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How to write a successful University of Michigan supplemental essay

by Will Geiger, on Oct 14, 2019 9:00:00 AM

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The University of Michigan, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is the flagship public university in the state of Michigan and has over 46,000 students. Though you might be most familiar with the University of Michigan’s Wolverine football and basketball teams, the university is one of the finest public institutions in the world! It’s also a very popular destination for out-of-state students.

As a highly selective university, the University of Michigan has high standards in their admissions process—and that includes the admissions essays. Since the University of Michigan accepts both the Common App and the Coalition Application, students only need to complete a single personal statement for either the Common App or Coalition Application. However, Michigan also requires three additional supplemental essays. Here are some strategies for writing successful essays based on these supplemental prompts from the University of Michigan.


University of Michigan Essay #1

If you could only do one of the activities you have listed in the Activities section of your application, which one would you keep doing? Why? (up to 100 words)

Even though this essay has a limit of 100 words, using that limited space to tell your reader a story will draw them in and make your essay engaging. Your brief story should focus on a moment—a specific, contained instance in time—when you made a decision or something changed for you. It’s easy to slip into generic language when you’re writing an essay, but focusing on a unique moment from your own life will ensure your writing is authentic. Your brief story can be as short as a sentence or two that shows the reader a specific moment with specific details, description, and even dialogue. Next, you should explain the activity (focusing on your individual impact) and discuss why you want to keep doing it in college. Remember, this is only 100 words, so every single word needs to count!

Next Steps:

  1. Identify an activity that you want to talk about in the essay
  2. Connect these reasons to a specific moment from your life
  3. Use Storybuilder to build this moment into a powerful story


University of Michigan Essay #2

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. (up to 300 words)

At its heart, this prompt is asking you to share your personal story and where you came from. Spend some time reflecting upon the various communities that have been part of your life: they could include your place of worship, your neighborhood, a specific club, or your cultural heritage. Think broadly and list all of the communities that you are a part of. Next, you will want to highlight a moment involving one of these communities that helps show your role within that community. When choosing a moment, you should focus on one that best illustrates your character, personal commitment, or contributions to the community.

Next Steps:

  1. Brainstorm all of the communities that you are part of
  2. Connect these communities to specific moments that highlight your role within the communities
  3. Using Storybuilder, build these moments into powerful stories


University of Michigan Essay #3

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? (up to 300 words)

This final essay prompt is all about your academic interests and how they align with the opportunities available at the University of Michigan. First, you’ll need to decide which specific college or school at the University of Michigan you will be applying for. Next, identify a story from your life that is connected to your intended academic pathway. This is a great way to grab the reader’s attention at the start of your essay. Finally, to bring it all together, tie in some opportunities that are specific to the University of Michigan. This could include particular classes, professors, research opportunities, or educational philosophies that you’ve learned about as you’ve researched the University.

Next Steps:

  1. Pick your intended college or school at the University of Michigan
  2. Identify potential moments—specific, contained instances within a broader academic experience—that are connected to your academic interest
  3. Using Storybuilder, build these moments into powerful stories
  4. Include specific opportunities that you hope to take advantage of at the University of Michigan


Bottom Line:

The University of Michigan is a highly selective institution where supplemental essays matter a lot! Below are some other tools and resources to help you write your essays and also succeed in the admissions process:

  • StoryBuilder helps students write powerful essays with a proven step-by-step process. StoryBuilder also includes free courses that focus on personal statements, supplemental essays, and scholarship essays.
  • Story2 Live Online Essay Bootcamps will allow you to complete your essay or supplements in two fast-paced, interactive hours!
  • Story2's "The Only College Checklist You'll Ever Need". The admissions and financial aid processes include a LOT of steps for students to keep track of. This comprehensive checklist lists every essential step so you can stay on track!
  • Ultimate Guide to the Common App eBook. This eBook walks students through the Common App with tips and guidance on every single question. Additionally, students will learn how to use the Common App to tell their personal story.



Topics:writing supplement essays


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