How to Write the University of Michigan Essay

How to Write the University of Michigan Essay

As a graduate student, to write the "Why this college" essay is an inevitable part of your admission application for any state college as well as most private ones and universities with out-of-state tuition. The essay is not read separately but with all the information that you provide in your application. This is your only chance to explain to Michigan college admissions readers why you are a good fit for their institution. This is where you become something more than just another candidate's name — it's where you become an individual, and where you can share your personality/goals/experiences, and where you can explain any opportunities or obstacles that could have possibly affected your academic record.

Michigan State University Personal Statement

Michigan State University is interested in learning more about your background, talents, and experiences and how you plan to apply them to your MSU education and future. Choose one of the personal topics below and write a short essay of up to 500 words:

  • Based on your life experiences, how do you anticipate contributing to the cultural life of Michigan State University?
  • In view of your educational experiences and the socio-economic environment in which you grew up, provide an example of a challenge you faced. How did you overcome or strive to overcome this challenge?
  • Describe a specific experience when you learned about a culture different from your own and how it affected or did not affect your worldview.
  • Describe your experiences promoting global understanding and/or the value of diversity in society.

What to write in your Why Michigan Essay

  1. Approach this paper as a "Why we are perfect for each other" one.

Imagine you're on a date and the person sitting across from you leans in to ask, "So, why do you like me?" You can't just say, "Because you're cool." You will have to be a little more specific to answer. In order to prove you and the college are destined for each other, you’ll want to write about connections between the two of you. How?

  1. Create two columns, label one "What I want from Michigan" and the other "What they have."

While conducting a research about Michigan, note about 15 specific reasons why you are great for each other.

For example, if the University has a program in music and business studies, indicate this in the right column. Next to this (in the left column) write down why this program is ideal for you. Or maybe you are interested in taking part in some extracurricular activities or learning Arabic Language and Literature? Indicate it in the left column, and then find something relevant that the school offers either academically or extracurricularly (for your information only, but do not use it in your paper), and put it in the right column.

How does this help? It will take your essay from level of:

Michigan's famous heritage, its awesome activities and cool communities in Ann Arbor are just a few reasons why I believe UM is the right place for me!

to the level of...

I look forward to academic argumentation as well as professional writing, as I believe these courses will provide me with a firm basis in journalistic writing technique and improve my abilities to write analytically and advance firmly-backed arguments. Furthermore, the Professional Writing course will teach me how to write in a pithy, candid style, a skill vital to a journalist.

  1. Mention specific classes, professors, clubs and activities that you will actually be excited about being a part of.

Imagine yourself on campus as a freshman. What are you doing? What conversations are you having? How are you involved? Meaning - "You can't get too specific".

Here's a good gauge to know what’s relevant and appropriate. Ask these questions:

  1. Am I showing that I've done my research?
  2. Am I demonstrating my intelligence?
  3. Am I connecting what they have to what I have/want?

If you’re doing all three, keep it in. If you’re not doing any of these, consider cutting. And - it's worth repeating: often Michigan students only say why the college is awesome. But remember that this essay is not about why it is. The college knows it’s awesome; the admissions readers spend a lot of their time telling students like you why it's awesome. Make important and interesting connections.

  1. Keep in mind this is another chance to show a few more of your skills/talents/ interests/passions.

Try this: make a list of 10 things you definitely want the school to know about you. Ask yourself: are all these values/qualities in my main essay or another supplement? If not, the "Why us" may be a place to include a few more details about who you are. But remember: connect it to some amazing opportunity/program/offering at or near the school.

Drafting and Revising

A draft is a work in progress. A good essay undergoes several revisions - don’t assume that your first draft is your best draft! Composing often involves going back and forth among planning the paper, generating ideas, organizing the contents, and editing the results. Drafting allows you to get the most out of these composing stages. Through the brainstorming and gathering information stages, you have generated the raw material to compose effectively. Now you will begin the process of creating your writing.

Your First Draft

In a first draft, you are attempting to capture your essay’s meaning and get it down on paper. In this way, you are attempting to draw out the essay’s concept. Use your first draft to formulate a working introduction and organize your ideas.

A first draft is often the skeleton of the paper; it contains the overall structure, but may lack a clear theme, vivid language, fully developed paragraphs, and strong transition words and phrases.

Revising Your Draft

The key to revising your essay is to determine how it appears not just to you, but to your reader. So - think like an admissions counselor! Remember that readers need a sense of your essay’s structure and a clear idea of why they should read your essay in the first place.

To revise your essay:

Step One: Concentrate on the whole by examining your essay’s frame: the introduction, the conclusion, and a sentence in each that states your main theme. Ask the following questions: Will my reader know where my introduction ends and where the body of my essay begins? Will my reader know where the body of my paper ends and where my conclusion begins? Will my reader know which sentence is the main sentence in my introduction, and which is the main sentence in my conclusion?

Step Two: Examine your essay for continuity. Make sure that your points work together conceptually - that is, that key points are unified by your writing’s theme.

Step Three: Revise for focus, clarity and depth. Make sure that the skeleton of your personal statement is fleshed out with sufficient examples, fully developed paragraphs, and meaningful prose.