Committing to Michigan

Submitted by EGD on February 23rd, 2013 at 1:45 AM

As this is Michigan's big football recruiting weekend, I thought it might be worth starting a thread for our own stories about what led us to choose UM for college or grad school.

For me, I remember that some high school classmates of mine had organized a trip to Ann Arbor on what turned out to be the day of the UM-Duke hoops final in 1991.  There were maybe 30 of us from Saginaw, and we rode down in a school bus at the crack of dawn.  We first met with someone who must have been an academic counselor or something of that nature, who gave us the typical UM-is-a-great-school spiel.  Then I think we got a campus tour, and then we were on our own all day.  There was definitely a special buzz in the air, with the Fab Five and all.  But being from Saginaw, which is the type of place where everyone drives everywhere all the time, I immediately fell in love with the extremely walkable Ann Arbor and its incredible businesses like Jerusalem Garden (I had never seen a falafel before!) and Raja Rani (Indian food, what!?) and Stairway to Heaven (you mean it's legal to sell this stuff!).  I'd visited a number of college campuses to that point (State, Alma, Northwestern), but UM was the one that felt like a truly special place.  Eighteen months later, I was moving into South Quad.  

What led you to "commit" to Michigan? 



February 23rd, 2013 at 4:29 AM ^

yeah the international fees were killer.  i ended up at uwo and then finished up at windsor.  i did well on my sat's and was accepted to michigan but it just wasn't in the stars (...but in my mind i'll forever be another "jordan kovacs walk-on" that could've been haha)


February 23rd, 2013 at 10:51 AM ^

It was beyond us financially for me to attend as an intl. student, so I ended up at my hometown Concordia U.

Regretted it a lot over the years but couldn't have pulled it off. I am now putting the $ aside for either / both of my daughters to attend one day, should they be accepted and want to (severe brainwashing on the latter point makes it a near given).


February 23rd, 2013 at 1:56 AM ^

I kid. I kid.

Wanted to go Michigan since I was a young lad. I don't know exactly when I decided I liked Michigan, and its kinda weird since most of my family are either OSU or ND fans. I think the superior sports really drew me in when I was in my younger teens, and the superior academics won me over in my later high school years.

My general take is that Michigan is a very easy school to love when you are a kid, and equally easy to hate if you didn't go and you are older.


February 23rd, 2013 at 2:00 AM ^

Both of my parents were alums, and I grew up bleeding maize and blue. Never wanted to go anywhere else. Only other school I got into and considered was Duke, but I decided to choose the better basketball school. Yup.

Jokes aside, I'm in the engineering school here and I can't imagine many better engineering schools, it's really top-notch here. Throw in my in-state tuition and a scholarship they gave me and it was a nice package.

But really what did it is the campus life here. Not only do you get a fantastic education, Ann Arbor is a wonderful city, the social scene here is awesome for every type of person, and of course, Michigan athletics!


February 23rd, 2013 at 11:45 AM ^

Same deal with my parents, met there in Markley. They were class of 88 though. I've actually gone to the same high school (GPS) and college as my mom now which is sorta neat. They were both Econ majors though, but for whatever reason I applied engineering and now have no idea what I want to do with it but having fun with it nonetheless.

the Glove

February 23rd, 2013 at 2:06 AM ^

I was in 3rd grade when Desmond won the Heisman Trophy and the Fab Five's first year. It left an impression on me. I had a Rose Jersey the next year for fourth grade, so I was kind of a bad ass. This was growing up in southern Illinois, so I was a minority. It was destiny!


February 23rd, 2013 at 2:32 AM ^

One of my biggest regrets is not exploring the opportunity. I was seventeen and dumb when my brother convinced me to check out universities in AZ. I was a stupid kid that was blown away that the campus was littered with palm trees and that the weather was perfect in Tempe. Now, older and wiser I wonder what could have been. Great friends of mine attended M and I made an annual trip to AA to visit and always had a great time on Geddes but wouldn't exchange my experience in Tempe for anything. However, I will take wondering about AA to the grave. I haven't spent that much time there and it is still enough to understand it's a special place.


February 23rd, 2013 at 5:40 PM ^

I went to grad school at ASU and spent 6 yrs there for a PhD. I sorta assumed it would be a college town like Ann Arbor, but it was night and day. A2 had a ~1.5 mile radius around campus that was maybe 70% students. ASU is in suburban sprawl hell, full of strip malls and condos and pretty much impossible to walk anywhere. Lots of hot girls (became distracting when I was teaching at times), but vapid. House parties spilling out the front door on every block on the weekends in A2 vs. shitty club scene in Tempe/Scottsdale. 

For undergrad I chose btw/ UVA and UM because I wanted a combination of the best value, academics, athletics, and social life. I went down to visit UVA and found out that it was hard to find kind bud (this was '96, and I was a phish loving hippie back then) and that guys wore suits and girls wore Laura Ashley to football games. Found out about hash bash in A2 and was sold. Best decision I've ever made.


February 23rd, 2013 at 2:29 AM ^

Being an in-state with no ties to MSU or UM, it's really a no brainer. UM was always my dream school, and I'll never forget coming home from a school retreat and checking my email at 2:00 AM to see that I had been accepted into the University of Michigan. It was surreal and I'll never forget waking my parents up to tell them. Brings back a lot of memories.


February 23rd, 2013 at 2:35 AM ^

list that never opens up.  All that needs to be said.  I happened to apply in a year where UM had record applications at the time.


It ended up working out ok in the end, I attended a great school met some wonderful people and it changed me forever.

I just wish I could have said that about the University of Michigan.


February 23rd, 2013 at 2:54 AM ^

I was 8 when I watched that play, and I never wanted to go anywhere else from that day forward.  I applied to one other school, Michigan Tech, and planned to transfer from there after a year if I didn't get into Michigan.  But, I did, so yeah.  Easy choice.


February 23rd, 2013 at 3:08 AM ^

I was at that game with a bunch of teammates. In those days if you played varsity football you could simply contact a university and they would give you recruit tickets. Anyway, eight of us are sitting in recruit seats behind the bench and on a very hot day and seven are us want to beat the traffic. I heard the stadium erupt a few times on the way out and I haven't left a game early since. My girlfriend hates me.


February 23rd, 2013 at 9:53 AM ^

Yeah, that game was brutally hot.  I remember going to some restaurant immediately after the game and downing about nine Cokes.  Plus for the first 52 minutes or so it didn't look like there was any way on Earth that M was going to come back.  But I stayed, fortunately.  


February 23rd, 2013 at 2:39 PM ^

That was my first trip to the Big House, and is not an insignificant part of why I went to Michigan. I grew up in Kalamazoo, but my dad was a Nebraska fan so I didn't have any allegiance to Michigan schools besides what I picked up from friends. My best friend's dad took us to the Virginia game (I was in middle school), and I can still picture the excitement throughout the stadium at the end of the game. From where I was standing, I could see Hayes racing for the corner, and the ball arcing to the corner, but then the both disappeared behind the crowd, and I couldn't see anything but I could tell was that the ball was clearly overthrown. And then the stadium went nuts, and I knew he had made the catch after all. It was glorious.

I figured I would likely go to Michigan since I was in-state and loved computer science, although I looked around at other top engineering schools around the country. I probably would have gone to Michigan even if there wasn't a football team, but that game, plus several more that I went to with my sister (who I followed to Michigan), turned Michigan from the logical choice to a choice I was very excited about.


February 23rd, 2013 at 5:00 AM ^

Guess I went there because I was accepted and didn't know the full extent of just how many loans I would have to take out eventually. Those 4 years went by in a haze of highs, lows, great friends, numbing loneliness, studying, much procrastination, craziness, insanity, and dead boring all rolled into one.

7 years later, when I walk pass certain streets in California, I can close my eyes and feel myself walking past the Chem building.


February 23rd, 2013 at 5:36 AM ^

Coming from South America I knew nothing about Michigan except rankings computer engineering and business (the two things I studied). Decided on UM over CMU, Northwestern, Columbia, Duke and Penn. when I did so everyone started telling me "Go Blue" and I had no idea what they were talking about. I arrived in Ann Arbor in August '96... By September '96 half my wardrobe was Michigan related and my obsession was born.


February 23rd, 2013 at 5:40 AM ^

Im not sure if i am writing this because im drunk, but i've never been at ann arbor and im not even american... im one of those fans that get to know and fall in love with the school, because of knowing people who went there... that plus the fact that i found the history and tradition very likable, its easy to fell in love with a school like that... i might be what some people refer to as a walmart wolverine, nevertheless one of the goals i have in life is to attend a game at michigan stadium. I have been a fan, that follows recruitment, and watches every game for at least 5 years now btw...



February 23rd, 2013 at 6:31 AM ^

Fell in love the first time I saw those wings!


UM over Duke, MIT and Johns Hopkins...not sure what the final decision would have been if Dartmouth had said "yes" instead of "maybe". 


February 23rd, 2013 at 6:31 AM ^

... Don't laugh, but compared to VA tech, GA Tech, etc the overall male to female ratio of 1:1 at Michigan made my decision a no-brainer as an engineer. Too bad no one told me about 9 out of 10 girls in the B1G...


February 23rd, 2013 at 9:58 AM ^

There is an old joke that goes, "Nine out of ten girls in the Big Ten are gorgeus.  The tenth one goes to..."  

I put that one up there with the joke about MSU grads putting their diplomas in their car windows to get handicap parking, or the "N" on Nebraska's helmets standing for knowledge.  

True Blue Grit

February 23rd, 2013 at 6:53 AM ^

offering the engineering program I was interested in (Naval Architecture).  I applied to one other school that was a very small private college on Long Island offering free tuition.  I was not accepted there, but was at Michigan.  It was a no-brainer since I was also a huge Michigan basketball and football fan in high school.  The amazing thing too was there had to be almost 40 people from my high school graduating class who also went to Michigan.  That doesn't happen today, as in those days in the 1970's they U-M was taking in a lot more in-state students and less international (for example).  

JR's Flow

February 23rd, 2013 at 6:54 AM ^

I've been deferred and have wrote essays to the admissions office and I desperately want to go to UM. Guys I know just apply because how good sports or party life is but growing up in AA for a part of my life. I've always been in love with the entire place. Wish me luck!

True Blue Grit

February 23rd, 2013 at 9:08 AM ^

Oneoption if you don't get in initially is go somewhere else for a couple of years and transfer in to U-M as a junior.  My older daughter did this and is now at Michigan.  In her case, it was Northern Michigan and Washtenaw Community College.  The trick is to get high grades and to make sure the credits you're taking are transferable to U-M.  Fortunately, they have people at U-M who will help with this, and I know WCC does too. 


February 23rd, 2013 at 11:10 AM ^

Transfer in after one year. You'll still be in the dorms with people your age and you'll be the cool friend that turns 21 before anyone else in your group. Just be prepared and willing to buy.

Seriously, though, I transfered in after 1 year and didn't miss a beat. Don't wait until your junior year.


February 23rd, 2013 at 7:11 AM ^

I only applied to 5 schools. Yale (had a letter from the then president of the school and thought what the hell), UPenn (wanted to go into business at the time, turns out they're pretty good at it), U Chicago (liked the city), Calvin (parents alma mater), and Michigan.  Got into Michigan early, honors college and sat on it.  Waitlisted at Yale, rejected at Penn, accepted at Calvin (never really an option, only did it to make my mom happy) and then was waiting on U chicago.  When they rejected me in February because my application was incomplete (letter of rec never sent, got it handed to me by my english teacher in the addressed envelope later that month, she didn't think to just send it...) I accepted my acceptance at Michigan.  At the time I knew little of the athletics and really just that it was a good school and in state tuition.  Best decision I've ever made/had made for me.

/never even considered applying to state, felt it was beneath me haha

West is Best

February 23rd, 2013 at 5:01 PM ^

I grew up a Michgan sports fan, and was looking at architecture progams, but I only ended up applying to Calvin (dad and grandparents alma mater) and the Illinois Institute of Technology. I had started the Michigan application, and honestly I can't remember why I didn't finish and submit it. I was not a very diligent student my last year and half of high school, and looking back, my grades and test scores probably weren't good enough for Michigan.

Anyway, I ended up at Calvin and had an awesome 4 years there, along the way deciding architecture wasn't exactly what I was looking for anyway. Decided to attend grad school and actually finished the Michigan application that time around choosing Ann Arbor over New Brunswick, NJ and Rutgers for urban and regional planning.


February 23rd, 2013 at 7:25 AM ^

My ENTIRE family bleeds maize and blue (except they also pseudo support State since I have a couple sisters that go to school there now), so when I got my acceptance letter, it was, without a doubt, the easiest decision of my life.