Perhaps the most unusual fun fact about the University of Michigan, ranked #45 among schools on the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings, is that it was founded in 1817, twenty years before Michigan was even a state. The beautiful campus, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is home to more than 42,000 students; over 27,000 of those are undergraduates who are enrolled in 13 schools that offer 250 degree programs.
Undergraduates can choose from nationally ranked schools of literature, science, and the arts; architecture and urban planning; art and design; business; dentistry; education; engineering; kinesiology; music, dance, and theatre; nursing; pharmacy; public policy; and information. The most popular majors by enrollment are economics, experimental psychology, political science, business administration, and English. Special academic opportunities include collaborative specialized studies in First-Year Seminars, or independent and fully supported research in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program.
Michigan students can research health care in Bangladesh, study language in Peru, learn about Central European politics in Poland, or participate in any one of over 100 international programs through the Center for Global and Intercultural Study. Michigan is ranked #15 in the world among the Times Higher Education world reputation rankings. The opportunities at this school are unbounded. The University also boasts Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning faculty, in addition to Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellows, Carnegie and Fulbright scholars, Emmy winners, and more. A full 97% of the faculty teach undergraduates. Famous alumni include actress Lucy Liu; the co-founder of Google, Larry Page; and former U.S. President Gerald Ford. Dreams really do come true at the University of Michigan.
Freshmen are guaranteed housing in one of the 18 dorms or apartments on campus. The entire campus is smoke-free indoors and out, and 28% of student housing is substance free. Gender inclusive housing for students who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming is available upon request. The University of Michigan has over 60 Greek fraternities and sororities and involves 17% of undergraduate students. University Unions offer study spaces, computer access, billiards and games, galleries and music, restaurants and cafes, and venues for student events. Students can make an impact on or off campus by joining one of over 1000 student-run organizations, or giving back through volunteering at the Ginsberg Center.
The University of Michigan has 13 men’s and 14 women’s NCAA Division I sports teams competing in the Big Ten Conference. An athletic powerhouse, Michigan athletic teams have amassed a whopping 56 national championships in 12 sports since winning their first national football title in 1901. They’ve produced 307 individual national champions in 13 sports, three of which were in the 2013-14 school year. During the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, of the three American Olympic ice dancing teams, 5 members were from the University of Michigan; one pair, Michigan students Meryl Davis and Charlie White became the first Americans to take home the gold. Michigan not only draws top intellectual talent, but top athletic talent to the school, who are wildly supported by an enthusiastic Ann Arbor community.
Michigan has a plethora of traditions, some of which revolve around football. Each year when Michigan plays Michigan State, the rivalry involves the protection of the Paul Bunyan Trophy from the opposing team’s graffiti. The Michigan vs. Minnesota rivalry is played for the Little Brown Jug, which is the oldest in the Big Ten, has a comical origin between the two schools. The granddaddy of all football rivalries is with Ohio State, called “the greatest sports rivalry of the 20th century” by ESPN. Among the many game day traditions, one of the longest and most interesting is that for every home game, Michigan reserves a stadium seat in an undisclosed location for their former head coach, Fritz Crisler; when attendance is announced, the number is always +1 in his honor. The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house creates a mud pit each Homecoming on Saturday afternoon where rival fraternities play full contact mud football. Other school traditions include painting the rock at the corner of Washtenaw and Hill Streets and kissing under the Engine Arch at midnight.
Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan are an integrated community. The urban school is fully embraced and supported by the business community and the community at large. On football Saturdays, the energy and sense of community in the city is palpable; they love their Wolverines. Ann Arbor also has a thriving arts and cultural scene, an incredible variety of great restaurants along restaurant row downtown, and a passion for the outdoors. There are over 156 parks in the city, many along the Huron River, which offer all kinds of outdoor activities year round. The city of 115,000 has a wholesome, down-to-earth vibe mixed with the high energy of people who are passionate about innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship. They warmly embrace an intellectual exchange with University students and offer abundant opportunities to work together.
If you’re looking for a vibrant, urban school where you’ll feel welcomed and at home, as well as challenged and inspired, the University of Michigan should be on your short list.
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By Colleen Hill