How to Write the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor Essays 2017-2018
The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is a top-ranked public university with a long history of excellence in sports, the arts, and academics. Founded in 1817 with the motto, “Arts, Knowledge, Truth,” the university now has one of the largest alumni networks in the world. No matter which of Michigan’s 19 schools or colleges they attended, alumni are always willing to help out fellow alum because of their adoration for their shared and beloved alma mater.
Year after year, the university receives a record number of applicants, and last year they accepted around 42.4% of their in-state applicants and 24.5% of their out-of-state applicants. The school is currently home to 28,312 proud undergraduate Michigan Wolverines. Michigan’s location in Ann Arbor provides its students with access to one of the continuously best-regarded college towns. It is not only a fun and attractive place to live, but it is also home to many work opportunities and an entrepreneurial spirit.
With a campus spanning 3,211 acres, more than 250-degree programs, and more than 900 student organizations, Michigan is home to endless opportunities. Students looking for a large school with a diverse student body and a lot of school spirit find exactly that and more at the University of Michigan.
The University of Michigan accepts the Common App. Learn how to write the Common Application essays for 2017-2018.
Want to learn what University of Michigan will actually cost you based on your income? And how long your application to the school should take? Here’s what every student considering University of Michigan needs to know.
Read on to learn how to write the University of Michigan supplemental essays.
University of Michigan Application Essay Prompts
Part A. Main “Why Michigan?” Essay
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? (500 words)
This prompt represents a common category of supplement prompts that ask you why you want to study a specific program at a specific school. The main purpose of these “Why Us?” essays is to show the school why you are interested and why you are a good fit.
This is done in two parts: 1. why you want to study what you have indicated and 2. why you want to study it here at this specific school. Make sure to do some research so you can provide more than generic examples like “I want to go to a big school“ or “I like sports” that could apply to many other schools. To learn more about “Why Us?” type essays, read our essay guide, “How to Write the “Why Us?” College Essay.”
When you start to write this essay, you first want to develop why you wish to study what you have indicated on your application. An anecdote is often the most effective means of accomplishing this. You could recount how your time in physical therapy, love for your biology class, and long history of playing sports fueled your passion to learn more about the human body and how it moves. This perfectly lines up with the field of Kinesiology.
Next, you need to demonstrate why Michigan is the perfect place to study what you have selected. Continuing with the Kinesiology example, you could talk about its excellent reputation and some specific classes you really look forward to taking.
With preferred admission applications, it is important to discuss your future goals as well as past experiences that make you sure you will want to be a part of this program. For example, if you apply for the Pharmacy program, you will want to discuss why you are interested in pharmacy and detail the moments in your life that have led you to this decision. Perhaps you have always had a passion for chemistry and helping others, and hearing from your friend’s mom about her career in pharmacy was consistently one of your favorite parts of your weekly hangouts.
With dual-degree programs, the key is not only discussing why you want to pursue a degree in each of them, but why you think the combination is especially important for you.
For example, if you are applying to the dual-degree Ross School of Business and College of Engineering program, you could discuss your dream of beginning your own tech startup and needing both the technical engineering knowledge and business savvy. You could write about how you first came up with your idea and when/how you realized Michigan’s dual-degree program would be the perfect place to bring it to life.
Part B. Community Essay
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. (Approximately 250 words)
The main purpose of this question is to get at what the applicant believes to be central to their perception of self. Michigan wants to know something special about you and your background and how that will contribute to their diverse campus. No two people have the same exact story, and this is your opportunity to show how yours is different.
Often, when students read the list of possible communities in this prompt, they immediately know which of their many communities they will write about.
Others have a hard time identifying a community in their life that has shaped them. For those of you who feel that way, the most helpful path to discovering this impactful community is to write out a list of the communities you belong to or have belonged to at some point in your life. It could include your hometown, grade school, in-school club, church group or something that will require more explanation like the car you drive or your favorite food.
For those who are truly stumped, the latter approach can be a good way to spin something that most people would not see as a community into one.
Let’s take the “favorite food” community for example. You could write an essay about being part of the community that believes waffles are superior to pancakes. You could talk about how your grandma always made you her famous waffles and taught you a life lesson that changed your perspective while mixing the ingredients. This essay would discuss how you became a part of this community and why it is important to you in a very creative way. Almost anything is possible with this prompt.
No matter what approach you choose, make sure to develop your place within the community with an anecdote or deep personal reflection. Don’t forget to showcase your voice as a writer and keep this prompt personal! The communities we are a part of impact us all in very different ways. There is no right answer.
Part C. Activity Essay
If you could only do one of the activities you have listed in the Activities section of your Common Application, which one would you keep doing? Why? (Approximately 100 words)
The most important part of writing this essay is deciding which of your activities you will write about. Note that the prompt does not ask which of your activities takes up most of your time or which you have engaged in the longest. It asks which one you would keep doing if you could only choose one. For this reason, you should write about the activity to which you feel the greatest personal connection.
Ask yourself: “If I had to choose one descriptive word to describe me, what would I want it to be?”
Then, “Which of my activities showcases that?”
Use this essay to tell Michigan about one of the most important aspects of who you are.
An important thing to keep in mind is that the prompt only calls for approximately 100 words. You need to be short and sweet in your response. Do not spend too much time discussing the specifics of what the activity is. If the activity is widely known (e.g., Model UN, Speech and Debate) you may jump right into your personal involvement and connection. If the activity is not well known by outsiders, you may want to spend a short sentence discussing the activity before transitioning to its significance.
Because of the personal nature of this prompt, it is nearly impossible to list exemplary activities. If five different people participated in the same five activities, they could very well all have different responses to this prompt. The one thing that should not differ in their responses is the development, or the level of detail of the “why.”
If you were to write an essay about being on the varsity soccer team, you would want to talk about the leadership skills you gained as captain, how you learned to be a team player, and other formative experiences. You could talk about technical aspects of the game if they have a personal meaning for you or if they contain a metaphor for your life. Maybe you discuss how being a goalie helps you think differently because you need to anticipate the next move and developing these skills helps you on and off the field.
No matter what, always go one step further in your analysis.
You can read more about how to answer this type of question in our guide on How to Write “Most Important Extracurricular” Essays.
The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is looking to fill out a diverse class of incoming students. They ask the questions they do because they want to understand what makes you stand out from the pack. They want to know what you will bring to campus that will make you a key member of the community. Show them what you’ve got!
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