University of Michigan Panel
Want to learn more about what it takes to apply to and attend University of Michigan? Join recent alum Megan Taylor as she discusses her admissions and undergraduate experiences. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2022-09-26 – University of Michigan Panel
Hi everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on the University of Michigan Panel. I’m McKenzie and I will be your moderator tonight. Um, but to orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start up with the presentation, then answer your questions on a live Q&A on the side bar.
You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q&A tab. Now let’s meet our panelists. Yep. All right. Hi everyone. Um, my name is Megan Taylor and I’m a Senior Advisor here at CollegeAdvisor.com. And I, you know, love working with students. I am a two time alum of the University of Michigan.
So I first went for my own undergraduate experience where I studied something called PPE, that’s philosophy of politics and economics. And then I also went on to get my master’s degree from our school of education in higher ed. Uh, with the focus on student access and success. Um, I still do work at the university.
I’m in our college of engineering and just super excited to be here tonight. Hi, I’m Bess Riek. I am also an alum of the University of Michigan. Um, I got my bachelor’s degree there in psychology and history with a minor in French. Um, and I am a school counselor. I still work in a high school, um, in the suburban Detroit area private school where, um, I’ve been working with high school students for over 15 years now.
So look forward to sharing info with you. Great. And real quick, we’re just gonna do a quick poll. So what grade are you currently in? Eighth, ninth, 10th, 11th, 12th or other. And other can be if you’re a transfer student or taking a gap year, and if you’re a parent on call, you can select the year that your student is going into.
And while we wait for that, uh, can y’all tell us what was your favorite tradition or experience that you. Mm. That’s such a good question cuz there’s so many. Um, so one of my favorites, and I’m sorry I’m stealing one of yours Bess is, um, in the center of our campus, we have a large metal block m that’s laid into the ground.
And there is this story or this myth that if you step on the block m you would fail your first exam or your first written exam called the Blue Book. Um, so it’s kind of scary, right? And you know, whether you believe the myth or not, it is sort of a tradition that no student steps on the m So if you sit there and watch, like students will step around it or kind of skip over it.
Um, and it’s just kind of this cute, I think respect of showing kind of homage to the block. Um, and then it can also be kind of right of passage after you pass your first exam. A lot of students will run up and like, jump on it or tap it, um, just kind of as like a celebratory moment of, you know, succeeding in your first exam on campus.
Uh, so I have fond memories of both running and jumping on it after my first exam when I was a first year student. Um, and also just kind of like that cool historic moment of, you know, thousands and thousands of students have come before you at Michigan and have this respect for the block m and we’ll step around it, um, and not on it.
So that is one of my favorite little traditions that we do. , That’s a big one. Yes. So mine maybe is a little bit more personal. So I always loved homecoming weekend when I was in school and still now, um, I am the daughter of two alumni as well, and my dad was in the marching band. So every year for homecoming, he still comes back and plays this trumpet in the band.
So it’s really cool to grow, see him and have that connection to so many alums, including my own family, um, from years and years. Aw. So looking like we have 4% ninth graders, uh, 12% 10th graders, 37% 11th graders, 41% 12th graders making up the majority, and 6% other. And Megan, you can control the slides. So, um, at this point Beth and I are both gonna share a little bit about our own personal journeys through the university.
I also realized I should have shared in my introduction, um, after grad school, I did work at the University of Michigan in our admissions office for two years. So have a lot of, you know, on the ground experience to share with you of working in the admissions office. My slides today will focus more so on my experiences as a student, but then, you know, I will share some helpful tips and info with you when we get into the Q&A as well.
So, in terms of, you know, what was my college application process like, a few things I’m remembering, you know, is. 10, 11 years ago for me now. So things have changed a bit, but I remember it being overwhelming, kind of confusing. Um, but it was exciting, right? There’s so many possibilities and pathways that you can go down.
Um, I did also remember feeling a bit kind of solo or a bit kind of on my own. So I am kind of identify as a quasi first-gen student. Um, because I was living with my mother and my mom didn’t go to college. It was kind of a whole new world for us, kind of navigating scholarships, financial aid, all of that.
Um, so I did at times feel a little bit alone and I guess if anyone on the call is feeling that way, I just want you to know like there is tons of help and resources out there for. You know, first of all, like you found this webinar, like you are doing it right? You’re navigating and finding resources for support.
Um, of course, CollegeAdvisor could be an amazing source of support as well. Um, but for my own personal experience, that is it something that I do remember, um, being, you know, a big factor is it’s just a lot of meanness is a lot to learn. And so, you know, if you’re feeling confused, that’s normal. Um, try to embrace that.
Like you don’t have to know all the answers or have it figured out. But definitely seek out resources, um, from, you know, opportunities like this or even just the individual colleges. Like if you go to the University of Michigan’s admissions website, they. Tons and tons of virtual events and information sessions that you can get a ton of good info at.
So almost like don’t do it like how I did it. Like don’t go through it alone cuz there is help for you. Um, I was also kind of a unique position and that I was a QuestBridge match finalized. So QuestBridge is a unique program that helps pair students with certain colleges that may be a good fit for them who do have financial need.
Um, so if anyone out there again is doing QuestBridge, you’ll know it is a very, um, in depth and thorough process, but an amazing program. So that was just something that kind of influenced my own journey through. But I always knew I was interested in Michigan. I grew up in a small town three, four hours north of Ann Arbor.
So Michigan was kind of my dream in that sense. Like it was, you know, the big school, um, down state that was really drawing me in. It was everything I. Um, wanted out of a college. And so all through high school I always felt like Michigan was my dream. Ultimately, um, it was very focused for me on scholarships and financial aid.
Uh, so once I was accepted to Michigan through early action, um, once I received my financial aid package and scholarship package, I was able to see. Michigan was the best fit for me, and it was the best place for me. Uh, so I, you know, pretty quickly after accepted my, uh, admissions to Michigan and I’m super, super happy that I did.
Uh, so in terms of, was I considering any other schools at the time or why I chose Michigan? Um, as I just kind of shared, like I grew up in a really small town. Uh, not a lot of people from my high school were going to college or were going to big colleges, so I was pretty focused on the state of Michigan.
I did apply to some other schools, um, like Notre Dame and Stanford that I was really excited. And I was deferred from those schools. So what that means is they were still evaluating my application. They weren’t ready yet to make a final decision, but I didn’t know what that meant. And I withdrew my application from those schools because I thought that was the decision.
Uh, so again, a big mistake on my part. I, I never waited for the final decision, right? So kind of, you know, learn from my mistakes in. You know, seek help, Reach out to the admissions office, your high school guidance counselor, people who are here to help you navigate this process. Uh, but again, you know, Michigan really was my dream college.
It offered excellent academics for me. I was super undecided when I was in high school. I had like, quite literally no idea. What I was interested in studying. And so for me, I found a lot of comfort in knowing that no matter which path I chose, which major or career Michigan would have a solid program for me, right?
There would rarely be a situation in which I would need to transfer or they couldn’t help me get what I needed to accomplish my goals. And so I loved the academic piece. It was really gonna challenge me to learn and grow and be my best self in the classroom. Um, I was also a huge fan of Michigan Athletics.
I loved kind of the big 10 atmosphere. Um, I still remember my very first Michigan football game and just kind of feeling like. I can’t believe I’m a part of this, right? Just kind of this larger than life feeling that you get to be a part of, you know, centuries of tradition and excellence and alumni, like just this big community that you get to be a part of.
Uh, so academics, athletics, that student life, right? There’s so much going on on campus and I loved that. Um, so for me, you know, just visiting, I could immediately feel the vibrant kind of dynamic of campus and how alive it felt. Um, and that really drew me in. And the last piece is that it did offer me really incredible financial aid and scholarships.
Uh, so as an in-state student, you know, the value just could not be beaten. It was such an amazing, you know, education at a price that my family and I could afford. So all of those factors kind of came together to make it the best, perfect fit for me. Um, and as a student, you know, it really was everything that I needed and hoped for in a college.
So, when I first came to college, Again, as I shared, I was super, super undecided. Uh, when I first met with my advisor at orientation, I still remember telling them like, Hey, I liked AP go in high school. And that was really all I was like working off of. Like, I, I didn’t have a big sense of what direction I was headed in, but I met so many people along the way that helped kind of nudge me in the right direction.
Um, and it, it’s okay if it takes you time to figure it out. I didn’t find my major until towards the end of my sophomore year of college, and I was still perfectly on track. I still graduated on time in four years. Right. So just knowing that you have time to figure it, Um, ultimately I found the PPE program, which is a really unique program.
It’s not offered at many colleges in the us. It’s actually very popular in Europe. Um, but this program, philosophy, politics, and economics, it’s all about teaching students how to look at a problem from multiple perspectives. So can you consider, you know, the moral side of the question? Can you consider like the economic or financial side of the question?
What about the broader, you know, context of our country’s politics? So that was, you know, it really challenged me to be a strong, critical thinker. Um, but also what I loved most about it. I was really able to tailor my degree to my interests. So as I got older, I became increasingly interested in education.
I was realizing that’s where I saw my life going. I wanted to work, um, you know, in education in a high school or a college setting, supporting students. So my junior and senior year, I was actually able to tailor my class requirements to be more aligned with education, um, questions and classes. And so I loved that flexibility.
But ultimately, you know, the focus on problem solving, reading and writing was such a good fit for me. So some of the bullet points I put on here was like, it used my strengths. Like those were things that I naturally enjoy doing and that I, you know, am inclined to. So this major fit me in that sense. I was also naturally drawn to it.
Like I was just taking classes in these areas because I liked them. And then one day my advisor was like, Hey, like you’re halfway to this minor. Like, do you wanna just do the minor? And I was like, Oh yes. Like that’s a great idea. So, you know, pay attention to where you’re naturally being drawn, where your strengths are.
Um, and the last thing I’ll say before I hand it off is there were really, really important mentors in this program that just built me up. I met the PPE program, faculty advisors, that’s like the professor who leads the program. I met him at a major minor fair. He said, Hey, you know, come in for an advising appointment.
From the minute I met him, he encouraged me. He really uplifted me. He helped me understand why the major was a good fit for me. Um, and he became such an important mentor throughout my college years and even after, still someone that I deeply respect and keep in touch with. So, you know, look for places that you find mentors and people who are gonna care about you and build you up.
So that is kind of my story of how I got to Michigan, what my experience was like there. I’m sure we’ll share a lot more during the Q&A, um, but I will hand it off to, um, Mackenzie, looks like for another poll. And then, um, you know, happy to share more of my experiences once we move into the Q&A portion.
Yes. So real quick, um, where are you in the application process? Haven’t started. I’m researching schools. I’m working on my essays. I’m getting my application materials together. Or if you’re really lucky, I’m almost done. And while we wait for that, uh, what is something you wish you knew about you missed before applying?
Oh my gosh, it’s hard.
Um, I think I’ll say, I was gonna get, I’ll get into this a little bit more, but I do kind of wish I had a little bit more focus maybe when I was there. I actually ended up doing a few more classes than I probably needed to because they were super interesting. So, you know, it’s nice that there’s so many options, but also I, I think I, I wish I would’ve, uh, jumped on a little bit earlier and met with my advisor and got a little bit, uh, more into the planning part of that
I think for me, before applying, just knowing that, you know, Michigan may have, you know, certain reputations or certain rankings or certain this or that, but, . Truly, truly the beauty of Michigan is it can be whatever you need and want it to be. So, you know, you love athletics, great. You can be at every single football and basketball game, you can go to all of ’em, right?
Athletics aren’t your thing. That’s fine. There’s many, many, many other things to do, many other ways to make friends. And I think, you know, I had a sense more so my parents had a sense, um, that I would, you know, change to be like the certain students who they thought would go to Michigan, right? So my parents thought, Oh, Michigan is really, really competitive.
Like, you’re not gonna find people there that are collaborative or nice to you, right? Not the case. I met plenty of nice people, , who helped me study. Um, my faith is also really important to me. And so, you know, my parents were convinced like, Oh, that’s a really big, you know, secular school. Like, you’re not gonna find anybody else whose faith matters to them.
You’re not gonna find a church. Not the case. I made plenty of friends who, you know, whose faith also mattered to them, and I found a great church to go to. So just knowing like whatever those may be, um, doubts that you hear like, Oh, Michigan’s competitive, Michigan’s this, Michigan’s that you really can find your niche and your people no matter what it is that you’re looking for.
And that’s the beauty of a big school because there’s so many resources that you can kind of narrow in and really find like, this is my home base and this is my resources and things that I really, you know, love about Michigan. So I guess just knowing that freedom that you can really make it what you want it to be.
Mm-hmm. , So it’s looking like we have 11% have started, 38% are researching schools, which is the majority. 24% are working on their essays. 17% are getting their application materials together and 11% the lucky people are almost. and best you can control the sign. That is pretty good. All right. Um, okay. So I’m not gonna get into as much of me because I have been out of school even longer, um, about 20 years now.
Um, but it was long, long ago, back when paper application applications existed. Um, and I think, um, you know, Megan talked about her experience being in a small town. I grew up, um, in suburban Detroit, but it was definitely more of a blue collar area, and I went to a big public high school. Um, but we had most of the students in our school either didn’t go to college or went to two year colleges.
So it was, it was a little bit different. Um, definitely different from the school where I am now. Um, and so when I applied, it was, uh, kind of surprising to some people that I applied to Michigan. Um, but like I said, it was in the family. Um, and that’s definitely, you know, something I always knew I wanted to follow my parents’ footsteps, um, and was lucky to be able to do so.
Yeah, right. I remember this. I took the ACT and SAT one time. I just can’t even That’s amazing. Um, so my students now, so like I said, I am a high school counselor and I work in a private school outside Detroit. Um, and a hundred percent of my students go to college. So I spend a lot of time talking about Michigan.
Um, being in the state of Michigan, it’s very common, um, for students. To stay in state because we have this great institution. Um, and you know, it’s just very different than, um, my experience and really when I even started as a counselor about 15 years ago, it’s hugely different. Um, every year is a big change, um, which is hard for you guys because it’s hard to know what to expect.
Um, it’s hard to be able to judge how realistic of an option is this for me. And you know, like, is it a good fit, Is it not? Like, where am I, what, what, what should I do? It is very confusing. Um, most of my students apply to like, you know, five to seven colleges. But you know, for our students who are applying to more highly selective schools, they’re probably gonna apply to more because you don’t really know, um, you don’t really know when we’re talking about, um, admit rates.
So there are tons of essays. So those of you. Who are like, done Bravo, because it is a lot of work getting together all of these, um, deadlines and figuring out all of the details and what you need to do. That’s something I’m working on, um, with my students at my school right now. Uh, and you know, just trying to put it all together and figure out timing and prioritizing.
Um, so I, you know, really enjoy helping students with that. Um, I think there, like Megan said, there’s a ton of people out there who are available to you and resources, so definitely, definitely need to reach out. Um, great thing that I really love for my students is that testing, standardized testing is less, much less of a thing that used to be even two or three years ago, which I think is a positive for a lot of our students.
So even my students, um, at the school where I work, we send about 25% of our, our class every year to Michigan. Um, and less than half of those students do submit, um, any sort of ACT or SAT score. I think that’s something that’s important to note because I think there’s a lot of, um, a lot of fear with that.
Um, because we’re all conditioned to think that we need to take the test a million times and spend all this time on it. But truly when, when schools say that they’re test flexible or test optional, um, my experience has been that most of them mean it. So I have definitely had that experience with Michigan, which is a great thing for students.
So, um, were you considering any other schools? Um, at the time, honestly, I only applied to Michigan and Michigan State. That was, you know, a pretty normal thing. Um, in our state. I definitely wanted to stay. To state, in state, I put, um, to stay in state for cost reasons. Um, because you know, like any public university, if you’re in a different state and you’re looking at your public, your public schools, I mean, it’s definitely worthwhile, you know, applying to those because the cost is definitely different, you know, so it, it’s something, it’s a big part of the discussion to have with your parents and, um, family to make sure that you’re making smart decisions about that as well.
Um, being closer to home was something that was important to me. That’s one of the first things I usually ask my students, um, is, you know, realistically how far away do you feel comfortable going? Because this whole process is about you having that fit, having that social fit, that academic fit. Yes. But really you need to feel comfortable at the school that you’re going to.
And so, you know, knowing where you’re at and what you feel comfortable with is huge. Um, and I’ll tell you, I moved to Chicago right after undergrad. Um, Just moved to Chicago cuz that’s a thing a lot of people in the Detroit area do. Um, and absolutely loved living in the city and knowing now love Michigan.
Wonderful experience. You know, it was the right decision for me, but I think. , a lot of schools could have been the right decision, to be honest with you. Um, so I really know after I moved to Chicago, I really would’ve loved Loyola Chicago. But looking back on myself and kind of like where I was at that point, I was a little more introverted of a person, um, leaving high school.
I was the oldest in my family. Um, and it freaked me out a little bit, um, to go too far away and to have two different of an experience than what I was used to. So it’s definitely something to consider. Um, you know, like you can kind of tell as you start to visit schools and start to research schools a little bit more like where your comfort level is with different types of environments.
So I talk to, you know, people a lot about that. Like, does the city appeal to you? Does it not? Do you know you want that big 10 atmosphere? That’s what I knew I wanted. Um, and I, you know, it was a great choice for me and a lot of my friends. Um, but yeah, I mean, it, it’s a big part of your life when you’re there and really it’s four years of your life.
So, All important things to talk about. Oh, I did mention on here too, Michigan State. We joke about that a lot. Really. If I was planning on going into education, which I was, Michigan State has an excellent education school, just putting it out there probably would’ve been better choice for that. But hey, that’s where I was at the time.
So things worked out the way they were supposed to. But um, definitely is important to kinda look at those majors and say, you know, okay, let’s be honest. It’s not just about the name, it’s also about what’s gonna be the best fit for my interest and my. Uh, so I majored in Psychology and History, and Megan kind of alluded to this too.
I kind of fell into history the same way. Um, where, so when I started I had a bunch of AP credit, which was great, except I just wanted to try everything. So I took tons of different classes. I originally thought I was gonna go into the School of Education at Michigan, you don’t go into the School of Ed, um, until af a little bit later on.
So it’s not something that you start and it’s not a directed me major. Um, so I had that in the back of my mind that I was planning to do that to teach French loved French. Um, and turned out I started taking classes. I really loved my intro site class, um, and lots of kept taking more psych classes. Um, and then same thing, a lot of my classes were.
What a lot of my students don’t always know when they get into college is a lot of your classes might be, might count for two different areas of credit, right? So like I had a lot of classes that counted for both psych and history. Um, I took a lot of women’s studies classes just out of interest. I had classes that counted for women’s studies in history, like my awesome history of witchcraft class, which was really cool.
Um, so I had a lot of those and I was really open to trying a lot of things. Um, and that served me well. And I think that’s a huge thing about a school, a large public university like Michigan, is that there are tons of options. So, Sometimes I think it can be better not to always dig yourself into a hole, have a little direction, but really like be open to trying some new classes because there are so many things that you can’t take in high school that open up to you when you get to college.
So most high schools don’t have, you know, sociology classes and anthropology classes. I loved those. Those were awesome parts and really helped me to be a better psychology and history student by taking a variety of classes. So ended up moving away from the French there. Um, really loved it. I think. Um, I studied abroad, studied abroad in Quebec, which is not too far from Michigan, but it was still a very Frenchy experience.
I will tell you, um, I studied for the summer and some of my credits didn’t end up transferring. I did a program with the Big 10. So there’s a variety of options when you get to study abroad, but definitely something to think about and explore, um, once you get there. But it was a nice option for me because the cost of going to France was a little bit more than my family, um, could help with.
So for me, great opportunity. Um, I studied there. It ended up being better as a minor for me, um, and really took my direction into some of these other classes. Um, I would like to mention like, I don’t believe this class still exists anymore, but, um, I was always interested in learning more about, um, feminism.
And so I took, uh, several women’s studies classes and then I had the opportunity as a senior. I actually took this class twice. Um, it was like a 400 level women’s studies class, um, where you were a group facilitator. You taught a 100 level women’s studies class, which was a really cool experience for an undergrad.
Um, it scared the heck outta me because like I said, I was a different person. You know, I was always drawn to teaching and interested in that. It’s hard, it’s scary. And I’ll tell you, most of the students in this class were athletes cuz it was a one night a week class. So I had all these big football players in my class and I’m teaching them about feminism.
It was the best growing experience for me that I have ever had. It really helped me to tie it all together, all of the things that I had been learning it fit into this class. And I was able to teach lead a group, which is something I do, um, as a counselor now. Um, and also teaching. And it just really tied everything together and that’s what helped me decide in the counseling field.
And I eventually went and got my master’s in counseling, um, and then specialized in school counseling. So, um, great opportunity and really the biggest thing was just being open to that, being open to a new experience, not being afraid. Um, and that same similar experience, the professor I had for that class was a huge influence as well.
Um, and you know, someone that I still communicate with today, um, as well, so, Awesome opportunities. Oh, that’s it. Hey, Yes. So that is the end of the presentation, part of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful. And remember that you can download the slide slides from the link in the handouts tab.
And this webinar is being recorded. If you would like to view it again later on our website at app.CollegeAdvisor.com/webinars. Uh, just to let everybody know, there are, um, different links and information, um, in the public chat and there is a lot, there are a lot of links, um, related to you ish. Um, we won’t be going over like specific stats or like GPA requirements or anything like that for you ish.
You can check that out on their website and if you’re interested in specific programs, you can also find that on their website so that you can, um, find those answers. But now going on to, um, to the Q&A, I’ll read their questions you submitted in the Q&A tab and, um, read. Sorry, and I’ll read them a aloud before our panelist gives you an answer.
Uh, if, Oh my gosh. Wow. Sorry. Uh, , if you’re, as a reminder, if your Q&A tab isn’t letting you submit questions, just make sure that you join the webinar through the custom link sent your email, and not from the lending webinar landing page, also known as the website, or else you won’t get all the feature at Big marker.
So just make sure you join through that custom link. Okay. Now I’m moving on to the Q&A. So for our first question, um, what qualities is ish looking for in future students? Hmm. That’s an excellent question. And I think that, you know, Michigan of course is looking for students who do have a commitment to their academics, right?
So they’re looking for students who do, you know, wanna strive for that academic excellence and, you know, love learning and wanna challenge themselves. So certainly academics is a huge piece, but you know, Michigan also has a really vibrant student life. So they want students that are gonna be active on campus, students that are going to join clubs, like join this community, right?
And kind of contribute to all that we have going on on campus. And so definitely, you know, looking for students who have that strong academic focus, but also students who are gonna contribute to campus. Um, so things like leadership, volunteering, but even just showing like I am invested in the communities I’m a part of.
Um, and I think this is such a big common like misconception when colleges are looking at. Your extracurriculars on your application. We’re not always just looking at quantity. Like we don’t want you to be involved in every single thing ever, but we wanna know that the things you’re involved in matter to you.
Right? So where are you spending your time, your energy, um, and are you kind of giving back to those communities that you’re a part of? So I guess in some, you know, academics, but also looking for that contribution. People who are gonna take initiative and be active in the community, whether that is leadership, volunteering, you know, whatever it may be.
I, I would like to echo the same thing. I was actually gonna say the first thing I thought of. Having students who applied to so many different schools. I think it was surprising to me, um, getting to know, or getting to see some of the decisions, um, that we had at Michigan, how important the leadership and involvement was in the application and how you talk about it.
Mm-hmm. , um, what you have to say. Have you actually had leadership roles? And that’s just not, you know, I, you know, I have president of this club. Well, what did you do with that? You know? So I talked to my students about that a lot. You don’t have to do, like you said, all the things, but like, do a few things and do what you love and get really involved, um, because that’s so much more meaningful.
So, yeah, it’s surprising. Like people think a lot that colleges even, they say holistic, but do they really mean they’re looking at everything. Yeah. I’ll tell you for Michigan, they are definitely looking at your activities and what you have accomplished and what you have done, what have you done for your school community, um, your local community, um, that was meaningful, meaningful to you and helped others as well.
Mm-hmm. , kind of going off of that, um, Megan, um, what is, um, what is the most important aspect of the application, um, for you, Miss admissions? Yeah, so, you know, definitely baseline, they are gonna be considering your academics, so they want to see that you are prepared to succeed in classes on campus. And so that’s what they’re really looking at when they’re looking at your academics.
Again, test scores are being considered less and less. Michigan is again, being test flexible this year, so it means you’re not required to submit those scores, but they’re looking at any and all metrics to assess. Your academic preparation. And I think one of the biggest things that maybe students don’t know about is they wanna see that you’ve challenged yourself with the classes you’re taking.
So, you know, if you take a really hard schedule sophomore, junior year, but then senior year you kind of go easy and you don’t take any hard classes that speaks volumes about your, you know, work ethic, about your willingness to challenge yourself. So Michigan really wants to see that you are, you know, prioritizing your academics.
And then I will say two things. Academics is just not a question, right? Michigan is gonna be looking at that no matter what, but beyond your academics, I honestly think the essays and specifically the Y Michigan essay is super important. Um, so one of the required essays for Michigan is essentially describe the qualities of why you’d like to come to this school.
And that one, they’re really genuinely looking at your effort level. It’s. Crazy how easy it is to tell if it’s a template or the student threw it together really quickly. It is easy to tell. So they wanna see that students put in the time and effort to say, Yes, Michigan is a good fit for me, um, and Michigan is where I wanna be.
So they’re really looking for students to have done that research over, why do you wanna go to Michigan? And when you’re thinking about that essay, you know, you don’t have to tell me more about Michigan, right? I know what Michigan has ranked and I know about our nursing program and this and this and that.
What I don’t know is why that program is a good fit for you. And so kind of weaving a story of why you and Michigan are a good match shows effort, it shows thought, and that will really stand out in the application as well. So I would say that’s one of the most important pieces. . Mm-hmm. . And then also there is a link in the public chat that is going over what admissions is looking for in a student.
They have it listed off in a, like a blog or a page on their website if you would like to check that out. And yes, Michigan is test flexible, which means you don’t need to submit scores, uh, the SAT or ACT, Um, you don’t have to. But then you can also submit IB or AP scores in instead of submitting ACT or SAT if you would like to.
Uh, and kind of going off of that best, what qualities do you see in students who you recommend or advise to go to ish? Um, I would say to me, and I’m the counselor person, so I think a lot about the social aspects. You know, obviously academics are important, but I think for students who go to Michigan, definitely people who are.
Openminded willing to put themselves out there, willing to step outside the box, get to know people, because really, I mean, that’s what Michigan’s looking for. You know, Like they want a broad array of people on their campus. They want people who are gonna contribute. And so I would say like, especially for my students, you know, I work at a, at a small school, and so my students are used to having a lot of one on one contact.
And really, to be honest, at a school like Michigan, you don’t have that. So you really need to think about where are you coming from and what is your expectation. You have a lot of resources out there, there’s a lot available, but you have to step out and find those and actually go, which for some people can be challenging.
You know? Like you need to know your. I think, I think that’s the biggest thing. Um, and if you know that, you know, you’re not gonna have any problem, like seeking out assistance if you need it, anything from academics to, um, going to the counseling center, you know, if, if you’re struggling because it’s, it’s real, you know, this is your life.
Um, and so you need to know what’s out there. You need to know that you’re the type of person who’s gonna go out, um, and find things. If you need resources, go to the writing center. If you’re having trouble, you know, in your intro English class mm-hmm. , um, because there’s nothing wrong with that. And if, if you have those skills, I think you’ll be very successful.
But if you’re more the type that’s gonna, you know, sit in your room and not be, you know, as open to meeting people, it’s gonna be more of a challenge. You might feel a little bit lonely. I heard recently that a lot more stu from some colleges, that a lot more students are opting for single, um, rooms, um, in the residence halls rather than doubles.
And I think that’s really interesting. I mean, I can understand like if you’re used to that, but also, you know, that’s a part of life is really getting to know another person and you know, like how it is living with someone other than your family. Um, and I think it helps you grow, right? Every opportunity that you have to step outside your comfort zone is gonna help you grow as a person.
So, mm-hmm. , um, definitely need to be open-minded and ready for some change and growth when you go to a big school like Michigan. Mm-hmm. , uh, kind of going on to the next question. Um, were both of y’all in-state applicants? Or Megan, were you an out of state? Yep. I was also an in-state applicant, so I think we both were.
Mm-hmm. Okay. So, um, since, uh, UMich is a public, um, school, uh, that means that they have in-state and out-of-state tuition and the in-state tuition is going to be cheaper, um, compared to the out-of-state. And UMich does tend to focus more on, um, their needs based financial aid on in-state residents. There’s more information on the links and then, but they do have merit scholarships for out-of-state residents, international students.
They specified that they have very limited resources, particularly for those on visas. Mm-hmm. . Um, so that is something to consider, but kind of going offer that, at least for in-state residents, does you mesh offer scholarships. Good financial aid isn’t an affordable. Yeah, that’s an excellent question and and thank you for prefacing that.
So unfortunately, it is a true reality that the financing can look very different for in-state versus out-of-state students at Michigan. So about 50% of our students are from the state of Michigan, and the other 50 are from. You know, every state, every country all over the place. Um, so it is wonderful that we do have a wide mix, but it is true that the scholarships in financial aid can look quite different.
So I’ll speak first to the in-state students. So important thing to know is Michigan is a hundred percent committed to meeting, um, need for in-state students. So this means that when you submit your FAFSA, which is a federal application for free student aid, um, if you dunno what that is yet, talk with your school counselor.
Um, but basically that will come back with around a number of what would estimate your family should be able to pay for college. Right? Emphasis on should is not always completely accurate, but Michigan is committed to filling the rest of that. So let’s say this is the cost. This is your FAFSA. Michigan will fill this gap for all in-state students, um, in a variety of ways, whether it be grants, scholarships, so.
For in-state students, it can definitely be a very affordable option. We also have the Go Blue guarantee, which is a commitment to, um, free tuition for students whose family make less than the average income in the state. So the average income in the state of Michigan is $65,000 per household. If your family makes less than that, you will receive free tuition.
So, you know, there’s caveats to that. Definitely speak to the financial aid office if you have questions. Um, but never, ever let finances stop you from applying to Michigan because my parents were convinced that Michigan would be the most expensive place. Um, and it was actually the cheapest place for me that I was accepted to.
They offered me the most scholarships that allowed Michigan to be the most affordable place for me. For out-of-state students, again, there are definitely scholarships and financial aid available, so don’t let it stop you from applying. Don’t let it stop you from applying to any college. Apply anywhere you want and wait and see what that financial aid package is because you may be surprised, um, because they do, you know, they really do their best to make it accessible.
Um, and I definitely actually on top of that too, and I don’t know how many people know about it, but, um, every college has a net price calculator on their website where you can get an estimate of what the cost is going to be. Um, some are better than others, um, but it is something that every college has.
So they’ll ask, um, information about your family, finances and also a little bit about, you know, your academics and your background to give you an idea of possibly, you know, at any school what merit, scholarship money you might, um, be eligible for and other types of information. So as you’re looking, especially some of the younger students, like, keep an eye out for that because that can help you, um, get a better idea as.
Yes. Uh, going on to the next question. So, U Michigan is located in Ann Arbor, which I believe is a suburb , uh, 45 minutes outside of Detroit, Michigan, where my dad’s from, uh, . And so, uh, would you, uh, what is the area, like how big is the campus and is it safe in that area? Great question. Best, do you wanna go first?
Yeah, sure. I’ll go for it. So, yeah, I’ve been going to Ann Arbor for my whole life. Um, it’s a great town. It’s, um, I believe it’s around 120,000 people, um, in the town. I know for me, that’s kind of hard to figure out. So depending on how you are, um, it’s um, mostly the college in the town. There are a ton of great restaurants, great shops, like very to me, very safe.
Very safe. Um, Yeah, especially as someone who’s lived in a big city, um, and, and the suburbs all over the place, I think, I think it’s a very safe option. It’s very walkable. Um, when you’re close to campus, there’s tons That’s right, that is right around there. Easy to get to, um, and good public transportation.
I do know they also have, um, shuttles back and forth, um, to the airport, which is a little bit closer to Detroit, but it’s in between Ann Arbor and Detroit as well. So if you are coming from outta state, they try to make that as easy as possible, um, for students. But Ann Arbor’s a great town. Like I live about 35 minutes away from there now, and I go there often.
Um, take my kids there. Um, I. Like any college campus, big college campus, sometimes if you look at the crime rates or your parents do, because we all know they like to look at those things, um, it’s gonna look different. You know, like, because you have that many people who are in, you know, especially when, you know, maybe not as much in the summer, but when all of the students are there, there’s more people.
And so sometimes there’s things that happen and, um, but it’s really, in my experience of living in a lot of different places, I, I would say it’s, it’s very safe and there’s tons to do. Um, so you definitely will not be bored. Yeah. Yeah. I totally agree. I think it’s, it’s a wonderful place to live. I mean, I loved it so much.
I never left. I graduated college and I still live here. Um, so, you know, I, I truly love it here. It’s, when I was younger, I thought of it as a city, cuz I grew up in a tiny town up north. So when I first came down, it was a really big place for me. But it really is more of a big town type of atmosphere. Um, there’s amazing restaurants.
There’s over 300 restaurants in the city of Ann Arbor, so you know, you will never run out of places to eat or things to do. Um, and that’s what I loved about it. It was big enough that there was always something fun going on. There’s always a new restaurant to try. Um, but you know, it’s not too overwhelming.
And for me, that was the perfect size in terms of what our campus is like. What I love about our campus is it’s really actually quite small compared to other campuses of our. Um, number of students. So for example, if you do look at like Michigan State University, um, similar size, their physical campus is much, much larger than ours.
And so they have, you know, a little bit more of an expansive kind of feel versus, um, Ann Arbor, the campus is very intertwined with downtown. Sometimes you’re like, Oh, am I downtown or am I on campus? Like, it’s a very fun atmosphere. You can walk across the majority of our central campus in about 10 minutes.
Um, so I always loved that. I always felt like as a student, I would’ve never believed unless you told me that there was 40,000 students on campus because I felt like I was constantly running into people I know, like walking across the day like, Oh, there’s my friend that’s my friend from Spanish class.
Like, it felt very familiar cuz it’s not that big of a physical area, like you’re bound to just run into people, you know? And so I loved that as well, just kind of the close knit walkability of the. . Mm-hmm. . Um, for those of the room who are already working with us, we know how overwhelming the admissions process can be for parents and students alike, especially when looking at these schools and trying to figure out what’s the best financial option.
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Now back to the Q&A. So going back to y’all’s undergrad experience, would you say Ish is a cutthroat, um, school? Um, how would you describe the vibe of the school and the community?
I guess I’ll start. Um, I never felt that, and I think Megan mentioned that, that her parents might have thought it was gonna be that way. Um, I never felt that. I think some of that feeling is gonna come from maybe what major you choose. So knowing like a lot of my students, um, now who go to Michigan, I have a ton of students who are interested in, um, being doctors one day and so are studying some of the hard sciences.
Um, and I usually, I guess when I have conversations with them, I’m like, Well, I mean, science is science, right? Like, so it’s gonna be challenging anywhere. Yeah. Math is math, so math is gonna be challenging anywhere. So, um, I, I really don’t think it is any more difficult than any other school. I think sometimes people equate.
um, the selectivity of the school, how hard it is to get in with it being more difficult. And I don’t really think that’s the case. Um, I think, yeah, you definitely are not gonna see that at a school like Michigan because hey, there’s so many people too. You know, you have a wide variety of people experiencing things and I never once felt, um, like it was a competitive atmosphere.
Yeah, I would totally agree. I don’t think Michigan is really competitive at all in that sense. There it is true. Right. Kind of separating out like challenging is not the same thing as competitive or cutthroat. Um, certainly classes are hard and you know, I, I just was talking with some students earlier tonight and that’s kind of a reality, right?
I mean, applying for med school anywhere is hard, like Bess was saying. But, you know, knowing that we are going to challenge you, we want you to grow, we want you to learn these skills, and there is a high bar academically of what you’ll be learning, but there is support there. So the class is challenging, but there is so, so much support on campus.
Free resources, free tutoring, math sessions, study groups, all this stuff. And you just have to take advantage of those. You have to lean in and use those to help you. And that’s gonna feel different than high school. I know, cuz in high school you probably may not need help, you may not need a tutor or to ask for extra questions from the teacher.
So when you get to college, you really need to flip that script and go get help. If your classes is, stuff is hard because they’re going to be hard and they’re meant to be hard. Um, but their support there is not competitive. I think it’s very, very collaborative and, you know, we want our students to succeed.
We want our students to be happy. So I think, you know, Michigan definitely has a very kind of, we’re in this together type of atmosphere and, you know, as a student, I never experienced other students being competitive towards me or exclusionary towards me. Um, and as a staff member, I see it, like I see the support that’s there, um, but sometimes you have to step out and use that support.
So that’s, that’s how I would answer that one. Um, kind of going off of that, uh, what academic and extracurricular, uh, and occupational opportunities are available to students that you miss. Also students interested in finding out about research opportunities and just to kind of. Add on a bit. , can y’all elaborate a little bit on y’all’s majors also, it had a lot of commas in them, so I’m wondering more about how that came to be.
Mm-hmm. . So I guess from the major standpoint, um, ppe, philosophy, politics, and economics. So it wasn’t three majors, it just kind of a little bit from each of the departments. It’s very liberal arts. And so, and what I mean by the liberal arts, right, is liberal arts are training you how to think, how to read critically, how to write.
Um, that’s really gonna be a solid foundation no matter what career you go into, right? So obviously I’m not like a professional philosopher. Now, I didn’t go into economics. I. As an advisor in education, but those skills really prepared me to, you know, think about various perspectives, to be a deep and critical thinker to solve problems.
So those skills have been really important in my career. Um, and also really led me to grad school where I was able to get some of that more specialized knowledge for my career. Um, In terms of what is there to do on campus, it is hard to answer that in one question. Um, there’s over 1600 student organizations on campus.
There’s athletics, the arts, there’s theater, dance groups, like truly anything you could ever wish to be a part of is here. Um, so just, you know, it’s a matter of stepping out and enjoying it and getting connected to those groups. Research is a huge thing on campus as well. So Michigan is what we call an R one institution, Research One institution.
Um, and that’s basically just a, um, a category we get assigned based on the number of funds that we receive each year to go towards research. So what that means to be a research university is most of our professors, they. and they’re also engaging in research. Um, and research is really just a fancy word for like learning new stuff.
Um, asking questions, learning new things. So what’s really cool about that is the people teaching you are really on the forefront of their field and are really cutting edge in their field. Remember this one time I was in one of my political science classes, Actually I think it was more than once. I feel like it was multiple times.
And my professor was like, Oh, you know, class is canceled next week cuz I’m gonna be testifying at Congress. And you’re like, what? Like these are truly, truly national and world renowned experts in these topics. So that’s super cool. Um, and Michigan loves it when students get to take part in that research.
So there’s a ton of opportunities for you to be a part of that research, um, which can be a really fun way to like learn outside of the classroom. Sometimes you can get paid for it as a part-time job, sometimes you can get credit for it. So it’s definitely available. It’s a huge, you know, um, asset. You don’t have to do it by any means, but it’s certainly a great opportunity we have for our students.
So I hope I hit all of the buckets and that’s, I’ll let you add on anything there too. That was a lot. I was gonna say , I know several people, um, who did some research too with, um, Europe, which is like the undergraduate research opportunity program. Am I right? Yeah. Okay, good. So that’s, that’s a really great program you can get involved with, um, right off the bat, which, and you know, it’s so true.
You really need to look at the, if that’s something that’s important to you, then you need to get on it when you get on campus and sign up and get going. Um, I was able to do, um, some research as an undergrad with psychology. Um, it’s pretty interesting when you do psych, part of your classes is being a research subject, so it’s pretty interesting.
Um, that’s actually required for a lot of the bigger psychology. Classes, um, where you go in and you participate, um, as, as a subject. And then I was able to work with some of those studies, um, as I moved on in my program too. So super interesting. And it’s not just, um, you know, like people think in the sciences, it’s really across all, all different majors.
You have the opportunity to do that. Um, I also, um, had a good friend who was a communications major and she did some work, um, related, you know, some research related to that. Um, and so tons of different opportunities, um, some other things. I mean, there’s just a lot. Like we were talking a little bit earlier about the additional essay, like the why Michigan essay.
This is one of those things that when you’re researching the school and really looking like to find those cool niche programs, and really, I tell my students like, dig into the website and get lost. I know you are good at finding things online because you go in that rabbit hole and you tell me that you do.
So you can do that on the website, get on there and look for things. Um, mm-hmm. , I mean, that’s kind of how I found out. I worked with, um, a reading program where I went to a local school in Iil and I, um, worked with underprivileged kids to, you know, teach them reading skills when I was an undergrad. Um, Among others.
Like there’s tons of just interesting programs like that. Um, with my students now I have a lot of students who participate, participate in Greek life. They know they wanna do that, so that’s definitely, you know, if it’s something you’re into big part of campus in addition to professional, um, for fraternities, which are huge and can give you a lot of networking opportunities.
Um, my sister was an engineer at Michigan and involved in the, the chem frat, which is one that I didn’t even know about when I was in school. But like, there’s a lot like that. Um, a former student just told me she was rushing the computer science frat or the tech threat, you know, this week. It’s interesting, right?
So like, even if that’s not your vibe, like going into, you know, the more traditional Greek life, like there’s tons of opportunities, you know, that will help you meet new people, um, and also help you in your career and help you figure out what classes you wanna take and, um, help you know when there’s a job fair coming up.
Um, And, you know, different opportunities for internships over the summer. So it’s not only that there’s those offices on campus you can go to, but making connections with older students too through some of these organizations can really make a difference in your experience. Yes, and I added some links in the chat, uh, for current high school students.
They have different, um, summer programs and opportunities if you’re interested in those. Also regarding the chat, um, the information is not saved after the webinar, so you will have to like copy and paste um, whatever information you wanted to keep. Uh, but going on cuz we are coming to a close, can y’all talk about how well did you miss, prepare you for your career and then just give any closing statements or advice to students.
Yeah, I think, you know, I’ve talked a little bit already about how Michigan gave me really strong skills and, you know, reading, processing information. Communicating all of that, reading, writing. But beyond that, I think, you know, something best was saying earlier about like, as a student, you really have to take responsibility for your experiences and advocate for yourself.
And, you know, through that I became such a strong self advocate and a strong leader in my own kind of next steps and developed just a really nice confidence that I did not have going into college that I think really supported me, um, in the time after college that I had this foundation. And I think the biggest thing too was like, it taught me how to meet people and how to build relationships with people.
I met so many really, really strong mentors who. Led me to the path I’m on now and who saw something on me and saw that it would be a good fit in certain types of roles and helped me to find the right fit for me. Um, so yes, yes, the classes helped. Yes. You know, I learned good things, the content, the reading, the writing, all of that.
But I think ultimately, like the way that I learned to be, like the way that I learned to manage my assignments, my calendar, I managed my time, right? All of that was critical to preparing me to work a full-time job and do the career process. Um, and then just the, the skills I have with networking, building relationships, um, I think are some of the most important strengths I have today.
And I know those really came because I had to do that in college. So much. I, I agree on the confidence aspect. Like I said, it was more introverted going into college and I think like, Forcing myself to take advantage, you know, really be responsible for it and say, you know, yes, I could hang out with my, my couple friends from high school that I know, or I can step out of the box and meet some new people and introduce myself to someone in my class.
Made a huge difference that in addition to being a person who grew up in a very white, suburban area, I think being exposed to people from so many different backgrounds and really putting myself out there and learning those skills of empathy and really understanding, I mean, through your classes you learn about life.
Why is the world the way it is? You know, from sociological standpoint and from psychological standpoint, like, why are things this way? And it really made me a better person, um, in, in studying the things that I did. So definitely led me right into counseling, doing the psychology and understanding people.
But, um, More so than that. I think that I’m a better, I don’t know, just citizen even, you know, really, you know, like being someone who’s open minded and like, you know, now I can teach my kids that, which is great. And my students. Yay. . Yeah. Yes. So that is the end of our webinar. Thank you all for attending and thank you to our wonderful panelists for all this great information about you and the admissions process.
Here’s the rest of our September and our upcoming October series, um, where we’ll have different webinars on various colleges, as well as different aspects of the application process, which you can check out to help, um, you along through the admissions process. And you can check out our, um, previous webinars on our website at app.CollegeAdvisor.com, where you can find, um, webinars more related to sports or other schools or different topics that you may be interested in, uh, if it was not touched upon in tonight’s webinar.
So thank you everyone for coming out tonight and goodnight.