This prompt represents a common category of supplement prompts that ask you why you want to study a specific program at a specific school. The main purpose of these “Why Us?” essays is to show the school why you are interested and why you are a good fit.
This is done in two parts: 1. why you want to study what you have indicated and 2. why you want to study it here at this specific school. Make sure to do some research so you can provide more than generic examples like “I want to go to a big school“ or “I like sports” that could apply to many other schools. To learn more about “Why Us?” type essays, read our essay guide, “How to Write the “Why Us?” College Essay.”
When you start to write this essay, you first want to develop why you wish to study what you have indicated on your application. An anecdote is often the most effective means of accomplishing this. You could recount how your time in physical therapy, love for your biology class, and long history of playing sports fueled your passion to learn more about the human body and how it moves. This perfectly lines up with the field of Kinesiology.
Next, you need to demonstrate why Michigan is the perfect place to study what you have selected. Continuing with the Kinesiology example, you could talk about its excellent reputation and some specific classes you really look forward to taking.
With preferred admission applications, it is important to discuss your future goals as well as past experiences that make you sure you will want to be a part of this program. For example, if you apply for the Pharmacy program, you will want to discuss why you are interested in pharmacy and detail the moments in your life that have led you to this decision. Perhaps you have always had a passion for chemistry and helping others, and hearing from your friend’s mom about her career in pharmacy was consistently one of your favorite parts of your weekly hangouts.
With dual-degree programs, the key is not only discussing why you want to pursue a degree in each of them, but why you think the combination is especially important for you.
For example, if you are applying to the dual-degree Ross School of Business and College of Engineering program, you could discuss your dream of beginning your own tech startup and needing both the technical engineering knowledge and business savvy. You could write about how you first came up with your idea and when/how you realized Michigan’s dual-degree program would be the perfect place to bring it to life.
Write an Essay That Will Stand Out
Despite the university’s large student body, admissions to Michigan are still very competitive. The university has a 26.2% acceptance rate with an average SAT score of 1430 (new standard) and ACT range scores from 30-34. The average high school GPA is 3.87.
Students seeking unparalleled research opportunities will relish the incredible opportunities and resources that this school offers. In order to write a quality essay that will make you stand out, there are a few suggestions we at CollegeVine would like to mention.
University of Michigan Writing Prompts
Essay #1 (Required – Approximately 250 words)
Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it.
Essay #2 (Required for all freshman applicants – 500 words maximum)
Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate college or school (including preferred admission and dual-degree programs) to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests?
Writing the First Essay Prompt
The first prompt requires a sincere and nuanced response. The focus of this prompt is on community — and it includes a broad definition of community. Make sure to take time to carefully choose the community that you want to write about.
For many people, writing about your race or ethnicity is an appealing option. After all, living in the United States as a person of color is a defining experience for many people. This prompt invites some important personal reflections that demonstrate deep thought and conviction on your identity. Given that this is a common direction for students to take in this essay, the challenge is to make this topic as unique as possible for you.
In describing the community to which you belong, explore why that community is important to you and how that can connect to a broader narrative about yourself. This can be especially helpful if you have experience doing volunteer work on issues that matter to your community. For example, if you have volunteered for an organization that advocates for criminal justice reform or changes in education policy, you can connect that to your place within a certain community.
Community, as used in this prompt, is a broad category and is by no means limited to race or gender. If you have a creative or uniquely personal understanding of community, write about it! The goal is to convey sincerity and authenticity and to demonstrate as a thoughtful person who cares about more than just yourself.
Make Sure to be Specific
Another key point to stress about the community prompt is the importance of specificity. Ideally, the essay should demonstrate personality and conviction. Stay away from using vague, broad phrases and instead contextualize the themes you wish to address through the lens of community. This means if, for example, you choose to write about how systemic inequalities in society have affected you, make sure to explain how these broader issues relate to your community and how your understanding of community has helped you deal with these issues.
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Writing the Second Prompt
The second prompt asks you two things: to isolate the specific qualities of the particular undergraduate school to which you are applying and to explain how those qualities will help you pursue interests. This prompt requires a bit of research into the specific undergraduate school and connecting it to a broader narrative you want to construct about yourself.
Much like the first prompt, specificity is also a key element to a successful response. This prompt might require conducting a bit of research on Michigan’s website in order to mention specific qualities that draw you to that school. For example, if you’re a student applying to Michigan’s engineering school, do some research on the undergraduate engineering program and talk about why it appeals to you, mentioning specific factors, such as Michigan’s Undergraduate Research Opportunity.
Connect your Passions to the University of Michigan
The second part of the prompt gives a great opportunity to connect your passions to the unique traits of the school. This is an opportunity to view your application from a strategic lens: if you have structured your Common Application essay and extracurriculars around a particular narrative of yourself, here you can apply that narrative to the specific context of the school. This can effectively give the admissions officer a clear vision of what you would look like as a student.
For instance, continuing with the engineering example, let’s say that you are really interested in aerospace engineering and that’s been “your thing” throughout high school. You have some prior exposure to the field, and you dream of working for NASA or Boeing crafting the next generation of airplanes or space shuttles.
Mention this in your essay, but also add specific details about Michigan’s aerospace engineering program that you think will allow you to fulfill those aspirations. Whether it’s a series of professors who are the leaders in the field or access to some of the best research facilities, the goal of this prompt is to show why you think a Michigan education will best equip you to meet your goals.
- For the first prompt, the goal is to craft an essay that shows personality and thoughtfulness about your relationship in a broader community. This can be a personal essay that includes strong themes of social justice and community advocacy, or it can be a more creative take that highlights an uncommon talent or ability.
- For the second prompt, it is important to show that you have done your homework on the specific undergraduate school that you’re applying to and give the reader a clear vision of what you would look like as a Michigan student.
The University of Michigan boasts a vast array of resources and tools that truly add to the value of an education there. For a chance to become a proud Wolverine, focus on writing an essay that will differentiate yourself and shows a true desire for wanting to be a student there.
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