A Student Perspective on University of Michigan

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach—they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Jennifer is a 2012 graduate of University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in communications and psychology. She specializes in English tutoring, math tutoring, reading tutoring, and several other subjects. Check out what she had to say about her time at University of Michigan:

Describe the campus setting and transportation options.

Jennifer: The University of Michigan is situated in the center of Ann Arbor, MI. There are two campuses, the main campus and north campus. Every building on the main campus is an easy 5-10 minute walk. To access North Campus, students must take a bus. The University buses, however, are reliable and run every 5-10 minutes. There are also other bus routes that travel around the main campus.

Some students have a car; however, it is not necessary and it can be very difficult to find parking. Ann Arbor has city buses that can take you beyond campus if you need to go somewhere like the mall or a larger grocery store. The campus is very safe and, since it is in the center of downtown Ann Arbor, retail and restaurants are easily accessible.

How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?

Jennifer:  University of Michigan staff members are very open and accessible. Most professors and teaching assistants hold office hours at least once a week, where you can stop by and ask any questions you may have. When a student is enrolled in a large lecture, they are assigned a teaching assistant. The teaching assistant typically teaches a seminar once a week to go over topics from the lecture and answer any questions.

Students are required to meet with the academic adviser at least once a year, but you can make an appointment with him or her at any time.

How would you describe the dorm life — rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?

Jennifer: There are several dorms on U of M’s campus. Most of the dorms have their own dining hall. Typically, each dining hall has a variety of options, and students can visit any of the dining halls. For example, students can have lunch at a dining hall that is near their class rather than the one located in their dorm.

There are a few different style dorms. Almost all dorms are shared with another student. Some dorms, however, are suites, in which you share a personal bathroom with another pair of students. For others, there is a central bathroom for the hall.

With the exception of the dorms on North Campus, all the dorms are pretty close to all the academic buildings. For students placed on North Campus, most have to take the bus to get to and from class.

Which majors/programs are best represented and supported at University of Michigan?

Jennifer: Many undergraduate students at University of Michigan are enrolled in the school of Literature, Science, and the Arts. This is also the program that I was enrolled in. I enjoyed this program because there is a wide variety of courses available. During my first semester of my freshman year, I took a lot of different courses in order to decide on my major. I originally decided to major in Communications my freshman year, because of my interest in the subject. By my sophomore year, however, I decided to double major in Psychology and Communication. My main critique is that I wish that the university offered more career exploration. For instance, if you are interested in a particular career, having a program to say, ‘These are the courses that will best suit you.’

How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman? Does Greek life play a significant role in the campus social life?

Jennifer: I found it very easy to make new friends and meet people as a freshman. Many people who attend U of M are from out of state and do not know many other students at the university. As a result, everyone is interested in meeting new people. Greek life plays a large role at U of M. I was not part of Greek Life and I found it easy to meet people in other ways.

How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services?

Jennifer: I found the Career Center to be helpful, especially during my senior year. Many companies post their opportunities on the career center website. Additionally, there were workshops available to help improve my resume and other topics that were valuable to finding a job. U of M holds several career fairs throughout the year and many reputable companies attend.

How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges at University of Michigan?

Jennifer: There are a number of different libraries, student unions, and lounges available. I found them very easily accessible. By my sophomore year, I had figured out my favorite spots to study and do work.

Describe the surrounding town.

Jennifer: Downtown Ann Arbor is right next to campus. There are a ton of restaurants, coffee shops, clothing stores, etc. Students go to the downtown area daily because it is so close to campus.

How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?

Jennifer: U of M has a huge student body, but this is something I knew going in and was okay with. I had both large and small classes. Although I did have some lectures that had hundreds of students, each of those lectures had a seminar once a week that had 20 students or less. I also had some other classes that were as small as 8 students. For me, the large classes were not a problem. It may be a factor, however, for someone who is not comfortable with large classes. Most of my large classes were during freshman year. By the time I was a senior, most of my classes were pretty small (10-50 students).

Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.

Jennifer: One of my favorite classes at the University of Michigan was Positive Psychology with Professor Christopher Peterson. Professor Peterson was one of the founders of Positive Psychology, and therefore, was very knowledgeable about the topic. His lectures were always very enjoyable and filled with laughter. Unfortunately, I learned that Dr. Peterson passed away after I graduated, but I know that his ideas of optimism and character live on at the University as they have lived on in my own life.


Check out Jennifer’s tutoring profile.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.