How the Admissions Process Works
Looking to applying to MSMS can seem very intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. While our application process is rigorous, it is also fairly simple to understand. Basically, there are three phases, and there are four criteria on which each student is scored. Each of those criteria carries a point value. The final combination of your point value following all three stages of the application process will determine how you are ranked among the other students applying to attend MSMS.
The three phases of the application process are:
- Application Review
- Final Selection
And the four criteria we consider, along with the maximum number of points associated with each, are:
- Your grades - Maximum of 20 points
- Your composite ACT score - Maximum of 15 points
- Your Application Score - Maximum of 15 points
- Your Interview Score - Maximum of 10 points
So, based upon those point totals, you can see that the maximum score possible is 60 points; however, it is extremely rare for a student to obtain a perfect score. The average score of the students who made it into the Class of 2017, for example, was a 41.792, with a range of 59-28.
The rest of this page will detail how we determine points and how each phase of the process is carried out.
Numerical Grade Average
Your numerical grade average carries the most possible points for your overall ranking; therefore, having good grades is essential if you want to come to this school. Your overall grade average for all primary academic courses (math, science, English, and social studies) for which you have earned high school credit for through your first semester tenth grade year will be calculated and scored. We round your grades up to the highest tenth percent. In other words an average of 99.5 will be rounded up to 100. Grade averages and the scores they carry are as follows:
- 100 or better: 20 points
- 99: 19 points
- 98: 17 points
- 97: 15 points
- 96: 13 points
- 95: 11 points
- 94: 9 points
- 93: 7 points
- 92: 5 points
- 91: 3 points
- 90: 1 point
- Less than 90: 0 points
Because grades are such a huge part of the overall ranking score, it is highly unlikely that a student with a grade average below 90 will be accepted. The average numerical grade average for the MSMS Class of 2017 ranged from 88.91-101.89.
The next criterion we examine is your ACT score; for which you can receive a maximum of 15 points. Your ACT Score will be based on your composite ACT score, not your sub-scores. You must submit an ACT score prior to the Feb. 13 priority deadline. This means the last regular ACT date from which you will have your scores in time is the Dec. 12, 2015 testing date. Students frequently call to ask how they can have their scores sent to MSMS directly from ACT. The only way to do that is to enter the MSMS school code 251409 as YOUR school code. The problem with doing that, though, is that your scores will NOT be sent to your current school; and if you don't get selected to attend MSMS, they will not become a part of your transcript at your current school unless you pay an additional fee to have the scores submitted again. It is easier to just send us a copy of the official score report you receive from ACT or email a screenshot of your score from your account on the ACT website.
The point values for the ACT Score are as follows:
- 32-36: 15 points
- 31: 14 points
- 30: 13 points
- 29: 12 points
- 28: 11 points
- 27: 10 points
- 26: 9 points
- 25: 8 points
- 24: 7 points
- 23: 6 points
- 22: 5 points
- 21: 4 points
- 20: 3 points
- 19: 2 points
- 18: 1 point
- Less than 18: 0 points
While we do not have a minimum ACT score required for admission into MSMS, we strongly recommend you submit a score of 20 or higher, as students with scores above 20 are statistically much more likely to make it into the school. ACT scores from the applications from the Class of 2017 ranged from 20-33.
Each submitted application will be scored by a team of independent reviewers who are recruited from around the state. Based upon the information you provide in your application, the review teams will give you a score between 0 and 15 points. You must score a 9 or higher to continue the application process, regardless of your grade average or ACT scores. Students who do not score at least a 9 in Application Review will not be invited for an interview and will not be considered by the Final Review Committee. This means even a student with a grade average of 100 and an ACT score of 36 would not make it into MSMS if he submitted a poor application. The good news is, the vast majority of students who apply to MSMS make it past Application Review. Those who do not typically fail to do so because they submitted hastily-prepared applications that did not represent the best of their abilities. If you read and follow all the instructions and do your best on your application, you are, statistically, likely to make it past this part of the process.
Interview Day Score
Students who score a 9 or higher on their applications will be invited to come to the MSMS campus to undergo a formal interview. This interview can net you between 0 and 10 points. For many students, Interview can give just enough points to put them over the edge and secure an invitation to attend the school. More information about Interview Day is below.
Each application will be reviewed by a team of three individuals. These teams are composed of:
- One MSMS Faculty Member
- One K-16 educator
- One non-educator (Usually, this role is filled by an MSMS alum or the parent of an alum.)
Typically, we have between 12 and 15 different teams reviewing applications. The team that reviews your application will be made up of members who are not from your Congressional District. We do this to ensure objectivity from our reviewers and to be as sure as possible our reviewers are in no way familiar with the students they are reviewing.
The scoring teams will give each application an overall score of between 0 and 15 points (In the history of the school, no one has ever made a zero on their application, but lots of students score 15). This score will be generated based upon the quality of the students' coursework, essays, resume, personal narrative, work sample, work sample narrative and recommendations. No one part of the application is weighted any higher than another. Students who score at least a 9 on their applications will be invited to attend Interview Day. Students who score less than a 9 will not be invited to attend Interview Day, and the application process ends for them. It is critical - regardless of your grades and ACT score - that you make sure your application reflects the very best you can do.
On Interview Day, students from all across the state of Mississippi converge upon MSMS to undergo their formal interviews. Each student will be interviewed by an independent team of two. Typically, we have about 10-12 teams conducting interviews during Interview Day. Each interview team is composed of one K-16 educator (not affiliated with MSMS) and one non-educator (usually, an alum or a parent of an alum). The interviewers will assign each student between 0 and 10 points (no student has ever scored a 0 on his or her interview).
Prior to Final Review, a Final Selection Score will be calculated for each applicant who successfully made it past Application Review. This score is composed of the Application Score, Interview Score, the score earned for the ACT composite score, and the score earned for the final grade average. The applicants will be ranked by their scores from highest to lowest, and the pool will be presented to the Final Selection Committee (composed of one MSMS faculty member, one MSMS counselor, one MSMS alumni, one K-16 educator, and one non-educator) for consideration. The committee will be told how many students MSMS may admit for that class, based onthe budget we receive from the state of Mississippi and the space we have available in our residence halls. Typically, that number is between 130 and 140, The committee will then determine who will be invited to join the next MSMS class and who, if any, will be selected as alternates.