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 the university’s efforts to gain a deeper understanding of the sort of student you might become at the University of Michigan, your application will ask you to write a main essay for whichever application type you select, as well as three supplemental essays.
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 programs, and anything else that attracts you to the University of Michigan. These responses are your opportunity to share more about yourself to make the strongest possible case for both your potential fit with the school and for the ways in which 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
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; 1,500 character limit)
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. While there might be some overlap in 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 reveal your sense of self-awareness, of both 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 #2
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; 2,750 character limit)
This is another opportunity to demonstrate that you’ve done your homework and identified distinctive 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 particular school? Why is this specific school such a good match for your interests, learning style, or ultimate goals? Provide details and support your statements with reasons why a particular program or School at the University of Michigan is the ideal place for you!
School of Education applicants only
Discuss where you would like to teach and/or the types of students you would like to teach and how you developed this commitment.
This is a question asking as much for information about your teaching future and desires as it is for your teaching history and your passions and skills up to the present. Be sure to demonstrate past experience, passion, and values that are all relevant to the field of teaching, as well as relatively specific goals and reasons behind them.
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; provide a genuine sense of your character through your essay responses!
To provide some context for where you might stand, of the 79,743 students who applied to enter the class of 2025 at the University of Michigan, 16,071 or about 20% were offered admission. The interquartile (middle 50th percent) ranges for SAT scores were between 1400 and 1540. For ACT scores, they ranged from 32 to 35. 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 communicate 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 a 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.
- From Example to Exemplary, a free guide to writing great application essays
- The Essay Whisperer: How to Write a College Application Essay
- Mining Identity for College Essays, Personal Statements