Impressions Of
University of Michigan

Academic Experience

Female Undeclared on Major C/O 2021

How was transitioning academically as a first-generation student?
In the beginning, it was a little bit hard, but I was also pretty lucky because I was admitted to a summer program called MSTEM. That was a six-week program over the summer where we took courses but they didn’t count towards your GPA to create a similar environment to what I would have in the upcoming year. It was a lot of fun too because I was able to make friends before the school year started, so once school started I already had familiar faces on campus. I still have really good friends from that and I think my transition was much easier than others, so I was lucky in that sense.

How accessible have your professors been?
If the course is a lot smaller, you get a lot closer with them. In the Comprehensive Studies Program courses, they usually have a small classroom setting and the professors offer more office hours and are more interested in each student in their class. In the big lectures the professors aren’t usually the ones you interact with to learn the material. Instead, it’s tutors or graduate student instructors or teaching assistants.

Female Communications Major C/O 2019

How would you describe the learning environment in your major? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s very collaborative. I don’t think it’s a competitive environment at all. I’m not in a major with a curve, and I feel like I’m judged on my own individual work. I don’t feel the pressure to do anything that isn’t me.

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
I think my major should be split into two different tracks. There’s no journalism school at Michigan, so there should be a journalism track and then more of a media studies track, which would be geared more towards 21st century media outlets.

I think it does especially well in providing opportunities. My advisors have been great and I definitely feel supported. [I have five advisors]. I feel that the Communications major is a community.

Female Economics and Philosophy Double Major C/O 2021

Is there anything you feel your majors’ departments do especially well or especially poorly?
I think the Philosophy department does a really good job of teaching essay skills and argumentative skills, especially in discussions, because you are forced to debate and discuss your point of view in class. They give you a lot of opportunities to speak and get your point across.

Why did you choose your majors? Are you happy with your choice?
I want to go to law school, so I picked Philosophy because it would teach me how to argue, discuss important topics, and go behind the scenes of the argument and be able to build off of that. I think the world is built on money, so I think Economics is really important and you can apply that anywhere in the world. Nobody is not affected by money, so learning about principles of economics will help me create policy change to help people.

Social Opportunities

Female Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience Major C/O 2021

What have been some of your favorite times at Michigan?
There’s this thing called Winterfest, which is a huge broomball tournament with all the sororities and fraternities. They have this tournament in front of everyone and it’s super inclusive, whether you’re in Greek life or not you can go. It’s fun to watch and hang out with everyone who’s there. All tailgates are super-duper fun. People get really excited for those and go all out. St. Patrick’s Day is also a really great day.

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
Normally I just go to frats. I’m not part of Greek life, so I just go to whatever frats are hosting open parties, or if I get invited to something I’ll go to that. It’s kind of a bummer for boys who aren’t part of Greek life because they can’t be a part of that. There are a lot of other options, like there is a bar scene that I don’t participate in as much.

Female Undeclared on Major C/O 2021

Can you describe a typical night going out your freshman year?
Yeah, usually freshman year there would be a big group of us who would take the bus all the way down to Central Campus and then walk to a frat party. We’d always go in a group because we want to be safe. Usually we’d go to a party, have some fun, and then after we’d grab something to eat. Depending on what time it was we’d take the bus or call an Uber back home.

How happy are you with the weekend options at Michigan? Is there anything you would change if you could?
In the beginning of the fall semester, the first two months are pretty lively during the weekends. But, as the cold weather comes there are a lot less people. I’m happy with it. The area of Ann Arbor where U of M is very lively, so that’s nice. I’m used to being in New York where it’s really loud and it isn’t always dead silent here and doesn’t feel too suburban. There are also a lot of activities available on campus.

Female Communications Major C/O 2019

How happy were you with the nightlife at Michigan? Is there anything you would change if you could?
Honestly, you’re speaking to someone who really looked into opening a club in Ann Arbor. I love Michigan, I love the school and sorority. Bar-wise, the fact that there’s only one really popular bar is upsetting. Some people disagree and say everyone’s going to be at the same place which is awesome.

What were some of your favorite times at Michigan?
Tailgates are my favorite. Winterfest is awesome [see broomball tournament video]. I think we have really cool clubs that put on cool events, like we have Music Matters, which is a charity concert and they bring in awesome people. The charity events that sororities and fraternities put on are a lot of fun. There’s a pie eating contest and late night wings and all sorts of things.

Campus Culture

Female Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience Major C/O 2021

How did you meet your closest friends?
I participated in a learning community, so that was a really good way to meet a lot of my friends. We all lived on the same floor and we all did a community service activity together once a month.

How has being a first-generation college student affected your time at Michigan?
I’ve had to focus a lot more on finding resources my first year. I made sure I found mentors for my major, figured out how many credits I had to take for my major each semester, found resources for pre-med and financial aid, and things like that. It was a lot of looking around versus having things set up for me.

Female Communications Major C/O 2019

What is the impact of Greek life on social life at Michigan?
I think it’s one of those things where you join it and you end up in the same room with people that you would have been attracted to naturally. I think it kind of cuts through the clutter, especially coming from a small private school. I also think it does some harm. It’s a system that has people defining against each other and clicking in bad ways and good ways. I really like Greek life.

To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I don’t think Greek life does a good job of that at all. I am also in a major and a minor that has such a diverse group of races and sexual orientations, I feel that I have tons of interaction with different walks of life. I don’t think I’ve received that interaction from anything but my education.

Female Economics and Philosophy Double Major C/O 2021

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I have a lot of different friends and I have integrated myself into a lot of different ethnic groups. But, just looking at sororities and fraternities, they tend to only have one race and one type of person. That’s my experience with it. [The Black community makes up 5% of undergraduates, while the White community makes up 65%.]

How would you describe the social scene?
It’s pretty social. Everybody’s pretty friendly here. Nobody really keeps to themselves. Everyone’s willing to make friends or talk to someone on the street.

Ann Arbor, MI

Pros of

  • “I like the fact that there are more than just students here. You’ll see families walking around and there are events other than college stuff going on.”
  • “The fact that it’s near Detroit is pretty nice because a lot of stuff happens in Detroit. I went there for a few baseball games in the fall and there are some co-op opportunities there.”
  • “Everyone there is about Michigan. You get that school spirit and community vibe.”

Cons of

  • “I sometimes don’t feel that safe walking around at night because there are people from the city that are not in college. Plus, a lot of people come to Ann Arbor to go to bars so that makes it seem more dangerous for me.”
  • “It’s brutally cold.”
  • “The bus system in Ann Arbor is usually not on schedule, which is annoying when you want to get somewhere quickly.”

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

Female Business Major C/O 2021

What is something you wish you knew about Michigan before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew how competitive the academic environment was and I wish I knew about the different student organizations that I would have joined during my freshman year.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that is worth checking out?
The study abroad opportunities and learning communities.

Female Business Major C/O 2021

What is something a prospective South Asian student should know that we haven’t touched on?
To be more open minded. I feel like for South Asians we come from backgrounds where we’re taught a certain thing and are stuck on that. Coming here open minded will help you develop as a person and see other peoples’ perspectives and ideas.

What is something you wish you knew about Michigan before entering as a freshman?
The amount of resources. Freshman year I was a bit lost and didn’t know where to go if I needed something. Now, if others come to me and asked me where to get help I am able to show them.

Female Economics and Philosophy Double Major C/O 2021

What is something you wish you knew about Michigan before entering as a freshman?
I wish I would have known how big the actual school is and how low the level of diversity is just because I was kind of shocked at how low the level of diversity was. [65% of students are White.]

Is there anything that we haven’t touched on that a prospective student should know?
The biggest thing is, because the campus is so big, is the importance of being in clubs and making the campus smaller for yourself. I think coming in with the mindset of knowing that is a big campus and it may feel overwhelming, but you have the ability to make the campus smaller.

Reasons to attend and not to attend University of Michigan

To Attend

  • “There’s a really good support system here for inclusiveness. The university promotes a lot of acceptance and inclusions, so it’s nice to be in a place like that.”
  • “It’s very walkable unless you’re on North campus. I’m not an art student or engineer, so I’ve never faced that issue. For the most part, it’s a very accessible place.”
  • “There’s something profoundly motivating about being on this campus. I think everyone is very personable and wants to be social while also being very driven academically. I think it inspires you to be more of yourself.”

To Not Attend

  • “It’s a big school. Everything you may want to do, like getting into clubs, is pretty competitive. A lot of the classes competitive and a lot of the clubs are competitive in terms of getting into them, so that’s one thing that I found is pretty tough.”
  • “If you get involved in Greek life, it can be a dominating factor in your life. I only see that now as I’m near the end of college.” [About 17% of students are involved in Greek life.]
  • “If you just want a campus, the city aspect of it might not be great for you.”
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