Why just the University of Michigan? Donald Cook, the benefactor of the Cook Family Foundation, attended UM and we have become big fans and resident experts on this world-class institution of higher-learning. We like to tell high school students that UM is a good school to shoot for, because if you have the record to be admitted to UM, you will likely get into any other college in the State of Michigan. Many students we work with look at other Big Ten universities, other highly-rated schools, and even Ivy League colleges. We encourage you to apply to several schools to increase your choices and opportunities; we are always happy to offer advice on the college search process.
What Scholarships do you offer? We award a scholarship to every student from the Shiawassee County area who enrolls at the University of Michigan (see our scholarship page for specific criteria). Typically these one-time scholarships range from $1,500 to $4,000. Importantly, we work with students from Shiawassee County to help them qualify for financial aid and other scholarships from the University of Michigan (see “Can I Afford?” below).
The Donald Cook Scholarship is a $5,000 per year, four-year scholarship awarded annually to a student enrolled in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LS&A). It is based on academic promise and considers the financial need of the applicant. Your scholarship application to the Cook Family Foundation puts you into consideration for this award.
Bruce and Jacqueline Cook work with the Foundation to annually award a four-year, full-tuition scholarship. Students must be nominated for this scholarship; candidates receive a letter of invitation in late August of every year.
I hear about trips to Ann Arbor. Why was I invited? What if I wasn’t invited? All nominees for the Bruce and Jackie Cook Scholarship (see our scholarship page) are invited to an overnight trip to tour the campus. The Foundation also provides a day-trip to Ann Arbor in September for other students. We work with high school counselors to identify students with the likelihood of attending UM. If you were not invited, it could be because you did not choose to send your SAT or ACT scores to UM or because your high school was not aware of your interest or ability. If you would like to go on a tour, contact your high school counselor or Bruce Cook; we would be happy to help you visit the UM Campus.
Can I Get In to the University of Michigan? About one out of four applicants are accepted to UM each year, making it one of the most competitive schools in the state. However, about 40 of the leaders and best students from the Shiawassee County area are typically admitted each year. We are here to help you with your application.
UM looks at every applicant as an individual and does a comprehensive review looking at all factors of academic performance, strength of curriculum, extracurricular activities, and leadership qualities. There is no single criteria that guarantees an acceptance letter, and admission varies with the major you might pursue (e.g. the criteria is different for engineers, nurses, etc.). Of course, very good grades and high SAT scores help, but we have seen many students with grades and scores lower than the averages be admitted. Your class rank, your educational experiences, and your essays are all important factors. You can learn more about the selection process at the UM admissions website. If you think UM is the school for you, you should apply.
Can I Afford the University of Michigan? UM, like many other four-year colleges, is expensive, but it provides more need-based assistance than any other school in Michigan. It is important to not just look at the listed price, especially if your family might be eligible for financial aid, which many from Shiawassee County are. Don’t rule out any school on price until you receive a financial aid offer and all scholarships are awarded. In the fall of your senior year, apply to several schools that you think are a good fit for you. Then fill out your CSS profile and your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) (go here for help with this). You will then get a financial aid offer and scholarships. With all colleges, you have until May 1 to decide.
UM is the only public university in Michigan to cover 100 percent of demonstrated financial need of in-state students, and this can make it the most affordable of choices for students from the Shiawassee County area. This process can be long and at times confusing, but we have been through it many times and can help you sort it all out.
When Should I Apply? When Will I Get an Answer? We encourage you to apply by November 1. While you can apply after this date, an Early Action application prior to November 1 will guarantee you an answer before Christmas. UM uses the Common Application and you can start on it August 1 (see the UM Admissions page for specifics). Be sure to ask a teacher for a recommendation when school starts, and check that your test scores and transcript have been sent to UM. Also, send an application to the Cook Family Foundation (see our page for details).
What if I am wait-listed? Don’t panic. Because UM gets many applications from other parts of the country, they sometimes wait to give an answer to Early Action applicants. In the past few years, several students from the Shiawassee County area have been wait-listed, but then did receive an acceptance in the winter or spring. Hang in there, fill out your financial aid documents, and wait to hear about scholarships. All schools are committed to give you until May 1 to make a decision.
Is the University of Michigan Too Big? There are about 28,000 undergraduates at UM (and another 15,000 graduate students), but it is not the biggest school in the State. It’s size is typical for a research-oriented university and thus UM offers lots (and lots) of class choices, degree options, and opportunities for learning. One of our favorites is UROP (the Undegraduate Research Opportunity Program) that allows first year students to tap into one of the big school advantages. UM is also a diverse place, with students and faculty from all 50 states and many foreign nations. UM won’t feel like your high school; it will certainly expand your world view.
The key to making a large school feel small is to get involved in a student group, and UM has more than 1,400 sports, religious, fraternal, political and other types of organizations. Many students choose to spend their first year in one of the many learning communities that give you an opportunity to combine academics and social life. Still, some Shiawassee students find Ann Arbor a bit of a culture shock at first, but most quickly find their way around, meet some great people, and take advantage of all the UM has to offer. And we won’t abandon you: we are often in touch, offer opportunities to get together with other students from home, and are always here to help.
Is the University of Michigan right for me? Only you can determine that, but we want to be sure that all the best students from the Shiawassee County region take a good look at UM, and know all the facts so they can make the best college decision possible.