The University of Michigan College Experience

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Fun received his bachelor’s degree in engineering and his master’s degree in accounting at the University of Michigan. He is currently a tutor in New York City specializing in accounting, finance, and economics, among other subjects. See what he had to say about his experience at the University of Michigan:

VT: Describe the campus setting and transportation options. How urban or rural is the campus? Did you feel safe on campus? Are there buses or do you need a car/bike?

Fun: The University of Michigan campus is very safe. It is located in a suburban setting in the beautiful small town of Ann Arbor, located roughly 45 minutes from Detroit Metro Airport. The Ann Arbor and campus bus systems cover all of your transportation needs from commuting between North and South campus, and trips to the mall or grocery store. You do not need a car on this campus.  

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

Fun: The professors are busy, but the teaching assistants will provide time during office hours and post-class time. It is wise to use the study sessions prior to exams.

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

Fun: The University of Michigan requires that freshmen live in the dorms during their first year, which is a remarkable experience, in my opinion. To be so close to such a diverse background of intelligent, social, energetic kids is an amazing experience. I still keep in touch with the network built during that first year at the dorms. The rooms were small and fit only two beds and two desks. There was a common bathroom area for all of the males on the floor. You can also meet other students in the cafeterias, gyms, and communal study areas of the various dorms. There are tons of restaurants in Ann Arbor with many types of ethnic cuisine such as Chinese, Thai, Indian, Mongolian, Middle Eastern, and Ethiopian. There are also tons of coffee shops.

VT: Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? What did you study and why? Did the university do a good job supporting your particular area of study?

Fun: I studied engineering and business, so my experience surrounds the accounting, finance, and industrial engineering departments. The University of Michigan has top-notch computer labs and research facilities. The university gave me a very strong academic foundation and work ethic that I still take with me. Because it is such a big school, one has to be a self-starter and find the right people to help you along the way.

VT: 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?

Fun: The school is huge and the student body is even larger. I strongly suggest joining as many organizations and student groups to network and meet people. The school has a large out-of-state population, and Greek life is huge on campus. Football also carries a lot of weight, so go out, watch some games, and make friends. You can also make friends in specialized student groups and academic societies.

VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?

Fun: From my perspective as a business student, the Career Center provided me with the tools to connect with employers and helped me develop a resume. Many large companies such as Ernst and Young, Deloitte, and PriceWaterhouse recruit at the University of Michigan.

VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?

Fun: The Media Union on North campus was my favorite place to study, with its high ceilings, top-notch computers, and accessible printers. The Shapiro Undergraduate Library on central campus is where many students go for more casual studying. The graduate and law libraries have very quiet study areas. It gets busy during exam time, so some students study in the student union for a more bustling scene.  

VT: Describe the surrounding town. What kinds of outside establishments / things to do are there that make it fun, boring, or somewhere in between? To what extent do students go to the downtown area of the city versus staying near campus?

Fun: College sports are huge at the University of Michigan. We usually have the largest football attendance in the country, with over 100k capacity. Basketball and hockey games are also fun to attend. The campus and downtown are very close to each other, so students go to both on weekends.

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

Fun: It is a large student body at roughly 50,000 students. The introductory classes at the University of Michigan are large, mostly set up in large lecture halls with more than 400 students. When you are specialized in your program, you are in a typical class size of around 30 students. I enjoy the small group size.

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

Fun: My most memorable class experience was a group trip to the hospital to examine their patient data and analyze trends using statistical tools. It was real-world experience that gave the class life.

Check out Fun’s tutoring profile.

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