As one of the oldest public universities in the United States, the University of Michigan has a wonderful history. Founded in 1817, the school was originally located in Detroit and called the Catholepistemiad.
When the small town of Ann Arbor was just 13 years old (in 1837), the university moved there. The town had 2,000 residents, a bank, a jail, two mills, and four churches. By 1866, the University of Michigan was the largest college in the country, with 1,205 students.
Today, more than 51,000 Wolverines study on the University of Michigan’s campus, and the school continuously ranks among the top national universities in the U.S.
The university comprises 19 different colleges and schools, and more than 5,500 courses are taught each term. Students can choose from over 200 programs and majors, and over 1,000 student organizations are also in action.
If you’ve got your heart set on joining the next class of Wolverines in Ann Arbor, you’ll need to graduate near the top of your high school class with a GPA as close to 4.0 as possible. To stand out among the sea of other hopeful applicants, you’ll need to show your readiness for college courses in more ways than one.
The most beneficial way to learn how to get accepted into Michigan is to become familiar with what the school seeks in potential students and how you stack up against other applicants.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Michigan application help and how to get into Michigan.
What Does the University of Michigan Look for in Applicants?
In order to understand what the U of M seeks in its students, it’s a good idea to take a look at the student profile of the members of the university’s most recent incoming class. Important facts to know include:
- The latest acceptance rates
- Average ACT and SAT test scores
- GPA and class rank of incoming freshmen
- Special instructions for specific areas of study
- Important dates and deadlines
There are a lot of factors you should know about, from the qualities that admissions officers consider most important to general tips for getting into Michigan.
The U-M admissions committee uses key criteria during its decision-making process, including:
- Your unweighted overall GPA
- The rigor and quality of your high school classes
- Your class rank, if it’s available
- Your specific interests, talents, and abilities
- Standardized test scores (when score reporting is required)
Other criteria that the university considers to a lesser extent include:
- First-generation status
- Teacher recommendations
- Application essays
- Personal qualities
- Work experience
- Volunteer experience
- Legacy status
- State residency
- Geographical residence
- Racial/ethnic status
By doing some research and getting to know the University of Michigan better, you’ll also gain an understanding of whether it will be a good fit for you and worth the time and effort to apply.
What Documents Do You Need to Complete Your Application?
The university has provided a checklist for undergraduate applicants to help them ensure they have everything needed to submit a complete application. Prior to the application deadline, you must make sure to submit the following:
- Official high school transcripts
- A completed Common Application
- SAT or ACT scores, if you want them considered
- One letter of recommendation from a teacher
- A non-refundable $75 application fee
- METm Duolingo, IELTS, or TOEFL scores for non-native English speakers
- School report
The school report must be submitted simultaneously with your official transcript. There are some schools that have their own requirements in addition to those of the university. These schools include:
- Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design
- Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
- School of Music, Theatre, & Dance
- Ross School of Business
The University of Michigan strongly recommends that all application materials and documents be submitted electronically. You can do this through an online document service like National Student Clearinghouse, SCOIR, or Parchment. You can also submit documents electronically via the application vendor.
It’s important that you do not submit any extra documents if they are not specifically requested. Doing so can negatively impact your application.
University of Michigan Admission Help: Important Dates and Deadlines
You must keep track of several different important deadlines and dates to ensure that you don’t miss your chance to apply to U-M:
- November 1 is the Early Action deadline
- December 1 is the deadline for the School of Music, Theatre, & Dance
- December 15 is the final recommended date to file for financial aid
- February 1 is the fall term application deadline
- March 31 is the final application deadline for financial aid
- May 1 is the enrollment deposit deadline for fall term students
All required materials and documents must be received by the university on or before the appropriate deadline. If you’re mailing any hard copy materials, they must be postmarked before the deadline date.
University of Michigan Application Help: What Is the U of M Acceptance Rate?
The university received 79,743 applications from students vying for a place in the incoming 2021–2022 freshman class (class of 2026). U of M accepted 16,071 of them, giving the university an acceptance rate of just over 20%. Of those accepted applicants, 7,290 ended up enrolling.
While the official acceptance rate for the class of 2026 hasn’t been released yet, more than 84,000 applications were received. Experts estimate that the acceptance rate was around 19%.
As you can see, the competition is fierce. If you’re researching how to get into Michigan, know that you must be at the top of your game.
What GPA and Standardized Test Scores Do You Need to Get into the University of Michigan?
The rigor of your curriculum is an important consideration for admission; the admission committee favors a student taking AP and IB courses when available.
The University of Michigan does not use a weighted GPA scale; however, it does take into consideration the number of demanding courses you have taken during high school.
The average GPA of incoming freshmen in the most recent class for the University of Michigan was 3.90 (the committee uses an unweighted GPA).
You can report either your academic weighted GPA on your Common Application or your cumulative, and the admissions committee will recalculate it during the review.
SAT and ACT Scores
The University of Michigan reports the following scores for students who submitted their standardized test scores for the 2021 admitted class:
- The middle 50th percentile range for the SAT was 1400–1540, meaning half of the students submitting SAT scores had results within this range
- The middle 50th percentile range for ACT test-takers was 32–35
The mean SAT score was 1435, and the mean ACT score was 33.
What Classes Should You Take in High School for U-M Admission?
You should aim to take five full-year courses during each of your four years in high school. Specific requirements and recommendations change depending on the student’s specific course of study and/or major. Following are the recommended courses the university has posted:
- A minimum of two laboratory science courses
- At least two rigorous writing courses
- Four years of English
- Three years of math
- Two years of the same foreign language
- Three years of history and/or social sciences
Again, variations on these recommendations are in place according to what you will be majoring in. For example, if you’ll be applying to the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, you should take four years of a foreign language.
Engineering students are recommended to have completed two units of social science, four units of math, and four units of science with at least one unit each of physics and chemistry.
Nursing students should complete three units of math, four of English, two of social science, and four units of science, one of which is chemistry.
University of Michigan Admission Help: Does U-M Consider Demonstrated Interest?
The University of Michigan is one college that does consider demonstrated interest; however, it’s not what you think.
The university does not give preference to the applicants who have taken virtual campus tours or connected the most on social media. Demonstrated interest is also not gauged in terms of how many calls or visits a student has completed.
Instead, it’s all about the demonstrated interest a student has shown in their field of study. So architecture students should be able to show a demonstrated interest in architecture; nursing students should have proof of interest in nursing, etc.
This demonstrated interest is best expressed through the teacher’s letter of recommendation as well as the student’s responses to the essay prompts.
What Do You Need to Know About the Application Essays?
The University of Michigan has school-specific essay prompts that all applicants must answer. An additional prompt is required for students applying to the School of Education.
The two required prompts for all applicants are:
- Describe a community to which you belong and your place in it
- Discuss the unique qualities that attract you to the specific school or program to which you are applying, and include how that curriculum supports your interests
For students applying to the School of Education, the prompt is:
- Where would you like to teach? What type of students do you want to teach? How did you develop this commitment?
The Common App Personal Essay
The Common Application includes seven essay prompts, and you will need to select one.
This essay must tell the admission committee something about yourself other than your test scores, grades, and course history. Answer the one prompt below that best helps you do that:
- Talk about something that is so interesting to you that you lose track of time.
- Discuss something that sparked a period of personal growth for you.
- Talk about a time when a failure or challenge affected you.
- Discuss a talent or interest you have that is so meaningful that your application would be incomplete without it.
- Discuss something someone did for you that made you thankful in a surprising way.
- Share an essay on any topic of your choice.
- Discuss a time when a belief of yours was challenged or questioned.
Your answer, no matter which prompt you choose, cannot be shorter than 250 words or longer than 650.
What Kinds of Extracurricular Activities Should You Join to Get into the University of Michigan?
Since U-M takes a holistic approach to admissions, the activities you participate in and your leadership roles are extremely important. Your activities should speak about what you’ve done beyond your studies.
The admissions committee wants to see what you’ve done to inspire your peers, how you’ve impacted your community, and what you do with the opportunities for volunteerism you’re given.
The university seeks students who will contribute to the cultural and academic diversity of the campus. The students who do well at U-M are those who are intellectually curious and open to new experiences and ideas. Your activities should let the admissions committee know how well you will do in a dynamic and spirited environment.
How U-M Rates Applicants
Reviewers use five criteria to rate every applicant:
- Awards, involvement, honors, service, and leadership
- Teacher and counselor letters of recommendation
- High school academic performance
- Educational environment
The application reader will consider different ratings and choose which one best describes the applicant. These ratings are:
- Outstanding: The applicant’s materials are all exceptionally superior
- Excellent: The materials are strong but not exceptional
- Good: There are some competitive attributes but a weaker academic record
- Fair/Average: Materials are okay, but there are significant concerns about overall application strength
- Below average/poor: There are serious deficiencies in most criteria when compared to other applicants
Once a holistic review of an application is done, a final admission decision is made based on the ratings and comments. You can check your application status within three to five days of submission after you receive an email with your school ID and login credentials.
Get started early learning how to get into Michigan, and you’ll have the best chance of joining thousands of other top applicants to the school consistently ranked as one of the best universities in the world.