Salem State Admissions Essay Topics

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First-Year Admission Requirements

All applicants are reviewed for admission based on his/her academic course levels, grades and standardized test scores (if submitted).

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To apply to Salem State University, please submit a complete application, a non-refundable $50 application fee, official transcript(s), and SAT and/or ACT scores (if applicable)*.

Required 17 college prep units

English      4 courses 
Mathematics         4 courses (Algebra I and II and Geometry or Trigonometry, or comparable coursework) including mathematics during senior year of high school
Science3 courses (each with laboratory)
Foreign Language  2 courses (in a single language)
Social Science2 courses (including 1 course in U.S. history)
Electives 2 courses (from the above subjects or the arts, humanities or computer science)

Test Optional

Some applicants may be able to select "test optional" when completing his/her application. Learn how to select test optional and the requirements at

When test scores are submitted, we use a sliding scale based on a minimum grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) and a corresponding SAT or ACT score. If your grade-point average is 3.0 or higher and you have an SAT score above 990 (19 on the ACT), you will receive the highest consideration.

For students with a GPA below 3.0, this sliding scale will apply:

(evidence-based reading and writing, and mathematics) 
2.51 - 2.9999019
2.41 - 2.50103020
2.31 - 2.40107021
2.21 - 2.30 111022
2.11 - 2.20   114023
2.00 - 2.10118024

Nursing applicants**

**Nursing applicants should have mostly honors, IB and AP courses.

Please note that these are minimum admissions standards and do not guarantee admission. Some of our majors are highly competitive and require higher academic standards and early application submission. Information on this website is subject to change at any time.

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Salem State University has a commitment to academic excellence and a continuing concern to provide access to a four-year baccalaureate program for a broad range of students. All applicants are carefully evaluated to ensure that their previous academic preparation and scholastic achievement indicates the capacity and motivation to produce the quality of scholastic work that Salem State has established as its standard of achievement.

The following minimum admissions standards have been developed by The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. Please be advised that the minimum admissions standards do not guarantee admission to Salem State University and we reserve the right to set higher standards. Many of our academic programs are competitive and require the completion of additional academic course work, as well as higher GPAs and ACT or SAT test scores. For complete information on current admissions standards and requirements, please visit 

Freshman Admissions

All admissions applications and requirements are listed

Admissions Requirements

Applicants must submit a secondary high school transcript which includes a minimum of 17 college preparatory courses. Students are required to complete four years/units of English; four years/units of mathematics, which includes Algebra 1 and 2, and geometry or trigonometry or comparable coursework; and mathematics during the final (senior) year of high school, three years/units of laboratory science;  two years/units of social science; one of which must be US History; two years of the same foreign language; and two additional units from the academic areas listed above. 

Students are reviewed based on their recalculated secondary high school grade point average and, if required, their official standardized test scores. 

Salem State University we will no longer require standardized tests scores (SAT/ACT) as part of our admission requirements for fall 2016. This is a pilot program and is subject to change. A Test Optional form is required to take advantage of this program.

Early Action

Freshmen Applicants Only

To apply as a fall early action applicant you must apply to the University and have taken the SAT or ACT before the November test dates. 

Three Year Completion Programs

Freshman Applicants Only

Academic majors in the three year track include History, Political Science, Criminal Justice (Administration concentration only), Mathematics, Economics, and certain concentrations in Business.

In addition to the freshmen application requirements, applicants must submit a personal statement addressing their reason for applying and commitment to completing the three year bachelor degree program.

Non-Traditional Freshman Requirements

GED students and students who graduated from high school more than three years before applying to the University are reviewed based on their secondary high school transcript and/or GED scores. Students out of high school three or more years must submit a resume and an essay.

Freshman applicants with Learning or Other disabilities

Applicants with professionally diagnosed and documented learning disabilities (documentation must include diagnostic test results) are exempt from taking standardized tests for admission. Such students, however, must complete the 17 required academic courses with a minimum required GPA of 3.00 or present other evidence of the potential for academic success.

**An applicant may substitute two college preparatory electives for the two required foreign language courses only if the applicant has submitted a psycho-educational evaluation completed within the past three years that provides a specific diagnosis of a learning disability and an inability to succeed in a foreign language.

Freshman Application Requirements and Procedures

All freshman application requirements including but not limited to deadlines, application costs, special admissions requirements and online application procedures are online at   Back to Top

Transfer Admissions

Salem State University welcomes approximately 1000 transfer students each year. Transfer students represent various community colleges, two-year private colleges and four-year public and private colleges and universities. Our goal is to provide a barrier-free transition and we strive to accommodate students’ individual needs. For information on transfer opportunities and the transfer of credit at Salem State University, please see the Transfer Services section of the catalog.

Transfer Admissions Requirements

All admissions applications and requirements are listed

Transfer applicants should have completed a broad distribution of college-level courses with a GPA that meets the minimum admission requirements. In general, a student who completes 12 to 23 transferable college credits must have a minimum grade point average of 2.5; a student who completes up to 23 transferable college credits with a grade point average of 2.2 must also meet the minimum admission requirements for freshman applicants; lastly, a student with 24 or more transferable college credits must have a minimum grade point average of 2.0. Please be advised that the minimum requirements do not guarantee admission to the University. Many of our academic programs are competitive and require the completion of more academic course work, as well as higher GPAs. These listed admissions standards are informational only.

Transfer Application Procedures

All transfer application requirements including but not limited to deadlines, application costs, special admissions requirements and online application procedures are online at   Back to top 

International Students

Salem State students come from over 70 different countries and the University provides a friendly environment for international students. The Center for International Education offers services such as: immigration advising, housing, ESL, TOEFL, counseling and airport pick up for first time arrivals. In general, an international student must have the financing to support their education for the usual nine-month academic year. No financial aid assistance can be provided by the University. International students must submit official copies of academic credentials in English and a complete listing of the funds that are available for each year to the student’s education in the United States which must be verified by a banking official. All admissions information is available at  Students who wish to study English as a Second Language prior to apply for an academic program at Salem State University may apply online to the Intensive English program by visiting the ESL web site.

International Freshman Student Requirements

International students must be graduates of secondary schools in their own countries and must be fully competent in the English Language—listening, reading, writing, speaking, as well as complete the 17 course major academic disciplines. International students are required to meet the same admissions standards as freshman in the U.S. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required of those students from countries where the native language is not English. All students must submit an official high school transcripts and an official translation if the language is not English. High school students must submit a grade conversion to the U.S. equivalent.  

International Transfer Student Requirements

All students must submit official university transcripts and an official translation if the language is not English. In addition, all international academic transcripts require evaluation from a professional evaluation service. A course listing of courses, grades and U.S, equivalent are required. Most students applying to Salem State University contact the Center for Educational Documentation at or World Educational Services at Transfer students who have successfully completed Writing 1 and 2 at an accredited college or university in the United States may not have to complete the TOEFL.

For more information on applying to degree-granting undergraduate programs as an international student, please visit the Admissions website at      Back to Top 

Readmit Applicant Requirements

Students who previously attended - Salem State University as degree seeking students, but did not graduate, regardless of whether they have attended another institution subsequently, are considered readmit applicants. All application materials must be completed and mailed to the Academic Advising office. Only completed applications will be reviewed. Readmission is not guaranteed.  

If you are a Salem State graduate applying for a second degree, please follow the transfer admission requirements. Applicants who did not achieve a minimum GPA of 2.0 at the time they departed from Salem State must submit a personal statement with a plan for academic improvement with the application for readmission.  Current information on readmit application procedures can be found at Applicants with questions about readmission procedures may contact the Academic Advising office at 978-542-7049 or Back to Top

Readmit Application Procedures (for the semester immediately following academic dismissal) 

Students who have been academically dismissed from the University and wish to appeal this decision for readmission to the semester following the academic dismissal should contact the Selective Retention Committee in care of the Registrar’s Office.  Please see the catalog section on Academic Status and Satisfactory Academic Progress in the Academic Policies  section of the catalog.  Back to Top 

Fresh Start Program

Students who left Salem State University in academic difficulty and who are applying for readmission after an absence of at least two academic years may be eligible to apply for readmission under the Fresh Start policy.  For full information on this policy, please visit the Academic Policies  section of this catalog.  Questions about how this will apply to individual academic records should be directed to the Academic Advising office at


Continuing and Professional Studies Requirements

Applicants wishing to be candidates for undergraduate degrees through late afternoon and evening study in the University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, or evening division, follow the same application procedures as described for day division applicants. Back to Top


Admissions Application Fees

The online application fee is $40. The application fee may be waived for those applicants with extreme financial need who have submitted a fee waiver provided by the College Board or other approved agency. For information on fee waivers, visit admissions online at The admissions application fees are set by the University and are subject to change. Back to Top

Admissions and Housing Deposit Fees

A non-refundable tuition deposit is to be paid when a day division student notifies the University that its offer of admission is accepted. This deposit will be deducted from the tuition charges when the student enrolls. A non-refundable residence hall deposit is to be paid by students who are accepted as resident students. This deposit will be deducted from the residence hall fee when the student establishes residence on campus. Information is provided at the time of acceptance to the University. Back to Top

Applicant’s Reply Options

If admission is offered on or before April 1 for entrance in September, applicants must inform the University that the offer of admission and housing (if offered) is accepted and pay all required deposits by May 1, thereby confirming admission.  If a student is offered admission after April 1 for entrance in September, applicants must inform the University that the offer of admission and housing (if offered) is accepted and pay all required non-refundable deposits within 30 days, thereby confirming admission. If admission is offered for entrance in January, applicants must inform the University that the offer of admission and housing (if offered) is accepted and pay all required non-refundable deposits within 30 days, thereby confirming admission.

If students do not inform the University within the required time period the offer of admission and housing may be rescinded.  Back to Top



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