The University of Michigan Ann Arbor
The University of Michigan Ann Arbor - Comments and Student Experiences|
Honestly, don't allow it to fool you: the university is a predominantly white institution that expects relentless praise for its few social justice efforts (ex. a presentation about micro-aggressions). The campus's LGBTQ environment amounts to a few organizations and a nightclub that has a "gay night." Never mind the fact that most students spew sexist, racist, heteronormative, classist, and/or transphobic comments on a daily basis. Personally, I've never experienced so much blatant homophobia in my life, and my town is easily the most reactionary in its county.
This segues into the next problem: the student body. Dear Christ, has there ever been a more complacent, egotistical student body? Excluding the Ivy League, of course. However, unlike the Ivy League, gaining admission here is not a significant accomplishment. The academic requirements are above-average. The slogan "Leaders and the Best" is just that?a slogan! Tragically, most students believe they ARE leaders and the best...somehow. One would imagine that the students, at some point during their four years here, would listen to their peers' comments and observe their (lack of) academic passion and realize the superficiality of the slogan. Instead, you have the vast majority of students parading around as though everyone owes them everything. This doesn't even comment upon their collective classism and exclusionary behaviors. Obviously, not everyone here is like this, but most are?probably around 75% or so. Why subject yourself to that?
As for academics, they're lackluster. As others have noted, the graduate programs here excel and earn the school international renown. The undergrad programs, especially those involved with LSA, aren't anything special. Only one of my classes, an art history course, has challenged my perspective, and it's worth noting that this is my only class taught by a passionate professor. The others disappoint me. A GSI teaches my math class. Every time I bother to attend the "class"?I've given up hope on his ability to teach long ago?students correct his basic mistakes during notes. Then, he silently slumps around the room after he assigns group problems. Ugh. I'm currently in an upper-level English class, and my professor (yes, professor, not GSI) consistently confuses "its" with "it's." Worse yet, she often fails to remember characters' names and their roles from the novels we read. How the hell does the university have the audacity to brand itself as a world-class undergraduate institution when it employs village idiots as professors?!
Thus, one might ask what the positives are. Ann Arbor. It's very beautiful and has several amazing restaurants, bookstores, shops, etc. There are also several nice nature areas engrained around the city. It's a wonderful location to live as an adult. The university's campus itself is also quite stunning, though it feels like a perpetual construction site. But you can at least enjoy the areas that aren't currently polluted by noise.
The academics are also very easy, so that might appeal to a certain type of slacker. The entire place feels like a high-end resort that's filled with snobby suburbanites. Don't expect your experience to be different if you're enrolling in LSA, excluding the obligatory mid-term "hell week."
I can easily state that enrolling here was one of my life's worst decisions. I blindly accepted the university's lies, but within my first week here, I realized that I had made a mistake. It's not the superior intellectual institution that it once was, nor is it the bastion of social and artistic progress it once was. Seriously, to future freshmen who have recently become disillusioned and are considering a transfer, do it! I allowed it a semester to prove its worth, and if anything, it only has further appalled me. At least apply to other universities now so that you have the option to transfer later. I didn't. Now I have to waste another semester here before I can transfer to a better university next fall. I have no idea how I'm going to survive another semester here.To reiterate: if you're a grad student, apply here; if you're an undergrad, apply to another university. To one that will treat you as an individual. To one that lacks an arrogant student body.