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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


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What is University of Michigan Known For?

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What is the University of Michigan known for? Excellence comes to mind—UMich consistently ranks in the top 30 national universities, and the Michigan Wolverines are one of the most heralded athletic programs in the country. Even Michigan’s location is superlative, commonly ranking among the best college towns in the nation. 


If you’re considering UMich, here are the unique aspects of the school, including academics, extracurriculars, traditions, and more.


Overview of the University of Michigan Admissions


Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Undergrad Enrollment: 30,300

Acceptance Rate: 25.9%

Middle 50% SAT: 1380-1550

Middle 50% ACT: 32-35 


There is about a 50/50 split between in-state and out-of-state students at the University of Michigan, but there is a substantial spread in admissions. For in-state students, acceptance into the University of Michigan is equivalent to gaining admissions to a top 40-50 college, but for out-of-state students, it’s more akin to gaining acceptance to a top 25 college. 


Applying Early Action will give out-of-state applicants a slight boost, but less than that of other colleges with unrestricted early admissions. In-state students gain almost no advantage by applying early. 


Unique Aspects of the University of Michigan


The University of Michigan is a historic, prestigious, and large school; consequently, it has gained a reputation for a broad number of things from academics to athletics to extracurricular activities and beyond. 




The defining attribute of the University of Michigan is its excellence as a public institution. U.S. News ranks it third on its list of best public universities, placing it ahead of notable schools such as the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and the University of Texas Austin. The University of Michigan is among the 15 schools sometimes called the “Public Ivies.” 


What major is the University of Michigan known for? The question is better phrased: what major is the University of Michigan not known for? Across 14 schools and colleges, the University of Michigan offers more than 280 degree programs—from Actuarial Mathematics to Women’s and Gender Studies. The one thing all University of Michigan degree programs have in common is their high-quality reputation. 


One of the most prestigious undergraduate programs at UMich is the Ross Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA). We at CollegeVine rank the Ross School of Business as the tenth-best undergraduate business school in the nation. In 2020, 94% of Ross graduates received a job offer upon graduation and the median base salary for graduates is $85,000—considerably higher than the $57,657 average entry salary of a business major.  


Acceptance into the Ross BBA program is challenging—it has just a 12.2% acceptance rate for incoming freshmen. About 80% of the BBA class is enrolled as high school seniors through Preferred Admission while roughly 15% transfer in from another school or college at the University of Michigan. 




Perhaps the only thing more notable than UMich’s academics is its athletics. The Michigan Wolverines are one of the most recognizable college football teams in the nation and their maize-and-blue uniforms are best described as iconic. The Wolverines’ home stadium, the “Big House,” holds more than 100,000 fans, and when they collectively chant Hail to the Victors, it’s one of the most breathtaking moments in sports. 


Coinciding with the love University of Michigan students and alumni have for athletic teams is the disdain they have for their rival, Ohio State. University of Michigan vs. Ohio State is considered by many as the best rivalry in college football—they first squared off in 1897. You don’t want to get caught on campus wearing Ohio State’s scarlet and gray colors during a game week. 


Football steals the spotlight, but Michigan has also had enormous success outside of the Big House. The men’s hockey team has won seven national championships, its 2005 women’s softball team became the first squad east of the Mississippi to win a national championship, and its “Fab Five” basketball team from the 1990s remains one of the most memorable collegiate basketball teams of all time. 


Outside of the classroom and athletics, there is an abundance of activities for University of Michigan undergraduates. The school is home to more than 1,600 student-run clubs and organizations offering something for students of every identity and interest. 




Numerous traditions have incorporated themselves into the lives of UMich undergraduates over the years; one of the best known is a “walk in the fountain.” Students walk through the Cooley Fountain in Ingalls Mall toward the Diag during orientation to become “official” Wolverines. Upon graduation, students walk through the fountain in the opposite direction, toward Rackham and away from campus. 


Want to walk both ways through the Cooley Fountain? Then avoid stepping on the “M” in the center of the Diag. Tradition has it that if you do step on the M, you’ll fail your first BlueBook exam. Even students who’ve already taken their first BlueBook exam avoid stepping on the M out of caution. 


Another colorful tradition at the University of Michigan is painting the rock which sits at the corner of Washtenaw and Hill Street. The rock was placed in the park to commemorate George Washington’s 200th birthday, but it has been covered in thousands of gallons of paint since the 1950s either by vandalizing Ohio State and Michigan State fans or by University of Michigan students freshening it up. 

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Students are not required to live on campus at the University of Michigan, but 97% of first-year students choose to do so. In addition to standard dorm and residence hall accommodations, UMich offers both Learning Community and Theme Community living options. 


Learning communities are made up of students and faculty drawn together by shared goals and common interests. These include: 


  • Health Sciences Scholars Program (HSSP)
  • Living ArtsEngine 
  • Lloyd Scholars for Writing and the Arts (LSWA) 
  • Michigan Community Scholars Program (MCSP)
  • Michigan Research and Discovery Scholars (MRADS) 
  • Women in Science and Engineering Residence Program (WISE RP)


Theme communities are small residential groups of students with a focus on a particular subject. These include: 


  • SubFree: no alcohol or drugs
  • 1st Gen: for students who are the first in their family to attend college 
  • Gender Inclusive Living Experience (GILE): a safe and inclusive space for residents of all gender identities and gender expressions
  • Innovation: for students with an interest in innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity 
  • LiveWell: for students interested in living a holistically well life
  • Multicultural Housing Community (MHC): for students with an interest in facilitating communication and understanding between students from different backgrounds 


Financial Aid


UMich practices need-blind admissions for in-state students only and will meet 100% of their demonstrated financial need. Finances are an admissions consideration for out-of-state students, however. One in four in-state undergraduates pays no tuition to the university due to financial aid. There are also a variety of merit scholarships for both domestic and international students.


The University of Michigan is considered one of the better value colleges in the country. In 2019, Forbes ranked it 60th on its list of America’s Best Value Colleges. The website PayScale ranks the University of Michigan 81st out of 2,006 schools for value. 




The purpose of the University of Michigan’s Law Library is to support its law school students and faculty, but it is an incredible place for anyone to sneak away and study. Designed in an English Gothic style, it’s easy to think that you escaped the University of Michigan and enrolled at Hogwarts. 


The Arb, otherwise known as the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum, offers easy access to nature for University of Michigan students. The property is jointly owned by the University and the City of Ann Arbor and is used for everything from research and teaching to a simple escape from campus. 




Ann Arbor is one of the great places to live in the United States and is commonly found on lists of the country’s best college towns and best places to live. The city is prime for cultural exploration, whether it’s theater, music, or food. (Speaking of food, ordering a #2 (a Rueben) at Zingermans is a must—even Obama got one when he visited the city.) Ann Arbor also is commonly thought of as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the nation, boasting 79 miles of bike lanes and more than 900 bike parking spots.


Looking for a reason not to love Ann Arbor? Winter! Ann Arbor winters are cold, harsh, and seemingly last forever. Undergraduates coming from warmer climates find it particularly brutal. 


What are Your Chances of Acceptance at the University of Michigan?


The University of Michigan values a student’s entire record—in addition to excellent grades in challenging courses, students are expected to have top SAT/ACT scores, have participated in extracurricular activities, demonstrated leadership, won awards, and provided service to their communities. If this sounds like a lot, it is; that’s one reason why only roughly half of the students who apply to the University of Michigan are accepted (though keep in mind that the in-state vs. out-of-state acceptance rates are very different). 


If you’re interested in your chances of getting into the University of Michigan, CollegeVine can help. Our free admissions calculator uses your grades, test scores, and extracurriculars to estimate your odds of acceptance. In addition, it can provide insight into your college profile and show you what needs improvement. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to take advantage of this powerful tool!


Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.