Damn! Its getting hard to get into Michigan

Submitted by James Burrill Angell on July 15th, 2011 at 11:08 AM

Just saw this article at the Freep about this year's admissions http://www.freep.com/article/20110715/NEWS06/110714015/University-Michigan-receives-record-number-applications-up-25-from-2010?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s

Just shy of 40,000 applicants this year (up 25% from last year) for a class of 5,900. Only about 40% got admitted and 40% of those admitted matriculated. I fear for my kids when they apply. Better start saving up for out-of-state tuition because I'm not sending them to State.



July 15th, 2011 at 11:13 AM ^

Junior college, it is far cheaper and lets be honest, all your basic courses (math, phyics, chemistry, english) can be taught and learned equally well. Then all you have to worry about is the last couple of years.



July 15th, 2011 at 11:21 AM ^

I think the best part about UM isn't necessarily the accomplished professors or the way they teach. It's the competition with your classmates. At a junior college, you don't have that. In my experience, you can get an A at a junior college or easier university with the amount of work that would net you a B or worse at Michigan. The competition forces you to learn the material better, even if you'd be hearing the same lectures, based on the same book, albeit at different schools.


July 15th, 2011 at 11:24 AM ^


Out of the kids from my high school, the ones that went to junior college are either:  In jail, dead, fathering/mothering a child / multiple children without the support of the opposite sex, or extremely addicted to drugs.  There might be one or two success stories out of the group.  And those successes are "assistant VP of the Wal-Mart off I-60, in the Jerry Jones shopping center".


July 15th, 2011 at 11:32 AM ^

I have no idea what high school you went to but that is completely false, borderline offensive to people who have attended junior college.  Community college is an excellent option for people who can't afford to attend a 4-year college right out of high school, or simply want to save money. 

I attended Schoolcraft for two years before transferring and getting my accounting degree.  I saved a tremendous amount of money and have the same degree as someone who spent four years on campus.

I would be careful to make assumptions about people when you clearly have no experience in this particular subject.  Did your parents pay your way through college?


July 15th, 2011 at 11:57 AM ^

As a high school teacher, I have no major problem with junior colleges, but I do get a sense that many fail to make the move to a four year university. In any event, my parents tried to get me to start at a junior college, and I'm really glad that I didn't (opting to go straight to UofM), because I feel your freshman and sophomore years in the dorms are critical for one's social life--friends, future roommates, etc. I know college is supposed to be all about academics, but I feel that the socialization skills that are obtained and overall maturation are equally important.


July 15th, 2011 at 12:37 PM ^

IMO college is only about 50% academics.  I gained a strong sense of perspective interacting with people from all over the place those first couple of years.  I wouldn't have traded my first two years at Michigan for anything.


July 15th, 2011 at 12:05 PM ^

Same degree does not equal the same experience.  2 years at a major college doesn't equal 4.  

Also, it must have fucking sucked to try to make friends as a junior in college, when most of all the college students had their friends by then.  A major issue for kids to think about who are considering junior college.  


July 15th, 2011 at 12:22 PM ^

The recurring theme is that the experience is the greatest difference, which I would agree with.  However, my point is that while it is nice to finish a four-year degree with the same people that you have built relationships with, it is a sterotype of CC students that they are the dregs of high school. 

Many of my good friends from high school, of whom I am still good friends with, went to Schoolcraft for two years and went on to finish a four-year degree.  Two are nurses and another is an engineer. While these people may be a minority, they do exist.

I agree with you that four years at the same school with the same people does sound good, but it did not "fucking suck" to meet new people when I transferred.




July 15th, 2011 at 12:37 PM ^

At some point, a person's age doesn't matter as much if they're confident in their own abilities and have well thought-out plans for their future--i.e. getting a degree or furthering their education, or seeking a job if your education is complete.

Also, Kelvin Grady's summer internship, shown here in this video, is significantly better than doing nothing or working at Taco Bell.



July 15th, 2011 at 12:10 PM ^

Thanks sULLY, I took all my calculus, physics, and a few other courses at a junior college. I went on to finish my Electrical Engineering degree and never had any issues with the quality of the classes I took. My original response was simply pointing to another way to save some money. There are different paths that can lead to the same end.


July 15th, 2011 at 11:54 AM ^

Wont lie....this is pretty much my HS class or they like to hangout @ the local bar to relive the glory days. 


As the other commentor mentioned not all people should be lumped into this category but most people I know that have ended up at a JC did it so they had something shiny to put on their graduation cards. 


July 15th, 2011 at 12:13 PM ^

You should check out the JC to see what classes transfer and which don't. The one I went to, Jackson CC, all the math, physics, etc... classes are tailored so that they are acceptable to Michigan and MSU. They want you to go on and succeed, offering classes that don't help you, doesn't further the interest of the JC any.



July 15th, 2011 at 11:54 AM ^

I'd also like to argue it's about the experience.  If you go to JUCO, that's 2 years you didn't have season tickets to the Michigan games.  You miss out on establishing "Michigan" friends early on, and to be frank, the ones you make your Freshmen and Sophomore years are usually your closest ones.

From the standpoint on education alone though, you are probably correct.


July 15th, 2011 at 12:01 PM ^

I would check out Instate U first and foremost.  There are probably a few hidden gems you can find out there if you do some digging, send e-mails, check out professors' credentials and research, etc.

If you're lucky enough that money is no object (at the moment), then by all means get good grades and try to get into Michigan.  I took almost every AP class my school offered, got my 5's, and I'm into Michigan with 25 undergrad credits covered (not towards my major).  An organized sport or an instrument is a good idea also.  If your school does not have a band or choir, start a glee club!  (Only half-joking...)

Oh, in high school, everything must be A.  You need good grade to get the Michigan University.  /soviet-bloc-accent.exe


July 15th, 2011 at 11:15 AM ^

40% acceptance rate is actually pretty good compared to most elite schools, FYI.  Look up what comparable acceptance rates are and you'll feel a lot better.


July 15th, 2011 at 11:17 AM ^

The MIAA has a bunch of schools with GREAT undergrad education. When I was at Albion, researchers from U of M would routinely come to campus to use our facilities. They don't get the hype big state schools get due to a lack of grad programs (which are really what most schools get their reputations on anyway), but you get a fantastic education.


July 15th, 2011 at 11:18 AM ^

40% is not that hard, especially compared to Ivies (where a lot of the East Coast kids also apply) who like to brag about their almost-single-digit rates. Out-of-state students are obviously a welcome cash cow too. If your kids can be above average (even just average for some majors) in high school and get average to above average test scores, essays and rec letters, they should have a pretty good shot. Helpful advantage if they're not so confident? APPLY EARLY. Like as soon as it comes out, so have the recs ready to go for August and have someone on hand to proofread. They'll be fine :)


July 15th, 2011 at 11:35 AM ^

Sorry but that's just dead wrong. I am a incoming freshman and I went to a highly competitive public high school (50+ kids going to M) and there were plenty of kids this year who had 3.9 or higher GPA's with 27 or higher on the ACT who didn't get in. Granted some with those stats did. But both of those are scores are quite a bit above average. Michigan is getting much harder to get into. I'm just glad I'm not applying 10 years from now.


July 15th, 2011 at 12:41 PM ^




About Michigan

2010 Freshman Class Profile

  • 30,947 Applications
  • 15,436 Admitted
  • 6,300 Enrolled
  • Average High School GPA: 3.8
  • Middle 50th Percentile of the Admitted Class:

    • ACT Composite of 28-32
    • ACT English of 28-34
    • ACT Math of 28-34
    • ACT Science 26-32
    • ACT Combined English/Writing of 27-31
    • SAT Total of 1960-2200
    • SAT Critical Reading 620-730
    • SAT Math 670-770
    • SAT Writing 640-740
  • AP and/or IB Credit was granted to over 3000 new freshmen


July 15th, 2011 at 1:52 PM ^

I was talking about out-of-state, and with 50+ kids going to UM, it sounds like you're instate, where they can afford to be choosier. When you're applying to elite schools, you need to have an elite competitive mentality, so when I say "average," I'm being a bit of a snob and I mean below 4.0 or otherwise lacking "top-end savoriness" indicated by lacking in the extracurics or community service, having a score on an SAT section below 700, etc. When you're "above average," colleges are competing for you. From what I understand, Michigan is much more willing to take average kids from out-of-state because they're paying double the tuition, and if you are above average and from OOS, you will probably be able to negotiate your scholarships with them if you show better offers from equivalent or better schools.

(FWIW, I'm a senior and was the first person from my high school district in New York to even apply to Michigan in its 100-year existence so obviously I am not an expert on in-state high school standards. To the skeptical New Yorkers, yes, it was in Long Island, but it was a REALLY small, relatively poor town on the East End... the polar opposite of Jericho and the surrounding area.)

Also, believe me on this: Once you sit in your first few freshman prereq/weeder classes... you'll see how lax the admissions can be.

/healthy dose of Michigan arrogance


July 15th, 2011 at 3:39 PM ^

Uhhh no. The acceptance rate for OOS kids is much lower than for instate kids. I believe last year the acceptance rate at UM was around 50%, and I think it was a 60% acceptance rate for instate kids. So OOS would have been around 30%


July 15th, 2011 at 7:18 PM ^

I agree with your "uhhhh no" but not because of your reasoning.  Just because the acceptance rate was lower for OOS kids doesn't mean it's any harder to get in out of state.  I worked for the admissions office and they don't pay attention to in-state or out of state when looking at an applicant's, er, application.  Keep in mind that a reason that OOS acceptance rates are lower is simply because there are more applicants from out of state.  Obviously lots of in-state kids apply to Michigan, but OOS applicants covers the rest of the world - and that's a lot of prospective students as well. 

The reason UM has more in-state students than OOS students isn't because more in-state students apply, it's because more of the accepted students from in-state decide to go as opposed to the OOS students.  If you're an in-state student and you got accepted, UM is undoubtedly the cheapest and closest elite school you got in to.  If you're from anywhere else, UM is not cheaper and possibly no closer to home than the other elite schools you got in to. 


July 15th, 2011 at 12:20 PM ^

40% is hard because people who stand little chance of getting in often don't apply.  They see it as a waste to spend money on an app. fee that won't get them anywhere.

Many of the east coast schools have those small rates because they are either super-selective (ivies) and often select students based more on their non-quantifiable criteria, making it more difficult to determine who is a good candidate.  Michigan relies much more on GPAs and Test Scores to decide on admission.  

While you dont have to be a super-genious to get into M, you can't be average and get in.  In or out of state.  It's been that way for years now, and it will remain selective into the future.

As for apply early, its not as important as it once was:  the common app doesn't allow you to get a decision before mid-december.  If you apply by the middle to end of october, you are now considered "early"

Getting in will only get harder as more people realize that today's economy requires a degree of some kind to get a job.  Standards are going up.  So if you get in, congrats, but don't blow a great opportunity.  If you don't, its not the end of the world, and use the resources you can get your hands on.

True Blue Grit

July 15th, 2011 at 11:19 AM ^

I was no slouch academically in high school.  But, if it was this competitive back in 1976 when I applied I'm not sure if I would have been accepted!  But there has been massive grade inflation in high school - but I don't want to get started on that. 

I concur that junior college is a great option.  One of my daughter's went directly to U-M.  But, the other is going the JC route which is better for her.  And she's on track to transferring to U-M hopefully next winter term. 


July 15th, 2011 at 11:32 AM ^

I think I had a 3.7 coming out of High School in 2001, with considerably above average test scores. Even with that, I was convinced I wasn't getting in, and was prepared to go to the University of Alabama where I had applied (pushed by my UA alumni Father) and got accepted. Then I got my acceptance letter to UM and damn near cried like a baby, it was so un expected. I still think the only reason I got in, and if it isn't it damn sure didn't hurt, is that my grandparents both graduates of UM.

Feat of Clay

July 15th, 2011 at 11:36 AM ^

Being a legacy isn't the help that people assume it is.  There are just too many alumni out there, frankly.  So don't sell yourself short; they must have liked something about you other than your pedigree.


July 16th, 2011 at 1:23 PM ^

I work in fundraising for UM and I can emphatically say that being the child of a major donor isn't a factor here, we aren't Illinois over here.  In fact, there is one designated fundraiser who is allowed to even talk to admissions, and even then they can only ask for the status of an application, not pull any strings.


Michigan puts a hard and fast barrier between admissions and fundraising- in fact, if we find out that a donor has a kid or relative applying and they want to make a major gift we tell them not to just to make sure that there isn't even the appearance of impropriety.  Most other schools are not like this and don't have the wall between admissions and fundraising, it is something we should be proud of as fans, that our school is willing to sacrifice a few wealthy egos to ensure that the right students are in each class.


July 19th, 2011 at 8:03 AM ^

In short?  Yes, I have seen it happen with huge donors (I don't recall/wouldn't disclose anyway Ross or Glick families in particular)- they get disappointed but a lot of the time they understand how the process is.  It's usually a niece or grandson or some other iteration, not immediate family, which helps.  I have been surprised at how often they realize that it isn't a personal slight and speaks to the integrity of the institution.  There is usually some work that needs to be done to make sure the relationship between them an UM is still strong, but it almost always works out.


We make money, but we don't sell out.  I would leave that part to Dave Brandon.  Okay, so that last part about Brandon isn't technically university policy...


July 15th, 2011 at 11:43 AM ^

I don't consider 40% admit rate to be all too impressive.  About 3 years ago it was at 42%, then went up to 50%.  How about we cut class sizes from 6,000 down to the mid 4,000s like it was a couple of years ago, and not have economy triples, student lounges turned into dorm rooms, and overflow housing.

I hope we can become the elite public university again, and not continue to be gradually passed by UCLA, UVA, and UNC.


July 15th, 2011 at 10:12 PM ^

Yes, not a few years ago.  The first class that came in when I worked in the admissions office was 2004 which was about 5,500 if I remember correctly.  That was seven years ago and I know it wasn't 1,500 students above what it was the few years previous.