How to get into the University of Michigan 2021: Acceptance Rate & Tips

With more than 31,000 undergraduate students at its flagship Ann Arbor campus, and touting the #1 research volume of any public university in the USA, the University of Michigan is a behemoth in American higher education.

This is further evidenced by its vast network of alumni, of whom more than 630,000 are thriving across the country and the globe. The university regularly pulls students from all 50 states and more than 130 countries: it is iconic not only because of its academic excellence, but its athletic prowess and the unparalleled school spirit of the Wolverines. 

Remarkably, despite its size and versatility, Michigan maintains extraordinarily high admissions standards for its students. For 2020’s first-year entering class, the university received a whopping 65,021 applications, of which it gave acceptances to just 16,974 students. This acceptance rate of just about 26% is particularly impressive when you consider the caliber of student admitted. The median GPA of one of these admits was no less than 3.90, with middle 50th percentile SAT and ACT scores ranging from 1380-1550 and 32-35 respectively. 

The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Acceptance Statistics: Class of 2024

Applications AdmittedAcceptance rateMedian GPA
65,02116,97426.1%3.9




SAT Scores

Overall SAT score 1380–1540
Evidence based
Reading and Writing680-760
Math700-790
Note: Overall SAT score (middle 50th Percentile Ranges)

ACT Scores

Overall ACT score 32–35
English33-35
Math30-35
Reading33-36
Science31-35
Note: Overall ACT score (middle 50th Percentile Ranges)

The numbers are daunting to say the least. But they don’t always give the full picture. And they’re representative of macro trends in worldwide education that are outside any single person’s control. That’s why it’s more effective to first understand these numbers in context, then use your time to focus on preparing your own personal application as best you can. 

What do you need to apply to the University of Michigan?

In order to apply to the University of Michigan, you will need to submit a completed Common Application or Coalition Application, in addition to providing the school-specific requirements listed below. The university has also introduced some noteworthy changes for the 2021-22 application cycle, including greater flexibility on recommendation writers, the option not to report standardized test scores, and encouragement to explain how COVID has impacted your academic performance and life. 

If you’re applying Early Action to the University of Michigan, you will need to submit your entire application package before the deadline of November 1. 

Here is the essential checklist of materials and information you will need to prepare and submit in order to be considered for admission to the University of Michigan:

It’s worth noting that there are several other programs, for instance in Architecture and Urban Planning, Art & Design, and Music, Theatre, & Dance that have additional application requirements. If you plan to apply to one of these programs, get the full details using the list at the bottom of the University of Michigan’s Requirements & Deadlines page

What is the University of Michigan looking for?

Beyond top academic aptitude, the University of Michigan seeks students committed to community impact and influential in their community’s spirit. Though they receive a staggering number of applications, the admissions committee is dedicated to carefully reviewing each student in the context of their circumstances. They also believe an applicant should be outstanding in several areas, not just one. Thus, they gauge academic achievement and extracurricular engagement thoughtfully, seeking to weigh a student’s contributions to their school and the people around them. Each application undergoes evaluation by multiple evaluators, who give the applicant a rating on these five criteria:

  1. Secondary School Academic Performance
  2. Educational Environment
  3. Counselor and Teacher Recommendation
  4. Essays
  5. Awards/honors, involvement, leadership, and service

Each of these five factors are rated on a scale of 1-5, but they are not treated as standalone measures of a student’s potential. Instead, they are weighed one against another carefully until a final decision can be made.

For more information on the University of Michigan’s rating system and the principles underlying their admissions process, see the university’s Selection Process page.

How can you get into the Univeristy of Michigan?

There are a variety of ways an ambitious high school student can approach the University of Michigan application in order to maximize their chances of admission. The specific decisions of what to highlight and how to make it unforgettable boil down to individual life stories and circumstances that have shaped you into who you are today. That crucial piece of the application—the storytelling—can only come from intensive reflection and earnest hard work. However, there are certainly decisions you can make to position yourself to submit a profile that bolsters your personal story and provides you top ratings on several of the University of Michigan’s criteria:

If you’re able to achieve an outstanding GPA in the hardest classes, engage meaningfully with personal interests and community problems, and demonstrate an ability to take charge of your own goals by acting on your principles, you’ll set yourself up to submit an application that will impress the University of Michigan Admissions Committee. None of this is easy, but if you’re deeply motivated to be at the University of Michigan, use every tactic we’ve listed above in order to show it.

What are your chances of getting into the Univeristy of Michigan?

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