The University of Michigan is a large (over 40,000 students), predominantly residential campus located in the small city of Ann Arbor. This well known school has an outstanding reputation for research, academic rigor and athletic spirit—it is often referred to as a public-Ivy. It offers a non-binding Early Action option with an application deadline of November 1st and accepts either the Common Application or Coalition Application with no preference. In an effort to gain a deeper understanding of the sort of student you might be at the University of Michigan, in addition to the main essay you write for whichever application type you select, you must respond to three supplemental essay prompts.
Before you begin writing, take the time to research and identify what appeals to you most about the school. Consider location, athletics, academic programs, Residential Colleges, professors, particular clubs, study abroad, and anything else that attracts you to the University of Michigan. These responses are your opportunity to share more about yourself and what you value while also providing a richer context for your overall application. Remember, your goal is to make the strongest possible case for both your potential fit with the school and how an education at UM will prepare you for the future.
Below are some suggestions to help you address the supplemental prompts.
The University of Michigan supplemental essay questions
University of Michigan supplemental essay #1
If you could only do one of the activities you have listed in the Activities section of your application, which one would you keep doing? Why? (Required for all applicants)
This prompt allows you to talk about one of your passions and why it is important to you. A word of caution here, do not select an activity you have discussed at length in another portion of your application. Consider the big picture and what this activity can add to the overall picture you are presenting—how might this reveal a different dimension of your personality? Be specific as you convey your enthusiasm. Think about how you grew as a person as a result of this activity. How was your interest initially sparked and what did you do to explore it? If this is something you might be able to continue or expand upon while at the University of Michigan, this is an excellent place to mention that!
University of Michigan supplemental essay #2
Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it. (Required for all applicants)
If you have applied to other selective schools, you are likely to be familiar with this sort of “diversity” prompt. What they are getting at is your personal story and how you might relate with others of similar and different life experiences. There is some overlap in terms of how these communities/groups are defined, try to focus on the precise intersection that shapes your sense of identity. Describe how each factor contributes to who you are and how you engage with the world around you. Your story does not have to be exotic; it just needs to express the world you come from and your place within it. Diversity is essential to the University of Michigan, as showcased on its website: “U-M is committed to creating a campus environment of equity and inclusion where students, faculty, and staff with diverse backgrounds live, learn, and work together.“ As you tell your story, consider how you will contribute to and benefit from this diverse atmosphere. How might you connect with other students, faculty, staff and the community at the University? Do your research and consider specific ways you can get involved.
University of Michigan supplemental essay #3
Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate College or School (including preferred admission and dual degree programs) to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests? (Required for all applicants)
This is another opportunity to demonstrate that you’ve done your homework and identify unique aspects of the program at the University of Michigan. You must communicate what appeals to you and how the specific program/curriculum will prepare you to achieve your goals. If you are undecided, you can speak to your areas of interest and how you might explore them at the University of Michigan. Consider the 14 different undergraduate Schools and Colleges it boasts to determine which might be the best prospective home for you. Be sure to notice that many programs at the university do not require application until your second year of college. Most students at the University of Michigan are admitted to the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) for their first year of study, while others (business school students, for example) go through the Preferred Admission process while still in high school, which allows them sophomore entry to a particular School/College provided they meet certain academic conditions. If you are applying to a School/College that predominantly admits new classes via Preferred Admission (e.g., Ross School of Business), it is critical that you decide now, while still a high school student, which School/College you’re targeting; it can be difficult to transfer from one School/College to another after your first year of study, even with exceptional grades. Review the degree/graduation requirements—what do you find attractive or what might be beneficial to you about this approach? Why is this approach such a good match for your interests, learning style, or ultimate goals? Provide details and support your statements with reasons why the program at the University of Michigan is the ideal place for you!
Final thoughts on applying to the University of Michigan
As a school that accepts the Common Application, the University of Michigan is committed to a holistic review of your application materials. This means it takes all aspects of your application into account. Don’t miss your opportunity to stand out among your peers and provide a genuine sense of your character through your essay responses. To provide some context for where you might stand, of the 65,716 students that applied to enter the class of 2023 at the University of Michigan, 14,949 or just fewer than 23% were offered admission. The average SAT score was 715 writing/evidenced based reading and 745 math. The average ACT score was 33.5 and the average entering GPA was 3.9 on a 4.0 scale. This is a competitive applicant pool.
While keeping these statistics in mind, take a moment to relax and plan. Make sure you meet all deadlines and allow yourself adequate time to write and revise your essays. Consider the best way to reflect your personal experiences, convey your interests, express your enthusiasm for learning, and demonstrate how and why the University of Michigan is the best place for you!
If you’re applying to the University of Michigan, you already know you’re up against tight competition. Don’t be overwhelmed. Get the guidance of an experienced admissions specialist who will help you stand out from the highly competitive applicant pool so you can apply with confidence, and get accepted! Click here to get started!Marie Todd has been involved in college admissions for over twenty years. Marie has both counseled applicants to top colleges and evaluated 5000+ applications for the University of Michigan's College of Literature, Science and the Arts; College of Engineering; School of Kinesiology; School of Nursing; and Taubman College of Architecture. Want Marie to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch with Marie Todd.
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• Tips For Answering Common Application Essay Prompts