Michigan State University or the University of Michigan?

I was accepted into Michigan State University and I was waitlisted by the University of Michigan. However, I have just received an email saying that I will be guaranteed admission as a transfer for sophomore year, because although they ran out of spots they still want me there. I want to major in Biology and minor in political science. At MSU I would major in Human Biology.
I have a lot of friends going to MSU. My best friend would be my roommate. I know everything about MSU and nothing about U of M. My question is, should I do all four years at MSU or transfer to Michigan? I would lose my new friends at MSU, and because people would have established friend groups already I would have trouble making friends at Michigan. I am Premed and I want to go to Michigan’s med school. My biggest worry is that I will have trouble adjusting at Michigan. Can you give me any answer as to what you would do?

Pros as I see them for Michigan:
More prestigious
Better chance of getting into their medical school
Ann Arbor is a better city than east lansing

Most Michigan students are upper middle class and white and I am working class and black, so I don’t know if I could make friends
Michigan students tend to be more cliquey and pretentious
My friends that are all going to State would disown me possibly

Pros at MSU
Familiar with campus
Large support group on campus
Comfortable with school
Nice people
Not as competitive
Human bio major

Less prestigious
Costs 2000 dollars more a year

Please help me make this difficult choice. First I was deferred from Michigan and I had to wait, then I was wait listed and had to wait, and now this and I have to wait. U of m said they would accept me if I maintain a 3.0 and 12-15 transferrable credits. I would even have to apply as a transfer.

Ordinarily the more prestigious offer is the more expensive one, but if in this case it isn’t, that makes for an interesting decision. I don’t really know which would be better - can you just wait and see how you feel after freshman year at MSU?

They told me to reply by February of 2016 at the very latest. I’m sort of worried that if I wait that late I will convey a sense of disinterest.

JordonChessBoy, some of your points are obviously very valid, but others not so much.


“Better chance of getting into their medical school”

I don’t think medical schools differentiate between Michigan and MSU. Michigan may have more resources, but I am sure MSU will offer all that is required for premeds.

“Most Michigan students are upper middle class and white and I am working class and black, so I don’t know if I could make friends.”

While it is true that many students at Michigan come from upper and upper middle income households, many, like you, come from middle and lower middle income households. So if you have a desire to only be friends with students from who come from a similar household income, you shouldn’t have too much trouble. That being said, why would household income be a concern when choosing friends? Wouldn’t be more effective to seek out friends with similar personalities, interests, values etc…, regardless of their parents’ financial situation? Either way, with 28,000 undergraduate students, I am sure you will find your niche.

“Michigan students tend to be more cliquey and pretentious”

Who told you that? Just because students are, on average, wealthier and more academically inclined, does not make them “cliquey or pretentious”. You will obviously have such elements on any campus, but you can easily choose to ignore them.

“My friends that are all going to State would disown me possibly”

What kind of friend would disown you for going to another university? Probably not one worth keeping.


“Nice people”

As opposed to Michigan meanies? :wink: Come on, both universities are huge and will have thousands if nice people.

I went to MSU. I love MSU. But overall, you will have better opportunities at Michigan. You should go to U of M.

Very good points guys thanks. My experiences with white upper middle class men in high school was entirely negative. All of them went to Michigan. That’s where my bias comes from. I went to a predominantly white high school and the “preppy” white people simply wouldn’t treat me as an intellectual equal.

So, at some point in the last year, you must have written an essay as part of your Michigan app that said why you wanted to go there, no? Are those reasons still true? Think about your comment above. You are basing your opinion of Michigan on what 5 people? UofM has 40,000 students. We aren’t all like those guys.

In the end, it’s what do you want? You will have great opportunities at either school.

I think it is absolutely fine to wait until close to the February deadline to reply. They guaranteed admission if you achieve the GPA didn’t they?

While I would normally advise to accept a Michigan offer, I think you should wait until after your 1st semester to see how you feel then. No harm in that.

I don’t think the demographics of UofM is anymore different than that of Michigan State. Both schools draw from the same high school pool of students. Yes, the average SAT/ACT scores of UM students might be higher, but there are many students at Michigan State that are from very wealthy backgrounds also. UM has a large population of students from different socioeconomic backgrounds, many of whom are African American (AA) students and the university has programs in place to attract and retain AA students.

If you are a Pre-Med student, you should have no problem maintaining a minimum of a 3.0 and be able to transfer to UofM come 2016. If you want to get into any of the top rated medical schools (including U of M medical school) you should be aiming at a GPA of 3.5 and above. I don’t think you will have any problems making new friends at U of M given the diversity of the university. If you do decide to attend, I would suggest that you start in the Summer 2016 term, taking “non-premed” courses and getting better acclimated to the university, giving you an opportunity to start meeting students from ALL backgrounds before the rush of incoming students for fall 2016.

Based on raw numbers, UM have more students applying to medical school than all universities in the US, except UCLA. You need to convince yourself that you are just as good as any other UMich student, study hard, get the best grades possible and get into a medical medical school. Remember, the best medical school is the one you get into!

I mean, maybe it’s because I’m white, but in college, I’ve never even witnessed the type of exclusion you seem to be worried about. The only time I’ve ever seen anything to do with race is when people join groups that are based in racial pride and consider this to be more important than studying. I go to school in the Midwest and am pretty sure that anyone you want to be friends with will realize that the amount of melanin in your cells has nothing to do with your brain capacity.

Both schools are large and will have multiple groups of people that enjoy doing different things. I wouldn’t worry about that culture at a school that large. And for medical school, just because you go there doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll let you in more than another applicant. Medical school is extremely competitive, so it’s kind of turned into a numbers game. You’ll have as much of a chance to go to that specific medical school as any other student that applied with the same background and scores. And I know it seems unlikely now, but your plans may (and very likely will) change at least to some degree. Make a decision based on what your needs are now, not on a medical school decision that is 4 years down the line.

@JordonChessBoy On the topic of people, I have to say that I don’t really see the exclusion you’re talking about. I’m not black, but I’m still a minority race (Asian) and I found making new friends at orientation quite easy. It’s all about throwing yourself out there - there’s always going to be others in your situation. In the worst case scenario, you could always just avoid the people who remind you of those guys from your high school.

I’m a UM grad so it pains me to say this but you’re probably better off at MooU for pre-med. The weed out classes at Michigan are brutal and you don’t really get any bonus points that will help you get into UM Med. Go to MSU, get a 4.0, be in the honors program, smoke the MCAT and that will get you into a good medical school.

I do take exception with your characterization of UM students in general though. Even though I’m an upper middle class white guy. There is a ton of socioeconomic diversity in AA. Not so much URM diversity but there are a lot of kids from the wrong side of the tracks. They aren’t all snobby but they are all smart.

The quality of students at UM is much, much higher. Michigan has fewer blacks as a proportion of the student population compared to MSU, but a better ‘division’ is Michiganders vs OOS (especially New Yorkers) and internationals, who tend to be wealthier that your average UM student. MSU is almost entirely in-state. There are lots of white, brown and black students at UM and no one cares (I’m mixed-never had any issues in UG and Grad school) whether in class or socially . Same goes with the professors. The one thing that they all have in common is that they are intelligent and talented, and work and play hard. It is a real achievement to graduate from UM and will definitely help in medical school admissions. Research opportunities are much larger too- UM is the 2nd largest research university by budget in the USA.

My wife’s office hired an UG research student to help around the office mostly doing filing. By the time he left 3 years later, he had is name as a PI on research papers and was presenting to doctors at national conferences (as an UG!) and had stellar recommendations when he applied to medical school. Granted, this is unusual but it is indicative of what an ambitious student can achieve at Michigan.

Ann Arbor is a little more expensive than E Lansing, but you said UM is $2K cheaper for you. That $2K will go a long way in making up the difference in higher rents. Food is really great compared to E Lansing too.

If you are concerned about bonding with other black men, I suggest you look at joining the Alphas or another fraternity. . The Alpha chapter at UM has a great and storied tradition, and was founded in 1909. There are also other social fraternities and science/engineering based fraternities (a big help!)

You have to be very careful about transfer credits between MSU and UM because of difference in semester/quarter systems. Check with the admissions office - they have charts specifying which classes transfer.

I agree about the UM weeder classes, like organic chemistry. That being said, there are routes around them. You might also decide to switch majors, and UM has better programs in every area except Physics.

If you have the opportunity, I would definitely go the transfer route.

I will warn you…the Umich is incredibly hard. It is very common to see valedictorians get C’s in courses, while I can’t say the same about MSU. Umich will give you a better shot at getting into a top tier school, but if you just want to go to any medical school I’d stick with MSU.

Average grades at UM are A- in the liberal art/social sciences and B+ in engineering/hard sciences. I won’t dispute that some classes are very hard, but UM also admits many of its own undergrads to its medical school.

MSU has a higher percentage of both white and black students than UM. UM has a higher percentage of Asian students.

MSU has a higher percentage of students on Pell grants (24%) than UM does (16%), despite UM’s apparently better in-state financial aid.

UM has very high percentage of out-of-state students (49%); it is unlikely that MSU’s percentage of out-of-state students is that high.

Average grades are A- in UM LAS? Really? Grade inflation anyone?

“Average grades at UM are A- in the liberal art/social sciences and B+ in engineering/hard sciences.”

Where did you get this information from? The average GPA at LSA is 3.4 (B+) and the average GPA at the CoE is 3.0.

“Average grades are A- in UM LAS? Really? Grade inflation anyone?”

Believe everything you read online…anyone? :wink:

You should go to U of M. My daughter had a similar dilemma…her friends (and boyfriend) at MSU, but better options for her career at U of M. We’re also working class. (less than 70K/year). I could not believe the difference in the amount of aid each college was able to offer my daughter. At MSU, she would graduate with over $50K of student debt. At U of M, under $15K (and possibly debt free, if she works summers).

Also, there is more money for grad school at U of M. U of M has a massive amount of aid available (grants, scholarships, workstudy) that MSU does not.

U of M has summer jobs available in research, and they have a RESEARCH HOSPITAL…something that MSU does not have.

If you want to be a doctor, go to the college affiliated with one of the best research hospitals in the country (and world).

It is not an easy school. My daughter was fifth in her class, always an overachiever A student. At U of M, she is a B average student.

Socially, you’ll do fine. It is a HUGE school with kids from every background you can imagine. She has not had any problem finding friends or fitting in. Best thing to do is join some student organizations and put yourself out there.

She loves U of M now, and has no regrets. It’s a $12 bus ride between U of M and MSU, round trip. Sometimes it’s good to be away from your old friends when you need to study (Time management is your friend in pre-med and medical school). Plan visits for weekends with lighter academic demands. Ann Arbor is a fantastic town…your friends will love to visit:)

For the record, my daughter is a Cellular and Molecular Biology major.