How to Get Into the University of Michigan

Wide angle photo of city on shore of lake
Updated:
February 6, 2024
10 min read
Contents

”Rohan

Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 2/6/24

If you want to “go blue” for your post-secondary studies, here’s a definitive guide on how to get into the University of Michigan.   

The University of Michigan, located in Ann Arbor and founded in 1817, is a highly respected institution that promotes innovation and values diversity. US News has ranked the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, at #21 on its list of the Best Colleges and Universities, and in 2020, Ann Arbor was voted the best small college city in America

According to the Office of the President, its mission is to serve the state of Michigan and the world “through preeminence in creating, communicating, preserving and applying knowledge, art and academic values.” It also strives to develop “leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future.” 

This guide will give you all the information that you need to set yourself up for success in your application. Read on to learn how to get into UMich! 

University of Michigan Acceptance Rate: 17.9%

The University of Michigan acceptance rate for the class of 2027 is 17.9%. On average, successful applicants score between 1350 and 1530 on the SAT, or between 31 and 34 on the ACT. The average GPA is 3.9. 

In the most recent admissions cycle, UMich accepted just over 15,000 applicants from a pool of nearly 88,000. Here’s some insight into the University of Michigan acceptance trends

Year Number of Applicants Number of Accepted Students Acceptance Rate
2023 87,632 15,722 17.9%
2022 84,289 14,914 17.7%
2021 79,742 16,071 20.2%
2020 65,021 16,974 29.1%

How Hard Is It to Get Into the University of Michigan? 

With an acceptance rate of 17.9%, the University of Michigan is fairly competitive. It will be difficult to gain admission to UMich unless you have SAT/ACT scores in the range of 1350-1530 and 31-34 and a minimum 3.9 GPA.

Take our interactive quiz below to find out how likely you are to get into the University of Michigan.

University of Michigan Admission Statistics 

Take a look below for some stats from the most recent incoming class. To be a competitive applicant, try to meet or exceed these numbers! 

University of Michigan Average GPA: 3.9-4.0

The average GPA of incoming UMich students is 3.9-4.0. The University of Michigan highly values academic excellence, so you should aim for no less than a 4.0 GPA if you want to make your application stand out. 

University of Michigan Average SAT: 1350-1530

Incoming students at the University of Michigan had an average SAT range of 1350-1530. This means that their average SAT score is around 1440. 

While the University of Michigan is a test-optional school, students can still choose to submit their standardized test scores if they wish. If your SAT score is on par or higher than the average score range, then you should consider submitting it! If not, consider leaving it out of your application. 

University of Michigan Average ACT: 31-34

The University of Michigan average ACT score was in the range of 31-34. This means that, on average, most students scored a 33. To be a competitive applicant, you’ll need to aim for a score of 33 or higher! 

UMich’s test-optional policy also applies to the ACT. This means that you may want to consider submitting your ACT score only if it lands within or above the average range. This way, you can be sure that your score will strengthen your application. 

What is the University of Michigan Looking For In Applicants? 

U-M wants to admit a wide variety of students with diverse interests, passions, and ambitions. The Admissions Committee evaluates applications holistically, with the goal of finding applicants who share a drive toward academic excellence and community orientation. 

Each application is assessed by multiple evaluators to ensure a fair and balanced process. The evaluators use a rating system to measure the applicant, ranking each individual element on a scale including outstanding, excellent, good, average/fair, or below average/poor. 

After assessing each element on its own, the evaluator decides what ranking best fits the applicant overall. From there, the evaluators come together to make their final admissions recommendation.

Here is some more info on how the University of Michigan evaluates applications, taken from their Common Data Set

Academic Very Important Important Considered Not Considered
Rigor of secondary school record X
Class rank X
Academic GPA X
Standardized test scores X
Application essay X
Recommendation X

Non-Academic Very Important Important Considered Not Considered
Interview X
Extracurricular activities X
Talent/ability X
Character/personal qualities X
First generation X
Alumni/ae relation X
Geographical residence X
State residency X
Religious affiliation/commitment X
Volunteer work X
Work experience X
Level of applicant’s interest X

It’s important to note that while the University of Michigan does not consider general admission interviews in their evaulations, interviews may be necessary for some applicants to Music, Theatre, and Dance, and the College of Engineering. 

University of Michigan Application Requirements

For the best chance of getting into the University of Michigan, you should maintain a GPA of 3.9 or higher to compete with past successful applicants. You should also aim for an SAT score in the range of 1350-1530 or an ACT score between 31-34 to be a competitive applicant. 

If you’re ready to apply, here are all the materials you’ll need to submit your U-M application:

  • High school transcript
  • School Report or Counselor Recommendation*
  • Teacher Evaluation** 
  • SAT or ACT scores, if available 
  • English Proficiency scores, for non-native English speakers 
  • Official college transcripts, for students who have taken college courses 

*The version of this document that you’ll need will depend on which application portal you use. The school report corresponds to the Common Application, while the counselor recommendation goes with the Coalition Application

female student doing homework

Source: Pexels

The teacher/academic letter of recommendation ideally comes from a teacher, but it can be written and submitted by anyone who can speak to your academic competence. U-M suggests community-based organization educators or academic program professionals as alternates to teachers, should that be necessary. 

The school report/counselor recommendation comes from a school counselor or a principal.

University of Michigan Application Deadlines

You’ll need to stay on top of important dates and deadlines as you apply for the University of Michigan. Keep them at the front of your mind as you put your application together. 

To help you out, here are some significant dates to pay attention to for UMich: 

Application Step Deadline
Early Action application deadline November 1
School of Music, Theatre, & Dance application deadline December 1
Suggested financial aid filing date December 15
Early Action decisions released Late January
Regular Decision application deadline February 1
School of Music, Theatre, & Dance decisions released Late February/early March
Financial aid deadline March 31
Regular Decision decisions released Early April
Enrollment deposit deadline May 1

Source: University of Michigan Requirements & Deadines, University of Michigan Application Changes

Give yourself plenty of time to complete your application. It’s always a good idea to get started well before the deadline, to make sure you’re approaching each section with care and attention to detail. 

University of Michigan Regular Decision Deadline

The deadline for Regular Decision applications at the University of Michigan is February 1. Once you apply, you’ll have to wait until early April to hear your admission decision. 

University of Michigan Early Action Deadline

Students applying through Early Action at the University of Michigan will need to submit their applications by November 1. If you’re applying through Early Action, you’ll be notified of your admission decision by the end of January. 

How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Into the University of Michigan

Source: Pexels

If you want to increase your acceptance chances of U-M, here are some tips to help you improve your application. 

Choose Your Recommender Wisely

UMich takes care to remind students that they only should submit one letter of recommendation. In fact, submitting more than one could damage your application! 

With only one recommendation, you’ll need to be careful with who you ask. Choose someone who is well-acquainted with your strengths and can speak to your ability to thrive in an academic environment. 

You should also ask your recommender early to give them lots of time before the deadline, and make sure they know when the deadline is. 

teacher helping student

Source: Pexels

Be Specific & Detailed With Extracurriculars

Thousands of brilliant students apply to the University of Michigan every year, and to put it bluntly, they just don’t have the space to accept every academically qualified student. That’s why you need to go above and beyond in your application! 

UMich advises students to make note of every relevant extracurricular activity, and to be specific when describing them. Discuss how many hours you spent doing any given activity, what your position was, what your duties were like, etc. 

However, you should also prioritize your extracurriculars accordingly. Make sure that you’re highlighting your most relevant activities. Put the activities where you showed the most leadership and growth at the top of the list. 

male student doing homework

Source: Pexels

Ask the Experts

UMich encourages students to reach out to their admissions office, and we recommend that you do this! Talking to a staff member at U-M can guarantee that you’ll get reliable, specific answers to your questions. 

Reaching out to the school also demonstrates initiative and shows that you’re a motivated individual. UMich will be able to see that you’re truly interested in attending their school. 

University of Michigan Essay Prompts

You’ll have to write three supplemental essays to accompany your application. The U-M supplemental essays are a significant part of your application, so make sure you spend a lot of time on them! 

student writing notes from book

Source: Pexels

The first two essay questions are set by the University of Michigan, and are required for all applicants:

  • “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; minimum 100 words/maximum 300 words).” 
  • “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 all applicants; minimum 100 words /maximum 550 words).”

The third and final essay you write will depend on which application portal you choose. The questions are similar, though the wordings vary slightly. The Common Application has an additional essay question for transfer students. 

You can look toward examples of successful essays to help you figure out your approach. The essay portion of the application is your opportunity to show off your writing skills and to help the admissions council see everything that you have to offer. 

FAQs: How to Get Into the University of Michigan

Still have questions about applying to the University of Michigan? These Frequently Asked Questions will give you the answers you need. 

1. What Are the Benefits of Early Action? 

The main benefit of applying via Early Action is a guaranteed decision date. The date is always sometime in late January. This can be helpful as you plan your next steps. 

If you’re applying to the School of Music, Theatre & Dance or the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, EA makes no difference. These schools are exempt from the guaranteed decision date, due to the time it takes to conduct auditions and review portfolios. 

If you missed the EA deadline (November 1st), don’t stress! The only real difference is the speed; applying via Early Action doesn’t make it easier to get in than it would be otherwise. 

2. How Important Are My Test Scores? 

The University of Michigan boasts a holistic selection process. While it considers test scores and wants to see proof of academic rigor in its applicants, this isn’t the only factor. 

Furthermore, U-M has an ongoing test flexible option due to COVID-19. With this option, you can opt-out of reporting your SAT or ACT scores. You can still report other test scores, such as AP or IB exams. You will not be put at a disadvantage if you choose this option.

3. How Do I Know If The University of Michigan Received My Application? 

Each application portal shows you that you’ve successfully submitted your application. 

If you apply through the Common Application portal, you’ll be able to monitor your application status through the dashboard. If you see a green checkmark, it means the school can download your application. 

If you apply through the Coalition application portal, it will direct you to a confirmation page once you submit. In your dashboard, you’ll see a status of “submitted” next to the name of the university. 

Within a week of U-M downloading your application, you’ll receive an email confirmation. Add “@umich.edu” to your safe sender’s list and monitor your spam folders to ensure you don’t miss anything.  

4. I’m an Undocumented Immigrant. Should I Apply? 

Short answer: absolutely

The University of Michigan encourages undocumented and DACAmented students to apply. It offers support services for current and prospective students, such as financial aid, the Student Community of Progressive Empowerment (SCOPE), and its signature program, SuccessConnects. 

5. I’m Applying as a Transfer Student. Do My Credits Transfer? 

While there is no requirement for the number of credits you need in order to transfer, having two or more semesters of transferable coursework makes you a more competitive applicant. 

U-M Admissions has a Transfer Credit Equivalency Search that you can use to verify that your credits will transfer over. Students applying to transfer into the College of Engineering will have to meet specific admission prerequisites. 

6. My Application Has Been Postponed. What Now? 

If your application has been postponed, you can expect a decision by early April. You’ll be considered with the regular applicant pool. You can opt to submit an Expression of Continued Interest form and update your information if you’d like, but this isn’t mandatory. 

7. I’ve Been Placed on the Waitlist. What Now? 

If you’ve been placed on the waitlist, it means that you’re a competitive applicant. The first thing you should do is respond to the waitlist offer. Spots can open up after the enrollment deposit deadline of May 1st. U-M generally completes its waitlist admission process by mid-June.  

Final Thoughts  

Applying to the University of Michigan can seem intimidating, as it’s a high-ranking university with a moderately low acceptance rate, but the process doesn’t need to be stressful. You can follow the steps on this guide to make it as simple as possible. 

Remember to give yourself lots of time to compile your application. The Early Action deadline is November 1st, and the regular application deadline is February 1st. It’s always a good idea to start early, to give yourself (and your recommenders!) as much time as possible to prepare the best application possible. 

Best of luck with your application!

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