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Get Admitted to your Dream University – UMich

Established in 1817, The University of Michigan (U-M, UMich, or Michigan) is a public research university in Ann Arbor, Michigan.



University of Michigan Mission

The mission of the University of Michigan is to serve the people of Michigan and the world through preeminence in creating, communicating, preserving and applying knowledge, art, and academic values, and in developing leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future.

 

Important Factors in Admission Decision

University of Michigan considers the following “very important factors” in admission decisions

  • Course rigor
  • Academic GPA

University of Michigan considers these as “important”

  • Standardized test scores
  • Application essay
  • Recommendation(s)
  • Character/personal qualities
  • First-generation

How to Improve your Chances of Getting into Michigan

1. Achieve a high GPA while taking the most challenging classes available

It’s extremely important for Michigan applicants to not only possess outstanding grades but for those grades to come in challenging courses. International students accepted to a top 10 school like Michigan typically complete between 5 to 8 advanced courses in high school. Advanced Placement or AP exams are conducted by the College Board (same global body that conducts SAT) every year in a wide variety of college-level subjects ranging from Calculus and Computer Science to Art History and English Composition. The main aim of AP exams is to test your ability and acumen to measure up to the rigors of undergraduate curriculum in US and other global universities. Typically, international students appear for AP exams at the beginning of their grade 12. Students interested in Engineering usually appear for Calculus, Physics, Computer Science or Chemistry. Students interested in Business Studies usually appear for Calculus, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and Statistics. Students interested in Medicine usually appear for Biology, Psychology, Chemistry and Environmental Science.

Another reason why Michigan applicants need great grades is that selective schools use a tool called the ‘Academic Index’ to filter out their enormous number of applicants. At its most basic, the Academic Index is a distillation of a student’s academic performance (grades and test scores) into a single number. This is a single score that represents the strength of your GPA, test scores, and class rank (if your school ranks). Highly selective universities use this (or a similar) metric to filter out students that don’t meet their academic standards.

2. Aim for a 1530 SAT or a 35+ ACT

The middle 50% of Michigan’s class of 2025 earned SAT scores of 1360-1530 and ACT scores of 31-35+. Any score in the middle 50% is good, however, the higher the score, the better your odds of admission. In general, students who submit high standardized test scores for SAT or ACT have an edge over students who don’t submit scores.

All other things being equal, a student who submits a 1530 SAT score and/or 35+ ACT will have an advantage over a student that does not submit the scores.

3. Explore your favourite subjects via Research Papers

One common factor that we have noted in the resumes of students admitted to the Ivy Leagues and other top colleges is the prevalence of research work while still in high school. In this article we explain how and why exposure to research helps students and the key steps in planning and writing high quality research papers.

There are three main reasons, as to why research papers help students stand out. A high-quality research paper shows that you have the energy and the initiative to go beyond what is taught in the class and apply it to real life problems. It shows that your interest in the subject extends beyond the questions provided at the end of the chapter. Secondly, you learn the discipline of not rushing intuitively to the likely answer, instead using a deliberate process in which you are guided by the data. Lastly, in working with a skilled professor or mentor you learn how to organize your thoughts better, ask the right questions and try to answer those questions in the best way possible subject to the constraints. A good work product provides an insight into your mind, thought process and way of working.

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4. Cultivate at least one or two Tier 1-2 extracurriculars (find your “niche”)

For selective institutions like Michigan extracurricular activities can play a larger role in admission decisions. Up to 25% of an admissions decision can be determined by a student’s activities outside of the classroom. While it’s true that there is no such thing as a bad extracurricular activity, some extracurricular activities are more impressive than others.

Admissions officers evaluate extracurriculars with one being the most exceptional and four being the most common. For example:

  • Tier 1 activities are rare and demonstrate exceptional achievement or leadership at a national or international level. Some examples are, 1) Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award, a national prize awarded to top 20 pre-collegiate musicians, 2) Regeneron Science Talent Award, one of the most prestigious opportunities for high school students to present original scientific research in the USA, 3) World Robot Olympiad, a global competition where youngsters (13 to 19 years age) from different countries participate, 4) International Mathematical Olympiad, a math competition for pre- university students, 5) International Science Olympiads in various areas of the formal sciences, natural sciences and social sciences.
  • Tier 2 extracurriculars show high levels of achievement and leadership but aren’t quite as rare as activities found in Tier 1 (they’re more of state-level achievements). These include making an all-state selection in athletics, serving as student body president, or being selected for a prestigious state-wide summer program like governor’s school.
  • Tier 3 extracurricular activities are great for showing an applicant’s interest outside of the classroom but don’t have the cachet of higher-tiered extracurriculars. These activities are smaller leadership roles and achievements that often appear on applications. These include being captain of a sports team or holding a lesser officer position in a club.
  • Tier 4 extracurriculars are the least impressive and most common activities seen by admissions officers. These activities include playing a sport or instrument, participating in a club but not holding a leadership position, and volunteering.

5. Write engaging essays

Essays are the best way to distinguish yourself from other applicants. Michigan requires all applicants to submit one Common App essay and two Short-Answer type prompts as part of its application.

Research the university and the faculty of the department you are planning to join. Explain in your essay how your values tie with the expectations of the university and how you expect to utilize the knowledge to make the world a better place.

Also research the extra-curricular activities and the clubs at Michigan and how you will spend your time outside the classroom. Some of the popular clubs at Michigan are:

  • Flowdom: This is a co-ed hip-hop dance company that performs on and around campus.
  • American Sign Language Club: The goal as a club to promote awareness of American Sign Language as a language as well as its usage.
  • Live in Color: Live in Color is a unique group that boosts morale on campus by using paintings to affect mood.
  • Spoon University: A unique group on campus is known as a Spoon University. This group is a media outlet that focuses on recipes, cooking shows, and tons of other food topics.
  • Compost Michigan: This group focuses on reducing food waste and using organic products on campus.

6. Recommendation Letters

Letters of recommendation (LoR) help paint a complete picture of who you are in front of the admission officers. Like any good painter, you want to be in control of your whole application. It is important to ensure that you are approaching teachers, mentors etc. that know you well. The LoR provide an insight into your personality, behaviours and work ethic and are crucial to your application. Michigan requires you to send recommendations from

  • Teachers – Required 1, Optional 3
  • Other- Optional 2 (Example: Art teacher, Clergy, Coach, College Access Counselor, Employer, Family Member, Peer etc.)

You should approach your high school teachers several months in advance. Requesting a letter of recommendation from a teacher is a big ask—they’re busy and don’t get paid to write recommendations. Make it easy for your recommenders by giving them plenty of time, providing them with as much relevant information as possible.

7. Apply Early Action/Early Decision

Although the University of Michigan does not have an early decision or “restrictive” early action plan, they do have a normal early action plan. The University of Michigan’s early action plan does not restrict you from applying to other early action plans at other schools.

The primary criterion for admission to Michigan is academic excellence. Michigan values students who are committed, dedicated, passionate, have potential to succeed and those students with a genuine interest in expanding their intellectual horizon. Following the guidelines above will help you present your best self to University of Michigan and maximize your admission chances.

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About the Author: 

Shubhi Joshi is an Editor at Scholarly. She has a B.A. in English and a M.A. from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai in Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology. She has an interest in history and current affairs. An avid blogger, Shubhi loves to write about higher education and self-improvement.

Scholarly helps ambitious international students locate the right universities and courses to pursue their education. We provide college credit courses and research papers to students that want to learn more and differentiate themselves. We help students develop and present their best version to their dream university. Our recommendations are based on the student’s field of interest, academic performance, financial resources and career plans. We provide test preparation classes from the best teachers to help improve scores and thus the prospects for admission. We also assist students with their visa and loan applications to reduce the anxiety associated with international education.

For additional questions about international education, choice of majors, university selection or admission strategies please visit the Questions section of our website.

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