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I would like to get some advice as an older graduate student who may be heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. I enrolled last August in a graduate program in a college town in the Midwest that was smaller than Ann Arbor by 30,000 but similar in that the university dominated the town. It was not possible to visit the previous university beforehand and it turned out to be a bad fit for my research area so I left at the end of last semester. I have been accepted for fall admission to GWU, UMichigan, and UChicago. While my departure from the previous program was due to the poor fit for my research, my semester of graduate school in a small college town was not what I expected. I went there alone and it was certainly the most socially-isolating six months of my life. I'm an outgoing, sociable person and it was a weird experience. Some of this was due to the department which was low-ranked and not very selective so approximately 50% of the graduate students had already been living in the area. The other grad programs at the university had a stronger sense of community because students came from outside the area and bonded together. My department was like a commuter school where grad students never socialized outside of official functions. Somehow I expected graduate school in a college town to be fun as well as challenging but it wasn't either. Certainly no Halloween or Christmas parties. Yes, it was a truly dreary five months although I ended up making some friends from other departments and one friend in the department who was finishing up his PhD after what he described as years of alienation.

The University of Michigan has a stronger academic reputation and this time I will be visiting before making a decision, but if anyone has any advice for someone heading to Ann Arbor as an older, single graduate student it would be appreciated. Is there a strong sense of community among graduate students in most departments?

Thanks.

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On 3/14/2016 at 0:25 AM, Jerry221 said:

I would like to get some advice as an older graduate student who may be heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. I enrolled last August in a graduate program in a college town in the Midwest that was smaller than Ann Arbor by 30,000 but similar in that the university dominated the town. It was not possible to visit the previous university beforehand and it turned out to be a bad fit for my research area so I left at the end of last semester. I have been accepted for fall admission to GWU, UMichigan, and UChicago. While my departure from the previous program was due to the poor fit for my research, my semester of graduate school in a small college town was not what I expected. I went there alone and it was certainly the most socially-isolating six months of my life. I'm an outgoing, sociable person and it was a weird experience. Some of this was due to the department which was low-ranked and not very selective so approximately 50% of the graduate students had already been living in the area. The other grad programs at the university had a stronger sense of community because students came from outside the area and bonded together. My department was like a commuter school where grad students never socialized outside of official functions. Somehow I expected graduate school in a college town to be fun as well as challenging but it wasn't either. Certainly no Halloween or Christmas parties. Yes, it was a truly dreary five months although I ended up making some friends from other departments and one friend in the department who was finishing up his PhD after what he described as years of alienation.

The University of Michigan has a stronger academic reputation and this time I will be visiting before making a decision, but if anyone has any advice for someone heading to Ann Arbor as an older, single graduate student it would be appreciated. Is there a strong sense of community among graduate students in most departments?

Thanks.

Ann Arbor is the quintessential college town in my opinion (although I did my Masters in Boston which is arguably up there but I consider it more of a college "city"). Seriously, probably more than half the population of Ann Arbor is somehow associated with the university. If UMichigan was not located in Ann Arbor, there really wouldn't be a reason for this town to exist. But with that, there is no guarantee of experience. To me, your experience is what you make of it. I have moved around the country a number of times now, usually by myself without knowing anyone, and I have had no problems finding friends and social outlets in any place I have lived or traveled to and I am by no means a social butterfly. I think Ann Arbor works the same way. I know some people here who have practically no social life, but I think that is what they prefer. I am on the "older" side of grad students, I'm 32, but I probably do some sort of social outing just about every single day, from small things to grabbing coffee or lunch to going to bars for trivia or to watch a game, to bigger things like movies, bowling, mini-golf, arcade, concerts, sporting events, etc. Ann Arbor and the rest of Michigan have all the opportunities of any other reasonably sized city so the options are always there. 

Now granted, I recognize that depending on your department, that may largely affect how you divide your social groups and interactions. I can tell you that some PhD programs here, like social psych, don't have traditional "labs" where there's a designated lab office in which all the students/staff work in and interact on a regular basis. That also means they don't have "lab" functions like parties, events, etc. So often times those grad students aren't close with their labmates, but rather rely on making friends within their department through classes or collaborative projects. Whereas, for instance in the engineering departments, we have central lab locations in which I get to interact with my co-workers on a regular basis so my labmates tend to be my closest friends, and they are not necessarily in my own department. We do tend to have designated lab social outings and events because of the way our labs are setup. However, that also means I am less close with my actual department cohort since I don't see them as much. But either way, most departments have hundreds of grad students so there is always a way to make friends and have social gatherings in some way or another if that is something you seek. Basically, what it comes down to is that I don't know anyone out here who has made an effort to be social and not find success. 

I'm not sure if that answers your question or not, but hopefully it helps a bit. And heck, if you come visit soon and have some free time and want to grab a coffee or something, shoot me a message.

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Hi all! Thanks to everyone who's contributed to this thread so far - very valuable info all around! I'll be moving to Ann Arbor this fall to start my PhD, but I'm currently in Toronto. I'm not far from AA but obviously it's quite a faff to get over there, especially given that I don't drive, and I work full-time during the week, with no off-time available to me (I have to save what I have left for fieldwork this summer). I do expect that I will have to go over there to find an apartment, but I want to kind of figure it out in one weekend.

My questions are: is it possible to wait til late April or May for this, or will all apartments be taken?; and, are there any notorious problems with housing specifically in AA that I should look out for? (for example - I did my Master's in Oxford and a few of my friends wound up homeless when we had bad flooding in January 2014 - they had no idea their neighbourhoods tended to flood, and rented basement apartments there!!!)

Also can anyone share recent experiences with finding a roommate through the off-campus housing site? I'm a woman and graduate student in my mid-20s and am hoping to room with another graduate student (preferably not a man) with a similar schedule to mine. I'm kind of hesitant to reach out to the rest of my future cohort - I get kind of concerned about living with colleagues in case there's a roomie spat! Likewise though I'm just a little worried about rooming with strangers due to some bad past experiences which were fine for dealing with as an undergrad but I'd rather not re-experience as a graduate.

Thanks in advance!!!

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11 hours ago, ciistai said:

Hi all! Thanks to everyone who's contributed to this thread so far - very valuable info all around! I'll be moving to Ann Arbor this fall to start my PhD, but I'm currently in Toronto. I'm not far from AA but obviously it's quite a faff to get over there, especially given that I don't drive, and I work full-time during the week, with no off-time available to me (I have to save what I have left for fieldwork this summer). I do expect that I will have to go over there to find an apartment, but I want to kind of figure it out in one weekend.

My questions are: is it possible to wait til late April or May for this, or will all apartments be taken?; and, are there any notorious problems with housing specifically in AA that I should look out for? (for example - I did my Master's in Oxford and a few of my friends wound up homeless when we had bad flooding in January 2014 - they had no idea their neighbourhoods tended to flood, and rented basement apartments there!!!)

Also can anyone share recent experiences with finding a roommate through the off-campus housing site? I'm a woman and graduate student in my mid-20s and am hoping to room with another graduate student (preferably not a man) with a similar schedule to mine. I'm kind of hesitant to reach out to the rest of my future cohort - I get kind of concerned about living with colleagues in case there's a roomie spat! Likewise though I'm just a little worried about rooming with strangers due to some bad past experiences which were fine for dealing with as an undergrad but I'd rather not re-experience as a graduate.

Thanks in advance!!!

Hey! Hi! I'm also moving to Ann Arbor this fall, though from a bit more to the south (aka, Chile). I'm also looking for housing options, so if you have any ideas, insights, or whatever, just PM me :D!

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14 hours ago, ciistai said:

Hi all! Thanks to everyone who's contributed to this thread so far - very valuable info all around! I'll be moving to Ann Arbor this fall to start my PhD, but I'm currently in Toronto. I'm not far from AA but obviously it's quite a faff to get over there, especially given that I don't drive, and I work full-time during the week, with no off-time available to me (I have to save what I have left for fieldwork this summer). I do expect that I will have to go over there to find an apartment, but I want to kind of figure it out in one weekend.

My questions are: is it possible to wait til late April or May for this, or will all apartments be taken?; and, are there any notorious problems with housing specifically in AA that I should look out for? (for example - I did my Master's in Oxford and a few of my friends wound up homeless when we had bad flooding in January 2014 - they had no idea their neighbourhoods tended to flood, and rented basement apartments there!!!)

Also can anyone share recent experiences with finding a roommate through the off-campus housing site? I'm a woman and graduate student in my mid-20s and am hoping to room with another graduate student (preferably not a man) with a similar schedule to mine. I'm kind of hesitant to reach out to the rest of my future cohort - I get kind of concerned about living with colleagues in case there's a roomie spat! Likewise though I'm just a little worried about rooming with strangers due to some bad past experiences which were fine for dealing with as an undergrad but I'd rather not re-experience as a graduate.

Thanks in advance!!!

 

2 hours ago, BellaBendrix said:

Hey! Hi! I'm also moving to Ann Arbor this fall, though from a bit more to the south (aka, Chile). I'm also looking for housing options, so if you have any ideas, insights, or whatever, just PM me :D!

Hey! I currently live in Ann Arbor as an undergrad and have lived off-campus for the past two years. The off-campus housing website is a decent place to start, but I've found it to be pretty limited since not every landlord or company in A2 posts there. I've used this website (http://housingannarbor.com/) to look through a wider range of housing companies, and I think it's pretty helpful.

Some people find/sign their leases as early as September, but October/November seems to be the standard, at least for undergraduates (I signed my first lease for a house with my roommates in January - so wayyyy after a lot of people had signed theirs - and then in November the next year). Surprisingly, with the first lease I signed, there seemed to be a good of options still on the market all the way into February, and sometimes landlords will lower the rent once it gets that late because they want/need people to rent from them, but I don't know how much things have changed in the past couple of years. There are also a few places with leases that would start in May if that's what you want.

Hope this helps!

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On 3/17/2016 at 1:11 PM, magnanimous said:

 

Hey! I currently live in Ann Arbor as an undergrad and have lived off-campus for the past two years. The off-campus housing website is a decent place to start, but I've found it to be pretty limited since not every landlord or company in A2 posts there. I've used this website (http://housingannarbor.com/) to look through a wider range of housing companies, and I think it's pretty helpful.

Some people find/sign their leases as early as September, but October/November seems to be the standard, at least for undergraduates (I signed my first lease for a house with my roommates in January - so wayyyy after a lot of people had signed theirs - and then in November the next year). Surprisingly, with the first lease I signed, there seemed to be a good of options still on the market all the way into February, and sometimes landlords will lower the rent once it gets that late because they want/need people to rent from them, but I don't know how much things have changed in the past couple of years. There are also a few places with leases that would start in May if that's what you want.

Hope this helps!

Hey! Thank you so much, this is suuuuper helpful! I've located a probably future roomie on the off-campus housing site and we've found a few places we like on there, but now we're investigating the site you've linked to and a few apartments look promising for our neighbourhood and budget requirements. So thank you so much! I'm surprised at how much is still available, actually! Also the prices are... amazing... I'm used to Toronto prices which are terrible!

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@ciistai Glad I was able to help! I'm used to thinking that housing in Ann Arbor is pretty expensive, but I guess that's because I've never lived outside of the Midwest! There are some pretty good deals around A2, so good luck with the hunt! :)

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23 hours ago, magnanimous said:

@ciistai Glad I was able to help! I'm used to thinking that housing in Ann Arbor is pretty expensive, but I guess that's because I've never lived outside of the Midwest! There are some pretty good deals around A2, so good luck with the hunt! :)

Oh trust me - after Toronto and Oxford, A2 is very fairly priced!! It's all about perspective ;) 

Edited by ciistai

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Dear all,

Does anyone have any experience with Cribspot when it comes to graduate housing? I know it's relatively new but I was just wondering...

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Does anyone have a map of the areas & a list of landlords associated with each area? Sorry, I'm so lost on looking for apartments. It'll be my first time moving away from home. Coming from Texas

.

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1 hour ago, marmend said:

Does anyone have a map of the areas & a list of landlords associated with each area? Sorry, I'm so lost on looking for apartments. It'll be my first time moving away from home. Coming from Texas

.

Hi @marmend! I tried searching around and couldn't find a dedicated off-campus housing map, but here is a list of all of the off-campus neighborhoods, and if you combine that with the interactive campus map, you might be able to go from there! Also, I don't think there are landlords dedicated to any specific area. . . They tend to be focused right on central campus in a variety of places (probably so they can reach as many students as possible).http://housingannarbor.com/ and http://www.johnwcooper.com/annarbor/offcampushousing-universityofmichigan.htm might be helpful for a starting point since they're collections of many of the housing companies and landlords in Ann Arbor, and you could probably compare the addresses of any houses or apartments you're looking into to the neighborhoods and points on the map just to get an idea of distance. Those neighborhoods are also searchable on the off-campus housing website, but the selections there are a bit more limited.

Hopefully this helps a bit, and feel free to PM or let me know if you have any other questions!

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Hi! Thanks @magnanimous so much for all the helpful info!

 

So I'll be a grad student at UM starting Fall and I know orientation begins sometime in August. Although, a bunch of the leases don't begin until 9/1....what do we do? 

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How is everyone else securing housing for the fall? It seems like you have to physically be on the ground. What you are guys doing and how long are you going to ensure you get a lease signed?

I am currently living abroad and will not be able to go to Ann Arbor until early June. Is this too late?

Edited by KatieJaiYen

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On 4/8/2016 at 10:27 AM, marmend said:

Hi! Thanks @magnanimous so much for all the helpful info!

 

So I'll be a grad student at UM starting Fall and I know orientation begins sometime in August. Although, a bunch of the leases don't begin until 9/1....what do we do? 

For some of the leases, you could ask the landlord whether you would be able to move in sooner (which would cost some portion of rent, depending how far ahead of the lease you'd want to move in). There is also UMich short term housing that you could look into as well.  

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Anyone have advice on which neighborhoods to live in? I've heard good things about Old Westside & Kerrytown, what about Germantown? I'm currently eyeing a place in Germantown but I can't find much info on the neighborhood

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On 4/10/2016 at 2:52 AM, KatieJaiYen said:

How is everyone else securing housing for the fall? It seems like you have to physically be on the ground. What you are guys doing and how long are you going to ensure you get a lease signed?

I am currently living abroad and will not be able to go to Ann Arbor until early June. Is this too late?

Hello, 

I'm moving to Ann Arbor in the Fall (mostly around late August) and I'm going to be securing my housing online. I live in Texas, so I can't actually see the places in person before I sign a lease...which sucks. But it's doable. 

Just remember that most leases for 2016-2017 year do not begin til 9/1. This is why I am trying to also look for temporary summer housing just for the month of August (*headaches*). 

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The lease for the place I found in Old Westside officially started September 1, but the property manager is letting us move in any time after August 25 at no additional cost, as long as we affirm that the turnover (cleaning, work, etc.) is okay to still be in progress upon move in. We were able to see the place in person when we visited, so I felt comfortable knowing it wasn't in terrible shape to begin with :)

So there may be some flexibility here; worth checking in to see!

Edited by ljo377

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On 4/10/2016 at 4:52 AM, KatieJaiYen said:

How is everyone else securing housing for the fall? It seems like you have to physically be on the ground. What you are guys doing and how long are you going to ensure you get a lease signed?

I am currently living abroad and will not be able to go to Ann Arbor until early June. Is this too late?

I'm up in Canada though not TOO far from Ann Arbor but was worried about this as well. I found a roomie on the Off-Campus Housing site and she happened to be going to Ann Arbor the following week anyway - I did a lot of the Internet footwork in skimming through hundreds of listings to find apartments that suited our needs. She arranged and attended viewings and took photos, then we decided together. If you're okay with roommates and you can find someone already with a lease, or someone who is closer to AA than you, this could work!

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I am going to UMich this fall for a MSE in aeronautical engineering. I was planning on living in Ypsi but had some concerns with parking on campus. Even if I have a yellow permit, will it be hard to find parking on campus? 

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4 hours ago, toolazi said:

I am going to UMich this fall for a MSE in aeronautical engineering. I was planning on living in Ypsi but had some concerns with parking on campus. Even if I have a yellow permit, will it be hard to find parking on campus? 

Go back to page 14 and read my post on January 31st, I address the parking situation in detail there. Long story short, living in Ypsi and getting to north campus is not straight forward. The yellow permit is doable, but those are commuter lots and they can fill up completely by mid morning depending on the lot you pick. See that previous post for my other suggestions.

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After reviewing a few older posts, it appears that most undergraduates live south of campus and that most of frats and partying happens near S. University Ave. Would this be a correct assessment?

I am an incoming grad student and I am looking for a relatively quiet neighborhood. A few listings caught my eye, one near Hoover and Division and the other is near Granger and Golden Avenues. Does anyone have any insight on these neighborhoods?

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12 hours ago, wmkx said:

After reviewing a few older posts, it appears that most undergraduates live south of campus and that most of frats and partying happens near S. University Ave. Would this be a correct assessment?

I am an incoming grad student and I am looking for a relatively quiet neighborhood. A few listings caught my eye, one near Hoover and Division and the other is near Granger and Golden Avenues. Does anyone have any insight on these neighborhoods?

You are correct, the area between South and Central Campus is mostly where undergrads live and the more buys and louder parts of town. Now, I wouldn't say Ann Arbor is particularly a crazy party town, so those neighborhoods you mentioned might be ok depending what you can tolerate. They will mostly be loud on Thursday/Friday/Saturday nights. During the day and most evenings, it shouldn't be bad. However, those neighborhoods are in the heart of Michigan Stadium street parking. So any home football games there will be tens of thousands of people parking in those neighborhoods. That is also where the streets pretty much shut down so you will never be able to drive in or out of that area pretty much all day Saturday on home games.

But that area is cheap, and if you can find some of the more secluded neighborhoods than it might be worth it. But if you are truly looking for more quiet, peaceful neighborhoods, you need to go more south (past Stadium Blvd) and more east (closer or beyond Packard St).

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