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 10:40 AM ^

Wanted to play d1 football and I was nowhere near good enough to play at Michigan, so I took an offer at Duke. Met my wife there, she went to law school at duke, I worked, and when she graduated she said do what you want to do, so I applied to um for administration in education. I didn't think I would get in and would have to settle for somewhere like Oakland, but I got in. Graduate this summer.

Michigan Marshmallow

February 23rd, 2013 at 10:42 AM ^

My Dad got his Ph.D. there back in the 80's, so I grew up watching the Maize and Blue every Saturday (I remember asking why we never watched them play basketball; now I understand) I think "Hail to the Victors" was one of the first songs I learned in entirety. We lived in central Illinois till I was seven, and I was pretty much the only Michigan Fan I knew of. Then we moved to Ypsilanti and were there for a year before moving here to Naples FL. While in Michigan I did get to go to a game: Michigan - San Diego State 2004. 

I was looking at colleges this year and even though I got accepted, I can't afford out of state tuition. I'll be staying at the small liberal arts college my dad teaches at and going for free. I would love to go to Michigan for Grad School, but some other places are starting to peak my interest in my chosen field (Economics) like University of Chicago.

However, I will always be a Michigan Fan, regardless of if I ever go there or not.

814 East U

February 23rd, 2013 at 11:01 AM ^

Both of my parents went to UM and had season tickets. Going to every home game since I was 3 or 4 brainwashed me...and it worked. Getting the acceptance letter was one of the top moments in my life in recent memory. 

However, when I went on "recruiting trips" when I was in high school to MSU aka to visit my older siblings, I had a lot of fun. Too bad I didn't come to EL and have 2 girls waiting in my bed like Denard did.


February 23rd, 2013 at 10:45 AM ^

Ive been a fan ever since I can remember of UM BBall and FBall and UM was my dream school. But when it came time to apply to colleges, I didnt want to travel that far away. But one of my best friends is an alum and I know someone who works within the facilties/event management department.


February 23rd, 2013 at 10:51 AM ^

It's 1979, I'm an idiotic, countrified 18 year old, and I had just taken a tour of NTM. I take the tour of UM, and the tour guide is this hipsterish punk rock woman who proceeds to tell us about how much everything sucks here.  This is the library - it's jampacked and you can never get a seat.  This is Markley Hall - the only thing worse than the food are the cattle stall showers. This get the point.

Needless to say, that was not my experience at NTM.

Finally, I'm just too intrigued to stand it.  I ask her why she goes there then, expecting another smart ass answer. Instead, she looks at all of us and says, "Why the hell would you go anywhere else?  This is the University of Michigan..."

I was sold...




February 23rd, 2013 at 10:58 AM ^

....for the success of the athletic programs as much as the academics.

I've been a Michigan sports fan for as long as I cared about sports.  That part was an easy sell.

I knew that wherever I ended up, I was going into engineering.  I was actually leaning towards Michigan Tech.  I wasn't sure that I wanted a big campus atmosphere.

Then I went to the Northwestern football game in the fall of 1991, my senior year in high school.  After the game, there was an open basketball practice at Crisler featuring a group of 5 much-ballyhooed freshmen.

The rest is history.




February 23rd, 2013 at 10:53 AM ^

Well I know it may be a little graphic but I chose Michigan at conception. Unfortunately, I was deferred for early action this December. I now must wait to see if the happiest day of my life lets me commit, or if I must commit to one of several d-3 schools to play football.

It's unfortunate that coach hoke doesn't need more six-foot tall Jewish lineman on the team, right?


February 23rd, 2013 at 10:58 AM ^

Fell in love watching AC.

Fell deeper in love at my first Michigan game.

Beer goggled partying at Sigma Nu as a high schooler.

Curiously, though, I procrastinated sending in my Michigan app (my parents made me fill out Ivy and FLEXI apps).  Got my acceptance letter a few weeks after submitting my app.

Have subsequently got my Masters, and did my residency at Michigan.  Do have a bit of Tartar (now Warrior) blood in my CV (med school at Wayne State).


February 23rd, 2013 at 11:00 AM ^

Well, I haven't committed yet. I just found out recently that I was accepted at Michigan for graduate school! I also have another offer on the table, but I have a feeling that Michigan is the final destination. I am visiting Michigan in a few weeks, so I hope to have a good committment story to tell at that point.


February 23rd, 2013 at 11:04 AM ^

I remember watching the 89 championship game with my older brother. He actually hogtied me for most of the game. I was 8 years old. You would think that a negative memory like that would instill some sort of subconcious hate towards UM, but no.

I used to ski in Northern Michigan. Alot. Like every Saturday, Sunday, holidays. I always remember going into the lodge and drinking hot cocoa. I remember seeing Bo march down the sidelines during a couple Rose Bowls back in the late 80s as well.

And then there was the catch in 91, and I knew I was instantly hooked.

I didn't end up going to school there. Wanted to. I guess I didn't have the grades. I graduated with a 3.4 from high school. Had a 28 on my ACT. Captain of the cross country and track team. State medalist in debate and Science Olympiad. Student Council Rep. I had a MET trust fund so I knew I could only go to a Michigan school.

I applied to WMU and U of M. No regrets. I really enjoyed my time in Kalamazoo, and felt I got a pretty decent education there. But somedays, I look back and wish I would applied myself just a smidge more in high school so I could proudly call myself a Michigan alum, and not just a fan.


February 23rd, 2013 at 11:04 AM ^

I grew up in Northern New Jersey to two depression parents and no one in my immediate family had ever graduated from college (although my Father later graduated from Rutgers after I had already graduated from Michigan).  I had my eyes on Ivies and Northeast small colleges, but I was looking for a school other than Rutgers where it was likely I would be admitted.  At National Honor Society induction, the keynote speaker was a cousin, then Deputy Mayor of Boston and later prominent Congressman Barney Frank.  While our respective families chatted after the ceremony -- Barney's brother was in the class and someone with whom I hung out --  Barney said if I was interested in Political Science, there was no better school than Michigan.  At that time, I had heard little about Michigan or its sports programs.  I was aware of Cazzie, but rooted for Princeton.  I had a vague recollection of the 1964 Rose Bowl team.  However, when you talked college football in Northern New Jersey at that time and you said Michigan, they assumed you were talking about Sparty -- does 10-10 ring a bell.  In any event, after doing due diligence, I applied to Michigan and three weeks later I was admitted.  At that time, I also applied to the brand new Residential College and was waitlisted.  Meanwhile, the April letters came and they were all rejections save for a small college in Eastern Pennsylvania that was not a place about which I was overly enthused, but I was a little daunted by the size of the big LS&A too.  I went to spring orientation at the other school and my enthusiasm increased marginally -- I actually and coincidentally roomed with the same guy I had roomed with at Boys State.  At that point, I sent a letter to the Admissions Office, saying I was declining my admission unless I was admitted to the Res Col.  Coincidentally crossing in the snail mail was a letter admitting me to the Res Col.  That led to a panic stricken two day period in which my parents and I kept calling the admissions office and asked them to ignore the letter I had just sent.  Fortunately we got an employee who proactively insured my admission to the University was kept intact.  In mid-August, I arrived in the state of Michigan for the first time in my life.  The rest, as they say, is history.

P.S.  Here's how clueless I was.  When I went to the 1967 season opener and everyone chanted, "Go Blue", I was nonplussed.  I turned to my new classmate and long-time Michigan fan and noted, that California, Navy and Duke -- Michigan's first three opponents -- all had Blue as their primary comment.  Fortunately, he just turned to me and said essentially shut up.


February 23rd, 2013 at 11:46 AM ^

The interview at UM was genuine and in-depth, whereas Northwestern and Wharton reps were condescending and rote in their approach.

Decided the interviewers (like recruiting coaches) reflect the schools attitude and values.  My experience in AA and afterwards confirmed my hypothesis about the schools, thank goodness.

Best choice and best school.  Go Blue.


February 23rd, 2013 at 11:56 AM ^

was living in Montana, and we came out to visit Michigan. My mom really wanted me to apply, but then eventually we moved to Texas, and we were sure we could not afford OOS tuition. Anyway, I believe they sent me a letter encouraging me to finish my app, which I did, and I guess the rest is history. The aid package was much better than I was anticipating, though I did have to live with my parents (they moved up to AA after I got in), and graduated in three years with a couple majors and a minor to cut down on student loans, etc. Actually, I really barely knew we had a football team until my Freshman year, and now look at me.

Perkis-Size Me

February 23rd, 2013 at 12:02 PM ^

Admittedly, I didn't know much about Michigan when I was applying. I mean, I knew it was a good school with good athletics, but that's all I could have told you. I'd already gotten into about 8-9 schools by the time I'd heard from UM, and up until that point, I was pretty set on either Tulane or Boston College. Hadn't heard from BC by then but I was sure I'd get in. Went to a Jesuit school, got great grades, and our Dean of Discipline, who was a Jesuit priest, wrote me a good rec. If I did get into BC, I probably would have dropped everything and gone there. Loved Boston, loved the campus. However, I didn't get in. Only school I didn't get into, oddly enough, and I was pretty upset at the time. Found out I got into UM, though. I was pretty happy, but my parents were ecstatic. My Dad especially because he was from Ann Arbor so knew all about the school. I wanted to go visit after I got in, but I think at the time my parents were more excited about it then I was. Up to that point, I was pretty sure I'd still end up at Tulane.

But there was just something about the feel of the school when we visited. I can't really explain it, but everyone who has gone to school at UM knows what I'm talking about. It just had a very at-home, cozy Midwestern feel that I was really attracted to. Its a large school, but it didn't feel like it. Then going to visit the Big House was just a surreal feeling for me. Didn't know squat about college athletics at the time, but still, seeing the stadium was really cool. Finally, I loved the work hard, play hard mentality of the students. Most everyone didn't have an issue busting their asses in the library every night for hours on end so that when the weekend rolled around, the rager was on. I basically realized then that everything I could possibly get in a school, I could get right there in Ann Arbor. Plus my parents taking me to Chop House was pretty legit.

When we got home, I told my Dad he could stroke the check, and I haven't looked back since. When I look back on it all, getting rejected from BC was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Michigan Eaglet

February 23rd, 2013 at 12:12 PM ^

I had always wanted to go to Michigan because I grew up rooting for the Wolverines and most of my family was Michigan fans, even though no one in my family had gone there and my one side was partially from cali.  When I was deciding where to go to college though, I was getting some looks from D2 and D3 out of state schools and some of the Ivy's. I took some trips and and liked a few of them. I had already been accepted to Michigan, but I did love playing football, so I had to weigh my options. While I was on the phone with one of the coaches at one of these schools, they asked me if I was still interested in attending their school, but I realized in that moment that there wasn't anywhere I wanted to go more than Michigan. I ended my recuitment with these schools that week and officially accepted my spot at Michigan soon after.


February 23rd, 2013 at 12:27 PM ^

I was born and raised in Michigan. My Dad went to Michigan. My Dad and his Dad attended the Snow Bowl. My sister went there, my brother went there, and my Dad's cousin played QB there. He went on to attend Med school there, and my sister attended the law school.

I never even thought about going anywhere else for undergrad. I did not apply anywhere else. ( I would not come close to getting in today, based on my GPA and SAT.)

For grad school, I applied to UCLA and MI. I fell in love with the UCLA campus while visiting for a Rose Bowl. I was rejected by them, and stayed in AnnArbor.

As an aside, I believe that anyone that takes on debt to attend an out of state school, or a private school, with rare exceptions, is foolish.

Bank the extra cash, and short the s and p.


February 23rd, 2013 at 12:42 PM ^

I chose Michigan because it was the #1 graduate school in my field. That ranking was heavily influenced by faculty that have since retired or semi-retired, but those rankings only happen once every decade or more so Michigan seems to be stuck at #1 for a while.


February 23rd, 2013 at 12:43 PM ^

I was four. Bo.

1983: I was a HS Senior, honors student, blah, blah, blah. I borrowed $20 from my Uncle Pete for the application fee. No one in my family had been to college before; my Mom wanted me to stay in Traverse City and go to work at Sara Lee. But I was weird and 1969 and Bo kept calling.

2013: Best decision I've ever made.


Smash Lampjaw

February 23rd, 2013 at 1:40 PM ^

I had no thoughts or plans for college in my crappy high school until I lucked out on National Merit, the first qualifier from my school in a decade. My counsellor told me to go to Michigan and offered to fill out the application for me. I met the lovely and talented Ms. Lampjaw there and we all lived happily ever after. On the other hand, I got very involved in my kids' college searches. Both were accepted to Michigan, neither went. I am still hoping for M grad school for them.


February 23rd, 2013 at 2:14 PM ^

Came from two parent alumnae that had fallen in love with Michigan and Ann Arbor before me, both were (actually still are) considered traitorous for their decision to attend the U of M. My Grandfather on my Dad's side was a huge ND fan and threatened to not pay for school and my Mom grew up just outside Columbus in Upper Arlington with rabid OSU fans that are still bitter about her going to Michigan. Needless to say they met in school, my Dad got a degree in Aeronautical Engineer and went to law school there as well. 

My entire childhood was filled with going to M home games as far back as I can remember. I loved going to them, from the build up to gametime watching the band, to the after parties at my Dad's fraternities where I played football on the lawn with other sons until it was time to go home (always too early). Eating at Blimpy Burgers, Zingermanns and some times The Drake when my Mom chose (ahe loved that place). Always ran down with friend to the area behind the bench and talkd with players and got autographs and chin straps and such from player like Rick Leach, Harlan Huckleby, Russel Davis and tons of players whose names escape me now. Away game Saturdays were invariable spent outside in the yard raking leaves listening to Bob Ufer blaring on the radio and the smell of burning leaves still makes me recall those days. 

My older sister went to Michigan a few years before me and when i visted her I got a whole new perspective on campus life and saw the whole party side of the University which only served to highten my esteeem for attending there. I remember at 16 years old entering the stadium carrying a poorly concealed case of beer and nobody caring much. I left Sunday evening still extremely hung over, but ever more convinced that I wanted to go to M. A few years later when I was a sophomore, I returned the favor for my younger brother who also later attended M for undergran and grad school for Public Policy.

I grew up a devoted Michigan fan in Spartan country and went to high school about 2 miles east of Sparty stadium. Spirit Day at school before the UM/MSU game involved the entire school wearing green and white and me and about 5 other kids in maize and blue and receiving a lot of not-so-well intentioned abuse. We also received a large scarlet and gray sheet cake decorated with roses and the words 'Eat Me' on from the Columbus family any time we lost that game (they also sent us a large, custom-made gray flag with a scarlet M in the middle, which I thought was pretty funny. 

When it came time to apply to schools, I applied at UM and took a flyer on applying to Berkeley (where I had little-to-no chance that I would get in), but I only realistically thought about going to Michigan. This was risky as it was not really a lock that I would get into M at all. Somehow I got early acceptance (maybe becuase I sent in my app on the first day it was humanly possible), but I will never forget how nervous I was looking at the envelope for about 10 minutes before building up the nerve to open it and the feeling of elation that lasted for months after I read it and discosvered I was in.

I loved, loved, loved my time in Ann Arbor. I have seen a lot of schools across the country and around the world and never have I waivered in my belief that Michigan was the place for me. I have lived in worked in a few countries in Europe and my girlfriend when I lived in London went to King's College (ranked as the 6th most difficult in the UK for undergrad admissons and generally top 20 in the UK overall) and we had a long running debate over who went to the better school and since I still communicate with her, it was with great pleasure that I sent her a link to the 2011 ranking of world universities in the Financial Times where Michigan came in 13th (up to 12th on 2012) and King's somewhere down in the 60's. She was pissed to be sure. I also lived/traveled throughout South America for almost two years and lived/worked in Bolivia (YTB) for a good portion of that and where I met my now ex-wife. I worked out a scheme there where I bribed a local internet cafe/phone center employee to stay open late and allow me to get on a phone or chat with friends watching the games in the U.S. and I brought along all her nieces and nephews and bought them treats and by the end of that season they were all die-hard Michigan fans, one of those nieces has chosen about as rigorous an academic path as you can there with the goal of attending M one day, though that is a huge longshot.

I live in Northen California now and have an 8 year old son who has been succesfully inculcated into the fold even from here. He bleeds maize and blue and got to go the Big House last season for the first time with my Dad, my brother, myself and a few of his cousins to attend the Northwestern game, which was awesome. As fans streamed toward the exits in the waning seconds, he turns to me on the verge of tears and says 'we probably aren't going to win, but I'm not giving up.' The rest, as they say, is history. After the game we did all the same stuff that I used to when i was a kid and had a blast, but sadly did not get to eat at Blimpy's and I am regretting that giving the current ?? as to the future of that fine establishment. It would be my fondest wish that he attend U of M and I have him in private school to be sure he will have the best chance in applying from out of state, but there is a lot of time between now and then. I actually will guide him to choose what will make him happiest and will guide him through that process, but with a clear bias for M.


February 23rd, 2013 at 2:20 PM ^

I was accepted and all ready to go...until I saw the bottom line for out-of-state Tuition.  I live just over the border in Toledo, Ohio and have been a lifelong UM fan.  Killed me that I couldn't afford to go there.


February 23rd, 2013 at 2:38 PM ^

A feeder school to Notre Dame but never even applied there. Couldn't stand the thought of staying home for college and I had always wanted to go to Michigan. So I narrowed down my choices to Northwestern, Michigan, NYU, USC, Johns Hopkins and Wash U-St. Louis.I ended up applying to Michigan, NYU, USC, and Johns Hopkins as I didn't like the campuses of NU or Wash U, and also to IU as their application was free and consisted of checking 6 boxes. I got in everywhere except Johns Hopkins. Long story short, I ended up going to IU because I didn't want to travel out of the Midwest, Michigan cost 60k a year vs 10k for IU, and my parents didn't want to pay 60k for a public university. In the end, IU is meh. I don't particularly enjoy the culture here and I'm nearly certain that I would have fit in better at Michigan or Columbia or NOethwestern and I wish that I had applied there then.


February 23rd, 2013 at 4:50 PM ^

My Dad and I watched Michigan as many Saturdays as we could when we didn't go to Wittenburg Tigers games (where my Dad worked). When it came time for me to apply, my Dad told me I could go to any school I wanted as long as it was small, private, and liberal arts. That eliminated Michigan. So I chose Augustana College. Yes, who's colors are yellow and blue.


February 25th, 2013 at 7:11 PM ^

I was a third-generation double legacy. My grandfather was an alum and became the men's counselor (what passed for a psychologist) for the U-M Health Service from the 30s through the 60s. My dad grew up in Ann Arbor and got three Michigan degrees. He lived at home the whole time, got scholarships, and worked part-time at the newsstand in the hospital lobby. He actually made money during college and grad school.

He then went to New York for a career in corporate law. A law school classmate introduced him to his sister, who became my mom. She'd gone to Duke, but her brothers and her father went to Michigan. Decades later, I came across an old commencement program and discovered that both my grandfathers graduated on the same day in 1924 – one from undergrad, one from law school.

During my teen years in the 70s we went to at least one game a year, tailgating at the golf course, and I had many visits to my grandparents. When it came to applying to colleges, I sent my Michigan one in very early, got accepted, and never applied anywhere else.

I had to leave school after two years because of a disabling accident. I eventually graduated from a college near my home, but Michigan has remained a huge part of my life. I've always felt extremely fortunate to be born with Blue blood.


February 23rd, 2013 at 8:19 PM ^

Michigan and Hawaii. If I didn't get in where I wanted I was going to get a 4.0 without studying on the beach with gorgeous native girls. But I didn't have to go plan B.

My mom was all Michigan, but I admit I was more of a pro guy as a kid. But Bo's book came out, the '89 Tournment happened, orientation trips and trips to see my older friends weren't like anything else, and by the time we kicked off to the Rocket, where else would you rather be?

Nowhere brother, nowhere.


February 23rd, 2013 at 11:29 PM ^

So it's the mid 60's and college football is just coming of age (really) on broadcast TV. I get hooked on watching as a very young man. U of M comes on and it's exciting Bo comes along and I'm hooked more. ND comes on and the hatred builds up (I lived 40 miles from SB). Further convincing me that Michigan was the only way. 1975 comes around and what are my choices, Michigan of course and I had a ROTC Navy scholarship to boot. But then I got accepted at my 2nd choice the USNA at Annapolis. So I go there but do not like Maryland and the environment. In Jan of 76 I apply for Michigan to get back home and where I knew I belonged they graciously welcome me back to where I should have been all along. I enter in Sept 76 and graduated in May of 1980and even thought I only spent 1 year since then working and living in Michigan the memories remain. The first ND game of the renewal, the AC catch against Indiana and cider and donuts up the Huron river on a beautiful fall Saturday. By the way I graduated with BSEE that has taken me all over (Michigan, PA. Mass., LA, Denmark, Germany, Argentina, Taiwan (where I got married) ,NY and now Southern California (where in my now older days I am thankful the snow is where it belongs in the mountains should one wish to visit it). Even though I've had season tickets to UCLA football at the Rosebowl (got to have that up front CFB experience) for 10 years it will never match the Big House experience.