Selection Process

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UNIVERSITY WORLDWIDE

What kind of student will succeed at the University of Michigan?

We look at each student as a whole package, a combination of talents, interests, passions, and skills. In this way, we can look beyond grades and test scores to recruit the most dynamic group of students possible. A wide variety of backgrounds, intellectual passions, and interests make up the typical applicant. What they share is a drive to pursue academic excellence in a challenging and rewarding academic environment.

We know that there is great variation among our applicants’ personal circumstances, home communities, and high schools, including those schools’ course offerings and grading practices. As a result, our admissions process considers all aspects of your record and experience — we do not admit applicants solely on the basis of any single criterion. We value the whole record — excellent grades in rigorous courses, top ACT/SAT scores, participation in extracurricular activities, professional arts training, and evidence of leadership, awards, and service.

Now is the time to think about who you are and how you will define yourself at every stage of this process. What are the basics?

Academic strength, certainly as an indicator of how thoroughly you’ve been prepared to succeed in a dynamic interdisciplinary environment, is key. To that end, the amount of intellectual challenge you’ve taken on based on what is offered in your educational environment will be highly important. It will be important to take a rigorous curriculum in which you succeed and can demonstrate your intellectual skills.

Key criteria we take into consideration, include:

  • Your cumulative GPA
  • Your test scores (SAT or ACT)
  • The quality of your curriculum (its solid college preparation, strength of courses, what courses you’ve taken based on what is available in your high school, such as AP, IB, or honors, etc.)
  • Your class rank, if available
  • Your specific academic interests

Your extracurricular preparation speaks to what you’ve done beyond the classroom. How have you become a leader at your school and in your community? To what heights have you taken your training in music, art, or dance? What is your life like beyond your course of studies and how do you connect them?

Show us how the combination of course work and related activities inspired original thinking on your part. What you’ve done beyond simply taking AP courses is a very important consideration for admission. It speaks to what kind of person you are and how well you might do in a dynamic, multifaceted campus community.

We also look for students who will lend educational and cultural diversity to campus and who are curious about new ideas, people, and experiences. If success means more than material accomplishment, if you’re someone who pushes boundaries and is not content with status-quo answers, then U-M could be your next home.

The admissions process is designed to consider all aspects of an applicant’s record and experience and is not intended to admit applicants solely on the basis of grade point averages, test scores, or any other single criterion. The university recognizes that there is great variation among its applicants’ personal circumstances, home communities, and high schools, including those schools’ course offerings and grading practices. Therefore, reviewers have the opportunity and responsibility to consider a comprehensive range of factors in evaluating applications and to admit applicants who are both academically qualified and have demonstrated their potential to contribute to, and be successful students at the University of Michigan. To ensure an accurate, comprehensive, and unbiased review process each application is assessed by multiple evaluators in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions before a final admissions decision is rendered.

The U-M application reviewers rate each applicant with respect to the following criteria:

  • Secondary School Academic Performance
  • Educational Environment
  • Counselor and Teacher Recommendation
  • Essays
  • Awards/honors, involvement, leadership, and service

Reviewers will then balance the different ratings and decide which best fits the applicant’s achievements and potential. They then provide an overall rating for the application based on the following scale:

  • Outstanding
    All of the applicant’s materials exemplify superior and/or exceptional characteristics that contribute to the specific evaluation categories.

  • Excellent
    The applicant’s materials illustrate extremely strong, but not exceptional, characteristics. The reviewer may have a reservation, but there are enough redeeming features to compensate for, or outweigh, the reservation.

  • Good
    The applicant’s materials demonstrate competitive average characteristics in most of the criteria, but may be particularly strong in one or more areas. The reviewer may have reservations about the applicant’s academic competitiveness.

  • Average/Fair
    While the applicant’s materials are competitive in each of the criteria, the reviewer has substantial concerns about the overall strength of the application and may have reservations about the applicant’s academic competitiveness.

  • Below Average/Poor
    In the applicant’s materials, the reviewer detects serious deficiencies in most of the evaluation criteria in comparison to other applicants. In addition, several of the evaluation criteria may or may not be met or may not have been addressed in applicant’s materials.

After conducting a comprehensive, holistic and individualized review of an application including academic preparation and extracurricular preparation, reviewers make an admissions decision recommendation based on the composite evaluation rating and comments. In the end, each final decision is influenced by a number of factors, each carefully weighed and considered to make the best possible decision for the applicant and the University of Michigan.

What does it mean to be postponed?

We have decided to postpone making a decision on your application at this time, and your application will be moved into our regular decision pool for consideration. We need additional time to review your credentials and determine how your strengths and academic achievements would fit with the composition and quality of this year’s freshman applicant pool. Michigan is consistently ranked as one of the top universities in the world and, as such, admission is extremely competitive. Application volume is high, but the available space in our freshman class has not changed. With a limited number of spaces, we are unable to admit all qualified applicants.

What should I do next?

Please log in to Enrollment Connect, navigate to the action items section, and click on Verify Continued Interest to fill out the Expression of Continued Interest form. You should also contact your high school to have them send a Mid Year Report showing any recent grades that are available before mid-February. We will not accept any additional documents from you unless specifically requested, as they will not impact your final decision.

When will I know if I’ve been admitted?

If you have filled out the Expression of Continued Interest form and had a Mid Year Report submitted, you’ll receive a final decision by early April. We encourage you to make sure to have other options figured out if you're not ultimately admitted to Michigan. Keep in mind that if you’re not admitted, you can always apply as a transfer student from another institution.

How do you decide which postponed applicants you'll admit?

We need to get a complete look at this year’s applications before we make any decisions. We give each application multiple comprehensive reviews, focusing on quality of the academic preparation in high school, grades, scores on the ACT and/or SAT, personal characteristics and attributes, responses to the short answer and essay questions, and recommendations from high school counselors and teachers. For more information on how we review applications, please reference How We Evaluate Your Application above.

What does it mean to be waitlisted?

Applicants are offered our waitlist in the spring when, after several thorough reviews of their application, we aren’t able to offer them a place in the incoming class. Michigan is consistently ranked as one of the top universities in the world and, as such, admission is extremely competitive. This year we expect to receive more than 65,000 applications for an enrolling freshman class of about 6,995 students. With a limited number of spaces in our freshman class, we are unable to admit all qualified applicants. However, some spaces become available after the May 1 enrollment deposit deadline. By agreeing to be placed on our waitlist, applicants may be offered admission when and if that happens.

What should I do next?

The first thing you’ll need to do is decide whether you wish to accept the waitlist option. Please respond online through Enrollment Connect by May 1. Once on Enrollment Connect, click on the "Reply to Waitlist Offer" button under the 'Action Items' section. This will allow you to complete a form, indicating your response to our waitlist offer.

Keep striving to do your best in school and make sure to have other options figured out if you’re not ultimately admitted to Michigan. Keep in mind that if you’re not admitted, you can always apply as a transfer student from another institution.

We will not accept any additional documents from you unless specifically requested, as they will not impact your final decision.

When will I know if I’ve been admitted?

If you accept our waitlist option, you’ll be notified by late June whether space has become available in our incoming class.

How do you decide which waitlist applicants you’ll admit?

Since we invited you to be on our waitlist, we strongly believe you have the capability to be successful in college and, if space were available, you could succeed at Michigan. Once we get a clear picture of how many admitted applicants fail to meet the enrollment deposit deadline, we’ll know how many waitlisted applicants to whom we’ll offer admission. From there, we give each application a comprehensive review, focusing on quality of the academic preparation in high school, grades, scores on the ACT and/or SAT, personal characteristics and attributes, responses to the short answer and essay questions, and recommendations from high school counselors and teachers. Most recent grade trend will be evaluated as well. For more information on how we review applications, please reference How We Evaluate Your Application above.

How many applicants are offered admission from the waitlist?

Each year that number varies, based on the number of applications we receive and the individual credentials each applicant brings to the table. Our large waitlist allows us adequate opportunity to fill the variety of academic programs to which we admit, if needed. Here is our data for the past three years.

Applicants who accepted our waitlist offer:
Fall 2017: 37%, or 4,124 applicants
Fall 2018: 41%, or 6,183 applicants
Fall 2019: 39%, or 5,085 applicants

Applicants who were admitted from the waitlist:
Fall 2017: 11%, or 470 applicants
Fall 2018: 7%, or 434 applicants
Fall 2019: 2%, or 106 applicants