OT-My Nephew

Submitted by ADogNamedBo on June 11th, 2016 at 11:04 PM
Edit. Holy formatting. It was spaced correctly on my iPad when I submitted it. I was never going to do this but I just talked to my Nephew again and he is all in for Michigan. It doesn't hurt I have had a couple cocktails to finally ask a question. A little background. My family and entire extended family are Michigan fans, always have been and continue to be today. We meet each other every other year for a home game as we are spread all over the country. It hasn't been easy getting tickets for 23 people to a decent game, although my wife surprised me with tickets for UTL II. That was one of the best days of my life...except for finding a cab to the hotel after the game. My nephew is a great kid...I know I am biased but he is. He is going in to his Senior year and going to Michigan is his first choice of schools. He is also applying to Notre Dame (to hell with them), Georgia Tech, Purdue, Indiana (new Engineering school not really interested he says), University of Washington, Wisconsin and a few others. He took his ACT earlier this year for the first time and convinced his mom (my sister) not to study as he wanted to see what he would score with no prep...he scored a 33. He had 2 tutoring sessions with most of the focus on how to take the test versus studying for it and he scored a 35. He is taking it one more time and is going to study to try to get a 36. He's a smart kid. He is also a member of the Naional Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, lettered in XC 3 years and 2 years in LAX. He did attend a U of M XC camp last year that he really loved. His gpa is a 4.2 with all advanced placement classes without really having to apply himself yet. Now to the question. What else can/should he do to try to get in to U of M as an out of state student? Sorry for the the long post, the entire family is rooting for him to get in to Michigan! Go Blue!



June 12th, 2016 at 9:09 AM ^

It's hard to get application advice here only because a lot of us who are alums probably got in under different sets of rules or requirements - although there are a fair number of recent grads who might give some sound advice too. That being said, I would say it is related enough to Michigan that we can keep it. We've had threads like this before and they seem to go well enough unless you're that one dude who tried to argue the inherent superiority of Michigan grads, which was simply a bizarre argument - and he tried to start that thread twice to boot. 

Gentleman Squirrels

June 11th, 2016 at 11:09 PM ^

I wouldn't bother taking it again at 35. Honestly, I wouldn't have bothered taking it again at 33 as that is already an impressive score. With what he has, he seems to already be in a great position to come to Michigan. I think the biggest thing that he can do is make sure to show Michigan that he really wants to come there and that they would benefit by him being there too. Keep up with the athletics, volunteer work, good work in classes, and send Michigan an update should he not get an acceptance by December (thats when the first acceptances are sent out). Also, make sure to send in the application ASAP. I don't remember if Michigan is on a rolling basis, but I know that helps a lot. 


June 11th, 2016 at 11:20 PM ^

40 time? Shuttle? Pad level? I guess I wouldn't worry too much about pad level because high schoolers rarely have good pad level. If that 4.2 gpa was a 40 time, he'd be in a few places.

rob f

June 11th, 2016 at 11:50 PM ^

... got married today. I'm still drinking at the reception---and it's NOT water!!

Wedding receptions and drinking and dancing are funnnn! Great wedding music, they found a band from Chicago called '28 Days'. About the best wedding band I've ever heard. Rockin!

rob f

June 11th, 2016 at 11:50 PM ^

... got married today. I'm still drinking at the reception---and it's NOT water!!

Wedding receptions and drinking and dancing are funnnn! Great wedding music, they found a band from Chicago called '28 Days'. About the best wedding band I've ever heard. Rockin!

Bando Calrissian

June 12th, 2016 at 12:03 AM ^

Looks like he's pretty much done it all if he wants to go to a school like Michigan.

My advice? Let the kid stop and smell the roses for a minute. Pressure makes pipes burst.

Abe Froman

June 12th, 2016 at 12:16 AM ^

I do application advising and high school and collegiate tutoring for a living.  He absolutely doesn't need to retake his ACT and statistics show he's more likely to go down than up and so should likely not retake if he has a 35.


A 4.2 weighted GPA is misleading and thus really depends on his performance (number of As vs Bs).  No one cares if he doesn't apply himself if his grades simply aren't there.  He needs to exdcute.


All this being said, his essays and extracurriculars will essentially clinch the acceptance.  If he is serious about umich engineering then hopefully he's done some extracurric's in that field/genre.  As for essays... well I am obviously biased but either hire someone to review/edit his essays or have the family english major assist with that.  Remember - don't try to say what you think they want to hear (odds are you really don't know) but instead focus on what his wants and desires are as an individual and what hisn intentions are for his future and how a umich education will further that goal.  We all are unique "snowflakes;" we only blend in with the crown when we believe the urban legends of what "gets accepted" and then write blaise essays geared toward such.



June 12th, 2016 at 12:47 AM ^

Just a word of advice to your nephew, as someone who coasted through high school just based on intelligence alone: college is going to be much much harder, and if you haven't developed skills for studying, do so now, rather than during your freshman year when you are already in way over your head. 


June 12th, 2016 at 8:31 AM ^

Agree with this. I was in the same boat. Skated through high school, didn't have to study for AP exams, didn't have to study for the ACT/SAT. And had horrible study habits. Then UM kicked my ass. Not because I didn't have the ability to learn the material, but because I had conditioned myself to be lazy with schoolwork.

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June 12th, 2016 at 1:25 AM ^

I'm jealous of you . . . not in a bad way, but criminy, this kid is golden. What are you worried about? More than that:  I trust he'll get in, but I think it is a mistake to have your heart so set on something that ANYTHING else is a disappointment. Just my 2 cents.

Mr. Robot

June 12th, 2016 at 2:21 AM ^

Pretty much good to go anyway, but out of state makes if a lock IMHO. When I was in high school the recruiter talked up how much they like kids from places they don'f get many from, and my high school, even though in state, doesn't send many to Michigan. Honestly though, I doubt very much the out of state is about diversity, it's about that bigger number in the tuition column. =P

Wide Open

June 12th, 2016 at 2:48 AM ^

Your nephew may be a smart cookie, and may love Michigan, but please make sure he can afford to go there.

I have forged many life-long friendships from my decision to go to UM. But the out of state tuition is crazy without grants or scholarships. If I had it to do over again I wouldn't have burdened my parents to pay to keep sending me there after my ROTC scholarship was revoked (for medical reasons).

M go Bru

June 12th, 2016 at 4:35 AM ^

Indiana? Engineering?

Other top 10 engineering schools in the US located in midwest besides Michigan, include Illinois and Purdue. A lot cheaper to stay instate.

My son will be a Soph in UM School of Engineering this year. He is instate. Had a 3.7 (4.2 weighted for honors) GPA at Novi Catholic Central, 31 on ACT, 3 YR letter winner in XC and Track. Got in on the second wave of acceptances (initially deferred). I have since heard from my younger son who is a incoming senior at CC that its gotten tougher to get in from those applying last year. 

I did brainwash him about UM from birth, literally. In fact, my first words to him after his birth was "Go Blue". In his application letter he stated that attending UM was always his goal in life. I'm sure that helped.


June 12th, 2016 at 6:48 AM ^

Look for opportunities to highlight his leadership qualities, his uniqueness, and his team/people oriented character traits in the application. Engineers can be one-dimensional. Show that he is not. Schools like to build acceptance classes with smart people, but also with what I'll call "glue" types. These are the kids that have the touchy feely personalities, like ESFJ types. IMO taking the test again is showing the opposite of what he needs to show at this point, so skip it. Also - everybody needs to have good "safety" schools (plan for the worst). He might also consider adding the University of Florida (already a very good engineering school and the new UF president aims to make it better + the weather and girls are great) and Kettering (I am a GMI grad). Lastly, my niece was recently accepted to UM med school with a full scholarship, but chose Penn for boyfriend reasons (???!!!). It won't be the end of the world if he doesn't get into UM, there is always grad school to consider. There are lots of ways and times to connect with and be a UM fan. Spend your (his) money wisely. Good luck to him.


June 12th, 2016 at 7:14 AM ^

He should be good. Never underestimate the essay and letters of recommendations (I know you need LoR for grad school). This is the area that most kids slack on. I think parents and students get too wrapped up in test scores and gpa. There are a lot of variables when it comes to evaluating a students gpa. Michigan loves well rounded leaders tha are bright as well. Volunteering, community service, student government, athletics and other extracurricular activities will separate him from the others that have high test scores and gpa. I remember a recruiter telling me that they like students with "life experience" too.


June 12th, 2016 at 10:27 AM ^

This is so true.

I work with kids and work with college admissions people.  One, who I respect immensely, said that SAT/ACT score is the fifth most important thing that most colleges consider: 1: Transcript. 2: Essays. 3: Rec Letters. 4: Extracurrics. 5: Test scores.

That was his general ranking. Note that "transcript" includes GPA but is absolutely not solely GPA. 

People VASTLY overrate GPA and test scores. Yeah, they're important, but what the hell is the difference between a 31 and a 30? A 28 and a 29?  Who knows. Especially when you take into account the differences in kids' test preparation background. Rec letters and essays are what tell schools about students most. That and the transcript; the type of classes they've taken and their success in them, including trends (e.g. someone maybe has a 3.6, but a 4.0 after freshmen year is noteworthy).

Also, extracurriculars should be things kids are genuinely interested in (not a bullet list of clubs a kid went to for 1 meeting). Leadership roles show that the applicant is truly involved and shows some dedication.


June 12th, 2016 at 12:50 PM ^

This is absolutely correct. It really burns me when I speak with a parent about Michigan and the first thing that comes out is "my kids gpa is.. And he/she got a ## on the ACT". I know then that they have never spoken to a counselor anyone at the University. Then you get the how do this person get in with this gpa and this person not get in with a higher gpa. Well you are literally comparing apples to oranges with every applicant. In fact, every applicant is a different fruit all together. If I recall correctly, Michigan actually recalculates your gpa anyway. Depending on what classes to you took, most students gpa actually will go down, unless you took advanced courses, then it could even go up slightly.. All of us know college is more than just going to class. It involves time management, minimizing distractions, commitment and tons of self motivation. These qualities, among others, determine if a student will be successful at Michigan. You cannot get this information from looking at gpa and test scores alone. I remember taking my first chemistry course in my first semester in undergrad. The professor explained that the first two weeks of class would be review. In those two weeks, he would go over everything you could have possibly learned in high school, even if you took AP courses. Therefore, after 2 weeks everyone was on the same page.


June 12th, 2016 at 7:38 AM ^

Back in the day, I recall the ACT having four sections worth:

33: English

34: Social Studies

35: Science

36: Math

Maximum possible score: 34.5 (or, I guess, 35 if rounded up).

Has it changed? (I'm old.)

To the OP: How did he do on the SAT? If he aced that, too, may I suggest that he include some Ivies? Some of them have interesting financial aid available.


June 12th, 2016 at 8:18 AM ^

In recent years, about 75% of the applications to Michigan are from non-residents, but non-residents account for only about 50% of the undergraduates.  FWIW, this suggests admission from the non-resident pool may actually be more competitive than for Michigan residents.

Your nephew's grades and ACT are above the median statistics for students admitted to Michigan Engineering, which recently were 33 for the ACT and 3.9 for the HS GPA.  Some sources suggest that while Engineering admissions have higher medians than LSA admissions for accepted students, that Engineering admissions may focus more on grades and test scores rather than other criteria.  This may bode well for your nephew's admission.  There may be particular emphasis on math grades, test scores and achievements during the admission process, so it is important your nephew excel in these areas.

In addition to other extracurricular activities, it may be helpful if he had an internship, participated in a summer educational program related to technology or engineering or had other experience to show his strong interest in engineering and science.  

Has he visited the Michigan campus and made contacts in the Engineering program?  It may be helpful for him to take a tour and talk to students and others associated with the program.  Below is a link to information on tours and a contact for the Recruitment and Admissions Counselor, Michael Oelke.  It may be helpful for your nephew to communicate and develop a relationship with this Counselor.  For example, he might communicate to Mr. Oelke his strong interest in an undergraduate Engineering program at UofM and inquire what he may do to better prepare and improve his chances for admission. 


I also agree with the comments that suggest he may be best served by developing study habits now to succeed in a very competitive engineering program.  I know several students who were admitted to Michigan Engineering, but later transferred to a less demanding/competitive major.

Abe Froman

June 12th, 2016 at 10:28 AM ^

I referenced this, but wanted to add (in addition to MLG) that internships are a brilliant idea. That being said, it might be next to impossible to apply and get a formal internship with a big company with summer break starting next week.

But some small engineering firms in your area that don't have a formal intern program might be able to create something for him somewhat on the spot (highly likely would be unpaid), and doubly so if wolverine alumni are involved.

Ask local engineering firms with resume in hand. Ask now (summer is here).

And reach out to your local alumni assn chapter regarding help finding an internship.


June 12th, 2016 at 8:33 AM ^

He must apply early. UM geographically diversifies its admissions. So must grab your out of state spot before someone else gets it. I know of someone that did not get in because someone from their high school was already admitted. Was told, despite having better grades and resume, that they weren't going to take anyone else from his high school.

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June 12th, 2016 at 9:31 AM ^

I agree with above comments regard costs.  We have a very similar situation, UM family ties, out of state, similar scores.  He got in to Michigan and Purdue among others.

He went to Purdue. It turned out that for us, engineering out of state at Purdue, considering lower tuition and better scholarship/aid, was $20K/year less than UM.  Saved $80K and played quads for 4 years on the Purdue drumline. Worked out OK.


June 12th, 2016 at 11:47 AM ^

through this process with my niece. National Honor Society, All Conference 2 years in 2 sports, almost exclusively AP courses with a 4.2 GPA, accepted and offered huge scholarships at several schools with lower acceptance rates than Michigan. She was deferred in December and I began to sour on my alma mater. She was accepted at the end of March. I honestly believe there is a randomness to the entire process.


June 12th, 2016 at 12:34 PM ^

He's golden.  I had pretty much the exact same stats (granted I was in state and this was 14 years ago) but had no issues whatsoever.  Was accepted in a week or two.  Not sure if we still do rolling admissions, but if we do, have his app in Day 1 at the first possible second.  Sure it's a pain, but then it's done and you'll be accepted ASAP.

Best of luck to him!


June 12th, 2016 at 2:57 PM ^

Late to the party, but as others have suggested, it sounds like he shouldn't have trouble getting accepted; the problem will be how to pay for it. We live in Oklahoma and my oldest went to MSU.  She was a National Merit Scholar which gave her a full ride scholarship.  Her baby sister wanted to follow in her footsteps, scored a 35 on ACT and just below the level for National Merit Scholar (which is SAT based).  

Younger sister started piling up scholarships and even went to MSU for on-campus testing for an additional scholarship, which turned out to be billed at the in-state rate.  We thought, "cool!"

But, as it turns out, we could do either the in-state rate, or all the other scholarships. Yes, the in-state scholarship would have saved us around $15,000/ year (it was 5 years ago--I don't remember exact details). We declined, and she ended up going to Okie State, which was significantly less expensive than MSU. Instead of $50-60,000 out of pocket over 4 years, it was more like $6-8,000.