Many University graduate schools feel that four years in Ann Arbor just isn’t enough to get the full experience. Several of these schools — including the School of Public Health and the Law School — have started to use on-campus programs to reach out to current Wolverines and assist them through the application process. While it’s great that some University graduate programs are working to increase the number of undergraduate applicants from the University, many others aren’t. Graduate programs at the University should heavily recruit University undergraduates, and students should seriously consider staying in Ann Arbor to receive their advanced degrees.

The Law School, Ford School of Public Policy and School of Social Work are just some of the graduate schools that have started targeting more University undergraduates. Some of the schools hold informational lectures throughout the year and send out e-mails and postcards to potential applicants, while other schools have developed programs specifically for undergraduate students. The Law School’s program, Wolverine Scholars, allows current undergraduate students to apply without taking the LSAT if they have a GPA of 3.8 or higher. The School of Public Health has a program called 4 + 1, which allows students to graduate in five years with their bachelor’s and master’s degree. And the School of Social Work now has a preferred admissions program. As a result of these programs, application numbers are climbing. According to a Jan. 20 article in the Daily, the School of Public Health’s applications from University undergraduates rose from 1,650 in 2008 to 2,100 in 2010.

It’s encouraging that University graduate programs are reaching out to University undergraduates and offering them advantages. Undergraduates at the University already have a solid understanding of the University’s environment and demands. Providing opportunities like the Wolverine Scholar’s program or preferred admissions programs allots students deserved benefits. But more graduate schools, specifically Rackham Graduate School, need to have programs like these. The other professional schools — like the School of Dentistry and Medical School — should also reach out to students on campus. These feeder programs help strengthen the application pool and maintain a high student retention level.

But graduate schools cannot expect undergraduate students to build a model ‘resume’ on their own. Graduate schools need to work closely with students throughout their undergraduate years to make sure they’re on track for the desired graduate program. Graduate schools should provide class and extra-curricular advising so that undergraduate students are able to create a strong application.

But students need to also be interested in these programs. The University has a variety of excellent programs, and undergraduate students need to remember these on-campus resources when they apply to graduate school. They should attend information sessions and learn about the graduate programs that are right in Ann Arbor. Students should at least consider these options and seek out these graduate schools throughout the application process.

The University’s graduate schools need to work more closely with undergraduate students and encourage them to stay in Ann Arbor for one or seven more years.

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