U-M Shares Community Essay Tips

by Kim Lifton

What does the University of Michigan want to know about you from the supplemental essay about community?

Here’s the prompt:

Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it.

In a recent interview with Wow, Kim Bryant, U-M’s assistant director of admissions, offered some insight for students who are responding to this prompt.

Tip #1: Show who you are outside the classroom.  “We have an amazing, vibrant, thriving community mixed up of students in athletics, strong academics, research, over 1,200 student clubs and organizations. We want to know what they do to stand out. What do they do in their community, church, high school, synagogue, mosque? What are they going to do on our campus to make a difference in the world?”

Tip #2: The essay is your interview. “We don’t do interviews, so I tell students, this is your interview. Let me know who you really are.”

Tip #3: Tell a story. “I like reading a personal story that is tied to real life. I like it when I can hear a student’s voice. Storytellers are always good.”

Before you start writing, ask yourself what you would like the university to know about you. Then brainstorm for subject ideas. Did you start a club at school? Do you spend weekends with your youth group? Do you organize basketball games for the kids in your neighborhood? Perhaps you are a member of the debate or sports team or tend a community garden. Once you find a subject, tell a story to illustrate your point.

The regular admissions deadline to the University of Michigan is just weeks away (Feb. 1), so time really is running out to wrap up your application.

Kim Lifton is president of Wow Writing Workshop. If you want help with your essays, visit Wow Writing Workshop. Our expert writing coaches are available to read essays at any stage of the process. Upload them here for a thorough review, or try our new self-guided online tutorial for college application essay writing, Wow Online – College Essay. And check out our advice on U-M’s other supplemental essay.