May 1 marks a major milestone for future U-M students: Decision Day, when they pledge their allegiance to the Maize and Blue.
To commemorate Decision Day, we share several stories from alumni who remembered the moment they learned of their acceptance into the University. Whether it came via a phone call, an email, or a thick envelope in the mail, the news was always good — eliciting tears, screams, and choruses of “The Victors.”
Michigan Alumnus gathered these stories from the Alumni Association’s social media channels, which received more than 700 comments, and republishes them here as they were originally shared.
ALUMNI WHO MADE THEIR FAMILIES PROUD
I’ll never forget that moment as long as I live: I stood in the foyer of my parents’ house and opened the letter, reading it to my mom, who had received a bone marrow transplant five months prior. We hugged and cried, and she said, “I wanted to live for this moment.” Go Blue!
One of the happiest moments of my life was telling my grandpa, who is the closest person I have in my life and one of the biggest reasons I chose U-M, that I was headed to Michigan.
Absolutely. I came home from school and my mother handed me the envelope. 30 years later, I handed my son the envelope 3 days after my Mom had died!
I remember when my daughter received the news that she was awarded the Stamp’s Scholarship at MICHIGAN… I broke down and cried! One of the BEST experiences of my life was the privilege of attending MICHIGAN… and knowing that my daughter would be able to attend my alma mater was one of the HAPPIEST moments of my life! 2020 was a difficult year, but it was also the year my daughter was afforded the opportunity to attend the greatest university! GO BLUE!!!
I remember getting the mail and telling my dad and he said I couldn’t go because of money. Two weeks later I got a letter saying that I got a full tuition scholarship! I just started crying and called my dad. He didn’t believe it! Finally he realized that it was real and said something along the lines of not being able to keep me from going. It was the longest few weeks until my twin sister got her acceptance letter and her full tuition scholarship! It was definitely unexpected! We were the first in the family to get our Bachelors and then we both went on to get our Masters degrees! 5 U of M degrees between the two of us!
I made my parents leave the room to open the envelope. A decade later, I found out they had already steamed it open and knew all along.
I am really enjoying reading others stories. Michigan is such a huge part of my life, and I remember my mom got the mail with the massive packet and waited all day for me to get home to open it. I remember opening it, reading the letter and just yelling out in happiness.
ALUMNI WHO TURNED DOWN RIVAL SCHOOLS
Terry Joseph Sheridan
Spring 1973. I also applied to MSU as a backup, and had already received my “Welcome Sparty” packet. I had done what I could to convince myself that State was a perfectly fine school, when I came home and saw “the letter”.
Tyrone D Johnson
Yep..I received the letter in January 1994, accepted in the Summer Bridge Program on the same day I was going to send my Michigan State acceptance letter in. Best decision I ever made.
I will never forget!!!! I had already been accepted by the enemy the Ohio State and wanted to go to Michigan so bad, I made myself physically sick over the whole thing. Then not only did I get into SMTD, but also got a scholarship! I’ve never bounced back from sickness so quickly!
Yes! Early spring 1991! Best day ever! I had already committed to Purdue….then the mail came that day and it changed everything! Graduated Michigan in 1995! Forever GO BLUE!
Same moment I found out I was accepted to UW-Madison and UI-Urbana-Champaign. I miss those days when I was still wanted.
ALUMNI WHO HAD NEVER SET FOOT IN ANN ARBOR
I was teaching kindergarten in China, after having graduated with my Bachelors in Social Work from the University of Arkansas. I was in a bit of a rough place, and didn’t know what I wanted to do with myself. U of M was my Hail Mary choice – it was the top graduate program in social work, and I figured I was in no way worthy of admission. When I got the acceptance letter in my email, I broke down. I flew from China straight to Detroit, without ever having stepped foot in the state before. That was 7 years ago. I’m now an independently licensed clinical social worker, and a second year law student at Detroit Mercy. If you would’ve told me 10 years ago that this is where I’d be, I wouldn’t have believed it… And it all started with U of M.
Ilene Tocci Hill
Thanksgiving 1978 I got my acceptance letter. I was so excited even though I had never visited the campus or the state of Michigan. I took my 1st plane flight the next summer for orientation and enjoyed my 4 years there. I still go to games and tailgate with my alumni friends after all these years.
ALUMNI WHO BET IT ALL ON U-M
I only applied to Michigan as I didn’t want to go anywhere else. Michigan had no application fee so to save money I just didn’t bother to apply to State or Wayne State. I got accepted in early November, 1966. Later that month my mother questioned why I hadn’t heard from State or Wayne. She couldn’t believe I hadn’t filed their applications.
Yes I do! My father was appalled that I’d only applied to one college….so ….phew!
Katie Cleaver Bisaro
Feb 1979 – fat envelope in the mailbox. Happy and relieved since I hadn’t applied anywhere else…Go Blue!
It is the only place I applied to. I didn’t have a plan B. That letter changed my life.
Standing at the mail box on a cold day with the letter in hand. Elation and relief. It was only school I applied to.
ALUMNI WHO WERE TOO AFRAID TO OPEN THE LETTER
Susan Sutherland Sailors
I grabbed my letter from the mailbox and didn’t open it for two days because I was nervous. I ended up opening it in my high school chemistry class and was thrilled!
Patricia A Zins
I remember getting the acceptance letter in spring 1975. I was so afraid to open it that it took me about a week. I sat there in stunned silence. And then burst into tears. This was beyond my wildest dreams. Not only did I get in, I had a full 4 year scholarship! There are no words…
Yes! And I didn’t open the envelope for over a week bc I thought for sure it was rejection. It was an acceptance to UM@ Dearborn.
ALUMNI WHO DIDN’T GIVE UP
I remember more about the first time I was denied entry. I was devastated. However, I then wrote a long essay to the admissions department stating I would never stop trying, that I guaranteed that I would never get less than a 3.0 and they were a fool for denying me in the first place. I had to wait one more semester, but I was admitted and I never broke my promise to the university and graduated with a 3.2. Go Blue!
I sincerely believe it was at least partially due to a clerical error and my own recklessness. I didn’t get in on my first shot, so I went to Central for two years (and got good grades). For reasons I forget I entered UM in the fall as a “non-degree student”, meaning I could take classes but technically not graduate, and made a formal application for the winter term.
As registration ticked closer and closer I called the admissions office a couple times to make sure that they’d filed my CMU transcript with my application folder and not my non-degree student folder and was told not to worry about it, till the day before registration when I asked the person to go check and make sure, and she was like, “whoops, we did misfile that, tell you what, we’ll review this over lunch and call you back.” And they did.
Maybe I would have been accepted anyway, I’ll never know, but it’s a fun story.
I was accepted twice. I applied for grad school in 1983 and was accepted, it was thrilling!!! Family issues forced me to decline a few weeks later. Reapplied in 1985 for the upcoming year and was accepted, just as thrilling as the first time. Received my MSW in August of 1987. Probably one of the best decisions I ever made in a long life of decisions.
ALUMNI WHO NEEDED SOME GOOD NEWS THAT DAY
Absolutely!! I was feeling very fragile after a really bad time of it in school that day in October or November of 1962. My mom handed me the envelope as soon as I walked in the door. I opened it, saw I was accepted and could no longer hold back the tears of hurt and anger that had been building all day. My mom asked if it was a rejection letter. I told her I had been accepted, and she asked, “Then why are you crying?” I told her it was because I’d had a terrible day at school. The tears quickly turned to tears of happiness and joy. That tearful day turned out to be one of the best days of my life.
Absolutely! It was such a stressful day. Both of my dogs got sprayed by skunks and before I noticed had come in the house and started rubbing around on the carpet and furniture. After several baths and trips to grocery store, I sat down at my computer. I saw an email that said I had been accepted! Oh man…talk about changing my mood. Bad day turned amazing.