The city of Miami, Florida brings to mind tropical weather, vibrant nightlife, and exciting cultural events. But it’s also home to one of the nation’s best colleges, the University of Miami. A tier-1 private research school, UM was founded in 1927.
Its 239-acre campus features not only state-of-the-art facilities, including the Gifford Arboretum and the Ring Theater, but a beautiful quad where students can study, play, and relax.
With an endowment of $1.05 billion, UM is well-suited to train the next generation of scholars, athletes, and community leaders. That money goes to not only the school’s excellent faculty but also its state-of-the-art resources. Medical students can practice their trade at the 153-acre Miller School of Medicine. All students can study in the newly renovated Ritcher Library, as well as the Architecture Research Center and specialized Law, Business, and Music Libraries.
These excellent resources result in impressive retention and graduation rates. Not only did 91% of students in 2014 stay in the school, but 72% also graduated within four years or less.
With its wonderful campus, numerous resources, and strong student community, it’s clear that the University of Miami belongs among the best schools in the United States.
Like most elite private universities, the University of Miami is highly selective. Out of the 40,132 students who applied in 2020, only 13,281 were admitted, for a rate of 33%.
That’s an unquestionably low rate, making UM a hard school to enter. But as hard as it might seem, the University does not have an unreasonably low acceptance rate. In fact, most private universities of their caliber have similar acceptance rates. The equally ranked Pepperdine University and Lehigh University accept only 32% of their applicants. But Northeastern University, which also ties with UM on most metrics, has a mere 18% application rate!
But while it is common, UM’s low acceptance rate can be discouraging for some students. However, it’s important to keep in mind that low rates can be a good thing. Not only does exclusivity raise the school’s profile, thereby adding value to their diplomas, but it also results in smaller class sizes. With smaller classes, students get more attention from their faculty and greater support overall.
Requirements & Admission Tips
We’re not going to lie; it’s hard to get into UM. As an exclusive school, the University of Miami has high requirements for anyone who wants to join their student body.
In addition to a basic application and a $70 fee, incoming first-year students must write a supplemental essay, submit high school transcripts, and send in two letters of recommendation. Those applying to special programs such as the school of music or the health professions mentoring program must provide additional materials, including an audition and/or a supplemental application.
Students entering UM have a 3.6 average high school GPA. Although the school does not require standardized test scores, nearly half do take the tests and submit their scores. On average, UM freshmen earn between 1270-1440 on the SAT and between 29-32 on the ACT.
But perhaps the most essential part of an application to UM is the supplemental essay. Although the essay prompt might make the proceedings seem silly aside, asking students to compare themselves to the university mascot ibis allows applicants to present themselves as fully developed learners.
A popular university with nearly 100 years of history, the University of Miami counts among its alumni everyone from celebrities to leading scholars.
On the more celebrity end, action stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Sylvester Stallone both attended UM, as did musicians Gloria Estefan, Ben Folds, and Bruce Hornsby. Thanks to the school’s top-notch athletic program, former Miami Hurricanes include professional athletes including Dallas Cowboy Michael Irving, Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.
While they’re less recognizable than these luminaries, a number of activists, artists, and scholars also graduated from UM. After earning her Ph.D. in International Law from the university, Manuela Picq became a notable feminist academic and regular contributor to Al Jazeera English. Pulitzer winners Donald Justice (poetry) and Patrick Farrell (breaking news photography) began their journeys at UM. The school also trained those who became university presidents, including Eric Barron of Pennsylvania State University and University of South Florida’s Betty Castor.
From the famous to the unknown, UM trains hundreds of students every year who go on to succeed in their fields and improve their communities.
As a tier-one research institution, the University of Miami boasts a faculty that includes those on the front lines of their respective fields. These academics produce books, articles, and experiments that change the way we think about some of the most critical issues of our time.
A Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, Susan Haack teaches in the philosophy and law departments at UM. After receiving her degrees at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, Haack has published several scholarly works on logic, law, and argument. Her most recent monograph, Evidence Matters: Science, Proof, and Truth in the Law, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2014.
Clinical Chief of Cardiology at UM’s Millder School of Medicine Alan Heldman is at the frontlines of research into heart disease. His work has furthered our understanding of drug-eluting stents, complex coronary intervention, and non-surgical treatments for valvular and structural heart disease.
As these two brief examples demonstrate, Miami has a faculty ready to equip the next generation of scholars and experts to meet the changes of the modern world.
Similar Schools & Ranking
One of the nation’s best schools, the University of Miami sits near the top of the rankings in most respected publications. U.S. News & World Report puts UM 49th in National Universities and ranks it at #89 in Best Value Schools and #25 in Best Colleges for Veterans.
The University of Miami earns an A+ grade from Niche.com, citing the school’s outstanding academics, diversity commitments, and athletic program. The site also gives the university special attention for its specialized programs. UM ranks #8 on its lists of Best Kinesiology and Physical Therapy in America and #6 on its lists of Best Colleges for Criminal Justice in America and Best Colleges for Sports Management in America.
But this high ranking does not mean that UM stands alone. As mentioned earlier, U.S. News has Miami tied for 49th with Pepperdine, Lehigh, and Northeastern Universities. But within the state, the publication ranks UM number two, below only the University of Florida. Below it sits Florida State University, University of South Florida, and the University of Central Florida.
As you can probably guess from those rankings, the University of Miami is not a cheap school. For the 2021-2022 school year, undergraduates on campus will need to pay over $75,000/year.
But take heart, future Hurricanes! UM offers many scholarships, which can significantly bring that cost down to a manageable number.
First-year students with the highest academic statistics are eligible for premier scholarships, such as the full-ride Stamps Scholarship and the full-tuition Isaac Bashevis Singers Scholarship. Other academically gifted students may be eligible for the $28,000 President’s Scholarship and $16,000 ‘Canes Achievement Award.
The school also offers a range of scholarships for athletics and music students, as well as those in the National Merit Scholarship Program. Students can apply for donor scholarships, including the Alex Rodriguez Scholarships for members of the Boy’s and Girl’s Club, the Chick-fil-A Bowl Scholarship for participants in the Atlanta, GA “Play it Smart” program, and the Colonel Alice A. Kerr Veteran’s Scholarship Fund for members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
This list only hints at the options to help students pay for their UM education.
Is the University of Miami Right For You?
Some may look at the University of Miami’s low 33% acceptance rate and feel discouraged that they won’t make the cut. Others look at that number and grow all the more inspired to be among the accepted few. Either way, it’s clear that would-be UM students have their work cut out for them. But is it worth it?
As one of the 50 best schools in the nation, the short answer is, “yes.” The University of Miami features not only faculty on the frontlines of research and innovation within their fields, but also some of the best resources in the country. Graduates leave the school with unparalleled education, but they also enjoy the support of an impressive alumni network. No matter where your career takes you, you’re bound to find a fellow former Hurricane.
But those benefits come at a cost, and it is quite high. Most students will qualify for scholarships that lower that overall price tag, but few will receive full rides.
Is all of that worth it? Only you can decide for yourself. But suppose you do decide to pursue an education at the University of Miami. In that case, you’ll undoubtedly come away from the experience a highly educated and well-equipped person, ready to lead your field.