How to Write UMich Supplemental Essays - Examples & Tips

Michigan Stadium, University of Michigan
April 23, 2024
6 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 4/23/24

Ready to learn how to write the UMich supplemental essays? This guide has all the information you need.  

The college admissions process can be pretty lengthy. If you’re applying to the University of Michigan, you need your transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, and letters of recommendation. You’ll also be required to write essays.

The Michigan University supplemental essays make up the meatiest part of the application. Here, you show the admissions committee different sides of yourself than your grades and test scores reveal. The essays can add tremendous value to your application and highlight your candidacy. 

This comprehensive guide will teach you all about the University of Michigan supplemental essays. We’ll discuss their purpose, offer tips to create your own masterfully, and give some examples of University of Michigan supplemental essays. If you want to boost your chances of acceptance to the University of Michigan, read on! 

UMichigan Supplemental Essay Prompts 2024-2025

The University of Michigan requires that all applicants write two supplemental essays regardless of what program they want to enter. Remember that you still need to complete an essay as part of the Common Application or the Coalition Application. 

Any school’s supplemental essay prompts can vary from year to year, but most will revolve around similar themes. Below are the 2024-2025 UMichigan supplemental essay prompts

UMich Supplemental Essay Prompt #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."

UMich Supplemental Essay Prompt #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?"

female student studying from book

How to Write Each Essay Prompt for the University of Michigan

While the rest of your application components are essential, your grades and test scores don’t show the admissions committee the person behind the numbers and accolades. The UMichigan supplemental essays are a way to humanize your application. You get to show the admissions committee how your experiences have shaped you.

While you should make sure that you’re adequately answering the prompt, you still have a lot of freedom in your essays. You may choose to focus on a variety of themes and topics, including: 

  • Your background and community
  • Instances that you’ve overcome adversity
  • How going to this school will help you realize your aspirations
  • How your acceptance would improve the school’s culture and community

The supplemental essay prompts can feel tricky because of their broadness. However, these top tips will help you flawlessly execute essays that captivate the reader. You’ll be able to demonstrate why you should be accepted into any program at the University of Michigan.  

female student writing on paper

How to Write UMich Supplemental Essay #1 + Analysis and Tips

As a refresher, UMich’s essay prompt #1 is: “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.” 

The purpose of this prompt is for the admissions committee to evaluate your character and individuality. You want to show UMichigan who you are beyond numbers and scores. This is a great opportunity to portray yourself authentically.

"who are you" written in scrabble letters

This prompt has a minimum word count of 100 words and a maximum of 300 words. Here are some tips to help you tackle this essay: 

  • Tip #1: Demonstrate Curiosity: UMich seeks to admit students “who will lend educational and cultural diversity to campus and who are curious about new ideas, people, and experiences.” Reflect on what you’ve learned from the others in your community and how that has increased your curiosity about others. 
  • Tip #2: Brainstorm Your Narrative: UMich advises starting with a brain dump and then narrowing your ideas down to organize your thoughts. Compile a list of communities you belong to and consider meaningful aspects of each one. Then, identify which community could make the most compelling narrative.
  • Tip #3: Tell Your Unique Story: Prioritize authenticity; don’t just avoid cliches for the sake of it. What matters most is that it’s your story. Your essay shouldn’t be able to apply to anyone else. 

How to Write UMich Supplemental Essay #2 + Analysis and Tips

The second UMich essay prompt is: “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?” 

This essay prompt asks you to discuss your reasons for choosing UMichigan and your future aspirations. It also allows you to share more about your interests and passions through your discussion of your intended area of study. 

"why?" written on post-it note with greenery in background

You’ll need to answer this prompt in a minimum of 100 words and a maximum of 550 words. Here are some things to keep in mind as you answer this prompt:

  • Tip #1: Don’t Overlook Your Intro + Conclusion: It’s easy to just focus on the body of the essay, but make sure you still start and end well. You need to make a good impression with your introduction, and you should go out with a bang at the end by getting specific about how you see your future at UMich. 
  • Tip #2: Stay on Topic: UMich also encourages applicants to make sure they’re actually answering the prompt. Some writers can lose sight of the prompt as they write. If you feel that you’re shifting off track of the story you want to tell, use an outline to organize your thoughts.
  • Tip #3: Edit, Edit, & Edit More: Your first draft won’t be perfect, so a second pair of eyes, like a parent, friend, or even a professional consultant, can be a valuable asset. It’s also helpful to leave it for a few days after finishing your first draft so that you can look it over with fresh eyes and catch errors more easily. 

Examples of University of Michigan Supplemental Essays That Worked

Excellent essays can help you stand out in the admissions process and show why you’re a fantastic candidate. Below, you will find UMich supplemental essay examples written by real students who were admitted to UMichigan, to give you an idea of how to create meaningful essays. 

UMich Essay Example #1

The University of Michigan essay excerpt below addresses the first prompt, asking you to describe your place within one of the communities you belong to.

“The bus took ten minutes to get home this time, not the usual thirty. This wasn’t my home, but it would essentially become just that.
The Morristown Neighborhood House is a center that provides a free and safe after-school environment for local children…
While there were various summer options, I felt that there couldn’t be a better choice than signing up to be a camp counselor at the Nabe.
The kids became family; through sarcophagus art projects, writing practice, Xbox tournaments, implicit bias discussions, and trips to the park, they became the little siblings I never had. When I brought in ice cream for all of them on my birthday, I was showered with hugs. No foreign exchange trip could outdo that.
I am a member of many communities based on my geography, ethnicity, interests, and talents, but the most meaningful community is the one that I never thought I would be a part of…
On that first bus ride to the Nabe, I never saw it coming.”
People jumping on beach during sunset

Why Essay #1 Worked

This essay immediately immerses the reader in the writer’s narrative. The writer demonstrates how they integrated into a community and forged meaningful relationships with the children at the camp. 

This essay shows the writer’s initiative to contribute to their community. It also demonstrates their impact on a group while in a leadership position. The writer’s story is short but impactful and shows that they have a strong spirit capable of contributing to their community and, hopefully, the University of Michigan’s. 

UMich Essay Example #2

The following essay excerpt addresses the University of Michigan’s second supplemental essay prompt, which asks students to describe why they’re drawn to their specific program at UMich. 

“In my junior year microeconomics class, my teacher extensively explored the ways in which people from different socioeconomic classes were affected by our economic system. I was frustrated by the ways our country forces those living in poverty to spend the little money they have on taxable goods. I began to empathize with them…
Those lessons inspired and motivated me. I had always looked at economics as nothing more than an analysis of business models and resource allocation. I began to see it as a way to fix fundamental problems in our society, from examining the effects of healthcare expansion on crime and poverty rates to studying how shifts in our political climate affect how our country’s financial process will change. I now see economics as a way to help those in need in my country and throughout the world.
I volunteered after school for Representative Dingell and had the opportunity to attend numerous events hosted by the Ford School…
I want to begin my studies at the University of Michigan in LSA to gain a foundation in economics and political science-related courses. After my first year, I hope to gain admission to the Ford School. The connections that LSA and Ford have to Poverty Solutions solidified my interest in the University of Michigan. If I attended these schools as an undergraduate student, I would be able to assist with research on the causes and ramifications of poverty…
The range of schools working in connection with Poverty Solutions is evidence of the University’s devotion to civic engagement. I would be able to participate in groundbreaking research regarding issues I am interested in; I would have the ability to study poverty and ways to stunt or alleviate its effects in other countries…
I want to join the University of Michigan’s legacy of innovators. I want to be part of the LSA community, studying economics and political science. I want to attend the Ford School and understand how policy in America and abroad has an effect on global poverty. I want to be involved with the Poverty Solutions Initiative, conducting groundbreaking research on the ways we can reform our financial system to better serve the lower and middle classes.”
tablet with graph on it

Why Essay #2 Worked

This essay wastes no time getting to a vital issue that the writer wants to address. The writer explains in detail what classes and causes motivate them. They explain what they aspire to do in the future and how their extracurricular activities align with their goals. 

This essay demonstrates that the writer has done their research and knows what path to take to achieve their goals. Best of all, the writer illuminates how admission to the University of Michigan can help them work toward their goals of a brighter future. 

The University of Michigan is looking for leaders who want to impact the world and their community through positive change. This essay’s conclusion perfectly outlines what the applicant wants to do.

Get More Sample Essays Here!

If you feel stuck and don’t know how to begin your essays, you can find inspiration in the work of others. To discover more sample essays, take a look at our college essay database down below!

UMich Supplemental Essay FAQs

Still have questions about how to write the University of Michigan essays? We’ve got you covered. 

1. Besides the Supplemental Essays, Are There Other Essays I Need to Write? 

Yes, you will need to write another essay in addition to the supplemental essays. When you apply with the Common Application or the Coalition Application, you’ll need to select one prompt to respond to from a list.

2. How Important Are the UMich Supplemental Essays? 

The University of Michigan essay section is a crucial part of your application. Remember that “Unlike test scores and transcripts, the college admissions essay[s] offers students a chance to showcase their personality.”

The admissions committee reviews college applications holistically, meaning that every part you submit counts toward their decision. Your essays are a way to inject life into your application and show the human behind the scores and grades. Don’t be afraid to show who you are; it can help you rightfully claim your seat at UMich. 

3. How Long Should the Essays Be?

The first UMichigan essay prompt should be a minimum of 100 and a maximum of 300. Prompt #2 has a 100-word minimum and a 550-word maximum. 

4. What Tone Should My Essays Convey? 

You don't want to sound too stiff and formal, nor do you want to fill your essay with slang—you want to shoot for conversational yet friendly and professional. Make sure that your voice shines through unedited! 

5. What’s the Best Thing I Can Do in My Essay? 

In your essay, be honest, concise, and coherent, and make sure that your reader can easily digest and follow your narrative. While you still want to sound like you, don’t be afraid to flash your intellect and be sure to include vibrant details and anecdotes that bring your essay to life! 

Write Your Future with the UMich Supplemental Essays

The University of Michigan is a great school to complete your undergraduate degree. Now that you know a lot more about what you should write in the supplemental essays, you can feel empowered knowing that you have the knowledge to deliver stellar pieces of writing. 

Don’t forget the purpose of the University of Michigan’s supplemental essays and the top tips to ensure your writing is polished. With this information, you can undoubtedly capture the admissions committee’s attention. Go forth knowing that you have the tools to submit the best supplemental essays and give yourself the best chance of acceptance!

Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Thanks ! You're now subscribed!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get A Free Consultation

Speak to a college admissions expert about how we can help you get into your dream school
Schedule a Call

You May Also Like

Before you go, here are a few facts about us!
The Quad Factor: Working with us can increase your chances of admission by 11x!

The Best of the Best: Our team comprises of only 99th percentile tutors and admissions counselors from top-ranking universities, meaning you work with only the most experienced, talented experts.

The Free Consultation: Our experts would love to get to know you, your background, goals, and needs. From there, they match you with a best-fit consultant who will create a detailed project plan and application strategy focused on your success.