What academic qualifications are necessary for admission?
The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy offers a uniquely challenging and advanced education for Illinois students talented in mathematics and science. Admission to IMSA is determined by a competitive process in which all applicants are required to submit a specific set of materials (listed below). Although the process is highly competitive, there are no minimum scores required to apply. Those students who present the strongest combination of academic achievement, passion for STEM, and the ability to thrive in a residential school are invited to attend.
In order to determine this, IMSA utilizes a holistic selection process that incorporates classroom performance, participation in extracurricular activities, and leadership history with more traditional indicators of talent such as test scores and grades. For this reason, students with the highest test scores may not necessarily emerge as the strongest applicants. Geographic and demographic variables are also considered to promote a diverse student population and enhance the learning of all students. You can find more information about our Admissions Process in our official Admissions Policy.
In order to be eligible, applicants must:
- Be an Illinois resident: Illinois primary residency must be established by the first day of semester 2 or the first day of trimester 2 of the year of application.
- Must be enrolled in or have completed the equivalent of Algebra 1 and a high school equivalent science course: Applicants in eighth-grade must submit documentation of having completed an academic program comparable to ninth grade-level work in mathematics and science at the time of application. This must include a minimum of one year of algebra and one year of high school level science. Online algebra and science courses can be used to meet the algebra and science requirements.
- Not be enrolled beyond the 9th grade: Current tenth through twelfth-grade students are not eligible for admission.
- Have a completed application file: Including online application form, official grade reports, teacher evaluations, counselor form, and SAT scores (SAT scores are optional for a completed application file, but admitted students will be expected to complete it before starting class).
How to Apply
All eligible applicants must submit a completed online application to be considered for admission. Only students in the 8th or 9th grade can apply to IMSA. Students who are admitted after their 8th-grade year would start IMSA as 10th graders as IMSA does not have a 9th-grade class. There is no fee to apply.
¡NUEVO! La Oficina de Admisiones presenta la guía de solicitud de la Academia 2020-2021 en español. Familias pueden usar este documento descargable para seguir junto con la solicitud en línea de su estudiante. No será aceptado este documento como aplicación a la Academia. Los futuros estudiantes deben presentar la solicitud en línea.
Applicants must create a profile to begin the application process, using the students’ personal email addresses, for example, email@example.com. Parent email address or school email addresses should not be used. Please make sure to remember your username and password, as those will be needed every time you log in to edit, submit, or view your application. The following components must be submitted via the online application by the due date in order to be eligible for consideration:
- Demographic and School Information
- Three Essays
- List of STEM Activities and Achievements
- Math Teacher Evaluation Form
- Science Teacher Evaluation Form
- English Teacher Evaluation Form
- School Counselor Form
- Last 2.5 years of Official Grade Reports
- Official SAT Test Scores for admitted IMSA students (For 2021 applicants please see COVID-19 Considerations below regarding the SAT Test)
There is also an opportunity to provide two optional pieces of information. The “Optional Evaluation” can be submitted by a teacher or adult who can speak to a student’s ability to succeed at IMSA. The “Optional Statement” can be utilized to provide additional clarity on any part of the application or include information that you feel would be important for you or your child’s success at IMSA.
Students enrolled in homeschool programs will need to provide additional documentation explaining the curriculum, evaluation process, and texts used. Evaluations must be completed by non-family members who know the student’s work well. You can find more information about our homeschool student expectations in our official Admissions Policy.
The SAT test is administered nationally by College Board. To register, visit their website. Students should take the standard SAT, Math and Evidenced-Based Reading & Writing sections without essay. When registering, please use IMSA’s SAT school code #3027 to ensure that we receive a copy of your test results. Applicants can take the test multiple times. Rather than only looking at an applicant’s scores from one particular date, IMSA will take your highest Math score and highest Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score to form the highest possible composite score, also known as a “Superscore.” Please note that since the test is not required for application, no testing scores will be reviewed during the selection process.
FOR APPLICATION OF 2021: The SAT is not required to apply, but the SAT test is required for admitted IMSA students to be submitted for their student file if testing sites are available to them. In response to the extraordinary challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on access to SAT testing, IMSA will delay the standardized test requirement timeframe for students applying for the Fall of 2021. During this year’s admission process, we will continue to focus on grades, teacher evaluations, student activities and interests, and essays when considering applicants.
- If a student has already taken the SAT and received their scores at the time of application, they should submit their score and they will be added to the student’s file but they WILL NOT be considered in the review process in order to ensure equity in a time when standardized testing is not widely available.
- If a student takes the SAT and receives their scores after they have submitted their application, they should submit their scores through Collegeboard by using code 3027.
- We are requesting SAT scores to be on file for each accepted student. So, at a later date when the SAT becomes readily available again, we require that all enrolled students who have not yet done so to take the test and submit your scores through Collegeboard by using code 3027.