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Perspective needed!

sevenbabiessevenbabies 20 replies29 threads Junior Member
Hi friends! Our daughter applied to Michigan last year and-along with the other three NMFs with 36s and perfect grades, leadership, all the things- from her school- was not admitted. Which is ok! She ended up in a wonderful place!

However, it’s time for our next child to look around. He’s a stronger student- #1 in his class, class president, varsity athlete/team captain, aced the psat and sat, working on a presidential campaign etc etc. He is a wonderful young man. Should finish with 14 AP courses.

Based on his interests (Econ & policy) and on geography, it makes so much sense to look at Michigan, but we are pretty reluctant about even considering it after the almost nonsensical way it all seemed to unfold for the class of 2019/2023 applicants.

So I thought I’d ask here if things were more reasonable/predictable/understandable this year? Or is the applicant world shrugging in confusion again in this cycle?

Thank you for any perspective you can provide!
11 replies
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Replies to: Perspective needed!

  • dentmom4dentmom4 1454 replies4 threads Senior Member
    Are you OOS? Michigan may think your child applied as a back up plan to the Ivies.
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  • sevenbabiessevenbabies 20 replies29 threads Junior Member
    Yes we are from Ohio. Yikes. How does one combat that thought?
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  • PublisherPublisher 10430 replies130 threads Senior Member
    edited February 15
    Incredible that four students with ACT scores of 36 & "perfect grades, leadership, etc." from Ohio were denied admission to the University of Michigan. Did they all apply to a certain major or school within UM ?

    Where did the four students matriculate ?

    Were the four students active members of The Ohio State boosters club ?
    edited February 15
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  • 4gsmom4gsmom 853 replies29 threads Member
    Yes we are from Ohio. Yikes. How does one combat that thought?

    For other schools, you apply ED. Since Michigan doesn't offer it, you make it as clear as you can that Michigan is the top choice: a really strong "Why Michigan?" essay; certainly a visit.

    I found this in a UM admission blog post from 2017: "Likewise, a student’s interest in the university – as demonstrated through coursework and essays – and fit with our institutional mission and goals have become increasingly critical in distinguishing a top candidate among such a large and qualified pool."
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  • MWolfMWolf 2206 replies14 threads Senior Member
    edited February 15
    Publisher wrote: »
    Incredible that four students with ACT scores of 36 & "perfect grades, leadership, etc." from Ohio were denied admission to the University of Michigan. Did they all apply to a certain major or school within UM ?

    Where did the four students matriculate ?

    Were the four students active members of The Ohio State boosters club ?

    They posted photos of themselves on social media cheering OSU at a football game...
    edited February 15
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  • sevenbabiessevenbabies 20 replies29 threads Junior Member
    They are all happily settled in and thriving at OSU, WashU, Georgia Tech & Purdue, enjoying honors programs, nice scholarships and finding their places with great friends! I’m proud of them!

    Such helpful guidance on here- thank you all!
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2986 replies72 threads Senior Member
    Michigan isn't the only college with inexplicable and head-scratching admissions these days. If his stats are in the ballpark, show UM some love then give it his best shot. The only thing he has to lose is the application fee.

    Good luck!
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 6211 replies26 threads Senior Member
    As stated Michigan is thinking its a back up. Also as stated write to the mission of Michigan.. Read this from GT https://pwp.gatech.edu/admission-blog/2017/05/16/admission-its-not-fair/

    Now go back and read your daughter's essay again. Then read both Michigan's and her current schools Mission statement, moto etc. Which does she follow more?.

    Make sure is clear in the essay that he really wants Michigan without sounding cliché...... "It's my number one dream school"

    My son described the "type" of students he wanted to be around and learn with /, from. It was very direct and honest. It also spoke to the culture at Michigan. We are OOS also. It also followed "Leaders and Best", theme... Hmmm.... Where did I hear that from?. Hmm...

    There is also some luck at play here.
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  • NonamefitsNonamefits 46 replies1 threads Junior Member
    I think you already have some good answers. At Michigan and at other very selective schools, there is somewhat of a lottery component. That is, there are a very large number of people with stats that get them in the "bucket", but then after that decisions have to be made to cut that group down. Even for in state kids, odd things can happen. I know two kids from last year who were in state, got into Georgia Tech, but were deferred from Michigan - one got in on the last round, the other never did. Oddly, one of them had a cousin in Georgia who got into Michigan, but not Tech (their parents joked that the kids' dreams of going to school together did not work out).

    The essays are a chance to impact your "lottery" some. If your son is a junior, he has plenty of time to work on that. Michigan has four essays of its own. I am told they are using those as a chance of really getting a sense of the kid and fit. Think carefully about how you want to come across in those. The more you know about the school, the more you can show the parts of you that would shine there.

    In addition, more than one visit would help also (not just getting in, but his decision of whether he likes the place). You can do a University visit, but also COE has their own as does Ross etc. If he might be interested in more than one, hit them all. It probably is not too bad of a drive. If he can do it this summer, see if they have any summer camps that match his interests. Some of them say they have no impact on admissions, others don't say one way or another. But it is a credible commitment on his part that he understands the place. There are a ton of camps run in engineering and the sciences. All of these will give him things he can talk about in the essay and, more importantly, a real sense of the school.

    Also, call admissions (maybe wait a month or two to let them get past the current rush). Go over your kids schedule and find out if there is anything they are looking for. I know people who did this at Michigan and at some other schools. They get different answers, but you still have senior year to adjust some. For example, I know a kid who wanted to do engineering. He had enough "english" credits with AP junior year and some elective classes Sophomore year that his plan was to just take one term of Speech, which counted as English, his senior year. He got the idea from a tour at one of the tech schools where one of the speakers said load up on math and science by cutting English, History etc to the minimum. But his family contacted a few schools, including Michigan, that said they would not be positive about a year without English (and that was the COE). They did learn that every tech school they spoke to said AP language was nice (more rigor is always better) but the 4 years he had of language was enough. When their daughter was applying a year or two earlier, she was told the AP language was huge in looking for engaged kids. She went to Brown ED. So her parents just took the suggestions from her and carried them forward. But she had been thinking probably history or political science (she wants to go to law school).

    Finally, what is the success rate at your high school for Michigan in general? It is my understanding that they (and I know several other colleges) heavily weight what they know about the high school when looking at grades etc. I don't know what to make of a high school that has 4 kids graduating with perfect grades and a 36 on the ACT. Given that less than 3,000 kids earn a 36 each year, it suggests this must be a very advanced high school. I would think your counselor might need to work with Michigan to make this point. That said, if a ton of kids are graduating with perfect grades, it may make it hard for them to assess the transcripts. Similarly, at my kids school I don't think you could get 14 AP classes. It just would not work in the schedule, plus they really push the kids to not take more than 3 a year (and 0 Freshmen year, with the only option being the CS AP class if kids pick it). While a few AP's are only one term, a lot of them take up an entire year. So with only three years, a kid would really have to max out to get to 10. I don't know any kids who did (and we do have lots of kids getting into "elite" schools, last year included Princeton, Stanford, MIT and Harvard off the top of my head, though those are far from the norm) If there are a bunch of kids taking 10+ at your school, then maybe they give less credit for it (particularly if they are not scoring well on the exams). Imagine you are the AO reading files. If everyone from a school has a bunch of AP's, it may not look as special. So your school counselor would need to help them understand why these kids should not be compared to each other. Harder to see why they would ignore 36's given there are so few. But I have seen statements from AO at top schools saying things along the lines that they really don't see a 35 as being different from a 36 - once you get to the top categories the variation is less predictive of performance. Still, I think something like only 15,000 get a 35 or above and they probably are not all applying to Michigan.

    Sorry this is so long. Hopefully it will give you some ideas on helping your son. If Michigan is the right place for him, it would be worth it. But working through all of this may help him decide it is not the right place.
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  • sevenbabiessevenbabies 20 replies29 threads Junior Member
    Thanks so so much! So helpful. Yes- we had an exceptional graduating class last year- and it was all girls at the top. Beyond the numbers, they are wonderful, generous, funny, humble, genuine young ladies, and I can’t begin to describe how thankful we are that our daughter grew up with such fantastic friends.

    Great coaching for our son! For APs, he did two as a sophomore and received 5s on both (stats & apush) six this year (eng 11, ab calc, physics 1, chem, micro & psych) and signed up for six for next year (calc bc, gov, eng 12, physics 2, environmental, bio) plus also our school offers organic! And he is a math TA for Alg 2. We are thankful they’ve allowed him to embrace these challenges! It’s a great school but it does seem like Michigan is not feeling it with us. We will encourage him to communicate his interest clearly and proactively! And we will trust that God will open and close doors perfectly to guide kids to the right school:)

    Aaaaand then we have five more kids so hopefully we’ll get the crazy college process figured out one day!!!
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  • flutespellflutespell 15 replies8 threads Junior Member
    Wait, what happened with the class of 2019/2023? I ask because that's when I applied and I got in. I wasn't aware of any drama.

    Also, I've heard so much about "perfect grades, perfect SAT, valedictorian, 17 varsity sports, etc...." to be honest, I'm sick to death of it. You must realize that many other people have those things as well. And you must also realize that many people who don't have these things are nonetheless accepted.

    I emphasize that these things mean literally nothing. It might be worrying if your kid's grades are below the university medians, but tacking on that many "accomplishments" might actually be detrimental. Some people (including myself) might wonder if there is any personality left after all of those extracurriculars? In short, is your kid cool? If not, if your kid comes home at 11pm every day to do homework and doesn't have time to relax, I would be extremely worried, both for your child's chances and for their future.

    It might seem like applying to college is a huge deal right now, but you must also consider what happens when you get in—and you will get in, even if it might not be to your first choice. University classes are fundamentally different from high school classes in that they emphasize critical thinking over rote memorization, at least at the moderate/higher levels. If your child is used to working "harder, not smarter," as might be the case when they have too many extracurriculars, they will be at an extreme disadvantage when they attend college.
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