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 7:28 AM ^

I applied a few other places, but Michigan was the only school I ever really considered. Wayne State offered a full ride, but it wasn't worth it. And honestly, at that time, MIchigan was by the far the cheapest good school I could go to. With in-state tuition and scholarships, costs were maybe a third of Northwestern or Univ. Chicago. And it was still cheaper than a bunch of lesser private schools in state.

I have absolutely no regrets on my choice. However, I do regret not studying more and taking more advantage of all the resources and courses available while I was a Michigan student. In the middle of it all, I didn't fully realize what a great privilege and opportunity I had been given.


February 23rd, 2013 at 10:07 AM ^

I am glad you included that second paragraph.  I too feel like I could have gotten even more out of my UM experience, had I been a little more serious and a lot more mature at the time.  Things have worked out alright for me regardless, but I do kind of kick myself for basically investing a disproportionate share of my college years on drinking and partying rather than focusing on my education.  C'est la vie, I guess.  


February 23rd, 2013 at 7:28 AM ^

harvard for hockey.  mom had died, and dad and i had lived alone for a few years with my older siblings out of the house.  ultimately decided that i'd rather be 45 min from home than 14 hrs from home.   i must admit that i always watched out for harvard though after the visit dad and i had there in the fall of '79.   harvard's coach cleary had played on the original 'miracle on ice' U.S. olympic team of 1960 and was a great guy.  i still remember him showing us the brand new hockey stadium that they were nearly finished with - so new that the crimson carpet in the locker room had been laid days before our visit and there wasn't a stitch of hockey equip in the locker room yet.  

2 quick comments:

1.  even if i had gone east for school i'd have always been a michigan fan.  one of my brothers and i were the 4th generation of our family to graduate from mich, two of his daughters the 5th generation

2.  undoubtedly life would've turned out radically different if i hadn't gone to michigan, but i can't imagine how it could possibly ever be better.   without question i have no regrets about the decision.  go blue. 


February 23rd, 2013 at 8:28 AM ^

My mother is a Michigan alum and many of my parents' closest friends from the old neighborhood in the meaner section of Northville were as well, so I grew up immersed in the "Michigan culture" to a certain extent. As early as about 7 years old, I was begging to go to football and basketball games, and my parents obliged, and when they couldn't take me, our neighbors did (along with their kids). 

By the time applying to schools came around in high school, I applied to and was accepted at schools as diverse as USC (YTUSC), Vanderbilt and even Columbia. Still, like virtually everyone around me, I bled maize and blue, and when the Michigan letter came, it was the only one that I did a victory lap around the subdivision for, as it was truly where I wanted to be. More practically, of course, there was also the matter of paying for a school that was by then (for we had since moved to Saline) about 15 minutes from home versus one that was hundreds, even a couple thousand miles distant. I have never looked back and second-guessed that decision - I received a wonderful education from Michigan that supports my success today. 



February 23rd, 2013 at 8:00 AM ^

When I was applying to dental schools, Univ. of the Pacific (San Francisco) was #1, Harvard #2, Michigan #3. Did not care to go to Cali since I had been in CT for undergrad. Did so well on the DAT that I was cocky and applied late. Thought that I would take a year off if necessary. Accepted by Harvard and aOSU, (I lived in Ohio), and Michigan shook their head and said if I had applied earlier I was in, but their class was full and that I was their first alternate. Decided to pass on Columbus, Harvard focused too much on research, so it was going to be a year off. Woohoo! Until...I am sweating working at a summer job in late July, and I receive a call from the admissions guy who interviewed me and he said someone dropped, would I like to come. I asked him if I could think about it. He said, "NO, I have a list of people that want to get in here. So I need to know now." With customers waiting, I said yes and hung up and called my mom. She asked all sorts of questions like, how are we paying for it, when does it start, where will you live, etc. so I had to make a few calls. But, I became a Michigan fan in highschool, because the aOSU fans were idiots and I loved the colors, history and reputation of the school. Now my operatories are full of Michigan football artwork and even a stuffed wolverine, section 1 seats, and kids that can't get enough of Michigan sports. GO BLUE!

LSA Aught One

February 23rd, 2013 at 8:11 AM ^

Only school to which I applied, so I got my app in waaaay early. First girlfriend I ever had broke my heart on a Monday night, but I got the big envelope in the mail the next day. All was forgiven, because I was going to Michigan.


February 23rd, 2013 at 8:23 AM ^

When I was 12, my aunt and uncle were living in AA for the summer because my uncle had an internship with Ford.  So, my brother and I flew from New Jersey to visit them and growing up about 5 minutes from Princeton, I had some idea of what a college town should look like.  Well, AA just blew that idea out of the water.  The architecture, the stadium, the shops, I knew this was where I wanted go.  I visited again when we were looking at colleges for my brother after my sophomore year and it was just as awesome as I remembered it.  Less than 2 years later, I got my acceptance letter and thank god I did, becuase I would have ended up at Purdue had I not gotten in. NTTAWWT


February 23rd, 2013 at 8:23 AM ^

I went to Cranbrook for High School and waaaay back in my senior year of 1977 an advisor for Michigan came to campus and said if you graduated from Cranbrook with a 2.0 GPA and 1300 or better SATs you would be accepted (different times guys....).  Anyways I had a 2.0 (or pretty close anyways) and a 1410 SAT so I figured I was a lock.  Both my sister and brother had gone to Michigan as did my father and father before him.  All were Michigan Dentists (sister was a Dental Hygentist) so I applied to Michigan, MSU and CSU (just in case.)

I was accepted immediately into CSU but didnt hear back from Michigan or MSU right away.  Well one fateful day that spring I got two letters the same day from both schools - Michigan's was a thin letter and State's was a thick packet.  True story - on the same day I received an offer for an Academic Scholly from State based on my SAT score I got REJECTED from Michigan (I so wish I had kept those letters).

My dad and I went up to see the admission director (surely there had been a mistake) and he told us "your son is lazy and we don't want lazy people at Michigan." He said that if I was serious about my education I should go someplace else for a year or two and get my GPA in order and then transfer back.  So I did - in 1978 I went to CSU for a year (had a great time BTW) then transferred back into Michigan for my degree.


True Blue Grit

February 23rd, 2013 at 9:14 AM ^

Cranbrook was an excellent school then and still is.  I went to one of the public high schools nearby in Bloomfield Hills and knew some people who went to Cranbrook.  That's amazing they told you that a 2.0 would be enough even with a 1300 SAT.  But as you say, different times.  Sometimes I'm not sure if I applied today with my 3.7 and 1170 (at the time) that I'd get in!


February 23rd, 2013 at 9:25 AM ^

Well according to the admission director my GPA problem was more about the direction my grades were headed moreso than the overall GPA itself.  Went something like this:

Freshman: 3.0

Sophomore: 2.5

Junior: 2.0

Senior: 1.5

For some strange reason they didn't like the trend line there at all.  Footnote: back then the drinking age was 18 and I a fake ID at 15.  And I liked to indulge in other prevelant recreational drugs at the time so perhaps their assessment of me was 100% accurate.

Mr Miggle

February 23rd, 2013 at 8:24 AM ^

They were the best school that recruited me. Although I grew up a UM fan, I can honestly say that was not a factor. I'm also sure that I would have stayed a Michigan fan regardless. 


February 23rd, 2013 at 8:53 AM ^

I grew up a Notre Dame fan. My childhood dream was to play for the Irish. In the summer before senior year, I went to ND for their football camp. That's when Faust was coach. It was the worst experience ever. The coaches were all complete assholes and they zapped every drop of fun out of the camp.

I left South Bend and went straight to Ann Arbor for the Michigan camp. It was the polar opposite of ND. The coaches were genuinely interested, the kids were all happy to be there, the camp was fun, and the campus was alive.

6 or 7 months later, I wiped ND from my conscience but hadn't heard anything from Michigan, so I was accepted/prepared to go to MSU and room with my HS buddy. I made a call to Ann Arbor but after a short, sad conversation, I hung up the phone in tears.

Alas, a few days later, I got a visit at my high school from a very special person and my life was changed forever.

Both my wife and I are alumni and currently our son is a freshman living in West Quad. I love UofM probably more than a person should.


February 23rd, 2013 at 8:54 AM ^

My junior year of highs schoo, I took the Spring Break Campus Tour of 4-5 schools; the tour concluded in Ann Arbor.  

Already having grown up a Wolverine fan, I remember riding in the car past Ocker Field and Yost on the way to my campus visit, thinking, "Let's be real here.  These other visits are simply formalities.  This is where I'm going, and it's not even close."


February 23rd, 2013 at 8:54 AM ^

I decommitted from Michigan Tech when I was offered a spot at Michigan. It may have been a legacy offer, but who really cares. I came to watch home games. The education was a bonus.

Naked Bootlegger

February 23rd, 2013 at 10:15 AM ^

I was born and raised in the U.P. and always thought I would go to Tech ( a great school), even though I was a die-hard UM sports fan.   I happened to visit Ann Arbor during my junior year of high school.   Instant love.   *THIS* is what a college campus was supposed to look like.   The Diag.  The Law Quad.   I can't explain the visceral connection I had to the place. 

I applied to UM and only UM early in my senior year.   I was accepted and didn't apply anywhere else.  

In sum, no recruitment was necessary for me to "commit" as a student.   The campus and city sold me on the spot.



U Fer M

February 23rd, 2013 at 8:55 AM ^

I lived in A2 all my life, went to Pioneer, planned on going to UM, then at 17, my parents move to Alabama. Couldn't afford out of state tution for Michigan, so went to Bama, great disappointment, though couldn't complain about Bama's "scenery."


February 23rd, 2013 at 8:58 AM ^

For me, it was pretty simple. I remember watching the 97/98 Rose Bowl, for us to go undefeated, with my dad and grandparents. Everyone was so happy and excited, and I fell in love with the school at 7 years old.  I applied to only one other school, so all my eggs were in the Michigan basket. I got my acceptance letter on December 24th, so it was one badass Christmas present.  I visited campus in January, and knew that I belonged at the University of Michigan. The rest, as they say, is history.


February 23rd, 2013 at 9:00 AM ^

Went to Commy High and took classes at UM my junior and senior year in high school, had to get out of A2, so graduated from a NESCAC school, but fully one-third of my undergrad credits came from UM.


February 23rd, 2013 at 9:03 AM ^

Big school, far away with rolling admissions.  Got my acceptence letter Octorber 11, 1972 ( a day I will never forget even if it was a computer print out in a thin envelope). Then couldn't find any where else I'd want to go.


February 23rd, 2013 at 9:19 AM ^

I grew up listening to Michigan games and Bob Ufer. I also knew since 8th grade that I would be an elec engineer. So I only applied to Michigan. When I was accepted, my dad opened a beer to celebrate. I was hoping he would offer me one but he didn't :-)


February 23rd, 2013 at 9:22 AM ^

At my math & science center high school the choice was either Michigan, private libarts school, or Ivy for most students. I didn't want to be in the same environment I was in for high school and I made the assumption that Michigan would be like high school with so many friends there. I ended up choosing Kenyon and I loved it... way too much. It seemed great being in a tiny, rural bubble detached from the real world. Too bad the real world came calling in the form of undercover police officers in search of pot. Now I'm hard at work at WCC trying to transfer into Michigan. If only I had made the right decision in 2007.

Doc Brown

February 23rd, 2013 at 11:45 AM ^

My grandfather was a Michigan law alum. While he was working on his law degree, my mom and grandma lived in married housing in Ann Arbor. When I was growing up, my parents took my sister and I for annual trip to the University every fall for a football game. I fell in love with the band, the football team, the campus, and Michigan hockey. Whenever Michigan hockey played western michigan at Lawson or at a NCAA regional in Grand Rapids, MI we would attend because it was close to where we lived in Muskegon. When it came to applying for undergrad, I was so excited I got my Michigan app out too quick and should have edited my personal statements more. I knew I had the grades (4.0) and ACT scores for Michigan engineering, but I was an impatient moron rushed my application. I ended up getting wait listed. While in that time I got offered a very competitive engineering scholarship at Purdue. By time Michigan accepted me, the deadline for my Purdue scholarship came. So, I took the sure thing and went to Purdue. I ended up at Michigan eventually for graduate school. One of the happiest days of my life (besides meeting my future wife and wedding day) was getting a call from the department head of biophysics at Michigan telling me I have been accepted for graduate school. The first thing I did was accept the offer to Michigan. Second thing was to turn down the offer from Michigan State (for the second time after I turned down a full ride for undergrad to MSU, hehehe). 

Going to Michigan has been amazing. I have met some awesome friends. Got to see some awesome sports. I have been able to do some excting science and develop my skill as a teacher. 


February 23rd, 2013 at 9:29 AM ^

Always wanted to go to Michigan, grew up a fan my whole life.  High school kicked my ass but it definitely prepared me for college.  Didn't have the GPA or ACT high enough to get in out of HS so I enrolled at Delta College for 3 years, going to school part-time and working part-time (so I could actually pay for wherever I was going to transfer).

I've always loved architecture and didn't have many school choices since going out of state was out of the question.  So it was either Lawrence Tech or Michigan.  The undergrad requirepents were quite a bit different so I basically had to choose one or the other and it was a bit of a no-brainer to go the Michigan route.  Delta was a breeze compared to high school (Nouvel CC) and my grades were good enough where I thought I could apply for Taubman College at Michigan.  Eventually got my acceptance letter and was one of the happiest days of my life.  Took the alternate route in getting there but I got there.

At orientation there were 106 of us in the junior class and the chair said if anyone didn't want to go through with the major to drop because they had a long list of students that they didn't accept, so that made me feel even better (Lawrence contacted me to enroll and basically said if you fill out this app you'll get in...and it basically had a field to write my name down and that was it).  I definitely knew then I went in the right direction.

Best two years of my life...longest and most stressful but absolutely the best.  Never have I gotten as little sleep as I did than those years up in studio.  Everyone took the same classes so it was almost like a high school class, everyone knew everyone and we all became really good friends...since we were all going through the same glorious hell.  If I could go back and relive those two years I would.  Loved loved loved my time there.


February 23rd, 2013 at 9:35 AM ^

Never applied anywhere else.

Grandfather, great uncles, mother, 2 uncles, aunt, brother, and 2 cousins preceded me. Never even contemplated applying anywhere else. Oh, and I'm from CA.


February 23rd, 2013 at 9:41 AM ^

I went to msu only because I was turned down by the University of Phoenix online, Kaplan University and Owens Community College.  In hindsight I wish I would have picked the University of Phoenix.


February 23rd, 2013 at 9:43 AM ^

My physics teacher in Singapore told me that Michigan had a good Engineering school.

I didn't get into Stanford, didn't get into MIT.

But my Solar Car Team beat both their Solar Car Teams. Every single race.  By an obscene amount of time.


February 23rd, 2013 at 9:56 AM ^

I had always wanted to be an engineer.  I grew up a Notre Dame fan, wanted to go there, loved the school, etc.  I applied to both.  While Notre Dame was tempting, it was twice the cost as Michigan and MIchigan had a better engineering school.   So I started to lean Michigan (much to the dismay of my family, who all wanted me to go to Notre Dame).  I attended an event called "Tech Day" my senior year of high school and decided I really, really liked North Campus.  So, I accepted my admission, and BOOM!  I'm a Wolverine and I wouldn't have it any other way.

To Hell with Notre Dame, by the way.


February 23rd, 2013 at 9:58 AM ^

My dad earned his Ph.D from Michigan and my oldest brother was born in Ann Arbor (he was brought home to their house near Burns Park which was just around the corner from where I lived for 2 years).  I split time growing up in Philadelphia and Saudi Arabia but grew up being a Michigan fan.  For undergrad I wasn't ready for a large school like UM so it never was on my radar but when the time came for applying to grad schools, it was top on my list.  Only applied to one other school but when I got accepted to Ross (still remember getting my call on a Saturday afternoon in March) there was no going back.  I could not have been happier and loved my 2 years in Ann Arbor even though my first game at the Big House was the Horror and I then experienced RichRod's first season.  Wonderful place, wonderful experience and I could not be happier to be a part of the largest alumni base in the world!  Go Blue!


February 23rd, 2013 at 10:10 AM ^

My parents are not. They encouraged me to leave the state for college. I told my mom I wanted a school in the midwest that was really good academically in just about everything (I didn't know what I wanted to study), that was fun, and that had at least one sports team that I could be proud of. Mom suggested Michigan, which to be honest, surprised me. I did some research, and fell in love on my visit. I had never seen a place like AA in my life. What sealed it was in the introductory video they showed on the visit, James Earl Jones was featured. Sandlot is my favorite movie.


February 23rd, 2013 at 10:21 AM ^

Applied to MSU and Michigan. Finished HS with a 3.8 but tanked my standardized tests, and ended up getting wait-listed at Michigan, accepted to MSU. I started to warm up to the idea that I was E. Lansing bound, when I heard from my Michigan admissions counselor that if I would attend Summer session, they'd accept me for the Fall semester.

In the blink of an eye, I was living in West Quad over the Summer, taking French and Psych 101. Best decision I ever made, as my Michigan degree continues to open doors for me 22 years after graduating.


February 23rd, 2013 at 10:21 AM ^

Like a lot of people on the board, I grew up watching the block M every Saturday in the fall with my step-dad.  He had a rule that if you were in the room, you were quiet!  For every big play, sack, first down, interception, we rang bells.  When Michigan scored, he would blow his Ufer horn.  Decked out in Michigan gear literally from head to toe, always wearing his lucky "ding-a-ling" hat.  We had a porcelain snowman that my step-sister made him that would look at the tv for good luck.  If the other team score, he would adjust it a little bit saying it wasn't looking directly at the tv.  He passed away 5-1/2 years ago, but I try to keep the traditions going with my two sons.  Every Saturday my youngest gets the same bells and horn out and we spend about 3-1/2 quality hours making sure they bleed the same blue I do.  I was not fortunate enough to attend the university, but that does not diminish my love for it to this day.


February 23rd, 2013 at 10:25 AM ^

UM recruiters came out to interview HS seniors at Birmingham Groves. Interviewed for Engineering, got spot offer, gave spot acceptance. Easy! I know, different time. Met my future wife there as well.

Robbie Moore

February 23rd, 2013 at 10:32 AM ^

...yes. Never thought I had a chance. Figured I was destined to be a Sparty. The day I got the acceptance letter was the best day of my life. Except for when my kids were born.


February 23rd, 2013 at 11:00 AM ^

Was visiting a friend on April 1 of 1973 - back when the Hash Bash was a huge event. Saw the insanity, the crazy mix of people, hit a couple of the restaurants, knew it was an excellent school, so I moved to A2, waited a year to gain residency, applied and was accepted. My other choices were mostly smaller schools (St. John's in Annapolis, Macalester/Carleton in MN, etc.), and I was a bit concerned about U-M's size, but I found so much opportunity here that the combination of school and town was pretty much irresistable.



February 23rd, 2013 at 6:43 PM ^

was my second grade student teacher the year we won the nc, so that kinda sealed the deal.
my class was told we would be getting a Michigan football player as a teacher, and the first day he came in, everybody yelled "It's Charles Woodson!" ...except for me, who quietly corrected them. Needless to say I was his favorite.
Good times people, good times.