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The University of Michigan vs Washington University in St. Louis: A Comprehensive Guide

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a woman looking calm breathing the air

The University of Michigan vs Washington University in St. Louis: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you considering applying to either University of Michigan or Washington University in St. Louis? It can be challenging to discern the differences between these two great universities. This article is intended to provide you with a comprehensive comparison of University of Michigan vs Washington University in St. Louis and the major factors to consider when evaluating these two schools.

Admissions Requirements: How to Get into University of Michigan and Washington University in St. Louis

University of Michigan and Washington University in St. Louis both boast highly selective admission processes. The average high school GPA and standardized test scores of admitted students are very competitive at both schools. However, the two universities differ slightly in their approach. Washington University in St. Louis considers extracurricular activities and demonstrated leadership as crucial components of the application, whereas the University of Michigan takes a more holistic approach. Thus, if you are someone who excels academically but lacks extracurricular leadership experience, Michigan might be a better fit for you.

In addition to academic achievements and extracurricular activities, both universities also value community service and volunteer work. Applicants who have demonstrated a commitment to serving their communities are highly regarded by both institutions. At the University of Michigan, community service is considered as one of the factors in the holistic review process. Similarly, Washington University in St. Louis encourages applicants to showcase their community service experiences in their application essays.

a group of high school students taking an exam

Another important aspect of the admissions process at both universities is the personal essay. The essay provides applicants with an opportunity to showcase their writing skills and personality. At the University of Michigan, the essay is considered as one of the most important components of the application. The essay prompts are designed to elicit thoughtful and reflective responses from applicants. Similarly, at Washington University in St. Louis, the essay is an important part of the application and is used to evaluate an applicant’s writing ability, critical thinking skills, and overall fit for the university.

University of Michigan vs Washington University in St. Louis: Academic Programs Offered

Both universities are renowned for offering a diverse range of academic programs. University of Michigan offers more than 263 degree programs across 19 schools and colleges, including interdisciplinary programs that are highly sought after. Washington University in St. Louis offers 155 fields of study spread across seven colleges and schools, with its highest-ranking programs in medicine, law, and business.

In addition to their extensive academic offerings, both universities also provide numerous opportunities for students to engage in research and experiential learning. University of Michigan has a strong focus on research, with over $1.5 billion in research expenditures annually. Students have the chance to work alongside faculty members on cutting-edge research projects in fields such as engineering, medicine, and social sciences. Washington University in St. Louis also emphasizes hands-on learning, with programs such as the Beyond Boundaries interdisciplinary program and the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which provides resources and support for students interested in entrepreneurship and innovation.

Ranking Comparison: Which is Better – University of Michigan or Washington University in St. Louis?

While both universities are well-regarded institutions, the academic community generally ranks University of Michigan higher than Washington University in St. Louis. Specifically, U.S News & World Report ranks University of Michigan #24 in its 2022 list of national universities, while Washington University in St. Louis is ranked #16.

However, it is important to note that rankings are not the only factor to consider when choosing a university. Both University of Michigan and Washington University in St. Louis have unique strengths and weaknesses that may be more relevant to individual students’ academic and personal goals.

For example, University of Michigan is known for its strong programs in engineering, business, and public policy, while Washington University in St. Louis is renowned for its programs in medicine, law, anthropology, and social work. Additionally, University of Michigan has a larger student body and a more diverse range of academic programs, while Washington University in St. Louis has a smaller student-to-faculty ratio and a more intimate campus community.

Cost Comparison: How Much Does It Cost to Attend University of Michigan vs Washington University in St. Louis?

Attending either University of Michigan or Washington University in St. Louis is an investment. Tuition and other costs can total $70,000 per year for either school. However, University of Michigan is a public institution with slightly more favorable in-state tuition rates. In-state students at University of Michigan pay $15,262 while Washington University in St. Louis charges all students, regardless of residencies, $55,292 tuition per year.

Aside from tuition, there are other costs to consider when attending either University of Michigan or Washington University in St. Louis. Room and board, textbooks, and other fees can add up quickly. At University of Michigan, the estimated cost of attendance for in-state students is $30,298 while out-of-state students can expect to pay $60,678. At Washington University in St. Louis, the estimated cost of attendance is $75,200 for all students.

Female teacher giving instructions to four students in a library.

It’s important to note that both universities offer financial aid and scholarships to help offset the cost of attendance. In fact, University of Michigan offers need-based aid to 70% of its students while Washington University in St. Louis offers need-based aid to 60% of its students. It’s worth exploring these options to see if you qualify for any assistance.

Student Life at the University of Michigan and Washington University in St. Louis: What’s the Difference?

The universities of Michigan and Washington in St. Louis differ significantly in terms of the campus life they offer. The University of Michigan is located in the bustling city of Ann Arbor, surrounded by a lively and diverse community with many opportunities for socializing. On the other hand, Washington University in St. Louis is located in a more provincial setting, which means students have access to a peaceful and almost suburban campus experience.

Another major difference between the two universities is the size of their student bodies. The University of Michigan has a much larger student population, with over 46,000 students enrolled, while Washington University in St. Louis has a smaller student body of around 15,000. This means that the University of Michigan offers a wider range of extracurricular activities and clubs, while Washington University in St. Louis has a more intimate and close-knit community.

Additionally, the academic programs offered at the two universities also differ. The University of Michigan is known for its strong programs in engineering, business, and the sciences, while Washington University in St. Louis is renowned for its programs in medicine, law, and social work. This means that students at each university have access to different academic resources and opportunities, depending on their interests and career goals.

Faculty and Research Opportunities at the Universities of Michigan vs Washington University in St. Louis

Both universities have renowned faculty and offer great research opportunities to their students. University of Michigan is known for its extensive research programs, especially in the areas of science and technology. Washington University in St. Louis has an equally outstanding research reputation, with areas of strength in genetics, medicine, and social sciences.

Additionally, University of Michigan has a strong focus on interdisciplinary research, encouraging collaboration between different departments and fields of study. This allows for a more holistic approach to research and problem-solving. On the other hand, Washington University in St. Louis has a unique partnership with the nearby St. Louis Children’s Hospital, providing students with opportunities to conduct research in pediatric medicine and healthcare.

Happy female student smiling at the camera.

Furthermore, both universities have a variety of research centers and institutes that provide students with specialized resources and support. University of Michigan has the Institute for Social Research, which focuses on social science research, and the Michigan Institute for Data Science, which supports research in data science and analytics. Washington University in St. Louis has the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, which promotes global collaboration and research, and the Institute for Public Health, which focuses on improving public health through research and education.

Alumni Networks at the Universities of Michigan vs Washington University in St. Louis

Both universities boast extensive alumni networks that offer great career opportunities. University of Michigan’s alumni network is larger and more established, with notable alumni that include the co-founder of Google, Larry Page, and the founder of Borders Books, Tom Borders. Washington University in St. Louis has a smaller but well-connected alumni network, making it easier for its graduates to stay connected in the business world.

However, the size of the alumni network is not the only factor that determines its effectiveness. The University of Michigan’s alumni network is spread out across the country and the world, making it more difficult for graduates to connect with each other in person. In contrast, Washington University in St. Louis has a more concentrated alumni network, with many graduates staying in the St. Louis area after graduation. This makes it easier for alumni to attend networking events and stay connected with each other, even after they have left campus.

University of Michigan vs Washington University in St. Louis: Campus Safety Comparison

Both universities have low crime rates, but University of Michigan’s campus is closer to urban areas and may be more susceptible to crime. While robberies and burglaries are relatively common on campus, the university makes the safety of its students a top priority by providing security services that are available 24/7. Washington University in St. Louis, on the other hand, has a campus that is well isolated from the surrounding urban areas, making it relatively safer than University of Michigan’s campus.

a student smiling while holding her phone

It is important to note that both universities have implemented various safety measures to ensure the well-being of their students. University of Michigan has a campus-wide emergency alert system that notifies students of any potential danger, as well as a campus escort service that provides safe transportation for students at night. Washington University in St. Louis also has a similar emergency alert system and offers a free shuttle service for students to travel safely around campus. Both universities also have campus police departments that work closely with local law enforcement to maintain a safe environment for students, faculty, and staff.

Student Support Services Available at the Universities of Michigan vs Washington University in St. Louis

Both universities offer excellent student support services designed to ensure that their students cannot only survive but also thrive. University of Michigan offers a broad range of counseling services, tutoring services, and veteran services to assist students as they navigate college life. Washington University in St. Louis provides its students with comprehensive academic advising services tailored to their individual needs and interests.

In addition to the services mentioned above, the University of Michigan also offers a variety of health and wellness services to its students. These services include medical care, mental health services, and wellness programs that promote healthy living and stress management.

Washington University in St. Louis also provides its students with a range of career services to help them prepare for life after graduation. These services include career counseling, job search assistance, and networking opportunities with alumni and employers.

Extracurricular Activities Available for Students at the Universities of Michigan vs Washington University in St. Louis

The activities available to students on the two campuses are abundant. The University of Michigan has more than 1,500 student organizations, club teams, and dance groups for students to choose from. They also offer cultural and artistic events throughout the year. Washington University in St. Louis has its share of extracurricular activities, including a strong intramural athletic program, a student-run theater, and various student groups, among many others.

However, there are some differences between the two universities when it comes to extracurricular activities. The University of Michigan is known for its strong sports culture, with many students participating in varsity and club sports. On the other hand, Washington University in St. Louis has a more diverse range of extracurricular activities, including a focus on community service and social justice initiatives. Additionally, Washington University in St. Louis has a thriving music scene, with many student-run a cappella groups and a music club that hosts concerts and events throughout the year.

Graduate Programs Offered by the Universities of Michigan vs Washington University in St.Louis

University of Michigan has top-ranked graduate programs in fields such as physical therapy, social work, and education. Similarly, Washington University in St. Louis offers a range of noteworthy graduate programs, including early childhood development, occupational therapy, and environmental studies. Both universities have effective career center programs that help students to secure internships and jobs after college.

Additionally, the University of Michigan offers graduate programs in fields such as business, engineering, and medicine. The Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan is consistently ranked among the top business schools in the country, while the College of Engineering is known for its cutting-edge research and innovation. The medical school at the University of Michigan is also highly regarded, with a focus on patient-centered care and interdisciplinary collaboration.

a female student studying with her laptop and looking at the camera

Washington University in St. Louis also offers graduate programs in fields such as law, public health, and social policy. The School of Law at Washington University is ranked among the top 20 law schools in the country, with a focus on experiential learning and practical skills. The Brown School of Social Work at Washington University is also highly regarded, with a commitment to social justice and community engagement. The university’s Master of Public Health program is also recognized for its interdisciplinary approach and emphasis on population health.

Conclusion

When deciding between the University of Michigan or Washington University in St. Louis, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The choice ultimately depends on what each university has to offer and which factors resonate with your values and interests. Both universities are superb institutions, but come with different strengths and weaknesses. Before making a final decision, be sure to explore each university’s website in detail, visit the campus, meet current students, and talk to alumni to get a real sense of what life might be like at each institution.

It’s important to consider not only the academic programs and campus culture, but also the location and surrounding community. The University of Michigan is located in Ann Arbor, a vibrant college town with a bustling downtown area and plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. On the other hand, Washington University in St. Louis is located in the heart of St. Louis, a city with a rich history and diverse cultural offerings. Consider which location would best suit your lifestyle and interests when making your decision.

If you’re set on getting into a world-class college but aren’t sure how to make it happen, we can help! AdmissionSight is a leading college entrance expert with over a decade of experience helping students just like you get into the schools of their dreams.

At AdmissionSight, we focus on offering a wide range of services, all aimed at helping students perfect their applications to catch the attention of admissions officers. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about what we offer.

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