How to Write the University of Michigan Supplemental Essays
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; minimum 100 words/maximum 300 words)
This prompt asks you to reflect on the community you come from and your place within it. First, consider the communities that have shaped you—your immediate and extended family, your religious community, your neighborhood, your political party, your racial or ethnic community. Which would you identify as the most formative and central to your identity today? In which of these spheres are you most active? Once you have chosen the community you want to write about, be descriptive and specific—this is an opportunity for the admissions committee to get to know you better, so as you describe this community, share what is most relevant to your values, personal formation, and worldview. As you tackle the second part of the prompt (“your place within [the community]”), consider the ways in which you have taken initiative and actively engaged in the community. Have you volunteered alongside your religious community? Do you find yourself helping to care for your siblings? Do you spend holidays in the kitchen with your grandmother learning special family recipes? Keep in mind that despite the large size of the undergraduate population, the University of Michigan provides an array of ways for students to build community in smaller contexts—whether Michigan Learning Communities (MLC’s), one of the 1,600 student organizations, or through a service project at the Ginsberg Center. So, while this prompt allows you to show the admissions committee more about yourself, it is also an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to finding and fostering community wherever you go.
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 all applicants; minimum 100 words /maximum 550 words)
By asking you to answer this prompt, the admissions committee is seeking to better understand your academic interests and how those interests align with the specific program you intend to enroll in. Before making your selection, research the courses, programs, and professors at the University of Michigan. What programs or faculty members is the school known for? What areas of interest best align with your passions and experiences? If you are struggling to identify one area in particular, browse through the course catalog posted on the school’s website and see whether you can identify which program aligns with the courses that seem most interesting to you—University of Michigan boasts 280 degree programs in 14 schools, so it is important to be specific about why a particular program stands out to you based on your interests and experience. It is best to select programs that you can demonstrate experience in. If you select psychology, it is to your advantage to have a proven track record of taking courses related to that discipline and work or extracurricular experiences that align with the study of psychology.