Why is Applying To College So Complicated?! Let’s Break Down the Michigan Ross BBA Admission Process


This is a part of a series of blogs focused on understanding the paths to admissions for the Ross BBA program. This post is most relevant for high school students. Upcoming posts in this series will be relevant for Current U-M Students and Students Transferring From Other Universities.

Hey, we get it. The college application process can be a stressful thing.

You need to write essays, worry about test scores, plan visits to campus, spend hours researching the student experience — there’s a lot to wrap your head around.

There’s no reason why just figuring out how to actually apply to the school and college of your choice also needs to be a complicated puzzle.


So let’s break it down.

Here’s everything you need to know about the main way high school students apply to Michigan Ross.


This is the main way we admit new students to the BBA program, and here is a checklist outlining, specifically, what you need to do:

Start an application

You can apply through the Common Application or the Coalition Application. To us, it doesn’t matter which one you choose. Your counselor might have opinions about which is right for you, but as far as we’re concerned in how we evaluate candidates, they are the same.

Indicate an interest in Ross Preferred Admission

To earn Preferred Admission to Michigan Ross, you must first be admitted to another school or college at the University of Michigan -- the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA); College of Engineering; the School of Kinesiology (Sport Management only); the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance; or the School of Art & Design.

In both the Common App and the Coalition App you need to indicate your interest in BOTH The Stephen M Ross School of Business and the other school or college. LSA is the most common school applicants select, and choosing LSA allows you to enroll in Ross as a freshman if admitted.

You might want to indicate an interest in the Ross School of Business and LSA if:

  1. you want to enroll in Ross in your freshman year
  2. you do not wish to pursue a dual degree with one of the other schools and colleges listed

You might want to indicate an interest in the Ross School of Business and a "home school" other than LSA if:

  1. you are interested in pursuing a dual degree in business plus a subject relevant to the other "home school.

​​Either way, you will take classes at Ross as a freshman.

Write Four Essays
  • The one essay required for the Common App or the Coalition App (500 words)
  • Two supplemental essays required by U-M
  • One essay for the Ross Portfolio Exercise

You can find out more about these essays via the links above, and I’ll write more about how to write effective essays in future blogs posts. Keep an eye out for those.

Complete the rest of the Ross Admissions Portfolio

In addition to the one essay required for the Ross Admissions Portfolio, you’ll also need to submit an artifact and a 250-word description of that artifact.

An artifact is a piece of content (a newspaper article, video, slideshow, certificate, or anything else of significance) that showcases an aspect of your life and shows your learning in action.

We put together a step by step walk-through for completing and submitting the portfolio, and we’ll share some of our favorite artifacts in an upcoming blog post to give you some examples of successful submissions.

Finish your application

As you finish up the Common App or the Coalition App, you’ll be asked to include things like: high school transcripts and ACT or SAT test scores. The application should walk you through this process.

Wait and wait and wait

This is very much the not-fun part. After you are admitted to U-M, the university sends your applications to us and we begin our review.

We know waiting can be a drag, and we’re sorry —  but we need time to properly read and evaluate all of your applications.

We receive and review applications on a periodic basis from January through April, based on when we receive the information on admitted students from the University of Michigan admissions office. The majority of applicants are notified of their Preferred Admission decision beginning in early February and up until mid-April.

I hope this sheds a bit of light on what actual steps you need to take to apply to the Ross BBA Program as a high school student. If you have further questions, check out our FAQ page or leave a comment below and we’ll be around to answer them.

Also leave a comment below to let us know if there’s a specific topic you’d like to see on this blog — we’re just getting started and I want to make sure we’re addressing the topics that are most relevant to students considering the Ross BBA.