University of Michigan: Transfer Spotlight

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February 4, 2011 in Community College Articles, Credits, Specific College

When people refer to the University of Michigan (U-M), they almost always mean the Ann Arbor campus. From here on, “U-M” denotes the main (Ann Arbor) campus. Note that though U-M-Dearborn and U-M-Flint are also part of the University of Michigan system, transfer students from those schools to U-M are considered new transfers. In this post, we highlight key points primarily for community college transfer applicants.

Brief Background

U-M is a large public, four-year institution with 19 schools and colleges, offering a vast array of areas of study. Sixty-two percent of the students are in-state, which means they benefit from in-state tuition. Nonetheless, a good portion of students are out-of-state, so don’t pass up this school just because you’re not a Michigan resident. You can apply to transfer to one of eleven undergraduate schools or colleges, but you must choose beforehand because the admission process is school/college-specific.

Community College Transfers and U-M

If you’re a community college student looking to transfer to a four-year institution of academic prestige, consider U-M, which is usually considered to be well within the top 50 national universities. Depending on who you ask, U-M may be considered one of the “New Ivies,” comparable to NYU and Northwestern. Very few schools of this caliber have a website devoted exclusively to community college students. Among other useful pieces of information, the website explains that transfers from community colleges are eligible for federal, state, and institutional financial aid, just like other incoming students. In the MythBusters section, FAQs and useful answers are covered. One of the best points covered is closely related to our post on how to overcome a weak high school GPA (click on the link to see our take):

MYTH: Even though I am getting straight As at my community college, my high school grades were bad, which will prevent me from getting into Michigan.

FACT: Not so! We look at the whole person when reviewing applications for admission, not just high-school grades. The fact that your college grades are so much improved will actually work in your favor, because it tells us that you are moving in the right direction. Talking about your struggles in high school and how you overcame them can also be an important part of your essay.

To be a competitive transfer applicant, strive to get straight As in your community college courses. There are over 1,200 incoming U-M transfer students each year, which may sound like a large number, but given the sheer number of transfer applicants–about 3,000 annually–transfer admissions is competitive. Also, consider the bigger picture: in 2006, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, a major supporter of community college transfers, reported that the number of community college students transferring to the most competitive institutions had decreased. In 1984, 22.8 percent transferred to the most competitive public universities, but in 2002, the percentage dropped to 18.8.

Transfer Credit

U-M provides detailed information on transfer credit. The vast majority of undergrads are in the College of Literature, Science, and Arts (LSA). Current (and future) community college students in Michigan aiming to transfer to LSA should carefully review the transfer guide for their specific community college here. We highly recommend that Michigan community college students enter a transfer agreement with your community college. If you’re experiencing difficulty deciphering the guidelines, be sure to visit the transfer counselor at your college.

For students at out-of-state community colleges or other institutions, this page has a list of the general education requirements at LSA. Although not strictly required, these are classes that you really should take to make yourself a more competitive transfer applicant. If you want to apply to other U-M schools or colleges, carefully read the information here. The College of Engineering, for example, has a list of specific prerequisites that you must fulfill to be considered for transfer admission.

Conclusion

Applying to U-M can be a great opportunity, but don’t miss your chance by not adhering to transfer admissions guidelines. Visit the links embedded in this post to get more information!

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11 responses to University of Michigan: Transfer Spotlight

  1. Hi, I have a 3.8 right now at a community college, but I dropped 7 classes in one semester because of illness with W’s. Will that affect my chance greatly even though it’s my first time dropping classes?

    • Hi Jo, it shouldn’t affect your chances provided that the illness indeed justified dropping all those classes. Just make sure you explain somewhere on your application exactly what happened and why you had to drop the classes. If you’re applying using the common app (commonapp.org), a lot of people use the “Additional Information” section to explain unusual situations like this (note that though the space provided there is small, the instructions there do allow you to attach a sheet of paper for more space).

      Best,

      Chris

    • Hey Jo, it may also help if you have a letter from a doctor.

  2. In the Common App essay: Why transfer? Should I mention the school’s name when I customize the essay? For example: University X is perfect from me because….

    • Good question! Don’t write the school name in the main common app essay (they specifically tell you not to). You can talk more specifically about the school you’re applying to in the school’s supplement (or if they don’t provide an opportunity to explain why you want to go to the school in the supplement, you can provide a brief explanation in the “Additional Information” section).

  3. HI Chris and Lan i would like to know what advice you would have on 3/2 years academic programs, such as the program offered between Oberlin College and California Institute of Technology(Caltech). please give your opinion and advice. Thank You

    • Hi Bilal,

      Sorry for taking so long to reply! There’s a wide variety of these programs out there, so it’s tough to generalize. We’re in the process of researching this topic right now and hope to have a blog post out on it soon.

      Thanks for reading,

      Chris

  4. Hi Chris and Lan,

    I read the comment on making sure to try to maintain a 4.0 when transferring to another college. Should I take a fairly difficult course load or just the standard courses like calculus, biology, chemistry, english etc. Thanks.

    • Hi Phuynh3826,

      Thanks for posting! If you’re shooting for a highly, highly selective school, you should take the toughest course load you can handle (particularly in what you want to major in) while still getting straight-As. Obviously, this is easier said than done, so you’ll have to consider carefully how far you can realistically push yourself. Again, I know this isn’t an simple/easy answer, but we hope you still find it useful.

      Best,
      Chris

  5. It sounds like you did everything you could do to prepare yourself for applying to transfer. After setting yourself up for success, all you can do is put together the best transfer application possible. We emphasize these two steps. However, after a certain point, you cannot affect the admission decision.

    To gain an idea of the transfer admission process, I highly recommend listening to this report on the freshman admission process at Amherst, “Behind the Scenes: How Do You Get Into Amherst?”: http://www.npr.org/2011/03/28/134916924/Amherst-Admissions-Process

    Although the report is about the freshman admission process, you might be able to take that information and extrapolate in thinking about the transfer admission process. The main point is that after about 85% of all applicants are weeded out, the admission decision can be tough and even random. Here are some of the most interesting remarks from the report:

    Mr. TOM PARKER (Dean of Admissions, Amherst College): You know, I think the process to anybody who is not inside it is baffling. It’s perplexing.

    SMITH [reporter]: Amherst’s Dean of Admissions Tom Parker is the first to concede the absurdity of passing on such stellar students.

    Mr. PARKER: It’s just that these kids look remarkably similar, and we’re making nuanced judgments. None of us are going to pretend that that’s exact science. You know, it’s a flawed process.

    Mr. DALE HENDRICKS (Associate Dean, Amherst College): Last night I was up and I was just like, wow. And I had a hard time sleeping, to be honest with you.

    Mr. PARKER [Dean of Admissions, Amherst College): Yes, indeed. There are years that it’s great to be a runner and there are years that it’s great to be a lacrosse player, and there are years that it’s great to play the piccolo and there are years that it’s great to play the piano. But the candidate doesn’t know that.

  6. Hi, Christ
    I’m planning to transfer to the Dental Hygiene in U of M, but im not sure what are the specific GE or prerequisites do i need.

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