The University of Michigan supplement is one of the more comprehensive sets of essay questions out there; so if you’re applying to a wide swathe of schools, it’s an excellent place to start. The supplement asks you for a “why,” “community,” and “activity” essay — three assignments that are fairly common on applications at schools of all sizes and academic levels. Use this as an opportunity to think through the full package you want to present to admissions and highlight your diverse areas of interest.
This is a pretty standard community essay and admissions is giving you very specific instructions and launch points, both expected and unexpected, to draw from. You could be a part of an Italian Culture Club or a schnitzel appreciation association, either way, University of Michigan wants to hear about it. So try your best, despite the small space you are given, to answer all parts of this question. Describe the community and then detail how you contribute to that community. The point of this question is to show admissions you will add value and diversity to campus, and that you are a proactive and involved student who will help to build their community.
Here is your “why” essay, and it’s a nice, hefty one at 500 words. Your answer should be mostly focused on the academic offerings: what you want to study, what subjects interest you, and how you will use the resources at your disposal to pursue your professional goals. This is where you prove to University of Michigan that they are a good fit for you and vice versa, and getting this essay right requires a lot of research. You’re going to want to dig deep into the programs that you’re interested in: find classes, professors, even extracurricular activities related to your desired major that interest you. The more specific you can get, the better. Show admissions that you know what differentiates U-M from other colleges and, in turn, you’ll distinguish yourself from other applicants. Finally, don’t forget to connect your own past experiences and accomplishments to the resources you choose to highlight. Paint the picture of where you’ll be found on campus (whether that be the bio lab, math building, or theatre) and what you hope to accomplish.
This is also a “why” essay, but the supporting information that connects you to the school will be drawn from your current undergraduate experience. Be specific about why you think Michigan is a better fit for you then your current stomping grounds. Of course, be careful not to smack talk the institution in which you’ve spent the last year or two years. Be considerate, while still being specific about your desire to change environments and asserting your Michigan-aligned goals for the future.
In this essay prompt, admissions wants to know about your ride or die. What is your all-time favorite activity? The one that gets you through finals week and heartbreak and sock-soaking rain? Talk about this activity or experience in a way that lets University of Michigan know that you’re a passionate and motivated person. Your essay should also say something about your priorities and outlook on the world. Do your weekly church bake sales give you the opportunity to get creative in the kitchen after a long week of crunching numbers? Do you take care of your neighbor’s kids in the afternoons to practice the skills you hope to use as an elementary teacher later in life? Use your favorite activity to tell admissions something new about yourself.