The Minnesota Office of Higher Education recently introduced a new pilot program called Direct Admissions that’s designed to promote college access, and the University of Minnesota Crookston is looking forward to taking full advantage as a selected participant. As part of the program, class of 2023 high school seniors from around 40 schools will be notified of higher education options and they can create a personalized list from over 50 Minnesota participating colleges and universities. Admission options are then presented to the students based on academic records and projected graduated date.

Free admissions applications will go out to notified students for each of the colleges and universities they are interested in attending.

“Direct Admissions really demystifies the college search and application process for students,” Director of Admissions Alyson Leas explained. “It allows the conversation in a student's mind to go from ‘Will I even be accepted? Is it worth it filling out all these applications?’ to ‘Oh. Here's a list of colleges where I'm IN!’ Our hope is that students knowing they have what it takes to attend any number of institutions will give them the confidence to finish applications and seriously consider their next two or four years.”

“A full and formal application, when you get down to it, is about what a college wants to see about a student.” she added. “Direct Admissions focuses on getting a college what we need, no frills. A much quicker process!”

This fall, high students at participating schools were notified of all the colleges and universities they met the criteria for and could then explore their options online at using the college search tool to compare and contrast choices. Visits to their top colleges could be scheduled to get a feel for the campus and ask questions as well.

“Direct admissions is taking away two obstacles from students," Leas said in an article with Inside Higher Ed. "One being those students who have already told themselves they could never get into a college, and the second obstacle being having time to complete an application. We in the industry know an application (without essay) can take less than 30 minutes, but students don’t know that. It’s a process that’s been hyped up their entire lives. This system allows them to go from ‘Do I have the time to go through an application? Will I even get in?’ to ‘Oh. I’m in.’”

The Office of Higher Education strongly encourages all students to apply for financial aid through the free online application at which is used to determine eligibility for both federal and state financial aid programs. The federal Pell Grant and the Minnesota State Grant provide grants to more than 120,000 students each year. (Minnesota Office of Higher Education 2022)

Direct Admissions Minnesota began as of a partnership project between K-12 and higher education, and funding for the program was secured by the 2021 Minnesota Legislative session.