Before we begin…
The University of Michigan supplement is one of the more comprehensive sets of essay questions out there; so if you’re applying to a wide swathe of schools, it’s an excellent place to start. The supplement asks you for a “why,” “community,” and “activity” essay — three assignments that are fairly common on applications at schools of all sizes and academic levels. Use this as an opportunity to think through the full package you want to present to admissions and highlight your diverse areas of interest.
Supplemental Essay Types:Community, Why, Activity
University of Michigan 2017-2018 Application Essay Question Explanations
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. Approximately 250 words.
This is a pretty standard community essay and admissions is giving you very specific instructions and launch points, both expected and unexpected, to draw from. You could be a part of an Italian Culture Club or a schnitzel appreciation association, either way, University of Michigan wants to hear about it. So try your best, despite the small space you are given, to answer all parts of this question. Describe the community and then detail how you contribute to that community. The point of this question is to show admission you will add value and diversity to campus, and that you are a proactive and involved student who will help to build their community.
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 freshman applicants. 500 words maximum.
Here is your “why” essay, and it’s a nice, hefty one at 500 words. Your answer should be mostly focused on the academic offerings: what you want to study, what subjects interest you, and how you will use the resources at your disposal to pursue your professional goals. This is where you prove to University of Michigan that they are a good fit for you and vice versa, and getting this essay right requires a lot of research. You’re going to want to dig deep into the programs that you’re interested in: find classes, professors, even extracurricular activities related to your desired major that interest you. The more specific you can get, the better. Show admissions that you know what differentiates U-M from other colleges and, in turn, you’ll distinguish yourself from other applicants. Finally, don’t forget to connect your own past experiences and accomplishments to the resources you choose to highlight. Paint the picture of where you’ll be found on campus (whether that be the bio lab, math building, or theatre) and what you hope to accomplish.
2. (For transfer students only) Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate College or School to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests?
Required for all transfer applicants. 500 words maximum.
This is also a “why” essay, but the supporting information that connects you to the school will be drawn from your current undergraduate experience. Be specific about why you think Michigan is a better fit for you then your current stomping grounds. Of course, be careful not to smack talk the institution in which you’ve spent the last year or two years. Be considerate, while still being specific about your desire to change environments and asserting your Michigan-aligned goals for the future.
3. 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?
Required for all applicants. Approximately 150 words.
In this essay prompt, admissions wants to know about your ride or die. What is your all-time favorite activity? The one that gets you through finals week and heartbreak and sock-soaking rain? Talk about this activity or experience in a way that lets University of Michigan know that you’re a passionate and motivated person. Your essay should also say something about your priorities and outlook on the world. Do your weekly church bake sales give you the opportunity to get creative in the kitchen after a long week of crunching numbers? Do you take care of your neighbor’s kids in the afternoons to practice the skills you hope to use as an elementary teacher later in life? Use your favorite activity to tell admissions something new about yourself.
University of Michigan is one of the top public universities in the country. Well-known for its undergraduate business program, Michigan also attracts many new students for its strong college athletic programs.
Located in Ann Arbor, University of Michigan is a public university, home to over 28,000 undergraduate students. Attending a large university like Michigan gives you access to a deep alumni network, a broad course catalog and plentiful research opportunities.
Of all the academic programs University of Michigan offers, they are most well-known for their undergraduate business and engineering program. The Ross School of Business is ranked 4th in the U.S. for the best undergraduate business program, strongest in Marketing and Management programs, while the College of Engineering is ranked 6th for the best undergraduate engineering program. While Michigan has more to offer, if you’re interested in either of these two areas of study, make sure to consider Michigan this application season.
University of Michigan Student Advice
Don’t believe us? See what Michigan students say about the school’s location and culture:
“Ann Arbor is the cutest town with lively and nice people everywhere. There are pretty much always things going on, and the school spirit is everywhere. You don’t feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere like other schools; you’re surrounded by a city with a lot to offer. There’s Downtown Ann Arbor, Main Street, Kerrytown, and South U bars and restaurants. It’s in the midwest, so I get to experience all four seasons, and the campus is gorgeous in the fall.Not to mention football season. Michigan’s definitely well known for its school spirit and sports. Football Saturday mornings have been called “the best night of the week.” Everyone’s in Maize and Blue ready to go starting early in the am. There’s also a lot of support for basketball, hockey, and so on. So many good sports to watch and cheer on.”
-BMEDeegee, University of Michigan ‘16
“Ann Arbor is the 2nd best college town in America! Not only that, there are so many international students here, which is what I consider to be true diversity. Ethnic clubs and theater groups create a great atmosphere for those who love culture and the arts, but no matter which organization out of a thousand you join, you will no doubt find a place that’s meant for you.”
- Sivanenco, University of Michigan ‘19
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University of Michigan Supplemental Essay Prompts
Want to become a Michigan Wolverine? University of Michigan’s application is available on the Common App, but not yet available on the Coalition for Access. Each applicant must respond to the 2 additional supplemental essays on top of writing their personal statement.
As you approach these essays, keep in mind that all your application materials are reviewed as a package. Each essay is an opportunity for you to show off something unique about yourself, and it’s important that you’re able to connect different parts of your application to each other to make you stand out as a whole.
Essay #1 (Required for all applicants. Approximately 250 words.)
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.
Be authentic and genuine.
You can choose to highlight an extracurricular activity/club you’ve been engaged in for a long time. This helps tie your application together.
This is an opportunity to give the reader some contextual background to who you are. It can be about a community you grew up in, or a community you actively pursued. Either way you’ll be able to highlight why this community is valuable to you.
Essay #2 (Required for all applicants. 500 words maximum.)
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?
In short, this is just a “Why University of Michigan” supplemental essay. Do your research and learn what you can about the school.
Do not just tell them what you’ve learned from the university website or brochure. It’s important for you to relate this back to your interests and passions, and how the university’s community of opportunities are able to help you achieve your goals.
Remember this is a two-way relationship. Demonstrate how University of Michigan has what you need to succeed as a student, and what you can do to give back to the school’s community.
University of Michigan Supplemental Essay Examples
University of Michigan ‘21
While reading a case study from my Anatomy textbook, I wondered how a boy could collapse after eating a banana. Reading on, I discovered he was missing an enzyme that digests potassium. Diseases and medical policy fascinate me; my goal is to become a pathologist who serves diverse communities around the world through diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases. The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) will provide me with a unique, multidisciplinary education that will give me global insights through research, interrelated courses, and the Global Scholars Program. Read full supplemental essay.
University of Michigan ‘20
Chemistry has always been a family affair. When I was in 1st grade in Japan, my mother took me to a state park to look at special mountains. They were special because sulfurous gas came out of the ground. My mother reached into her pocket and then said to me, “Why don’t you put these copper coins on top of where the sulfur gas comes out, and you’ll see what happens.” I put all the coins on the small hole and in less than a minute, all the coins became either green or black in color. Since I had no knowledge of Chemistry at the time, I had convinced myself that this phenomenon between copper and sulfur was nature’s own unexplainable magic. My grandfather also played a role in what would be my future passion. I used to leaf through his Chemistry books from the 1950s. He would tell me stories about how he got his MBA at the University of Michigan and how that helped him start his own biochemistry company. Read full essay.
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About The Author
Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.