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.
Before we begin…
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.
Supplemental Essay Types:Community, Why, Activity
University of Michigan 2017-2018 Application Essay Question Explanations
1. 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.
Required for all applicants. Approximately 250 words.
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 admission you will add value and diversity to campus, and that you are a proactive and involved student who will help to build their community.
2. 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?
Required for freshman applicants. 500 words maximum.
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.
2. (For transfer students only) Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate College or School to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests?
Required for all transfer applicants. 500 words maximum.
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.
3. If you could only do one of the activities you have listed in the Activities section of your Common Application, which one would you keep doing? Why?
Required for all applicants. Approximately 150 words.
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.