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Student Experiences

Marriott School Admissions: Getting in as an Undergraduate

When Tyler Craig, a Wichita, Kansas, native, began the Marriott School application process, he hadn’t heard much about the school itself, but he’d heard plenty about its accounting program—and he was nervous.

“People told me the accounting program was super hard but also really good and credible,” he says. “I’d heard it was number two in the nation, and I knew it was going to be hard to get in and keep up once I was in.”

The prospect of applying to a Marriott School undergraduate program can be intimidating: there are prerequisite classes to take, a competitive GPA to maintain, and an essay to compose. Factor in the undergraduate program’s national reputation—it was recently ranked eighth among all business schools in the nation by BusinessWeek—and the idea of getting into the Marriott School can be nerve-racking.

Having to meet such a tall order shouldn’t discourage students from applying, says Joan Young, undergraduate program director. There are several channels students can turn to for help. The undergraduate guidebook, a printed guide that walks students through the application process, offering helpful hints and answers to frequently asked questions, is one source. Advisors in the undergraduate office are also available to counsel students.

The strength of the business program is what keeps it in high demand among both BYU students and recruiters. “There was a period of time when too many students were applying, and too many students were being denied admission,” Young says. “So we had to change the minimum requirements.”

Now, students must have at least thirty hours of university classes, maintain a 3.0 GPA, and complete four specific prerequisite classes for each of the three programs—accounting, information systems, or business management—before applying. But even as the requirements became more demanding, the number of students admitted was increased to 850 in 1999 to keep up with the growing number of applicants.

Last fall, a group of more than one thousand students with an average GPA of 3.62 applied for admission. And in such a large pool of highly qualified applicants, the most important thing aspiring business students can do is set themselves apart, says Maridee Beeston, undergraduate program academic advisor and transfer coordinator.

Part of the application is aimed at giving students a chance to show off their strongest selling points.

“Students submit a five-hundred-word essay online,” she says. “We ask them questions about their work experience, their community service, what they’ll bring to the program, and any special circumstances they would like us to know about. It’s how we get to know them better.”

Each essay is reviewed by an admissions committee consisting of Marriott School faculty. An essay that communicates a sense of purpose and a plan for the future is more likely to draw the committee’s attention, Beeston says. She also recommends that students highlight their experiences in internships, job shadowing, and the workforce.

Craig, who applied to the program last summer, enjoyed writing the essay because it gave him an opportunity to focus on his experience in entrepreneurship and how starting his own business better prepared him to pursue a degree in accountancy.

Helping students realize their potential as outstanding business and community leaders is the mission of the Marriott School’s undergraduate program.

“Our three undergraduate programs are so successful because we teach students to be leaders and to make a difference in the community,” Beeston says. “We want to help them be efficient, explore their options, and build a foundation for a successful academic and professional experience.”