Located in Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan has about 28,000 undergraduates in all divisions, plus another 15,000 graduate students seeking advanced degrees in law, business, medicine and other areas. Michigan has the rare combination of top academics in a large, spirited school environment. For those students brave enough to withstand the cold Michigan winters, UMich has it all. Interestingly, Michigan has more male undergrads and graduate students than female, the opposite of the national trend. [More Michigan “fast facts” here.]
My tour guide was a sophomore from Northern California, majoring in an interdisciplinary area Michigan calls PPE, a combination of political science, philosophy and economics, in preparation for law school. Most of the departments within the school of Letters, Sciences and Arts, the largest undergraduate college, are located on Central Campus. The engineering school and art school are on North Campus, a short shuttle ride away. South Campus is where the athletic disciplines and the football stadium are, and the medical school has its own separate campus as well.
More than half of the undergrads at UMich are in the College of Literature, Sciences and the Arts (LSA), which offers over 100 different majors within 75 departments. Students have lots of contact with professors, who often include undergraduates in their research projects. The University Research Opportunity Program, UROP, gives students the ability to propose research partnerships with ongoing research at the university.
My tour guide said that the atmosphere at Michigan is “cutthroat, but not vicious.” Students are very involved, musical, with a strong bent toward social justice. There’s also lots of school spirit in supporting Michigan’s varsity athletics teams.
I attended an information session and brief tour of the Ross School of Business, which is consistently ranked a top 10 undergraduate business program. About a quarter of Ross students are admitted as freshmen; when they begin at Michigan, they are required to take an English, a calculus and an Econ course and they must maintain a 3.3 GPA in their first year to hold their spot at Ross. Three-quarters of students are admitted to the program after they start at Michigan; they are required to take the same courses but the GPA requirement is lower (ie. it’s easier to be admitted this way, and the acceptance rate is over 40% among these internal candidates). For students aiming for the “preferred admission” route, Director of Undergraduate Admission Blair Moody Rideout noted that in addition to solid grades in rigorous courses and extra-curricular leadership, Ross applicants must be able to explain their deep interest in business. “This is not an exploratory program, ”Rideout said.
Like many business programs, the Ross school uses a team-based approach, and what they call action-based learning, in which teams work on simulated business problems together to propose and implement solutions. Most Ross students do at least one undergraduate internship.
Ross students are able to study abroad for an entire semester and still graduate on time with their cohort. Ross enjoys strong relationships with New York and Chicago-based investment banks; 44% of students enter finance jobs after graduation and impressively, 94% of the graduating class of 2014 had at least one job offer within three months of graduation. Michigan’s alumni network comes strongly into play in terms of internships and jobs for Ross students.
Ann Arbor is a very nice college town, filled with intellectuals, cafes, art museums and independent movie theatres all within a few blocks of campus. It’s about a half hour away from Detroit, and close enough to Chicago that many students do summer internships or take the train for a weekend visit. Michigan’s alumni network is large and devoted – “once a Wolverine, always a Wolverine.”
It’s cold in Ann Arbor in February! You’ll see lots of snow in the photos from Evelyn’s February, 2015 visit here.