding a bit of additional light on how holistic application reviews are conducted:

  • High school achievement
  • Grades in academic subjects
  • Progression of performance
  • Breadth of life experiences
  • Geographic origin
  • Gender
  • SAT I or ACT scores
  • Work experience
  • Recognition of special achievements
  • Extenuating circumstances
  • Socio-economic background
  • Written expression of ideas (as demonstrated in the essay)
  • Rank in class (actual or percentile)
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Special talents or skills
  • Community involvement
  • Community service
  • Demonstrated leadership
  • Learning differences
  • Quality of coursework
  • Residency status
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Family educational background
  • Academic endeavors outside of the classroom
  • English as a second language/Language spoken at home

Straight from the UMD admissions office: “The undergraduate admissions process is rigorous and individualized. As the university must make fine distinctions among large numbers of highly qualified applicants, the ability to assess consistently all information presented in the application becomes increasingly important. Therefore, the university employs a holistic review process that engages the expertise of professional educators whose judgments—based upon consideration of each applicant’s credentials measured by all admissions criteria—build an entering class that will best complement the existing student body and meet the university’s mission objectives.”

It is also worth highlighting that recruited athletes enjoy a huge edge. This is because University of Maryland takes great pride in their 19 NCAA Division I sports teams. Overall, more than 700 student-athletes are presently attending the university. For advice about how to stand out on the extracurricular front, check out our previous blog entitled How Many Extracurricular Activities Do I Need for College?

University of Maryland Demographics

Let’s now take a look at the demographics of the University of Maryland undergraduate student body.

The states that send the highest number of students to UMD are:

  1. Maryland
  2. New Jersey
  3. New York
  4. Pennsylvania
  5. Virginia

The fewest students come from the following states:

  1. Montana
  2. Wyoming
  3. North Dakota
  4. South Dakota
  5. Alaska

The greatest number of international students come from the following countries:

  1. China
  2. India
  3. South Korea
  4. Taiwan
  5. Malaysia
  6. Indonesia

In terms of ethnic identity, the breakdown is as follows:

  • White: 49%
  • Asian: 18%
  • Hispanic: 9%
  • African American: 11%
  • Two or More Races: 5%
  • International: 4%

A look at the gender split reveals that university enrolls more men than women.

  • Men: 52%
  • Women: 48%

As a result of this slight imbalance, the acceptance rate for women is 4% higher than the acceptance rate for male applicants.

University of Maryland’s “Yield Rate”

University of Maryland’s yield rate—the percentage of accepted students who elect to enroll, divided by the total number of students who are admitted is 26% (down from 29% the previous year). This figure is significantly lower than other powerhouse state universities like the University of Florida (47%), University of Michigan (45%), and UVA (43%).

Tips for Applying to University of Maryland

If you plan on joining the 32,000+ University of Maryland hopefuls for the next admissions cycle, you should know the following:

  • APPLY EARLY by November 1! This one is in all caps in case you are skimming and missed our previous look at EA vs RD acceptance rates.
  • University of Maryland does not use interviews as part of their evaluation process.
  • University of Maryland does not consider “demonstrated interest” so you will not be judged on whether or not you made a campus visit, contacted an admissions officer, etc.
  • Prospective Terrapins can apply through the Common Application or Coalition Application.
  • The preferred major you list is not a factor in the general admissions process. However, applicants to majors that are “Limited Enrollment Programs” will face additional departmental scrutiny due to limited space. For a full list of LEPs, click here.
  • Make sure to dedicate sufficient time and effort to the “Complete this Sentence” short responses required by University of Maryland. In the 2021-22 cycle, they are as follows:

At the University of Maryland, we encourage our students to go beyond the classroom to engage in opportunities that further both their academic and personal growth.

To tell us more about yourself, please complete the following sentences using only the space provided (160 characters).

  1. If I could travel anywhere, I would go to…*
  2. The most interesting fact I ever learned from research was…*
  3. In addition to my major, my academic interests include…*
  4. My favorite thing about last Monday was…*
  5. Something you might not know about me is…*

For College Transitions advice on how to address all five University of Maryland-College Park essays, visit our blog: University of Maryland Supplemental Essay Prompts and Tips.

Should I Apply to University of Maryland?

Those with SAT/ACT scores within the mid-50% mark for the University of Maryland who are also at the very top of their respective high school class are absolutely viable candidates to this excellent institution. As the school states, “Admitted freshman students have a strong A-/B+ or better average in their high school coursework and are enrolled in the most challenging courses available to them including honors, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses.”

Of course, it goes without saying that all teens applying to a school of the University of Maryland’s caliber also need to also have a proper mix or “target” and “safety” schools on their college list. More on creating a balanced college list can be found here.