Rethinking Admissions: Maybe ‘fit’ is not the answer

For years, the notion of “fit” was the gold standard for graduate school admissions. Admissions counselors aimed to pair the ideal student with their perfect school. In this framework, the two should fit together like puzzle pieces.

The best way to make this match was to be very familiar with the institutional profile and to work with students to discern their goals and preferred attributes for a university. If we failed to solve this complex equation, the student had a low chance of being accepted, or would have a miserable time if they were.

Fast-forward to 2023 and fitting in may no longer be the answer. Instead, we want candidates who can bring a different perspective, and who don’t look like everybody else. A wide range of characteristics, experiences and backgrounds bring richness to our classrooms and our institution, making the learning experience a more significant one.

As administrators, we have a great responsibility to keep academic standards high and to put the quality of our programs first. We understand the importance of selecting candidates who show potential to succeed in their academic programs, and ultimately contribute to their professional fields and society at large. However, homogeneity is not necessarily the way to accomplish this.

MSUM Graduate Studies seeks students who can grow through our classes and learn from their peers. We celebrate that not all applicants look the same, and one metric alone can’t define a person’s ability. We recognize that who you were 10 to 15 years ago is not necessarily an indicator of who you are today, and we support your persistence and desire to professionally advance.

Our goal is no longer to make you fit or find some elusive “ideal” institution. We want you to be different, to be a unique voice, and to bring your perspective to our academic community.

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