Just finished visiting six colleges in the Midwest. Here is my “aha moment” from the University of Michigan.
I thought I knew the university; I’m a Big Ten graduate (from another engineering school) and grew up in the Midwest. UofM is pretty darn urban – a gentler, Midwestern kind of urban – but then aha! I discovered North Campus.
North Campus is about a 10-minute bus ride from Central Campus (the original campus and what we see on student tours). Entering North Campus is like entering a different world. It has an almost suburban feel to it -- modern buildings with clean lines, grass lawns, wide streets with curbs, deciduous trees planted regularly yet sparingly along the road, and lots of sculpture (16 to be exact). North Campus is home to engineering and the arts – makes sense – and sixty percent of freshmen dorms. Read “ Top Ten Things To Do on North Campus” (http://gonorth.umich.edu/article/top-10-things-do-north-campus) and it becomes clear that North Campus is very separate from the rest of the university, which can have both pluses and minuses.
The rest of the visit was more familiar. (A) UofM is big. In fact they claim the most alumni of any university in the world – 547,000. I did not sense a strong emphasis on guidance, though no doubt academic advisors and career center services abound. (B) The university is strong both academically and athletically. It has top ranked engineering and undergrad business schools and the university as a whole is the 4th best public school in the nation (per US News). Athletically, they have 50 national championships in 12 sports. UofM is Ann Arbor and Ann Arbor is UofM…so I guess it should come as no surprise that Ann Arbor was ranked #1 Smartest Big City and #1 Best College Sports Town. Speaking of rankings, UofM’s brochure and information session is full of them on everything imaginable (ranked #3 in the country for Dating).
Consider the University of Michigan if you are self-motivated and are looking for choice among multiple well-regarded academic majors. Being a sports fan is a real plus.