Rigorous Core College Prep Program

The rigorous core is an alternative to the Regents' college prep program. Students who successfully complete the rigorous core are eligible for the MUS Honors Scholarship.

In addition to the Regents’ college prep courses required for entrance to 4-year universities, the rigorous core adds one additional year of math (4 yrs.), science (3 yrs.), and college-prep electives (3 yrs.).

Provisional Admission

Students who do not meet the writing and math proficiency standards are admitted to 4-year universities on a provisional basis.

Students who are provisionally admitted can gain full admittance by

  • earning a “C” or better in developmental course work (must be done within the first three semesters); or
  • earning the required score on one or more of the math or writing assessment tests, including the ACT or SAT, required for admissions; or
  • completing an associate of arts or associate of science degree; or
  • submitting a letter to the admissions office documenting a disability that prevented the student from adequately demonstrating proficiency in a test setting if no accommodation was provided at the time of the test.

Entrance Requirements

In order to be fully admitted to a 4-year university in the MUS, entering high school graduates are required to meet the following standards:

  • Complete the Regents’ college preparatory program: mathematics (3 years), English (4 years), science (2 years), social studies (3 years), and electives (2 years) – includes languages, computer science, visual/performing arts, speech, or vocational education.
  • Demonstrate Mathematics Proficiency: earn an ACT math score of 22, SAT math test score of 27.5, or complete the Rigorous Core.
  • Demonstrate Writing Proficiency: earn an ACT ELA score of 18 (average of the English, reading, and writing scores) or score 7 on the ACT writing test (essay); or earn an SAT writing and language test score of 25 or higher.
  • Achieve one of the following requirements:
    1. Earn at least a 2.5 high school GPA; or
    2. Rank in the top half of the school’s graduating class; or
    3. Earn an ACT composite score of 22 or higher, or SAT total score of 1120 or higher (except MSU-Northern: ACT score of 20, SAT score of 1050).

Provisional Admission 

Students who do not demonstrate the ability to meet the mathematics and/or writing proficiency standards may be admitted provisionally to a four-year degree program on any campus of the MUS and without condition to a two year degree program.


Entrance requirements do NOT apply to the following groups:

  • Non-traditional students (those who do not enter college for a period of at least three years following high school graduation);
  • Summer-only students; and
  • Part-time students taking seven or fewer credits per semester.

In addition, institutions may exempt up to 15% of first-time, full-time undergraduates from the entrance requirements listed above. This exemption is reserved for students with special talents, minorities, and others who demonstrate special needs.

Open Admission

Two-year colleges in the MUS offer open admissions that do not require the academic standards listed above. However, certain programs within the college (such as nursing) may have admission standards.

A high school degree or GED is required for admission to all degree programs.