What To Know About Michigan Learning Communities - Part One

Learn about the many options at U-M.

By Michigan Learning Communities Guest Bloggers April 4, 2024
What To Know About Michigan Learning Communities - Part One

Michigan Learning Communities (MLCs) are diverse groups of students and faculty drawn together by shared goals and common intellectual interests. They combine the personal attention of a small college environment with the unparalleled resources of a large research university. In this two-part mini blog series, MLC students will share some highlights of their personal experiences.

For incoming students, students who apply for an MLC by the early deadline of April 7 at 11:59 p.m. EDT will know their status by April 17. Otherwise, all applications are due at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Monday, May 6!


Ashlyn Perry (Michigan Community Scholars Program)

When I chose to come to the University of Michigan, I knew that I wanted to be intentional about the academic and social communities with which I surrounded myself. As an out-of-state student, I did not have any family members or high school friends in the area who I could turn to if I needed support. I also knew that forming relationships with others who shared similar academic and personal interests would be crucial to finding a sense of belonging when I got to campus. As I began looking for opportunities to connect with other first-years and upperclassmen, I came across the Michigan Learning Community (MLC) applications and began reading through the different opportunities that each community offered. I was unsure about applying and nervous about the additional commitments I would have when I got to campus.

However, I can easily say that applying to an MLC was one of the best decisions I made entering U-M. Being in an MLC offered myself and the other students the chance to get to know one another as soon as we got to campus. Through the intentional programming and service opportunities that were offered to me beginning on move-in day, I began to know my hallmates, peer-mentors, resident advisors (RAs), and other staff members. Knowing what resources I had available to me and how to access them immediately provided me with a sense of comfort despite the new sense of independence and responsibility that I felt moving to college far from home.

The Michigan Community Scholars Program (MCSP) stood out to me, as volunteerism and community service were integral parts of my high school experience. I felt that the experience I could have in MCSP would not only complement my pre-health coursework, but also allow me to grow as an advocate and individual overall. Another factor that stood out to me was MCSP’s engagement in the local Ann Arbor community. Throughout my first year here, I have volunteered with organizations such as Therapeutic Riding, Inc. in Ann Arbor, Mercy House, Community Action Network (CANS), and other groups. The other MCSP students and mentors with whom I have served have since become some of my closest friends. 

MCSP also regularly puts on events with the Intergroup Relations Council (IRC) and Programming Board (PBU). I have engaged in really meaningful dialogues with other MCSPeers and explored a variety of social justice topics, both of which have shaped my perspectives and allowed me to learn more about myself and others. On the MCSP floor and around West Quad, I have had the chance to participate in a variety of wellness events. Topics range from mental and physical wellness to financial wellness and other areas of interest. Having space to reflect on my academic and extracurricular involvements and integrate aspects of wellness into my college life has been very beneficial.

Looking back, I am very grateful that my pre-college self decided to take the risk and apply to an MLC. Regardless of what communities you are excited to be a part of on campus, I hope that you too feel the same excitement and pride that I feel as a student in MCSP! Go Blue!


Ashlyn Perry

Author bio: Ashlyn Perry (she/her) is a first-year undergraduate student in the Michigan Community Scholars Program (MCSP), studying movement science in the School of Kinesiology. She is passionate about disability advocacy on campus, serving as a peer-buddy in the U-M Best Buddies Program, an undergraduate representative for Disability Culture @ U-M, and a volunteer at Therapeutic Riding, Inc. in Ann Arbor. She is also a research assistant in the Motor and Visual Development Laboratory and a member of several pre-health student organizations. Additionally, she loves to participate in Cooking in Community, volunteer with MCSP, and explore downtown Ann Arbor with friends!


Saran Nimmagadda (Honors Program) 

College. A six-letter word for possibly the most transformative, overwhelming, exciting experience many embark on in their lives. This is especially true for the University of Michigan, a gloriously vast and diverse campus filled with unique and innovative ideas, individuals, and experiences. However, it is so exceedingly easy to be swept away by the sheer magnitude of what the journey of college entails, while feeling like another fish in the sea, another student fighting for a spot on the blue bus, another teary individual leaving an exam hall. So, how can we shorten and rewrite the scary, six-monomer word “college” into something a bit more digestible and comfortable? MLCs. Short for Michigan Learning Communities, these amazing programs truly are just that: a community – like the LSA Honors Program that I’m part of.

Coming from a small high school with a graduating class of fifty students, a majority of my educational career up till college had centered around this idea of a core group of individuals whom I learned with and learned from. Therefore, transitioning into such a large academic setting left me without this sense of support. Every day, I yearned to at least see one person I recognized, who also recognized me in these large hundred-student STEM lectures. This was when the concept of an MLC was introduced to me. Many Michigan Learning Communities are limited to a few hundred students and are composed of individuals passionate about a topic or even a range of ideas. Students in these communities often take similar classes simply due to their shared interest in a topic. For example, the Health Science Scholars Program unites students specifically passionate about healthcare who might take similar STEM or public health classes together.

These Michigan Learning Communities, as clearly stated in their name, hope to foster a sense of companionship and camaraderie – or in other words, a home within a home for students to fall back on and understand that they are not alone in their journey through college. Through these programs, I finally found my core, my support system, and my community. We would often cry over organic chemistry homework, ponder the meaning of life and our role in the universe, run to the nearest 7-11 for sweet treats, and take a long walk through the Law Quad to wrap up the night, all with a group of people who I knew would be saving me a seat in our 8 a.m., would buy me an energy drink because they knew I had an exam the next day, or would be by my side as we pulled another all-nighter. In this way the MLCs combine the two most important aspects of academics, the “learning” and the “community,” by acting as a catalyst for these social interactions between students who can explore their diverse interests while simultaneously creating lasting relationships.


Saran Nimmagadda

Author bio: My name is Saran Nimmagadda, and I am a sophomore majoring in molecular, cellular and developmental biology with a minor in data science. I am on the pre-medical track and am involved with research on campus as well as a variety of health-related clubs. In my free time, I love to cook, eat good food, and relax with yoga or pilates. My hometown is Novi, Michigan so I am a Michigan local!

Michigan Learning Communities Guest Bloggers