What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

7 Magnificent University of Michigan Essay Examples

What’s Covered:


The University of Michigan is an outstanding research institution, known for its school spirit and large alumni base. Based in the picturesque city of Ann Arbor, students at UMich are surrounded by city culture, urban nature trails, as well as outstanding students and professors. UMich is a “most selective” school, so you’ll need strong essays to help your application stand out from the tens of thousands of others. 


In this post we will share seven essays real students submitted to the University of Michigan. We will also walk through what each essay did well and where they could be improved to give you inspiration for your essays.


Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 


Read our University of Michigan essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts. 


Essay Example #1 – Community in Coaching


Prompt: 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. (300 words)


This summer I coached my first junior basketball team in two years, the Thunderdragons. From the beginning, this team of “misfits” was different from any I’d coached before. We were the only rookie team in the league and most of our players had no sports experience, while our opponents had spent years building chemistry together. 


The beginning of the season was a disaster. At practice, whenever I demanded attention and tried to demonstrate drills, the kids were unfocused and didn’t show interest in the sport. Unsurprisingly, our games went much like practices, with opponents often defeating us by over 20 points. This pattern continued for weeks. I felt I wasn’t doing my job correctly, and began to lose confidence in my own coaching abilities. 


Out of desperation, I finally voiced my frustrations to the team. Heart-to-heart, I asked them why they weren’t respecting me as a coach, and more importantly, never putting in 100% effort. Fortunately, they empathized with my reasoning and from then on, effort and attentiveness were never a problem. Our season culminated in a playoff game, playing a team featuring older, experienced players. We fought hard, bringing the game down to the wire, making me the proudest coach even in the face of defeat. 


Though our season ended that day, I experienced one of the most gratifying feelings I’d had in high school. Not only could I visibly see the growth in all my kids’ basketball talent, ability, and maturity, but every single parent personally thanked me for coaching their kids and more importantly, instilling a love for the game and team sports in general. I’d formed a community myself, one that consisted of my new little brothers who viewed me as a role model, and one I hope to lead to the championship next season.


What the Essay Did Well


This essay has a very solid story that is a great response to the prompt. The reader can very clearly see the community this student was a part of (junior basketball) and the role they played within it (coach). Not only that, we get a sense of the type of leader this student was and their passion for teaching and the sport. 


There is a very simple, yet effective structure to this essay that makes it extremely easy to follow—albeit a bit predictable. The student gives us an overview of the team in the beginning, explains the challenge they experienced, how they overcame the obstacle, and then they end with a reflection. While this isn’t necessarily a creative or exciting structure, it allows the student to share their story in a clear fashion.


Another positive aspect of this essay is the community this student chose: coaching a basketball team. Many students feel trapped when they encounter a community prompt if they don’t have a unique cultural background, but this essay is a perfect example of how you can write about anything! As long as you explain the essence of your community and its meaning to you, admissions officers will be happy to hear about any group you are part of. 


What Could Be Improved


This essay is a good foundation, but it could be strengthened with a more sophisticated structure and by showing, not telling. In terms of the structure, rather than following a traditional story arc, this student could have started the essay with the playoff game at the end of the season and then once they hooked the reader, they could have gone back and explained how far the team had come. Or they could have used a vignette structure to show the growth from practice to practice, game to game.


As for showing and not telling, there are many sentences in this essay that could be far more engaging and descriptive.


For example, “At practice, whenever I demanded attention and tried to demonstrate drills, the kids were unfocused and didn’t show interest in the sport,” could be “‘Circle up!’ Impatiently dribbling the ball waiting to demonstrate a three-pointer, I watched as 15 boys casually sauntered over, too engrained in an Iron Man vs Hulk debate.”


Another example would be switching “We fought hard, bringing the game down to the wire, making me the proudest coach even in the face of defeat,” to something like, “36 to 33! I couldn’t help the smile that spread across my face as we took the lead in the final minutes. The squeaking of the court as they pivoted to throw the ball to each other was music to my ears.”


Essay Example #2 – Community in Drawing


Prompt: 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. (300 words)


Every morning, I stare into the deep-set eyes of Timothée Chalamet. He springs to life from a sheet of 9×11 paper, his face chiseled by a graphite pencil. Timothée is my latest artistic pursuit. For the past four years, I have been captivated by artistry through my school’s drawing classes. 


When language fails me, art is my interpreter of thoughts, a magnifying glass to the world. But beyond beauty, drawing sparked conversation and collaboration: “Isn’t Timothée so dreamy?” one girl swoons; “Yeah, but his eyes should be darker!” another chimes in. I continue to connect with this community for its balance between appreciating art and embracing growth. 


While I may not be the most creative artist, I provide perspective. In fact, I often move around the classroom, finding the best lighting to view friends’ drawings. I’ll hold them upside-down, tape them on walls, and sit back to analyze minute details: art demands precision. Standing on a stool, I point out enlarged nostrils and disproportionate eyebrows. In turn, when I slam my pencil down in annoyance, these multi-talented individuals rescue me, highlighting the misplaced shadows of Timothée’s curls.


While chaos permeates this environment, so does genuine concern and humanity. Together, we transcend the medium, from graphite to chalk pastel. Our faces smudged with charcoal, we bond over a shared frustration with integrals and a love for Modern Family. My drawing teacher pioneered “Tell It Tuesday” questions to stir conversation and encourage community, and I’ve sought to continue this. My role is not one of excellence; rather, I am a support mechanism. From encouraging a classmate to approach a girl he likes to pacifying another’s frustration with her tiger drawing, I promote dialogue between my peers. 


Art breeds vulnerability, and vulnerability breeds connection—I will champion this at the University of Michigan. 


What The Essay Did Well


This essay starts off particularly strong, with a lighthearted, unusual hook that is sure to grab anyone’s attention. Rather than starting off by merely talking about art class, the author gets our attention first, then provides some of the details we need to understand their unique story.


After situating us within the art class, this essay continues with vivid, powerful language that gives us a visceral sense of what being in the class is like. Without even knowing the layout of the room, we are brought into the collaborative space of the classroom, and can feel the supportive, creative energy that the author describes–we can practically see peers’ drawings, the stool the author stands on, and their pencil being slammed down in frustration.


Establishing this supportive, empowering mood is particularly important because this essay is an example of a diversity prompt, which asks students to write about an aspect of their identity that would enhance a college community. This essay’s specific, grounding details shows us exactly what this student’s artistic collaboration looks like. Picturing the author holding classmates’ drawings up to the light, tipping them this way and that to get a better angle, helps us picture them doing the same in other contexts on Michigan’s campus. 


Beyond the enthralling hook and evocative language, this author also uses their essay to reveal unexpected aspects of their personality.  In an essay about a drawing class, one might expect to hear about the author’s creativity, talent, or keen appreciation for beauty. 


These qualities are definitely present, but the author focuses much more on their connections with classmates and how the whole class benefits from a collaborative environment. The author chooses to frame themselves as a support system and a helper, rather than focusing on their artistic talents, which tells us a lot about who they are as a person and how they function in a larger group. 


By effectively communicating that they view art as a tool for supporting others, rather than an individual endeavor, the author ensures their essay will be unique, even amongst the tens of thousands of others Michigan’s admissions officers will be reading.


What Could Be Improved


This is a very well-written and successful essay, but even the best essays can be improved. One thing that we would’ve loved to see from this essay is an anecdote to anchor one of the more important points. There are a lot of examples that anchor this essay–like the analysis of how the Chalamet drawing could be improved, or advising a peer on how to ask out the girl he likes–but staying with a story a little longer can add depth. Talking about the specific advice they give, for example, or telling us the outcome of his peer’s attempt, would even more concretely demonstrate the aid that the author provides to their community.


At 300 words, this essay is right at the limit, but including an anecdote might be worth sacrificing some of the earlier details. As is, this essay touches broadly on a lot of the most meaningful aspects of art class, but doesn’t dive too deeply into any one aspect of the community. The best essays have both breadth and depth. 


One other area for improvement is the conclusion. The takeaway about vulnerability is a very compelling statement, but it doesn’t summarize all of the ground covered by this essay. We would’ve loved to see this essay wrap up with a conclusion that also touches on the collaboration and support that is so central earlier in the piece. 


Let’s compare this essay to another one, answering the same prompt.


Essay Example #3 – Community in Books


Prompt: 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. (300 words)


I’ve played with magic, lived in dystopian societies, and traveled the world, all through a flip of a page. Ever since my dad bought me a set of Disney books when I was 3, I sparked an insatiable hunger for reading. However, I got much more out of reading than just better fluency.


I found empathy for different backgrounds and an understanding of diverse identities and cultures. I explored cultural, societal, and gender expectations through Jane Eyre, and played a game of quidditch with Harry Potter. Reading about Aly Raisman’s life and experiences through her autobiography, I began to appreciate the vulnerability of public figures. When reading a series called Flawed, I saw a girl turn her grassroots efforts into a revolutionary movement against her dystopian government. 


One day, when I was at my cousin’s house, I saw a small, strange-looking bus drive through the neighborhood. I was confused, asking my cousins what that was. “It’s our library,” they told me. Curious, I stepped on the bus to see what books they had. 


Looking through their selection, I saw a meager stack of about ten children’s books for a whole town. Only ten kids had a library book at once, and many had probably read all the books in the stack. 


The thought of childhood without books was unfathomable to me, so I started a campaign to combat the childhood literacy gap. I turned to social media to spread awareness of the importance of kids having access to books and created a network of volunteers to expand the campaign to individual communities and run workshops to read to kids. 


As an activist, campaigner, and avid reader, I helped people realize that the stories I explored through books are an invaluable experience for everyone, kids and adults alike.


What the Essay Did Well


The greatest strength of this essay lies in how the author describes their place in this reading community. First, they talk about the ways in which they explore new worlds, and are exposed to new ideas through their reading. These details demonstrate positive qualities such as creativity and critical thinking, which are both good ones to show off in your college essays.


Then, in a somewhat similar vein as the previous essay, the author shows that reading is not a solitary pursuit for them, but a door to a world that they want to share with others. Even better, they then describe how, upon realizing that not everyone has equal access to this world, they took concrete action to help fix this problem. This detail demonstrates that they’re aware of issues wider than themselves, and that they’re committed to making a difference. These are yet more qualities that colleges love to see in applicants, so this anecdote as a whole is particularly well-chosen.


Another thing this essay does well is demonstrate the author’s writing ability. Their varied sentence structure and sophisticated construction are just as effective as their broad vocabulary. The natural, easy flow of their writing takes us from a general overview to a specific anecdote, before a culminating declaration of what this story reflects about the author: that they are an activist, a campaigner, and above all, a reader. 


What Could Be Improved


While we have a great sense of who this student is when it comes to reading, we don’t know anything about their broader reading community. In fact, the idea of a community is, for the most part, missing from this response. The author describes their engagement with reading, and then what they do individually to help other children access books, but at no point do we see them directly interacting with others, nor get a sense of which attributes would “describe [the] community,” in addition to their “place within it.”


While most college essay prompts are intentionally open-ended, you do want to make sure you ultimately answer all parts of the question. After all, admissions officers are asking for a reason, as they have some particular piece of information they’re seeking–in this case, an understanding of how you fit into a larger community, so that they can imagine how you’d fit into their own campus community.


The author doesn’t need to do anything drastic to fix this problem. Talking about who the author reads or discusses books with would work just fine–perhaps they’re part of a book club, post in online discussion forums, or just enjoy talking about their favorite characters at lunch with their friends. Whatever the case, helping the reader understand the community they’re talking about is a crucial part of this prompt. 


The other issue with this essay is the lack of a sense of time. The author describes books that they have read and enjoyed, all of which seem to be middle grade or adult novels, but they don’t say when they read these books. Then, they talk about the experience of seeing a book bus with their cousin, and realizing not all children had access to books, which feels like a discovery that would happen at a relatively young age. 


Given this lack of a clear timeline, the reader has some questions about when everything took place. Anchoring these stories in time, to clearly show when things happened and if/how development occurred over time, would help the reader better understand the story, and potentially make it more compelling as well. After all, admissions committees want to know what you’re up to and what you’re like now, not what you might have been like four or five years ago. 


Even if your points are good, if your reader doesn’t understand how they’re supposed to fit together, your ideas won’t have as much impact as they should. So, while incorporating creative vocabulary and demonstrating positive personality traits are certainly important aspects of the college essay, don’t forget about the “nuts and bolts” of your essay, like chronology. 


Essay Example #4  – Why This Major, Political Science and Environment


Prompt: 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? (550 words)


“Raising livestock for human consumption generates 15% of total global greenhouse gas emissions, greater than all transportation emissions combined,” I project my voice into the chamber. “I implore this Senate to pass this bill to protect the environment for our future children.”


For a week in June of 2022, I served on a local committee focused on agriculture, conservation, and energy, where I was captivated by environmental policy that bolstered sustainability. Specifically, I proposed legislation that subsidized the cultivation of alternative protein-rich crops and disincentivized animal farming. Becoming well-versed in environmental issues from soil acidification to fertilizer runoff, I grew eager to study the intersection of environmental studies and political science to address these global problems. 


Unwilling to compromise on these varied academic interests, I am attracted to the College of Literature, Science and the Arts for its dedication to interdisciplinary education.


An aspiring double major in Political Science and Environment with a specialization in Environmental Philosophy, I will investigate the role of governing institutions in implementing ethical environmental policy. At the University of Michigan, I am eager to engage in rich, multidisciplinary dialogue with the dynamic living-learning community of the Residential College program. Through courses like IDIV 390 “Environmental Activism: Citizenship in a Republic” and “Contemporary Social and Cultural Theory,” I can not only deepen my interdisciplinary passion for sustainable environmental policy, but also receive intimate seminar-style instruction from my professors and my peers. The RC approaches communal learning through a global lens, which heightens my unrelenting desire to understand the world around me.


In addition, I am attracted to the LSA Honors Program for its emphasis on experiential and immersive learning. Through first-year seminars like “Psychological Perspectives of Politics,” I can expand my understanding of human political involvement and apply those concepts to drive social change. Furthermore, as an aspiring constitutional and environmental lawyer, the “Lunch with Honors” series allows me to interact with pioneers in these fields. This includes Professor Mark Rotenburg of Georgetown University, with whom I can explore the limitations of free speech and other constitutional protections in the social media age.


Divided between the unique opportunities for experiential learning through the LSA Honors Program and the intimate instruction of the RC, I am grateful that at U-M, I can participate in both.


But at U-M, learning isn’t confined to academia. LSA provides me with the flexibility to explore my vast array of interests. Through the Politics, Environment, and Science Lab, for example, I seek to continue my interdisciplinary inquiry into environmental policy. Working under Professor Ariel Hasell, I will explore social media’s influence on public perception of expertise during public health and environmental crises. The Michigan in Washington program also provides a unique opportunity for experiential learning; as an Intern in the White House, I will gain firsthand experience observing the churning gears of political institutions. On the Ann Arbor campus, Michigan Parliamentary Debate would sustain my global curiosity through my passion for debate, allowing me to engage in rich discussion with the diverse-minded intellectuals that call U-M home. I will also lend my Desi American voice to the Student Advisory Board to further encourage cultural appreciation. In essence, as a Wolverine, I will employ my interdisciplinary perspective and inclusive nature to lead, on campus and beyond.


What the Essay Did Well


This essay is an extremely detailed, well-researched response to this “Why This Major” prompt. The depth and specificity shows that the applicant spent considerable time researching not just Michigan in general, but particular aspects of the school that align well with their own interests. 


As a result, we can not only see their commitment to and knowledge of Michigan, but also envision how their own unique qualities, strengths, and interests would enrich the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. From naming the exact classes that interest them, to discussing certain professors and the work that they do, this student situates their own passions within the places on Michigan’s campus where those passions will truly shine. 


For example, they discuss Michigan’s Residential College program, the Honors program, the Politics, Environment, and Science Lab, Michigan Parliamentary Debate, and the Student Advisory program. Just as importantly, the applicant explains what they find compelling about each resource and how they imagine themselves taking advantage of it. 


One of the biggest risks with this kind of essay is it turning into a bullet point list–this applicant avoids that risk deftly, and instead builds a concrete bridge between themselves and their potential future at Michigan.


Another strength of the essay is its unique structure. Imagine if the essay had begun with the line, “I am attracted to the College of Literature, Science and the Arts for its dedication to interdisciplinary education.” While informative, this line completely loses the excitement and personal quality of the current opening, which demonstrates the student’s passion for the environment and their history of civic engagement. These details perfectly set up their later statements about how they’ll engage with their chosen programs at University of Michigan. 


What Could Be Improved


There is honestly very little to improve in this essay. It is specific and grounded in detailed research, and communicates valuable information about the author’s values, interests, and abilities. 


One of the only things that can be picked at is the last paragraph: not because of content, but because of structure. In your college essays, you generally want to avoid long paragraphs like this one, as they make your points more difficult to digest. Admissions officers are reading essays all day long, so they want information to be presented simply, one point at a time. Throwing so much at them at once without any breaks means they don’t have a chance to reflect on anything you’re saying, which means your ideas won’t be as impactful as they could be.


Additionally, it is worth noting that the author left 50 words on the table. While you don’t necessarily have to hit the word count on the dot, as the exact number of words you use depends on your particular phrasings and grammatical choices more than content, you ideally want to get within 10-15 words. Even for this relatively long supplement, 50 words is almost 10% of the count. College applications are already incredibly restrictive in the amount of information they allow you to share about yourself–don’t voluntarily limit yourself even further!


Obviously, though, you don’t want to just add fluff to fill the space. So, what could this student add to make their essay stronger?


The link between the opening anecdote and the rest of the essay could be strengthened, or the opening anecdote could be referenced throughout the rest of the essay to strengthen the image of the author as a civic-minded environmentalist. For example, when they mention the Michigan in Washington program, they could talk about their desire to build on the skills they learned from serving on their local committee.


Alternatively, this student could talk about the future they envision beyond their time in Ann Arbor. At the very end of the essay, the student mentions leading “on campus and beyond.” What does this tantalizing ‘‘beyond” look like, and how will University of Michigan help them get there? 


Or, after breaking up the last paragraph into two or three smaller bites, they could use their extra words to add transitions, to ensure the flow of their writing is still smooth.


Remember, this is still a superior essay. If anything, the disappointment of 50 words being left unused stems primarily from the fact that the page is already full of excellent writing, dedicated research, and demonstrations of the student’s character, so there’s no doubt that those extra words would also be used to add something of value.


Essay Example #5 – Why This Major, Psychology and Spanish


Prompt: 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? (550 words)


An aspiring trilingual clinical psychologist, I am drawn to the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts because it’s loaded with opportunities to build me into a scholar with a heart for service.


As a Psychology major and Spanish minor, I will satisfy my pursuit of academic excellence with LSA’s inexhaustible course offerings. Curious how songwriting helps me remember difficult words, I’ll find the answer from Psych 211-002: Mind, Music, and Community. As I learn what music does to the human mind through this exciting experiential course, I hope simultaneously to brighten the day of local seniors and children by playing the flute for them. While I will continue to explore indigenous cultures through the mythology my Latinx friends tell me outside of class, I look forward to examining these communities from an academic standpoint through Spanish 472 – Indigenous Societies. The combination of oral traditions and classical texts will deepen my knowledge of, and appreciation for, Latin American countries’ indigenous roots. Because of the variety of offerings LSA provides, I’ll get to zoom in on my specific topics of interest in psychology and Hispanic cultures. 


An advocate for pursuing academic excellence, not perfectionism, I hope to join the Chang Lab to investigate how race and culture give rise to perfectionism, applying my knowledge in Psychology to advance the science of well-being. With our common ethnic background, I’m especially intrigued by Dr. Chang’s studies regarding the Asian community. After gaining more research experience, I will write an honors thesis with Professor Nestor Lopez-Duran to research mental illness treatment. I want to develop a new form of psychotherapy combining ASMR and talk therapy, and I hope that our research contributes to this cause. 


Joining the Residential College will be the cherry atop my LSA sundae. Beyond the courses, alumni network, and research opportunities, I’ll get to share my opinions and consider others’ in small classrooms. I can’t wait to take the residential college writing seminar Psychology of Creativity and join the language lunch table to practice speaking Spanish outside the classroom. As someone who sought out native speakers to talk incessantly in Spanish about mythology, I hope to find other Spanish lovers at RC with whom I can practice my language skills. I will also participate in the Multicultural Psychology in Argentina program, traveling to Buenos Aires to learn the Argentine perspective on mental health. This cross-cultural exchange is crucial in helping me build an empathetic mindset as a clinical psychologist, arming me with tools to help people of different cultural backgrounds.


What the Essay Did Well


This student has clearly done their research on UMich for this response to the classic “Why Major?” prompt! They come across as focused, dedicated, and passionate because of the details they include across multiple disciplines and opportunities. However, despite including many UMich resources, it doesn’t come across as name-dropping because the student elaborated on each point.


Telling the reader things like, “The combination of oral traditions and classical texts will deepen my knowledge of, and appreciation for, Latin American countries’ indigenous roots,” and “I want to develop a new form of psychotherapy combining ASMR and talk therapy, and I hope that our research contributes to this cause,” helps us appreciate what this student values and hopes to accomplish with a UMich education.


Ultimately, this essay gives a very strong impression of the reader. Right from the first sentence, they refer to themselves as “An aspiring trilingual clinical psychologist,” and every subsequent idea builds on that. Whether they are discussing psychology, Spanish, or their Asian heritage, we walk away from the essay knowing that all three of these are important to this student’s identity, making them much more memorable.


What Could Be Improved


While this essay shows a high level of research and interest in the school, it would benefit from more of a focus on the student—after all the point of your essay is to convince UMich to admit you. In the ideal essay, descriptions of UMich programs and self-descriptions should weave together to form a seamless trajectory. If this student were to rework their essay, they could organize their paragraphs according to their values or interests, rather than organizing them by the type of UMich program that they are discussing (i.e. coursework, research, extracurriculars). 




  • Paragraph 1: What the student values about Psychology and how UMich courses and the honors thesis program can support those values
  • Paragraph 2: Why the student believes Psychology must be supplemented by studies of race, ethnicity, and culture and how UMich’s Spanish programs and Chang lab would advance that belief
  • Paragraph 3: How the student thinks it is important to simultaneously use the academic setting and social/residential setting to advance their interests and goals (still regarding the interactions between psychology and culture!) and how a Residential College would accomplish this


These paragraphs would help the UMich facts to make more sense and feel less random (because readers would know why they matter to the writer), while also giving the essay, and, in turn, the writer themself, more depth.


Essay Example #6 (Ross School of Business) – Solving Issues with Business


Prompt: Choose a current event or issue in your community and discuss the business implications. Propose a solution that incorporates business principles or practices. The review panel will look for creativity, drawing connections, and originality.


Eating a slice of pizza, the only thing running through my mind was the amount of fat and grease I consumed, guilty that I exceeded my self-imposed calorie limit. 


Struggling with an eating disorder was one of the most mentally deteriorating and isolating experiences I had ever had. I had no one to cry to when guilty about eating my last meal or celebrate with when eating a “fear food.” 


I realized that people with an eating disorder need an instant connection with others who understand their situation, so I decided to develop an app to help people struggling with an eating disorder find emotional support and validation. 


I conducted market research to identify a unique selling proposition for an app that would be scalable and sufficiently address a deficit in eating disorder support. Noticing that the eating disorder support apps on the app store lacked chatting features to connect users, I started developing an app design with a vision for a peer support platform. 


In my app design, I created an instant chat feature where users could request a friend to talk to with a click of a button. To foster a stronger sense of unity and camaraderie, I incorporated resource and blog pages, a support forum, and a daily positive notification so people can start their day on the right note. To cater to a larger market, I incorporated high feature diversification in my plan.


Due to my limited coding background, I found volunteer developers who are working to bring my vision to life. However, as they developed the app, I curated a business plan and led a team of 20 to help me execute it. 


First, I identified the critical success factors of the app. I conducted a SWOT analysis to pinpoint the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the business model. I noticed that competing apps lacked a strong brand and other resources beyond their software, so I evaluated our strengths to be our diverse offerings and cohesive values. In our market, I identified opportunities in forging relationships with professionals and social media influencers.


From there, I created a strategic plan, identifying my brand and mission values to spread hope and community to uplift people struggling with an eating disorder. I worked to build our brand through Instagram and TikTok, posting positive eating disorder affirmations and posts about facing fear foods and body positivity. Through a stories project, where we collected stories from our followers, we created inspiring short videos and graphics to remind people that they aren’t alone. I hosted a few lighthearted social virtual game nights to distract people from their struggles and connect with others in a similar position.


I prioritized brand relationships to work with influencers and professionals who generally had an extensive network and following base. I started an events series with speakers to provide people with live professional advice. We developed relationships with our speakers so they could promote our app and use their networks with other professionals to spread our word. In collaboration with social media influencers, we partnered on content like blog articles, short videos, or even Instagram takeovers to expand our social media presence.


Though my app still hasn’t been published, I will continue to utilize my platform to empower eating disorder warriors. My journey through bringing people a safe place to find consolation and inspiration has only just begun. 


What the Essay Did Well


The first striking thing about this essay is that the author chooses to introduce this essay with a story of personal struggle, which clearly shows their reason for choosing to develop this app, their dedication to the project, and their personal investment in the community being helped. Their vulnerability and honesty make a deep impression and establish an immediate understanding of who they are as a person. The prompt only asks that applicants propose a business venture for their community, so this applicant is going above and beyond by choosing such a personal topic. 


The strength of this response also comes from the fact that the author isn’t talking about a hypothetical–they’re describing work that they have actually done. As a result, they can provide a comprehensive breakdown of what they did, from developing the app, to generating social media buzz, engaging with influencers, and leading a team. The work that this student describes demonstrates myriad talents, from self-awareness, to dedication, to big picture thinking, which all speak to their potential as a Michigan student.


However, you don’t need to share your most personal stories, or have already created your own app, to write a powerful response to this prompt. Rather, the bigger picture takeaways should be:


  • Think about how you can demonstrate vulnerability in your own story, in a way that you’re comfortable with.
  • Don’t be afraid to think creatively and expansively about a prompt.


If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to write a compelling essay about any topic.


What Could Be Improved


This is an extremely strong and impressive essay, and there are very few things that can be improved. If we’re going to split hairs, the structure is somewhat repetitive, and overly direct. While you might think business school admissions officers in particular will appreciate you getting right to the point, generally speaking you want the structure of your essay to be a bit more varied, as if readers feel like they don’t know what’s coming, linguistically as well as narratively, they’re likely to stay more engaged.


The essay could also benefit from the incorporation of more vivid details. The beginning is very vivid, with the description of eating a slice of pizza, but after that, the essay is pretty straightforward. Diving more deeply into another anecdote, or using descriptive language to help the admissions committee better visualize the story’s events, are always strong choices. 


For example, this applicant could tell us about one of the stories they collected from their “stories project,” or about a particular piece of advice one of their speakers gave during the events series. The content of this essay is already extremely strong, but polishing up the writing itself could bring out the applicant’s positive qualities even more emphatically.


Essay Example #7 (Ross School of Business) – Document/Artifact


Prompt: Upload a document or artifact that represents something significant about your life to show your learning in action. Describe how your artifact demonstrates your learning in action.


The “Evolution of Disney Princesses” was the first article I had ever written for my school newspaper. Though the experience was initially daunting, this article drew me into the world of journalism through my fascination with perspectives. As a kid, I looked up to Disney princesses, but as a freshman in high school, I realized that their primary roles were to reinstate the patriarchy. Snow White’s whole worth as a character was her strong housework skills and her dreams for a man she had only met once. Aurora was asleep almost the entire movie, which instead highlighted her male counterpart’s bravery and courage. I realized that Disney was reinstating societal expectations through these early movies and training young girls to grow up with the same aspirations.


This was my first article, so it was expectedly rough around the edges. However, even with the rough start, I was able to project my voice and show that Disney Princesses have gradually become independent, empowered, and an inspiration to young girls. I shared my perspective by discussing the portrayal of women and our progress as a society, projecting social progress and feminism in a different light. I celebrated our progress through something as seemingly trivial yet influential as Disney princesses, the idol of many young girls. Using creativity to voice my opinions, I sparked an interest in writing and continued to work with the newspaper, using my unique lenses to tell my own story.


What the Essay Did Well


This essay does a great job of showing off the author’s ability to think and write critically. We also see that they don’t have just a journalist’s inquisitive mind, but also a passion for feminism and deep social awareness. And, like the previous writer, this applicant isn’t afraid to be vulnerable: they talk openly about a time when they doubted their writing ability, chose to write for the school newspaper anyway, and nurtured their interest in writing, activism, and feminism. 


Admitting self-doubt in college essays can feel uncomfortable, since you’re obviously trying to put your best foot forward. However, resilience is a quality admissions officers value highly, as college is going to throw curveballs at everyone, no matter how talented they are, and the only way to demonstrate resilience is by telling a story about a time when you had to persevere.


Reading this article from the applicant’s freshman year will also allow admissions officers to see the growth in their writing ability over time, which makes the document especially well-chosen: it isn’t just a jumping off point for the response, but actually complements the essay. While showing this kind of growth over time can be tricky, since not all documents/artifacts lend themselves to direct comparison, the broader message is to choose something that won’t stand alone, but will ideally enhance some other element(s) of your application.


In a very brief essay, this author manages to pack in a ton of information about the kind of person they are, the positive qualities they have, and the challenges they overcame to become that person. As a result, their response to this prompt is not only effective, but packs a real emotional punch.


What Could Be Improved


Though this is a very strong essay, it could benefit from a bit more specificity. Quotes like “projecting social progress and feminism in a different light” are powerful, but vague–what is the different light? 


Now, this question might be answered by the article “The Evolution of Disney Princesses,” which this student did not provide to CollegeVine, but being precise in the moment is always a good idea. Admissions officers have tens of thousands of applications to read, so if you can save them even a few seconds by not making them look back over your document to see what you’re talking about, they will appreciate it!


Similarly, the essay later mentions the author’s “unique lenses,” but doesn’t explain what these unique lenses are. This would be a great opportunity for the author to include a bit more personal information, such as what Disney princesses, or traditional femininity, mean to them, which would in turn give admissions officers a clearer sense of what this student would contribute to a Michigan classroom.


Overall, as strong as this essay is, and as many good qualities as it demonstrates, it doesn’t tell us a lot about the author’s personality, or their personal connection to this theme. The best essays don’t just tell admissions teams what you care about, they tell readers why you care, and also don’t just state which strengths you have, but also explain how they come together to create a complete person. Telling your story as comprehensively as possible will ensure admissions officers are as invested in you personally as they are in the topic/cause you’re talking about.


Where to Get Your University of Michigan Essays Edited


Do you want feedback on your University of Michigan essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool, where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 


If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

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