The overall goal of ILS admissions is to identify exceptional students who have performed well in college-level courses in the life sciences and who are interested in participating in meaningful basic and/or clinical research experiences in the life sciences. Two cohorts of Honors College students, prospective first-year students and rising second-year students, are eligible for admission into ILS. Because the students in both cohorts enter at the same stage in their life sciences education, ILS students admitted in the same year will take the same sequence of ILS courses together.
Prospective first-year students
Typical credentials of successful applicants: Those applicants who have exhibited outstanding performance in advanced
placement courses in biology (at the level comparable to an AP Biology score of 5), in other college-equivalent courses, or in freshmen-level biology courses taken at UM or other universities are encouraged to preference ILS. Typically, entering ILS students will have also earned advanced placement or college credit in at least one other science and/or calculus course, plus a few other courses in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Entering first-year students having this background will be prepared to succeed in the rigorous ILS program. Other criteria for evaluating ILS applicants include: significant prior biological or biomedical research experience, and other life experience suggesting that ILS matches well with student career goals. Judging from the strong demand in previous years, it is anticipated that ILS admissions for this year will be highly competitive.
Admissions process: Admissions to ILS is a two-step process.
1. The first step involves the standard application for freshman admissions to the University. The University selects the most accomplished group from all freshman applicants, and then offers these students the opportunity to participate in the Honors College.
A critical step in filling out the application is to indicate your intended major as an entering freshman. Use the descriptions of common life science majors to help guide your selection of an appropriate intended major. Other important considerations are:
A. The majors in Biological Sciences (BSCI), Biochemistry (BCHM), and Bioengineering (BIOE) are noted for the high quality of their undergraduate programs, and thus, they experience high demands for available seats in their classes. Consequently, these majors are limited enrollment programs, which means that they accept entering students based on the evaluation of their freshman applications at the time of university admissions. They do not routinely admit additional freshmen from other majors during summer orientation process before the start of the first year.
B. These majors will admit additional students as internal transfers after they complete introductory courses called the gateway requirements necessary for transferring to the major. Entering ILS students can sometimes satisfy most of those requirements with advanced placement credits, but it will usually take a semester or two to complete those requirements before it is possible to transfer to the new major.
C. Frequently, freshman applicants who are potentially interested in ILS have broad interests in the life sciences. It is strongly recommended that such applicants do not select Undecided - Letters and Sciences (4901Z). A more appropriate intended major is Biological Sciences - General Biology (0404A).
D. ILS wants to encourage the participation of engineering students interested in the life sciences. It is strongly recommended that these applicants choose BIOE as their intended major. Due to the large number of required courses in engineering majors, BIOE is the only engineering major requiring enough biological sciences electives to make it realistic for ILS students to earn an engineering degree.
2. The second step requires each prospective honors student to state their preferences for the different living-learning programs in the Honors College. The Honors College provides a confidential website to indicate your strong preference for participating in ILS.
ILS attempts to select an entering class composed of students having similar accomplishments. In the information box on the preference website, you will be asked to provide a little explanation for your preferences for particular living-learning programs. Several ILS courses have prerequisites that can be satisfied by Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and other college-level courses in biology, other sciences, and mathematics. ILS applicants must provide the following information in the information box: 1) AP and IB test scores and college-level grades you have already received, and 2) AP, IB, and college-level courses you are currently taking this year.
Rising second-year students
ILS recognizes that some outstanding first-year students in the Honors College were not able to enroll in AP and other college-level courses in biology during high school, or have only recently decided that ILS might be the appropriate living-learning program for their career objectives. Thus, ILS offers a second entry point for rising second-year students on a competitive, space-available basis.
The rising second-year students interested in applying to ILS must currently be enrolled as first-year students in the University Honors program in the Honors College. This admissions process will not be open to honors students participating in other thematic living-learning programs.
However, it should be noted that entering honors students should not plan on being admitted to ILS as rising second-year students. Depending on the variable admissions yields of prospective first-year students, there may only limited slots available for rising sophomores in certain years. The application for rising second-year students is available here.