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How to Write the “Why This College” Essay (With an Example!)

why i want to attend this college essay

Varonika Ware is a content writer at Scholarships360. Varonika earned her undergraduate degree in Mass Communications at Louisiana State University. During her time at LSU, she worked with the Center of Academic Success to create the weekly Success Sunday newsletter. Varonika also interned at the Louisiana Department of Insurance in the Public Affairs office with some of her graphics appearing in local news articles.

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Bill Jack has over a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. Since 2008, he has worked at Colby College, Wesleyan University, University of Maine at Farmington, and Bates College.

why i want to attend this college essay

Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

How to Write the “Why This College” Essay (With an Example!)

Applying to college is a big decision that brings a lot of excitement and stress. This is especially true when it comes to answering the “why this college” prompt asked by so many colleges. However daunting these prompts might seem, you got this. Keep reading to learn tips and tricks to write your “why this college” essay, and take a look at an example essay!

“Why this college?” essay prompts 

The “Why this college?” essay is probably one of the most common essays you’ll come across during your application process. This is partially because admissions committees want students that’re as interested and passionate about their institution. Some popular colleges that offer “why this college?” prompts include:

  • Columbia University : “Why are you interested in attending Columbia University? We encourage you to consider the aspect(s) that you find unique and compelling about Columbia. (150 words or fewer)
  • Duke University : “What is your sense of Duke as a university and a community, and why do you consider it a good match for you? If there is something in particular about our offerings that attracts you, feel free to share that as well. (max. 250 words)”
  • University of Michigan : “Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate College or School to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests?” (Minimum: 100 words/Maximum: 550 words)

As you can see, all three of the prompts are a variation of the basic “why this college” question. Let’s take a look at a sample response essay written for Columbia University. 

“Why this college?” sample essay

Dear Columbia University, 

This is probably the hundredth essay you’ve read in the sea of applicants, and as you’re likely expecting, I could tell you that I’m different from them all. Though in some ways, I’m the same. Like them, I want to stand on the corner of Broadway and 116th St. and know I chose the perfect school to study literary arts with a focus on fiction writing. 

Even more so, I strive to be one of the Columbia Greats that inspired me to pick up a pen. Though, you shouldn’t want me because I might be the next Allen Ginsberg, but because I plan on being a writer that captures the virtue found in the rye of J.D. Salinger, the watchful gaze of Zora Neale Hurston, and the freshness of my own style. Amongst your walls and tutelage, these literary greats blossomed, as I hope to.

Applicant Name

Why this essay works:

  • Starts with a compelling statement to interest the audience
  • Answers the “why this college?” question by discussing notable alumni and the arts program
  • Uses a unique approach to the prompt question that reflects interest in the major of choice
  • Explains why the admissions committee should choose this applicant
  • Stays within the word count limit

Also see: How to respond to this year’s Common App essay prompts

Mistakes to avoid when writing a “why this college” essay

Generalizing.

When writing any essay, generalizing usually isn’t the way to go. Readers want to get invested in the story or argument you’re presenting, and the admissions office is no different. Details are a key component of making your essay stand out. 

The admissions committee wants to get to know you and assess how you’ll fit into their institution. No two applicants are the same, and you should strive to prove that through your unique essay. 

Placating the admissions office

It can be easy to fall back on simply telling your college’s admissions committee what they want to hear. However, you shouldn’t just pull facts and figures from the website or quote the college’s brochure. Individualize your essay not only to capture the attention of your reader, but to display interest in your college of choice.

Anyone can put general information in their application, but it takes effort to explain why you want to attend a particular school, how admission would affect your life, and what the school has to gain from your attendance. Think of it as a persuasive essay where you have to back up your argument with details. 

Also see: An insider’s perspective into what goes on in college admissions offices

Tips for writing your essay

Find a connection.

Even before you start writing your essay, figure out the connection between you and your college of choice. 

Is there a particular professor you want to study under? Are you a legacy applicant? Is it the campus of your dreams? Are you excited for a particular program? 

Asking yourself questions like this can help pinpoint what’s motivating you to apply to a university and why they should admit you. Explaining your connection to your school of choice can show the admissions committee that you belong on their campus. 

It will strengthen your application and help you individualize your application. Create an interesting or anecdotal story out of your connection in order to set yourself apart.

Also see: How to write an essay about yourself

Outline and edit

College essays usually range from around 200 – 500 words, which can go by much quicker than you might think. This is why it’s ideal to outline your essay once you’ve decided what to write about. It can be easy to get distracted by the little details, but emphasize the main points that are essential to the story you’re trying to tell the admissions office. 

It’s also a good idea to thoroughly read and edit your essay multiple times. You’ll want to submit the complete and final version of your essay, not something that reads like a rough draft. 

Remember, your parents, advisors, teachers, and peers can be helpful resources during revision. Feedback is an important aspect of the editing process.

Additional resources

Congratulations on starting your applications to college and working so diligently on them! Fortunately, Scholarships360 has even more resources to offer that can help propel your college journey in the right direction. 

  • Start choosing your major
  • Find the supplemental essay guide for your college
  • Learn what “demonstrated interest” means for your application

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  • How to Research and Write a “Why This College?” Essay

How to Research and Write a "Why This College?" Essay

Published on September 24, 2021 by Meredith Testa . Revised on June 1, 2023.

As part of the college application process , many colleges ask applicants to include a supplemental essay explaining why they are interested in their school specifically. There’s one absolute must for writing a great answer to this question: do your research .

Admissions officers are looking for applicants to prove that they are knowledgeable and interested in their school in particular. General answers like “I like the location” or “It’s the right size and offers my major” won’t earn you much praise. Admissions officers are far more impressed by students who can take very specific information—the names of certain classes, for example—and connect it to their personal academic interests.

The process of writing a “Why this college?” essay should look something like this:

  • Thoroughly research the college
  • Connect what you’ve learned through your research to yourself
  • Outline and write the essay

Table of contents

How to research a college, plan and write the essay, mistakes to avoid in a “why this college” essay, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about college application essays.

The first step in the process is by far the most important. Research should be concrete and very specific—the College Board’s “At a Glance” pages or the “About” section of the college website won’t have the information you need. Instead, look deeply into the college website to find information that isn’t so obvious.

The information you come up with should only be applicable to one college—if you could replace the name of one school with another and have the essay still make sense, you’re not being specific enough.

Visit the campus

Most students visit colleges they’re considering before they apply, and those visits can be a great source of information. Not only will you learn information on the tour, but you’ll also connect with a current student—the tour guide. Current students can answer questions about campus life, and mentioning your interactions with students in your essay can help strengthen it.

On your tour, keep an eye out for any information, big or small, about what makes the school unique. Ask your tour guide about what on-campus social events they enjoy or what unusual traditions they’ve taken part in.

If you’re an international student or otherwise unable to travel to the campus, check if there are other opportunities to find out more about the campus, such as virtual tours.

Look for courses and professors that interest you

If you have a major in mind, there will almost certainly be a list of requirements for that major somewhere on the website. Many schools also make their course catalog available on their website, which can be an excellent resource for prospective students.

You should also check the names of professors teaching in the department. Professors’ email addresses will usually be listed on these pages, and you can email them with any specific questions about the program that the admissions office can’t answer.

This process can work even if you aren’t sure what you’d like to major in. Look for classes in any fields that pique your interest. Find programs you might be interested in—such as study abroad or internship programs—and dig for detailed information about them.

To answer the “Why Duke?” supplemental essay question, Ariana looks at Duke’s registrar website, which offers a version of the course catalog online, and searches for courses in linguistics. There are plenty of courses that seem perfect for Ariana: “Spanish in the US,” “Neuroscience and Human Language,” and “Bilingualism” are all great fits with her interests.

Researching other activities

In addition to finding information on the academics of your chosen school, you should also research other aspects of the college. Non-academic motivations probably won’t make up the bulk of your essay, but they can be a great addition.

Student organizations are good to mention, and it’s great to connect with students who participate in organizations you’re interested in prior to writing your essay.

If you’re a student athlete, you will likely meet with the coach for your sport before you apply. Feel free to mention that—and what you discussed with them—in your essay.

You can also mention other unique traditions or quirks of the school that appeal to you. For example, Muhlenberg College prides itself on painting all of the doors on campus red as a sign of welcome; mentioning that in your essay could show that you’re invested in the friendly, communal culture of that school.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

Once you’ve completed your research, you’re ready to start the writing process. All the general rules of essay writing still apply—you’ll want, for example, to organize your thoughts with an outline before getting started—but keep in mind that many schools want this essay to be short compared to the personal essay.

In your early notes, be sure to include all the possible reasons the school appeals to you. Write down any information you gathered from your research, campus visit, or conversations with faculty or current students, along with anything else that strikes you as relevant. For example, here’s what Ariana’s list of her reasons for applying to Duke might look like.

  • Combining linguistics and medicine/healthcare
  • Interesting courses: “Neuroscience and Human Language”; “Language, Music, and Dementia”; “Spanish in the US”
  • Campus atmosphere: I overheard students discussing their academic interests throughout the day, even at the dining hall. The student body seems passionate and focused on academics.
  • Conversation with a student during the tour: Discussed my interest in Spanish/bilingualism with a student who happened to be majoring in Spanish.
  • Clubs/activities: Latin American Students Organization and Mi Gente
  • VLearn Program: Duke offers students $70 per semester for lunch with a faculty member

Once your list of campus positives is finished, you can move on to writing an outline in which you organize your thoughts. In the outline, be sure to connect your research to yourself. You can do that by detailing a relevant experience, explaining an academic interest, or connecting the research to your personal life.

I have always been interested in language and how it intersects with neuroscience and medicine. Duke’s “Language, Music, and Dementia” class seems tailor-made for me: it’s the exact type of course I’d like to take and would prepare me for a future career in research or medicine, my two academic passions.

Once you’ve outlined your essay, you can write a draft. The word count for these essays is usually lower. Admissions officers don’t spend much time on each application, so be sure not to exceed the word count.

It’s okay for your answer to be short; successful answers to this question at Tufts, for example, range from just 100 words to 250 words .

For a strong essay, avoid being too general or too emotional, and try not to repeat the same points you’ve already made in other parts of your application.

Speaking in generalities

The most common cause of a bad “ Why this college?” essay is the use of generalities. You may have initially been interested in a school because of its size, ranking, reputation, or location, or the availability of your desired majors, but those aren’t specific enough reasons to include in your essay.

Overusing emotive language

It’s great if you “felt at home” on your college visit, but what does that really mean? You can call a college your “dream school,” but that doesn’t really explain what about it appeals to you.

While it’s fine to discuss the emotional reasons you like a specific college, your essay must include specific, concrete reasons why you want to attend.

Rewriting your personal essay or resume

Admissions officers already have your personal essay and resume right in front of them; you don’t need to reiterate what’s in those, especially if it isn’t relevant to the reasons you’ve given.

Rewriting your accomplishments over and over throughout the application can be annoyingly redundant or, worse, come off as boastful.

However, rewriting your personal essay to make it more readable is highly recommended. You can do this quickly with a paraphrasing tool .

If you want to know more about academic writing , effective communication , or parts of speech , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

Academic writing

  • Writing process
  • Transition words
  • Passive voice
  • Paraphrasing

 Communication

  • How to end an email
  • Ms, mrs, miss
  • How to start an email
  • I hope this email finds you well
  • Hope you are doing well

 Parts of speech

  • Personal pronouns
  • Conjunctions

Colleges set a “Why this college?” essay because they want to see that you’ve done your research. You must prove that you know what makes the school unique and can connect that to your own personal goals and academic interests.

Campus visits are always helpful, but if you can’t make it in person, the college website will have plenty of information for you to explore. You should look through the course catalog and even reach out to current faculty with any questions about the school.

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How To Answer The “Why This College” Essay Prompt

How To Answer The “Why This College” Essay Prompt

The “Why This College” essay question and its variations are a popular supplemental essay prompt in college admissions. How should you approach this question? When asking “Why This College”, colleges want to know why you, specifically, are a great fit for their school. Read this blog post to learn how the “Why This College” essay prompt fits into the broader application, how to avoid a generic “Why This College” essay, and how to structure and write your essay. You’ll come away knowing exactly how to write an essay that stands out to admissions officers!  

To successfully answer the “Why This College?” supplemental essay, you must first understand the purpose of this question. You see, going to college is like entering a committed, long-term, and potentially expensive relationship. For your part, you have to decide where to live and work for the next 4 years. And the college has to decide whether you deserve a precious spot on campus. A spot that thousands of others are fighting for, too.

In the “Why This College” supplemental essay question, colleges want to know why you, specifically, are a great fit for this particular college.

This question seems straightforward at first glance. But despite its directness, it can be difficult to answer. Lots of answers are overdone, and many students miss the point entirely. In this blog post, we’ll show you a foolproof process for defining and conveying why a college is the *perfect *place for you.

Keep reading to find out how you can create an amazing “Why This College” essay!

What Do Colleges Look for in a “Why This College” Essay?

Going back to the relationship analogy: Imagine your partner asks you “Why do you like me?” You wouldn’t make them feel special if you answered, “Because you’re famous” or, “Because you live near the beach.” You’d make them feel special if you talked about how your unique personalities combine to form the ultimate dream team.

In the “Why This College” or “Why Us” prompt, colleges are looking to see that you know (1) what the school offers and (2) how it aligns with your interests, passions, and values. Your goal with this essay is to sincerely, authentically, and excitedly tell admissions committees:

  • What you will get out of going to their school in particular.
  • What you will contribute to their school as a student there.
  • Which specific opportunities you’ll take advantage of.
  • How you’ll bring your skills and past experiences to bear as a leader and collaborator on their campus.

Think of this essay as a bridge between you and the college. It’s your chance to express why you're drawn to it.

Examples of “Why This College” Essay Prompts

The prompts for the “Why This College” essay might differ from school to school. Here are a few examples of different prompts you might encounter.

Yale & Columbia

  • What is it about Yale that has led you to apply? (125 words or fewer)
  • Why are you interested in attending Columbia University? We encourage you to consider the aspect(s) that you find unique and compelling about Columbia. (200 words or fewer)

Some schools, like Yale and Columbia , keep their prompts brief and open ended, often with a short word count. While the limited space can be a challenge, it also gives you an opportunity to focus on the most important reasons why you want to attend the school.

  • We would like to know more about your interest in NYU. What motivated you to apply to NYU? Why have you applied or expressed interest in a particular campus, school, college, program, and or area of study? If you have applied to more than one, please also tell us why you are interested in these additional areas of study or campuses. We want to understand – Why NYU? (400 word maximum)

Other schools like NYU give a bit more detail in their prompts, helping to identify the categories they would like you to discuss: a specific campus, school, area of study, or academic and extracurricular programs. Because you have an expanded word count, make sure to discuss each of the points they ask for in as much detail as possible.

  • How does the University of Chicago, as you know it now, satisfy your desire for a particular kind of learning, community, and future? Please address with some specificity your own wishes and how they relate to UChicago.

UChicago’s prompt is unique in that it has an open word count. While this may give you the freedom to talk about many topics, your essay should still be concise, cohesive, and well organized to maximize its effectiveness. Notice that this prompt also specifically asks you to focus on your own desires and goals. The admissions officers want to know how attending UChicago will help you achieve these goals — not just what you find interesting about UChicago.

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How the “Why This College?” Essay Fits into the Holistic Application Review

Admissions officers use a holistic approach when evaluating applicants. This means they don’t make decisions based on just one factor. Instead, they consider multiple aspects of your application: academic performance, standardized test scores, recommendation letters, and extracurricular activities.

The "Why This College?" essay plays a unique role in this process. While grades and test scores provide valuable quantitative data, this essay serves as qualitative information that can't be distilled into numbers. It's your chance to breathe life into your application by showcasing your personality, ambitions, and potential contributions to the college community.

Think of this essay as the human touch, where you can share your narrative and explain why you're not just another student — you’re a valuable addition to their campus.

The Admissions Committee's Perspective on the “Why This College?” Essay

To truly master the art of writing the "Why This College?" essay, put yourself in the shoes of the admissions committee. These dedicated professionals aren't just sifting through a stack of papers. They're curating a diverse and vibrant class for their college. They’re looking for students who will not only thrive academically but also contribute to the campus culture

This perspective shift reminds you that this essay isn't just about what you can gain from the college; it's also about what you can give back. Imagine you're sitting at the table with the admissions committee, and your goal is to convince them that you’re an excellent fit for their institution.

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The Equation for a Perfect “Why This College” Essay

If you take away only one thing from this article, let it be this: This essay answer isn’t meant to be a song of praise about the school OR an additional list of your achievements. Rather, it’s meant to show how aspects of you complement aspects of the school in mutually beneficial ways.

Your Values and Goals + This College’s Offerings = a Successful “Why This College” Essay

Research: The Key to Avoiding a Generic “Why This College?” Essay that Flops

Sorry to say this, but admissions officers can spot a generic essay from a mile away. ChatGPT can’t write it for you. And nothing signals disinterest more than vague, recycled information.

To craft a compelling essay, you must immerse yourself in the college's culture, values, and offerings.

But before you crawl down the research rabbit hole, let’s give you two questions to guide your focus.

Question 1: “What does this school do that nobody else does?”

Every university has its distinct identity and strengths. It's your job to identify and showcase these unique aspects that resonate with your academic and personal goals.

Highlight what makes this institution stand out for you personally. Is it their groundbreaking research opportunities, renowned faculty, or commitment to community service? Maybe it's the vibrant campus culture, specific majors, or innovative programs. These unique qualities will form the core of your essay, making it authentic and memorable.

“Finding opportunities that you can’t find elsewhere is a great way to tackle [the Why This College] question,” says Eileen Dougherty, a Former Admissions Officer from UPenn. “You don’t want to say, “I’m excited for internships and studying abroad.” You can find those anywhere, so you’re not making a strong case for fit in those responses.”

Once you answer this question, move on to the second question.

Question 2: “How does that particular thing help me become who I want to be?”

More so than any other school, tell them why this thing is the springboard for the rest of your life. To answer this question, you’ll need to tie in aspects of your own personality and goals. This will help admissions officers see how you fit into the life legacy of the college.

Example: A Successful “Why Yale” Essay

Let’s take a look at the way one student addressed both of the above questions in her “Why Yale” Essay:

“My challenges are what fuel my identity and at Yale I would be able to challenge myself further through research. Within the computer science department, I want to expand my knowledge on the creation of various artificial intelligence models, and learn more about how they can be utilized for other pressing classification purposes. I believe under the right mentorship at Yale through their STARS (Science, Technology and Research Scholars) research experience, I can improve not only my skills, but potentially gain insight on how they can be applied to solve other major global issues. As a home to discovery, I would live up to Yale's next generation of innovators in order to continue its mission to improve the world.”

This student refers to the computer science department. She signals she’s aware of the strong reputation of its opportunities to learn about artificial intelligence. She also mentions a specific research program, STARS. At the end, she nods to Yale’s mission to foster innovation and have a positive impact on the world.

The first 7 words of the essay immediately give the reader a glimpse into who this student is. This student doesn’t shy away from challenges — in fact, they live for challenges. Which is great, because studying computer science at Yale will be challenging!

The student expresses their personal interest in artificial intelligence and shows they’re already thinking about how to apply what they’ll learn ( “other classification purposes” ). They finish strong by expressing their desire to solve problems and impact the world, which aligns with Yale’s mission.

Thorough research is the cornerstone of writing an effective "Why This College?" essay. Let these two questions guide you in conducting laser-focused research on your chosen school.

Top 3 "Why This School?" Essay Tips

Tips for Finding Relevant Information

Level 1: Novice Tips

1. College Website: Start with the official college website. You’ll find detailed information about academic programs, faculty, campus facilities, mission statements, and core values. Take notes on what resonates with you. Certainly don’t regurgitate this information word-for-word in your essay — but it can be a good starting point.

2. Tours and Webinars: It’s ideal if you can get to a school to see it in person. If not, take advantage of virtual tours to get insights into campus life, student experiences, and the college's philosophy. Check out:

  • A Day in the Life at top colleges Youtube series
  • CampusTours
  • Tours on your chosen school’s website

3. Speaking with Current Students and Alumni: Reach out to current students or alumni if possible. Colleges often have a network of representatives who are happy to talk to prospective students. Check their website or give them a call to ask about these opportunities.

4. Reading Student Reviews: Websites like Niche and College Confidential feature student reviews and discussions. Read these to gauge the sentiment of at least some students. They are opinions, so take them with a grain of salt!

Level 2: Expert Tips

  • Google “unique courses at [university name]”. If you fancy yourself a Wordle champ, you might be itching to join Princeton’s “Wordplay: A Wry Plod from Babel to Scrabble.” Or perhaps you excel at procrastinating — then UPenn’s “Wasting time on the Internet” might be your time to shine.
  • Google “[university name] traditions”. You know, like Georgetown’s Healy Howl or Cornell’s Dragon Day. Not that you should write your essay about this tradition — it’s likely overdone. But it could give you inspiration and help you capture the school’s character in your essay.
  • Call the admissions office. Seriously, you can just do that. You’ll be able to talk to a rep who can answer your questions. And they might even be the one who eventually reads your application! As a general rule, don’t ask them anything that you could just Google. Ask thoughtful questions tailored to your situation. You may get some great inspiration for your essay.
  • Find a syllabus. If you dig around long enough, you should be able to find a syllabus for a course taught at the school. Mention a detail from it in your essay.

Organizing Your Research

As you gather information, organize your research. Create a system that allows you to access key details quickly when you're ready to start writing. Below are categories you might want to note for each school.

Research Categories

  • Majors and Minors Offered
  • Unique Academic Programs
  • Notable Faculty
  • Research Opportunities
  • Class Sizes and Teaching Styles
  • Extracurricular Activities
  • Clubs and Organizations
  • Campus Events and Traditions
  • Campus Facilities (Libraries, Labs, etc.)
  • Student Demographics
  • Geographic Location
  • Proximity to Urban Areas
  • Regional Opportunities
  • Local Culture and Attractions
  • Acceptance Rate
  • SAT/ACT Score Averages
  • Admission Requirements
  • Application Deadlines
  • Financial Aid and Scholarships
  • Special Programs (Honors, Study Abroad, etc.)
  • Notable Alumni
  • Awards and Recognitions
  • Campus Sustainability Initiatives
  • Community Engagement
  • Your Personal Observations
  • Thoughts and Feelings During Virtual Tours
  • Insights from Conversations with Students and Alumni
  • Overall Campus Vibe

Organization Tips

  • Digital Notes: Create a digital document (Word, Google Docs) with these categories and add your findings under each one as you research. Use bullet points or numbered lists for easy readability.
  • Color Coding: Assign a specific color to each category for visual organization. Highlight or tag information with the corresponding color to quickly locate details.
  • Separate Documents: If you prefer a more detailed approach, consider creating separate documents or folders for each college you're researching. Inside each folder, have subfolders corresponding to the categories listed above.
  • Spreadsheets : Use spreadsheet software (Excel, Google Sheets) to create a table with columns for each category. This allows you to input data systematically and sort information easily.
  • Note-Taking Apps: Utilize note-taking apps such as Evernote or OneNote to organize your research digitally. Create notebooks for each college, and within them, separate notes by categories.
  • Physical Binder: If you prefer a tangible approach, use a binder with dividers for each category. Print and organize physical materials like brochures and handwritten notes.

With this organized system, you'll have a clear overview of the colleges you're researching so you can easily craft a compelling "Why This College?" essay.

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Creating a Personalized List of Reasons

“Personalized” is the key word here. After conducting thorough research, hopefully you can come up with at least 3 honest reasons why you want to go to this school in particular . (If not, maybe you shouldn’t be applying there!)

List out your personalized reasons for wanting to attend this school. Now you can begin crafting your essay around them.

How to Structure Your "Why This College" Essay

One of the primary objectives of the "Why This College?" essay is to demonstrate how your academic and personal goals align with what the college has to offer. Admissions officers want to see that you can articulate precisely why you think this college is the ideal place to pursue your ambitions. Discuss specific programs, courses, or opportunities that the college provides and how they directly relate to your goals. Whether it's access to renowned professors, cutting-edge research facilities, or unique extracurricular activities, highlight the aspects of the college that make it the perfect fit for your future.

Here’s a suggestion for the general architecture of the essay:

1. Introduce your reasons for applying to this particular college.  

2. Follow this up with facts about the college that attracted you. Include a few reasons why the college is a great fit for your interests and goals. 

3. Conclude by expressing why you would be a great addition to the school. 

Make sure that your essay is well organized and concise. Provide real reasons why the school is a perfect match for your talent and aspirations. With some thoughtful planning and research, you can craft an impressive essay that will surely help your application stand out.

Tips for Writing a Compelling Introduction to the “Why This College” Essay

Admissions officers appreciate essays that engage them from the very beginning. This makes them eager to learn more about the applicant behind the words. Below are some strategies for starting the essay.

1. Anecdote or personal story: Share a brief personal story that relates to your interest in the college. It could be an experience that sparked your curiosity or a moment when you realized the college's unique offerings aligned with your goals.

Example: “One step on Dartmouth’s campus and I knew it was somewhere to be treasured. On that November day, I was far from my California home, but it felt warm, despite the snow.” 

2. A relevant quote. Sometimes, a well-chosen quotation or a surprising fact can serve as an excellent opening. Ensure that it's directly related to your reasons for choosing the college, as this sets the stage for what follows.

Example: "Feminism is not a job or a mask you can take off at the end of the day. Feminism is a lifestyle." –Alina Cebotari, Moldovan Intersectional Feminist. I keep remembering the feminists that have raised me, while I immerse myself in Barnard’s trailblazing alumnae community. 

3. A thought-provoking question. Engage your readers with a thought-provoking question. Make it relevant to the college and your aspirations. This approach encourages your audience to reflect on the question and seek answers within your essay.

Example: “Have you ever experienced a sense of awe that transcends the ordinary?” 

This student goes on to tell the story of the moment she knew she wanted to study architecture and connects with specifics of Cornell’s excellent architecture program.

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Do’s and Don’ts Your “Why This College” Essay

  • DO connect your goals and values with those of the school. Discuss the college's commitment to diversity, community engagement, or any other values that resonate with you. Share personal experiences or beliefs that demonstrate your dedication to upholding these values.
  • DO articulate your academic aspirations. Explain how your intended major or field of study aligns with the college's strengths.
  • DO showcase a commitment to personal growth. Highlight how the college's unique opportunities will contribute to your personal development. Whether it's the chance to engage in research, participate in leadership programs, or immerse yourself in a vibrant campus community, emphasize how these experiences will help you grow as an individual.
  • DO discuss specific programs, courses, or professors. Go beyond generic statements and mention specific programs, courses, or professors that have captured your interest. Whether it's an innovative research project, a renowned professor's work, or a unique interdisciplinary course, show you’re aware of what sets this college apart academically.
  • DO describe extracurricular activities and clubs. This is your chance to showcase which campus groups you're eager to join. Discuss clubs, organizations, or extracurricular activities that align with your interests or values. Describe how you envision yourself getting involved and making a meaningful impact. Admissions officers value applicants who show a clear intention to contribute to the college's vibrant campus life.
  • DO mention *specific* internship, research, or study abroad opportunities. Explain how these experiences will enrich your education and prepare you for future success. Discuss any specific projects, organizations, or destinations that have piqued your interest.
  • DO demonstrate knowledge of campus resources. Discuss how access to *specific* libraries, research centers, or academic support services will help your studies. ****
  • DON’T write about the school’s size, location, or weather. Many schools are beautiful. Plenty of schools have great weather or are near the beach. For any school you apply to, you can find at least 20 that are the exact same size. Avoid these generic features. Instead focus on why this specific school calls to you.
  • DON’T make generic or vague statements . Avoid phrases like "your esteemed institution" or "world-class faculty," which are too generic to hold any real meaning. Instead, be specific. Specificity adds authenticity and depth to your essay, demonstrating your genuine interest in the college.
  • DON’T use clichés. Admissions officers read countless essays with worn-out phrases like "dream school" or "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity". To stand out, use original language and anecdotes that reflect your personal connection to the school.
  • DON’T focus solely on prestige and rankings. Admissions officers want to see that you're genuinely excited about what the college has to offer — beyond its reputation. Instead of excessively praising the school or listing rankings, delve into specific details about its programs, values, and community that align with your goals.
  • DON’T repeat other parts of your application. Every word on your application takes up precious real estate. Avoid reusing personal experiences, achievements, or even school’s resources that you have mentioned in other essays or sections of the application.
  • DON’T forget to proofread and edit. Nothing kills an otherwise lovely essay like careless errors! After drafting your essay, take the time to proofread it carefully and have someone else review it.

Final Thoughts

The “Why This College” Essay is an important part of your application. It’s one of the best places for admissions officers to learn who you are and why you’re dying to go to their school. Although it requires a lot of research and thought, a strong “Why This College” Essay will make a compelling argument for why you would be a great addition to that specific campus.

Going through the research and writing process for this essay might even be a great opportunity for you to figure out what you’re looking for in a school!

By identifying specific resources, crafting detailed descriptions of how they align with your passions and ambitions, and using an authentic writing style, you’ll be on your way to creating a unique, personal, and effective “Why This College” Essay.

If you want to get feedback on your “Why This College” Essay and find out if it's strong enough for the school you're applying to, consider getting it reviewed by a professional using Crimson Education’s Essay Review Service .

Further Reading:

  • Free eBook: Write the Perfect Personal Essay
  • Free eBook: US Application Supplemental Essays - Everything You Need To Know
  • Blog: New Supplemental Essay Prompts 2023-24
  • Blog: Can You Answer These Bizarre (But Real) College Essay Prompts?

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How to write the “ why this college ” essay: the ultimate guide.

If you apply to Yale University , you’ll be asked, “What is it about Yale that has led you to apply?”

Similarly, Caltech wants to know, “How do you believe Caltech will best fuel your intellectual curiosity and help you meet your goals?”

And if you’re interested in attending Notre Dame , you’ll need to respond to the following: “What excites you about the University of Notre Dame that makes it stand out from other institutions?”

Okay, you get the idea:

These are just a few variations on what we like to call the “Why This College” essay.

  • Most colleges and universities require applicants to answer some form of this question, and it’s one of the most important essays you’ll write.

In this article, we’ll tell you how to rock the “Why This College” essay and increase your chances of acceptance.

Why Do Colleges Ask This Question?

We mentioned above that this is one of the most important essays you’ll write—and that almost every college wants you to write it.

But why? What’s the significance of this question?

In reading your response, colleges are hoping to determine:

  • Whether you truly know and have interest in their school
  • Whether you’ll be a good fit for the school
  • Whether the school is a good fit for you

Are You Interested?

Sure, the fact that you’re filling out the application indicates some level of interest in the school.

  • But many students apply to schools simply because they recognize the name, know the school has a great reputation, or even have been pushed in that direction by friends or family members.

Colleges only accept a limited number of students , and they want to admit students who have a genuine interest in and commitment to their school.

  • Do you know what makes this college stand out from others?
  • Do you know about the opportunities and experiences this school can offer?
  • Are you aware of the school’s values, culture, and traditions?
  • Have you already spent time picturing yourself here? Are you excited about this possibility?

"Why This College" Essay: The Ultimate College Essay Guide

Click above to watch a video on how to write the Why This College Essay.

As you write this essay, aim to demonstrate your knowledge and enthusiasm for the school in question.

Are You a Good Fit for the School?

As they read your essays, college admissions officers try to picture you on their campus.

  • Will you fit in and thrive there?
  • What contributions will you make to their college and community?
  • Do your interests mesh well with the school’s strengths?
  • Is your personality a good fit for the school’s culture and values?

Help the admissions team imagine you as someone who would happily thrive at their school, making positive contributions to campus.

Is the School a Good Fit for You?

Not only do you need to be a good fit for the school, but the school needs to be a good fit for you as well.

  • What are your academic and career goals? Can this school help you achieve them?
  • Will you be successful at this school? Is the rigor and approach to learning a good fit for you?
  • What academic programs, research or internship opportunities, classes, extracurricular activities, and so on will you take advantage of and participate in?

Show that the school you’re applying to has the resources to help you achieve academic and career success.

How to Recognize the “Why This College” Question

Of course, this essay won’t be labeled “Why This College” on applications. You’ll have to be able to recognize it in a variety of forms.

There are two different angles colleges might use to approach this question: “Why us?” and “Why you?”

  • Why us? Here, you’ll express enthusiasm for the school and its opportunities and culture. What will you get out of attending this school?
  • Why you? In this case, the focus is on the contributions you’ll make to campus and the skills, background, and talents that make you a good fit.

Although these approaches are slightly different, you can include similar information in your answers to both prompt types.

For instance, let’s say you’re really excited about a particular program offered by the university.

  • If the university’s asking, “Why us?” you might focus on what an amazing opportunity participating in this program would be, and why you’re so excited about it. You could explain how the program would help you achieve your future goals.
  • For a “Why you?” essay, you might describe how your background, experiences, and abilities make you a perfect fit for the program. You could also discuss how your future goals make you someone who would benefit from and take advantage of this program.

Let’s take a look at what these two different approaches look like.

Examples of “Why This College?” Prompts

In some cases, the college will literally ask you, “Why [college name here]?” making this prompt very easy to identify.

Alternatively, they might ask you:

  • What do you like best about our university?
  • Why are you interested in our school?
  • Why do you want to go to our college?
  • What aspects of our college most excite you?

Some examples:

  • “Why Brown?” – Brown University
  • “Please tell us what you value most about Columbia and why.” – Columbia University
  • “What are the top five reasons you want to be a Hokie?” – Virginia Tech
  • “Please submit a one page, single-spaced essay that explains why you have chosen Carnegie Mellon and your particular major(s), department(s) or program(s).” – Carnegie Mellon

Examples of “Why You?” Prompts

These prompts focus more on you, asking questions like:

  • What are your interests or goals and how will you pursue them here?
  • What will you contribute to our school?
  • Why are you a good match/good fit for us?
  • What do you want to study and how does this fit well with our programs?
  • “Although you may not yet know what you want to major in, which department or program at MIT appeals to you and why?” – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • “How will you explore your intellectual and academic interests at the University of Pennsylvania?” – University of Pennsylvania
  • “Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests at USC.” – University of Southern California
  • “Please relate your interest in studying at Georgetown University to your goals. How do these thoughts relate to your chosen course of study?” – Georgetown University

No matter how they word it, these schools are asking the classic “Why This College” question.

How to Write an Impressive “Why This College” Essay

The key to a stellar “Why This College” essay is to give specific, precise details about what you and the university can offer to one another.

You also need to convey your enthusiasm and excitement about the college and the unique opportunities available there.

Here’s how:

Do Your Research

First, you need to gather information about your college(s) of choice.

And we’re not talking about the generic info yielded by a two-minute Google search.

This type of research will take some time, but earning an acceptance letter from your dream school will make it worth the effort.

You’re looking for precise details about:

  • Courses and programs
  • Extracurricular and internship opportunities
  • Events and activities
  • Campus culture
  • The latest news about your college and its achievements

How can you find this information?

Use a variety of resources, including:

  • The school’s website and other materials
  • College fairs
  • Campus tours
  • Conversations with current students

Let’s take a closer look at how to take advantage of these sources.

The School’s Website and Other Materials

You can find great information on the university’s website, but try not to pull info from the overview you’ll find on the front page.

Many students might use this technique, so you could end up sounding just like other applicants (which you want to avoid).

Instead, take a deeper dive.

  • Look through the course catalog, go to specific professor’s websites, review the particular programs you’re interested in, and so on.
  • As you do so, be sure to take notes!
  • Also, record your reactions to the information you’re finding—are you especially excited about a certain course? Why?

You can find similar info in the school’s newspaper, alumni magazines, brochures, social media, and more.

Gather as much material published by the school as you can, and take your time combing through it for opportunities that you find particularly exciting.

College Fairs

Visiting college fairs is another effective way to gather information about schools.

In addition to getting brochures and other materials, you can talk to the college reps.

Ask them questions about their university and what makes it unique, then jot down notes so you can include these details in your essay later!

Campus Tours

Mentioning a campus tour you’ve taken demonstrates your genuine interest in the school.

You and your family have made the effort to travel to campus and take a tour—that’s a good sign!

You can also find tons of unique details about the college by visiting campus and taking a tour. As always, be sure to take notes.

  • Are there any buildings that stand out to you? Sculptures?
  • Do you see students doing anything that makes you want to be part of this campus community?
  • Try to sit in on some classes if possible. Write down the course name, the professor’s name, and anything intriguing that you hear or see during the lecture.
  • Talk to students if you can, asking them what they like best about the school or what makes their school different from others.
  • If you go on a tour, write down the name of your tour guide, along with anything surprising or funny that your tour guide says about the school.

Note your overall impressions and anything you see that you especially like, no matter how small. These seemingly insignificant details are what make your essay!

And if you can’t go on a physical tour, try to take a virtual one. Many schools offer virtual tours on their website, or you can search sites like Youtube.

Current Students

As mentioned above, talking to students can give you a perspective you won’t necessarily find online.

  • Is there anyone from your high school that now attends this college?
  • Try contacting them through social media, or see if anyone knows their phone number.
  • College students are often happy to discuss their university with prospective students.

Visiting campus is another way to find students to talk to, and some admissions websites list contact information for students you can email with questions about life at the university.

Get personalized advice!

How to brainstorm the essay.

Once you’ve gathered enough information about your college or university, it’s time to brainstorm !

Sift through all of your research and notes to find 3-5 aspects of the school that appeal to you the most. Make sure these are specific details!

  • Don’t choose broad statements like, “The historic brick buildings on campus are beautiful,” or regurgitate info from the school’s front page, like, “This school is known for its strong engineering curriculum.”
  • Try to focus on what interests you and fits well with your goals and background, as well as on what makes the school stand out from others.
  • Are you excited that your school is near a beach, or that it’s located in Chicago? Lots of schools are located near beaches, and there’s more than one university in Chicago. Dig deeper. What makes this school unlike any other?

Here’s the bottom line:

You need to choose 3-5 details that:

  • Are specific to you (Don’t just praise this school, but explain why this quality is great for you , or how it connects to your background and future goals.)
  • Are specific to the school
  • Make you eager to attend this university (Your interest and enthusiasm should shine through in this essay.)

Here are a few ideas:

  • Talk about how a specific program or opportunity can help you realize your career goals.
  • Does the school have facilities or equipment that you can’t find at many other schools, and that you’re excited to work with? This could include a specialized laboratory, an observatory, a library with rare manuscripts or first editions, etc.
  • Mention a class you find fascinating and can’t wait to take. This is especially effective if you were able to sit in on the class or have spoken to a current student who loves it.
  • Is there a professor you can’t wait to learn from? Maybe his research is related to a science fair project you did in high school, or you’ve already learned a lot just from reading one of his books.
  • Describe an experience you had on the campus tour, or an impactful interaction you had with students or staff.
  • Do you have a unique story about how you became interested in the school? Maybe your family had time to spare on a vacation in the area, and you stopped by and fell in love. Or perhaps your high school attended a competition hosted there.
  • Are you planning to continue work, research, or involvement with an organization from high school? How will you be able to do so at this university?
  • What programs or activities do you plan to get involved with, and what qualities or experiences will you bring them?
  • Are you the perfect match for a research or internship opportunity? Why? Maybe you’ve done relevant academic work, have already worked in this field, have been exposed to it via your parents or another relative, etc.

However, you should avoid focusing on:

  • Sports . Unless you have a unique story about your passion for the sports teams, or you’re planning to be an athlete yourself, try to avoid discussing that you’re a fan of the school’s teams. There’s nothing wrong with this—it’s just an overused topic!
  • Generic praise . Although praise is nice, it’s not what admissions officers want to hear. They want to know how you personally connect with the school.
  • College rankings . Sure, this college might be ranked #3 for happiest students. But it’s probably pretty similar to other schools ranked in the top 10. What makes it different?
  • The beautiful campus . If there’s something specific about the campus that spoke to you, feel free to talk about it. But many, many students write about the gorgeous campus or say, “The moment I stepped on your campus, I knew I was home.” You want to avoid clichés, and the truth is that most college campuses are pretty.
  • Your major . Talk about your major, by all means. But don’t merely focus on why you want to study this major. Focus on why you want to study it at this college .

Try to choose 3-5 details that are unique to this college, specific to you, and super exciting!

Writing the “Why This College” Essay: Do’s and Don’ts

Now that you’ve honed in on 3-5 details, it’s time to write. Be sure to follow the do’s and don’ts below.

  • Be authentic . Mean what you’re saying, and write in your own voice. Believe it or not, insincerity will come through in your essay. When the admissions team reads your essay, they should feel real passion and enthusiasm for their school.
  • Be specific . You’ve probably seen the word “specific,” a lot in this article, and that’s because it’s super important! Specificity shows that you’ve taken the time to do your research and envision yourself at this school, and it’ll ensure that your essay is not like any other. Mention professors, courses, clubs, and other opportunities by name.
  • Mention it if you plan on attending here if admitted . If this is your first choice school and you absolutely plan on attending if admitted, say so. Colleges want to accept students who will accept them in return. But if the school isn’t your first choice, don’t lie.
  • Revise and edit . Check over your spelling, grammar, and word usage. Ask a trusted friend, family member, or teacher to look over your work as well. But keep in mind that no matter how many times you revise your essay or how much advice you get, it still needs to sound like you !
  • Waste space on an introduction and conclusion . You’ll likely have a limited number of words, so don’t bother with an introduction or conclusion. Just jump right into your reasons. Your first paragraph should focus on your main 1-2 reasons, while the next paragraph should go into slightly less detail about the remaining reasons you’ve selected.
  • Recycle the same essay . This essay requires a specific response that is tailored to the college you’ve selected. If you use the same essay for multiple colleges, it will sound generic, boring, and forgettable. Even worse, you might forget to change the school name!
  • Misspell the college’s name . This seems obvious, but many admissions officers have mentioned students misspelling the college’s name in their applications. Double and triple check to ensure all mentions of the school are spelled correctly. The same goes for names of programs, professors, and courses.

Excellent “Why This College?” Examples

Let’s look at a few examples of stellar “Why This College” essays that worked.

These examples come from students who were accepted to Tufts University.

Depending on the word limit for the colleges you’re applying to, yours may be a bit longer.

I spent my Tufts campus visit in a “Sociology of War and Peace” class. The discussion was rich as ideas were tossed back and forth, comparing and contrasting modern warfare in different regions and cultures. The dialogue instantly excited me, but when the students I was sitting with invited me to come to lunch with them, to continue talking about the Middle Eastern conflict, I knew that Tufts was the kind of environment I was looking for: an open community that values dialogue, and a campus with a strong intellectual pulse, even outside of the classroom.

-Jesse Ryan ‘21

Here, Jesse mentions a specific course that he was able to visit during a tour of Tufts. He details the discussion he observed in the class, as well as an interaction that followed with Tufts students.

He then explains why this experience was significant to him personally .

As an artist, I believe that one’s work should reflect the world beyond it. Thus, I’m most attracted to Tufts SMFA’s combination of rigorous artistic study with a challenging liberal arts curriculum at the School of Arts and Sciences. I want to inform my art-making with in-depth exploration of sociology, justice, and international relations, creating works that comment on global issues–a prospect uniquely possible at Tufts SMFA. With numerous opportunities for combining art and community work on campus and in Boston, the SMFA program shows art isn’t only meant for the classroom; it’s meant for the world.

-Isaac Joon-hyuk Choi ‘21

Isaac’s essay starts by explaining his own personal philosophy as an artist.

Next, he reflects on how a specific program at Tufts perfectly complements this philosophy.

His response shows a deep knowledge of the program he’s interested in, and he even discusses how he will use the skills he acquires in this program in his future art-making.

I vividly remember stepping onto the roof of Tisch Library and seeing a group of kids sitting in hammocks, overlooking the Boston skyline. I briefly tuned out my tour guide’s presentation and began to eavesdrop. The students covered everything from physics to what they had for lunch that day. When they spoke about physics, they did not speak with pretension; instead they spoke with passion. Likewise, when they spoke about something as simple as lunch, they did so with witty intrigue. Tufts students are as interesting as they are interested. This description not only resonates with me, it defines me.

-Christopher Sprunt ‘21

Notice that Christopher mentions a school facility by name in his first sentence, also providing a vivid description of a Tufts memory that resonated with him.

In his final sentence, he explains why this experience was personally significant.

Christopher is not only pleased by what he’s seen and heard from Tufts students, but he also feels that his personality is a great fit.

More “Why This College” Essay Examples!

Written by Stanford student:

Name one thing you are looking forward to experiencing at Stanford. (50 word limit) Hikes to the Dish. I imagine I’ll need an occasional break from the rigor of CS221, and I can see this tranquil exercise evolving into a haven for startup nomenclature, debates about Lebron James’s legacy, and convoluted stories involving the giant radio telescope and its potential otherworldly applications.

From an MIT applicant:

Although you may not yet know what you want to major in, which department or program at MIT appeals to you and why? (100 words or fewer) From the first “Hello World!” to recent work with artificial intelligence, I have developed an insatiable appetite for turning lines of code into computer programs with real-world applications. When developing, I often ponder: can machine learning solve all of the world’s problems — technical and humanitarian? Are cryptocurrencies just a fad that will be gone in five years? As the field offers up as many questions as it does answers, I am drawn to  MIT’s Computer Science, Economics and Data Science program, which would enable me to decipher both computer science’s inner workings and its ramifications on the world at large.

Written by a Purdue student:

How will opportunities at Purdue support your interests, both in and out of the classroom? (100 words) I can easily picture myself as a Boilermaker: after spending office hours talking to Dr. Bareinboim about the future of machine learning and causal Bayesian networks, the hoops aficionado in me hurriedly makes his way across Stadium Avenue over to Mackey Complex to partake in the tradition that is Indiana vs. Purdue basketball (where I remind others that we have historically had the better record). All the time, I cannot stop thinking about the BlueSky Pitch Competition, which makes me wonder if I should take a quick Uber over to Discovery Park just to practice one last time…

From a Purdue Honors student:

Explain your vision, ideas, or goals for how you hope to shape your honors experience while at Purdue. Please put this in the context of the four pillars which are the foundation of the Honors College. (300 word maximum) If I had to describe the effect of high school on my personal outlook in one word, it would be open-mindedness. In fact, this transformation can be attributed to the four pillars of the Honors College extending into my high school tenure. At McVay High, I made sure to step out of my comfort zone and take an assortment of humanities classes which piqued my interest in economics. Furthermore, my time at the National Cancer Institute has shown me that computer science and the sciences are not mutually exclusive; in fact, intersections of computer science with other disciplines are the foundation of the next medical breakthrough. Simply being in my diverse community and taking part in various service activities through honor societies has opened my eyes to the disparities that exist within my community, prompting me to become a leader not only to direct projects but also to envision and build new ideas never before implemented. Due to my experiences in high school, I became more open-minded, which meant welcoming new ideas, subjects, and individual perspectives. Thus, as much as I intend to explore the realms of computer science and work primarily for private corporations, I believe that Purdue will once again be another step in my journey that will open my eyes to new avenues. Whether I decide to pursue undergraduate research rather than an internship at a big tech company; start an interdisciplinary academic class that combines computer science and economics; study abroad to build my community and global experiences; or even develop my leadership skills by becoming an executive member of the Association of Multicultural Computer Scientists, I know that because of the four pillars at Purdue — pillars that have guided me my entire life — I will lead a life that is more fulfilling.

A Why Tufts essay by a now-Tufts student:

Which aspects of the Tufts undergraduate experience prompted your application? In short, ‘Why Tufts?’ (100-150 words) The undergraduate experience at Tufts is my ideal ice-cream sundae.  With an emphasis on interdisciplinary learning, I can mesh scoops of political science, community health, and biology, combining disparate perspectives to explore complex healthcare issues. Over this, I will pour indulgent caramel in the form of an internship in Washington, D.C., allowing me to immerse myself in a health policy research project. Next, comes the countless brownie bits of activities, like Tufts’ prestigious Mock Trial Team, the Sarabande Repertory Dance Ensemble, and Hillel.  No sundae is complete without a cherry on top. When I toured Tufts, I was amazed by my guide’s friendly interactions with every individual he encountered. Surrounded by passionate, supportive, and motivated individuals, I know Tufts is the manifestation of my perfect collaborative environment. This positive atmosphere embodies the maraschino cherry on the already overflowing ice-cream heap, ensuring my undergraduate experience satisfies the sweetest of cravings. 

A Why Michigan essay from a now-Wolverine:

Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate College or School (including preferred admission and dual degree programs) to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests? (Required for all applicants – 550 words) During my 3rd-grade class’s wax museum, I dressed up like Mark Zuckerberg, wearing just his typical gray shirt and blue jeans. On long car rides, I listened attentively to my father describe moments from Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs , retelling captivating tales of Jobs’ innovation and self-reflection. Ever since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to start my own tech company. Today, you can catch me watching either the hysterical antics of Silicon Valley or soaking in the insightful remarks made by guests on Guy Raz’s How I Built This podcast. At the University of Michigan, I’ll be the kid you see scarfing down a slice of South U’s BBQ Chicken Pizza (or what I like to call the future fuel of my entrepreneurial spirit), loudly chanting “Go Blue!” when we play the Spartans, and taking part in the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair. However, behind the scenes, I’ll be feeding my obsession with building the next unicorn through the College of Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship. You’ll find me propelling technological innovation by starting a venture at the TechArb Student Venture Accelerator or helping build companies through the Entrepreneurs Leadership Program. The University of Michigan’s intimate environment of innovation and Italian food is the perfect next step for me. In fact, the University of Michigan’s strong focus on entrepreneurship would enable me to make my technology startup, Big Time Tech, bigger and better. Wolverines place a large emphasis on social entrepreneurship through the Business+Impact program. Given the program’s diverse group of mentors, including the non-profit Board Fellow Program, I would be able to get sound advice crucial to extending the reach of my social venture. In addition, through the Detroit Engagement initiative, I would be able to deploy my product in an area thirsty for the types of opportunities on my platform. Having the ability to minor in entrepreneurship would mean that I could apply the knowledge I learned in classes about venture capital and digital product design to raise money and develop beautiful landing pages for my company, not just finish homework. Finally, on the nights when I will inevitably stay up late, you’ll find me growing my venture in the Innovate Blue Innovation Space. Becoming a Wolverine would allow me the opportunity to better understand the intersections of technology with other academic disciplines. Whether I’m drawing upon my work at the National Cancer Institute to aid in Dr. Honglak Lee’s research on high fidelity video prediction with large neural networks, funding student startups as a partner at Wolverine Venture Fund, or listening to a tech talk at Shapiro Library, the diversity of opportunities will provide a road map of the avenues I can take with technology. Only at the University of Michigan can someone sell a platform as a digital student loan advisor (LoanSense) or turn dorm room ideas and simple news headlines into applications that help researchers find employment (Perch) and detect counterfeit antimalarial medications (Neo Health). I cannot wait to become a Wolverine and join a community that cultivates my entrepreneurial and technological ardor.

An example of Why Columbia?

Please tell us what you value most about Columbia and why. After an hour and a half commute and a quick glance at Tom’s from Seinfeld, we finally made it onto campus. Following our tradition of taking panoramas and making a quick stop at the bookstore, we walked up the steps to Low Library and checked in for our campus tour. A booklet in a newspaper rack caught my eye   The title read “Connecting the Dots – Using Data to Engineer Smarter Urban Spaces.” Throughout high school, I committed myself to find ways to use technology to lessen the disparity that exists among my community’s members, especially as it relates to finding opportunities best suited for their futures. Whether it be through helping others find jobs, internships, or volunteer positions through my app, Rainy Day, or providing a platform to find reliable, free, tutoring help, high school taught me that creating technology could be utilized to help others find and connect with opportunities. As I perused this dense booklet, I began to discover Columbia’s strongest intangible — how the intersection of technology and social good was at the heart of all of its engineering. I had been on numerous college visits before, but while other institutions lined the pages of their advertising materials with “machine learning” and “entrepreneurship,” Columbia’s pamphlet focused on sustainability, secureness, and connectedness. From the  cover story — which discussed how Columbia engineers used data science to map dangerous intersections and other obstacles to traffic flow — to the section on Dion Khodagholy’s work — which outlined how a new class of noninvasive, biocompatible devices could interface with the brain to heal neurological disorders — it was evident that Columbia is a place where technology is used to change the world for good.

Advice From an Outside Expert

Sweet Briar College is a great liberal arts school known for its personalized academics and diverse study opportunities.

The college asks applicants to pen an essay (or similar deliverable) about why they want to attend SBC.

Amy Ostroth, director of communications at Sweet Briar College, gave this advice to students who want to attend the school. You can use her advice for any “Why This College” essay you write:

The best answer is one that is specific to Sweet Briar College. Don’t craft an answer that could be sent to any school on your list, but tell us why Sweet Briar is special. For example, you might describe an interaction you had with a faculty member that stuck with you. Maybe you had a meaningful conversation with a student or attended an interesting class during a campus visit. Perhaps you met an alumna at a college fair who stood out to you. Maybe a member of your family has told you stories about their time at Sweet Briar. In short, describe what was happening when you first thought, “This is the place for me.” Tell us a story that emphasizes what is special about Sweet Briar and what will be most important to you about your college experience.

Conclusion: Writing the “Why This College” Essay

The “Why This College” essay is important because schools want to ensure that you understand what makes their school unique and that you and the school are a great fit for each other.

Although the prompt may be phrased as either “Why you?” or “Why us?” these questions are essentially the same.

  • Either way, you’ll talk about both what the college can offer you and what you can offer the college in your essay.

To really nail this essay, you’ll need to spend a significant amount of time researching the school.

  • Once you’ve compiled notes and research, choose 3-5 details that you personally connect with and that are unique to the university or college.

Finally, you’re ready to write the essay! Jump right in, with no introduction or conclusion, and be authentic and enthusiastic. Revise and edit , and absolutely don’t misspell the name of the college!

Follow these tips, and your “Why This College” essay can help you stand out from the crowd—and earn that acceptance letter you’ve been dreaming of!

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Why This College Essay Sample

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Why This College Essay Sample – Introduction

Not sure how to start a “why this college” essay? Looking for a why this college essay sample? You’re in luck. We’ve compiled a collection of standout why school essay examples from a variety of schools to help you prepare to write your own why this college essay.

Throughout the admissions process, you’ll likely write “why this college” essays for many schools on your list. These prompts ask you to cite specific reasons why you’d like to attend a given school. As you start writing these essays, it can be tough to know where to start.

In this guide, we’ve included a variety of “why school” essay examples. Our why school essay examples come from many different schools—ten, to be exact. We hope these essay examples can help you prepare to write your own why this college essay.

We’ll review a “why this college” essay sample from each of the following schools and explain what made it effective.

We’ll look at why school essay examples from:

  • University of Chicago
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Wake Forest University
  • Tufts University
  • Lewis & Clark College
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • Duke University
  • Franklin & Marshall College
  • University of Florida
  • Lafayette College

What are examples of Why School essay prompts?

why this college essay sample

Before we take a look at our why this college essay examples, let’s start with the prompts. You’ll notice that our why this college essay examples have a lot in common. Namely, each why this college essay sample discusses specific details why a student belongs at a given school.

Still, you should note that each why this college essay sample is different. Each essay responds to their own why this college essay sample prompt. While these prompts have a lot in common, you’ll notice some key differences.

Essay prompts change

As you read our why college essay examples, you may notice that the prompts are slightly different from those below. That is because some schools change their prompts in different years.

At times, colleges will also eliminate prompts entirely. Certain schools, like Franklin & Marshall and Lewis & Clark , no longer require a why this college essay. However, we have still included why college essay examples for these schools. By reading these why this college essay samples, you can learn more about how to approach this type of prompt.

Now, let’s look at some prompts in the table of why this college essay examples below. 

As you can see from our why school essay examples prompts, not every prompt is as open-ended as “why this school.” So, compare each school’s why this college essay examples and prompt. Then, you’ll notice certain similarities and differences. You can apply this knowledge as you draft your own essays.

By reading through our “why college” essay examples, you’ll also familiarize yourself with the different prompts you might encounter. You can approach any prompt that references a school itself, either generally or specifically ( academics , curriculum, culture, etc.). You can see this in our why college essay examples prompts.

Different schools, different prompts

Some of the prompts are quite straightforward. They simply ask the question you’ll see answered in our why college essay examples: “Why this school?”

Other prompts, however, are a bit more leading. These might ask students about their chosen majors and how they align with a school’s values. They may also ask why a specific school will help them achieve their goals.

In all of our “why college” essay examples, you’ll notice that the prompts discuss each school by name. You’ll find questions like “why are you applying” and “how did you learn about us?” in these prompts. However, each of these boil down to the same essential question: why are you a good fit for our school?

Next, we’ll look at how our why college essay examples answer this question. But first, let’s take a look at a handful of schools and their essay prompts. This will help you understand how your why this college essay sample fits into your application strategy.

why i want to attend this college essay

Which schools require a Why This College essay?

Why This College Essay Sample

As you’ll see from our why school essay examples, many schools require a why this college essay sample. Our why this college essay examples include many schools, but this list isn’t exhaustive. So, do your own research to see if each school on your list requires a why this college essay.

The good news is many of our why school essay examples prompts are very similar. So, wherever you apply , our why college essay examples are great resources to reference as you write your own why school essay.

To get you started, here are some of the schools that require a why this college essay. You’ll find some why this college essay examples for these schools below. Others, you can check out in our school-specific essay guides :

Top Universities with a Why School Essay

  • Northwestern
  • American Unviersity

Why college essay examples for some of these schools didn’t make it into our list of college essays that worked. However, we still wanted to mention a few more schools that require a why this college essay.

More Why School Essay Examples Guides to Explore

Why northwestern.

Northwestern University has a two-part “why this college” essay sample prompt. They want to know what resources, opportunities, and/or communities you plan to engage with on campus. They also want to know how these offerings may enrich your time at Northwestern and beyond.

Why Barnard

The why this college essay sample prompt for Barnard College is a little more open-ended. Similar to other schools, Barnard asks what factors led you to apply at Barnard. They also ask you to share why you think Barnard will be a good match for you.

Yale University’s why this college essay sample prompt is similar to Barnard’s: “What is it about Yale that has led you to apply?” This is your opportunity to get specific about why Yale excites you. It also lets you share what you hope to take advantage of on campus.

Why Dartmouth

Dartmouth College’s why this college essay sample prompt asks students “Why Dartmouth?”—a classic why school prompt. Similar to Northwestern’s prompt, Dartmouth’s specifically asks what aspects of their academic program, community, or campus environment attract you.

Brown University asks students to describe their academic interests and how they might use Brown’s Open Curriculum to pursue them. In this instance, since the curriculum is specific to Brown, you can think of this prompt in two parts. First, what do you want to study, and second, why do you want to study it at Brown? In this way, this essay is a why this college essay, so should also be our list.

Why This College Essay Examples

why college essay examples

You can use our why school essay examples to help you begin to write your why school essays. Each of our college essays that worked was chosen because it is a strong and compelling “why this college” essay sample.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to read a why this college essay sample, you’re in luck. Take some time to read some below from over ten schools. These include our UF supplemental essay examples, Tufts essays that worked, Georgia Tech essay examples, why Duke essay examples, and more.

Why this college essay sample #1- UChicago

The University of Chicago is well-known for its quirky supplemental essay requirements. Among those you can expect to find some kind of Why This College essay. Below is an example of how one student crafted their response.

Why UChicago Essay Examples

How does the university of chicago, as you know it now, satisfy your desire for a particular kind of learning, community, and future please address with some specificity your own wishes and how they relate to uchicago. (1-2 pages).

The best thing about the University of Chicago is its subtle inconspicuousness. The ivy leagues and big select schools all have a stereotype/reputation it holds in the public eye that is difficult to live up to. Go to Harvard? Oh, you must be the smartest person ever! Go to UC Berkeley, MIT?  You must be the greatest genius the world has ever seen. But when U Chicago is mentioned, most people find it difficult to generalize the institution as anything outside of “top university” or “prestigious school.” This is because while universities at the forefront of media attention are some of the best in the United States, such overexposure lends itself to negative connotations that cannot be escaped.

I myself knew little about U Chicago, but soon came to realize how great knowing little could actually be in the grand scheme of things.

Everything starts with the amazing education system U Chicago prides itself on. Core Curriculum allows for students to really engage in critical thinking with an expanded view of the world and how it works. Students at U Chicago are not there for the perceived prestige or bonus points you get from attending a top university, they’re there to learn, and not just learn for the final exam and forget. They are there to learn and continue to use their gained knowledge as they expound upon it throughout their journey through schooling and life.

In high school and in my time taking community college courses, I haven’t been exposed to these types of students. People take courses just to put a check mark on the list, and I have been doing the same because it’s what required and it’s all I’ve ever known. There was never an opportunity to take specialized courses and as a result, my classmates’ zeal for knowledge acquisition has never been awakened. Though I try to satisfy my curiosities through articles and books, there was never anyone to discuss it with in depth without one of us leaving frustrated.

Though I plan to major in a Neuroscience-related program as a pre-medical student, I want to be able to learn new languages, Norwegian mythology, the situation of public health; anything that has piqued my interests for multiple years but remained untouched due to circumstances. I like that U Chicago forbids students from taking courses solely for their major and requires them to spend a large portion of their time in the Core Curriculum in order to make this happen.

Instead of dealing with constant pressure from society, students at U Chicago are free to pursue their passions without fear of judgment or stereotype. With the focus on education where it belongs, the overall atmosphere at the institution is laid-back and does not add stress to the rigorous course load.

A secret utopia of sorts, U Chicago sets an invincible foundation that will exponentially increase the vitality of a person in any field of work or practice and I want to be a part of that.

Explaining why this essay worked

This is one of our Why UChicago essay examples and one of our first college essays that worked. In it, the author reflects on UChicago’s academic values and culture. This “why this college” essay sample highlights the type of student that thrives at UChicago. It also shows how this student’s values align with UChicago’s.

As you’ll see in our other why school essay examples, this writer mentions specific qualities about UChicago’s Core Curriculum. They foreground how it will allow them to pursue all of their academic interests. In doing so, this student makes a strong case for why they belong at UChicago.

If you want to read another why this college essay sample, check out our guide . There, you’ll find more UChicago why school essay examples.

Why this college essay sample #2 – Georgia Tech

The second why this college essay sample we are sharing is Why School essay from Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech only requires one supplemental essay and it is a Why This College essay. Let’s look at how one student responded to the prompt below.

Georgia Tech Essay Examples

Why do you want to study your chosen major at georgia tech, and what opportunities at georgia tech will prepare you in that field after graduation (300 words).

March 29, 2019. 11 AM EST. GT Shadow Day. I remember it all so clearly: Descending the red-brick steps of the Old Civil Engineering Building. My friend and I, chatting up a storm, our minds blown by our newfound perspectives. 

We had just walked out of ECON-4060: Money & Capital Markets. To say that it changed my life would be no exaggeration; within an hour, The professor had upended my perception of society and defined my future aspirations. 

We had been asked to consider a popular commodity, diamonds. Hardly rare, fast-decaying, and intrinsically worthless. So why do we buy them? The professor had then illuminated the factors in our economic behavior that cause us to gift a ring in marriage rather than something with real value, say a treasury bond. These realizations were enough to rock me back on my heels, for I had never before noticed the large degree to which our everyday economic decision-making is irrational.

Craving more than that one splendid hour, I knew where and what I wanted to study for the next four years. I saw myself strolling through Bobby Dodd Way, bumping into old friends as I made my way to Midtown Atlanta. I saw myself exploring the realm of economics, probing questions ranging from price formation to income disparity. I saw myself at a place that felt familiar enough to call “home,” learning in a way that felt genuine enough to call “discovery.”

Educating myself on the mechanics of economics is just a glimpse of my great desires. Through the senior research project, I seek the one-on-one guidance of faculty in yielding a publishable journal paper. Someday, with the support of the program’s alumni network, I plan to pursue career and internship opportunities in the great company headquarters of Atlanta.

Why did this Georgia Tech essay work?

This is one of our favorite Georgia Tech essay examples because the writer drops us into a story that defines their interest in attending Georgia Tech. This “why this college” essay sample has a delightful and passionate tone. It communicates the writer’s interest in economics, passion for learning, and desire to explore these ideas at Georgia Tech.

Once again specificity is key (something you’ll continue to see in our other why school essay examples). This writer mentions Bobby Dodd Way, which is a street on campus. They also discuss opportunities for a senior research project and the specific professor and class that inspired them.

Why this college essay sample #3 – Wake Forest

Our next college essay that worked is from Wake Forest University.

Why Wake Forest Essay Examples

How did you become interested in wake forest university and why are you applying (150 words) .

Each time I return to campus, I see a true fit between myself and Wake Forest. I will dedicate myself to furthering the university motto, pro humanitate, by actively working with the Volunteer Service Corps and continuing my community service of providing for the basic needs of others. In addition, I will engage in the world around me and pursue a minor in Spanish while studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain; since I am currently taking AP Spanish, the language and cultural immersion would advance my fluency and expand my exposure to other cultures. In the diverse and intellectual community of Wake Forest, I will continue to pursue my goals with natural curiosity while growing as a leader in the service of others. Wake Forest is the window into the endless possibilities of my future.

Why this Wake Forest essay worked

This why this college essay sample shows how to successfully and succinctly write a why this college essay. Just like in our longer why school essay examples, this writer combines values, academics, and specificity. In doing so, they show how Wake Forest will impact their continued growth and future goals.

College essays that worked #4 – Tufts

Why tufts essay examples, “why tufts” (150 words).

I fell in love with Tufts immediately upon entering the Granoff Music Center. Standing in the lofty, sunlit atrium, I imagined being there with my enormous ekantha-veena gathered in my arms. Catching sight of the World Music Room, the glistening Indonesian gamelan housed inside—I knew that both my instrument and I would feel right at home at Tufts.

After all, Tufts is the type of school that embraces women who play instruments twice their size and, moreover, actually listens to their music.

Tufts provides women like me ample space in the music center, as well as on ground-breaking research teams such as the Sandler International Research Program; or access to intimate classroom settings with faculty such as one key professor whose dissertations are lauded by the American Sociological Association.

Tufts is a place where both the young woman and her ekantha-veena, her music and her ideas, will be heard.

This why this college essay sample prompt from Tufts admissions is extremely simple. In fact, this essay is one of our Tufts essays that worked because of its simplicity. We imagine Tufts admissions gravitated towards this essay because it reveals the writer’s passion for music. It also highlights the type of research and culture they’d like to engage with at Tufts.

Check out Tufts admissions page for more why Tufts essay examples and advice on Tufts essays that worked.

Why this college essay sample #5- Lewis and Clark

Lewis & clark supplemental essay example, lewis & clark college is a private college with a public conscience and a global reach. we celebrate our strengths in collaborative scholarship, international engagement, environmental understanding and entrepreneurial thinking. as we evaluate applications, we look for students who understand what we offer and are eager to contribute to our community. in one paragraph, please tell us why you are interested in attending lewis & clark and how you will impact our campus..

For the last eighteen years, my dad has repeated the phrase “curiosity killed the cat” at least once a week, attempting to satisfy my unrelenting curiosity. In response, I’ve adopted the mantra “but knowledge brought him back.” At Lewis and Clark College, I seek to fulfill my intense interest about the workings of society by conducting sociology research on issues in urban areas under one professor at Lewis and Clark. This research will also support my plans to perform an independent study on the aspects of criminal justice in urban environments, as the unique tensions in cities often affect the role of criminal justice.

I’ve read countless books on America’s legal system and wish to use sociology to analyze the factors that influence how justice is carried out. My unwavering curiosity also extends to my adoration of architecture, so the chance to explore my fascination with urban design through a self-designed major at Lewis and Clark deeply excites me. I know that creating my own course of study will enable me to explore my curiosity about urban history and planning. Furthermore, the chance to double major will allow me to combine architecture and social perspective and explore the connections between my majors.

The freedom to study both sociology and urban architecture at Lewis and Clark will give me a distinctive perspective on the artistic and social issues that are present in Portland and other major cities. Another opportunity that excites me is the chance to study abroad in Seville, Spain.

I am particularly enthusiastic about the ability to use my sociology and architecture education to explore a unique geographical area. Classes such as Art History of Spain will supplement my concentration on urban architecture, while Contemporary Issues of Spain will allow me to study the sociological aspects of a different culture. I also plan to study Spanish in college, so living with a host family gives me the unique ability to practice Spanish around the clock.

I believe that studying abroad in Seville, Spain through Lewis and Clark will enable me to engage in many unforgettable learning experiences. Finally, Lewis and Clark is bursting with non-traditional learning opportunities outside of the classroom. I can’t wait to learn a new skill by joining the sailing team and debating moral theories with the philosophy club.

I believe that there is no better place for me to study sociology and architecture because Lewis and Clark’s emphasis on diversity and international study are values that align perfectly with my interests.

Exploring the strengths of this essay

The Lewis and Clark College acceptance rate is higher than that of some other top schools. Still, you can tell how much thought and care this writer put into their “why this college” essay sample. Since the Lewis and Clark College acceptance rate is 79% , you might think crafting a strong supplemental essay would be easy. However, you can tell the writer of this “why this college” essay sample took their time time. In their essay, they weave a clear and compelling story about their interests and how Lewis & Clark will allow them to pursue those interests.

No matter a school’s acceptance rate, whether it is lower or higher than the Lewis and Clark College acceptance rate, make sure you take the time with every essay you write to make it the best it can be.

Why this college essay sample #6 – Loyola Marymount

Loyola marymount essay example, please briefly state your reason for wishing to attend lmu and/or how you came to select your major. (500 words).

Whether I’m bustling through people in the Metro station, taking a leisurely stroll on the beach, or studying at my local cafe, I embrace the sights, sounds, and people of Los Angeles. Though I was born in New York, I am a true L.A. native: the sunset is my muse, and my dreams are ambitious (I want to cure cancer, win a Pulitzer-Prize, and walk the red carpet, simultaneously).

Even if I don’t accomplish all of these things, I am encouraged by the fact that they are all possibilities at LMU. With a unique fusion of academic excellence, strong communal identity, and a faith-based education, LMU would prepare me to be an innovative and compassionate leader in the real world.

Reflective of L.A.’s rich cultural diversity, LMU offers students a wide array of resources. For one thing, the student to teacher ratio is 10:1, which enhances learning by fostering personal relationships with professors and peers. Furthermore, it creates a collaborative group environment, something I consider integral to my education. Secondly, as someone who is passionate about both Chicano/Latino studies and Biology, I was excited to discover that with LMU’s major and minor policy, I would be able to study both, even if they are located in different colleges.

Ultimately, I want to become a doctor, possibly a neurologist, hence my desire to major in biology. With a broad course list–encompassing everything from Immunology to Animal Behavior– and intensive, faculty-mentored research, LMU’s biology program will enable me to pursue my passion for science. At the same time, I wish to apply my medical studies to serving a greater purpose.

This is why I’ve chosen to minor in Chicano Studies. I have always taken great pride in my ethnicity, so being able to examine the Latino identity through political, historical, and cultural lenses would enrich how I understand myself and the entire Latino/a community.

The final and most important reason why I want to attend LMU is its emphasis on serving the community and the world at large. Being a practicing Catholic myself, it is important to me that faith be integrated in my education, not only because it is a part of my own identity, but because it nurtures both spiritual and personal growth. At my current high school, I have encountered and conversed with students of different faiths, or even no faith, who fully embrace the spirit of community service that characterizes Christianity.

This is what I admire most about LMU; regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or religion, LMU embraces everyone and teaches students to do the same. In short, LMU would not only augment my love of service, it would propel me forward in my mission: to be a woman of great heart and right conscience for others.

With a higher word count, this is one of our longer why school essay examples. This writer likely captured the attention of Loyola Marymount admissions with their eloquence and ambition.

While there’s no one right way to impress Loyola Marymount admissions, showcasing the school’s unique programs will help show them why attending Loyola is vital to your future. This why this college essay sample touches on LMU’s faith-based curriculum, and biology and chicano studies programs, and why they are important to this writer.

Why this college essay sample #7 – Duke

Duke University is another school that asks students Why This College as part of their supplemental essay requirements. Take a look at the essay that worked below for some ideas about how to write your Why Duke essay.

Why Duke Essay Examples

What is your sense of duke as a university and a community, and why do you consider it a good match for you  if there’s something in particular about our offerings that attracts you, feel free to share that as well. (250 words).

At Duke University, I would get the opportunity to immerse myself in interests that I harbored but never had the opportunity to explore due to circumstances. With incredible resources from world-renowned professors, I would learn directly from the best in any subject, and be able to use this advantage to further myself in my future career plans and goals.

The quality of my education, though attributed to the institution, would be the most highly enriched from the students. Although from diverse backgrounds, all the students share the same thirst for knowledge and a drive to make a difference. With the focus on education where it belongs, the overall atmosphere at the institution is collaborative and does not add stress to the rigorous course load.

A secret utopia of sorts, Duke sets an invincible foundation that will exponentially increase the vitality of a person in any field of work or practice.

Why this essay worked

This is one of our favorite why Duke essay examples because it highlights the people this writer plans to learn from at Duke: their professors and their fellow students. Surprisingly, this is probably one of the least specific why school essay examples. However, this writer still successfully manages to capture their passion for learning and how excited they are to pursue these goals on Duke’s campus.

Want more why Duke essay examples and tips on how to approach this “why this college” essay sample prompt? Check out our Duke University Essay Guide .

Why this college essay sample #8 – University of Florida

Uf supplemental essay examples, the university of florida honors program is a “community of scholars” bound together by a shared interest in maximizing the undergraduate experience. why are you drawn to this type of community at uf, and how do you plan to contribute to it in and out of the classroom.

Anyone who’s ever played a high school sport can attest to the fact that every coach has his or her own catchphrase. For some coaches, it might be “always give 110%”. Others say, “You miss every shot you don’t take.”

My 10th grade basketball coach? His catchphrase was more like a repeated lecture. It would start off as “This team is made up of different personalities.” Pause. “80% of you are pulled either up or down by your teammates. 10% of you have negative energy and bring everyone down.” Pause and sigh. “And then there’s the last 10%. You guys are the ones who carry this team with positive energy. So what percent do you want to be tonight?”

His rhetorical questions seemed like another pep talk to the rest of my team but would always strike a chord within me. From that basketball season and on, I strived to be the 10% pulling everyone positively. 

My reformed attitude taught me many things. I learned how productive and influential a positive force on a team can be. I learned something about myself too: wherever I went to college, I wanted to be in a team-like environment. A close-knit group of scholars full of diverse perspectives, but all striving towards the same common goal: gaining knowledge. 

This is what I see in the UF Honors Program. The opportunity to be surrounded by like minded people. People who are all part of that 10% who pull you up. People who are genuinely interested in learning, research, and discussion. To be able to walk into a room with overlapping conversations about an intellectual topic like the current economic status of Dubai or the psychosocial issues in the United States is something I crave in my college experience.

Not only do I envision myself in a place like this, but I also see a platform which will give me great opportunities, beginning with peers who share the same academic drive as me and smaller class sizes, which result in profound discussions. I hope to be given an opportunity to walk onto this platform and show everyone just how high I can raise it.

Why this UF Honors Program essay worked

It’s important to note that a why this college essay sample is not necessarily a required portion of your UF application. You only need to submit a why this college essay with your UF application if you apply to the UF Honors Program.

However, we still included this “why this college” essay sample as part of our why school essay examples because this writer beautifully described the kind of student and community member they hope to be at UF. They highlight a personal story—a moment where they grew and learned a valuable lesson. Then, they combine it with what they hope to find in UF’s honors community. 

Why this college essay sample #9 – Franklin & Marshall

Franklin & marshall essays.

A Franklin and Marshall education is in line with my commitment to stimulate and chronicle a more just world through health, justice, and activism for marginalized people locally and internationally in a way that giving a check never could. 

I would be able to synthesize my fascination with medicine and people by seeking out experiences in biomedical research and patient care through the Quick Response Service organization as an EMT responder for the Lancaster community. Most importantly, I can investigate a breadth of topics to a much fuller extent than I can at any other institution.

With a Franklin and Marshall acceptance rate of 38% , this is considered a more selective school. However, the Franklin and Marshall acceptance rate should not affect your why this college essay. Also, as you craft your Franklin and Marshall application, note that the university no longer requires a Why School essay. Still, this essay provides a useful blueprint for other why school essay samples.

Rather than focusing on the Franklin and Marshall acceptance rate, you’ll want to review the supplemental essay requirements . Then, use the prompt to articulate the benefits of receiving an education from Franklin and Marshall. In order to gain acceptance to Franklin and Marshall, you should focus on what attending this particular college means to you.

Why this college essay sample #10- Lafayette College

Our final why this college essay sample, is from Lafayette College. A Why School essay is the cornerstone of Lafayette College’s supplemental essay requirements. Let’s take a look at an example from a student accepted to Lafayette.

Why Lafayette College Essay Examples

Students identify lafayette as an excellent fit for countless reasons. in your response, be deliberate and specific about your motivation for applying to lafayette. why do you see yourself at lafayette (200 words).

“If you were to be accepted to every college in the country, which one would you choose above all others?” An admissions officer prompted the room with this question early in my college search. Back then, I didn’t know the answer, but now it’s a obvious choice: Lafayette.

When I visited Lafayette, I’d already seen 15 colleges. However, when I toured campus, I instantly felt a difference in the school and the students themselves. Everyone looked truly happy to be there, especially considering the people I saw were remaining at school during break while their peers returned home.

When I looked around, I saw people I could imagine myself befriending and spending time with, something I struggled to find at other institutions. I later connected with my tour guide, who also happened to be a Civil Engineering major. I’m interested in pursuing an architecture minor, and she told me about a project in her Architectural Engineering class in which students design bus stops with features like charging stations or mini libraries. I appreciated that she took time to email me, and her genuine enthusiasm about her classes was infectious. With that email, I cemented my decision to apply.

There’s a difference between being busy and being engaged. Lafayette comes alive each day with the energy of students who are deeply engaged in their academic, co-curricular and extracurricular explorations.

Of all of our why school essay examples, this why this college essay sample discusses an actual experience the student had on campus. In truth, this is a great strategy. Using this topic, admissions gets to hear about how they connected with a student. They also learn how this student already sees themself as part of the student community.

Like many of our other why school essay examples, this writer follows a strong structure. They started with a personal story, sprinkled in specific and valuable details, and ended with a big-picture summary of “Why this school.”

How To Write A Why This College Essay

why college essay examples

We’ve read some outstanding why school essay examples, including Why Duke essay examples, Tufts essays that worked, and more. Next, let’s talk about how to write your own why this college essay.

At times, you’ll find a “why this college” essay sample or two with a longer word count. However, most of our why school essay examples prompts have a smaller word limit. So, you generally need to be succinct when writing a why this college essay. For some students, this may mean writing your initial draft without worrying about the word count, then editing your draft down to the most important parts.

Do your research

Before you get into writing your why this college essay sample, we recommend getting to know more about the school you are applying to. One of the most important things you can do to prepare to write your why this college essay sample is to spend time researching specific aspects of the school that align with your candidate profile.

For example, let’s say you’re a student who wants to study engineering , you want a big school, and you’re also passionate about doing your own research. As you begin your college search , you’d want to look for schools that meet all of your needs. Once you have a list of potential schools , do some research into each school and their requirements. Watch webinars , read guides about meeting application requirements, like what is a good SAT score and test-optional colleges , and guides about approaching your college application essays . 

How to Start a Why This College Essay

why college essay examples

Next, let’s go over how to start a “why this college” essay. The beginning of your essay is always the most important because it can draw your reader in and make them want to read more. We have tons of guides to help you through every step of the writing process. So, after reading through our why school essay examples, take a look at exercises to help determine a college essay topic and what admissions officers think of 3 common college essay topics.

Once you have a topic for your why this college essay sample, take a look at our 39 essay tips . These helpful tips are from our admissions experts. We also have a resource with tips on how to craft your college essay . Then, when you’re ready to start editing your essay, check out our advice on making your essays shine .

Use these examples to help brainstorm

We’ve reviewed a variety of why this college essay examples. By reading these examples, we hope you got some insight into how to write a why this college essay. These why school essay examples are college essays that worked. That is, they used specific details to show why an applicant was a perfect fit for a given school. Each why this college essay sample is slightly different—and every student is, too. So, use our why school essay examples as a jumping-off point.

We can’t include a why this college essay sample from every school in our college essays that worked roundup. But, keep reading to the end of the guide for more CollegeAdvisor.com resources full of why school essay examples. These resources include: why Northwestern essay examples and why Yale essay examples. They also include why NYU essay examples and a why Barnard essay example.

Other CollegeAdvisor Resources on Why This College Essays

If you’re looking for a why this college essay sample for a school we haven’t touched on, you’re in luck! We have “why school” essay examples for a ton of top schools that are sure to be on your college list. These why this college essay examples will be just as helpful as the ones we’ve already covered, like our Tufts essays that worked, Georgia Tech essay examples, and why Duke essay examples.

First, we have our why Northwestern essay examples. This guide offers two why Northwestern essay examples and a breakdown of what made each essay so impactful.

Why Northwestern Essay Examples

Then, check out our why Barnard essay example page. In addition to a why Barnard essay example, you can get some application tips. The article also covers information about Barnard’s acceptance rate and essay requirements.

Barnard Essay Examples

Next, stop by our Why Yale essay examples guide. The why Yale essay examples cover all three Yale supplemental essay requirements. These include the essays about your potential majors and a topic or idea that excites you.

Why Yale Essay Examples

Finally , read some Why NYU essay examples (and why they worked). Each of our why NYU essay examples is accompanied by feedback from an ex-admissions officer on why the essay worked.

NYU Essay Examples (And Why They Worked)

Why This College Essay Sample – Final Thoughts

After reading our why school essay examples, we hope you have a better sense of what a “why this college” essay sample should include. We also hope it can help you go about writing your own. While there is no perfect formula for writing your supplemental essays , don’t forget to take advantage of all of the resources available to you. 

If you’re nervous to begin writing your why this college essay sample, don’t worry! Each of our “why school” essay examples was written by a student just like you that managed to gain a college acceptance letter from their dream school. All it takes is time, patience, and dedication to making your college essays the best they can be. To find more examples of college essays that worked, check out our personal statement examples .

Why This College Essay Sample

This essay guide was written by Stefanie Tedards. Looking for more admissions support? Click  here  to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. I n fact, d uring your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how  CollegeAdvisor.com  can support you in the college application process.

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February 7, 2023

How to Write a ‘Why Do You Want to Go to This College’ Essay

why i want to attend this college essay

Sometimes the prompt is as short as two words: “ Why Tufts? ” Other times, the prompt, like that of Cornell’s , is rather wordy: “Students in Arts and Sciences embrace the opportunity to delve into multifaceted academic interests, embodying in 21st century terms Ezra Cornell’s ‘any person…any study’ founding vision. Tell us about the areas of study you are excited to explore, and specifically why you wish to pursue them in our College.”

Yet both of these prompts — and so many other college essay prompts — pose the same question: Why do you want to go to this college?

The Top Colleges That Ask “Why College” Essay Prompts

The following top 25 national universities in the 2023  US News & World Report ranking pose “Why College” essays:

  • Princeton University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Stanford University
  • Yale University
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Duke University
  • Northwestern University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Brown University
  • Rice University
  • Cornell University
  • Columbia University
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Georgetown University
  • University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
  • University of Southern California

The following top 25 liberal arts colleges in the 2023  US News & World Report ranking pose “Why College” essays:

  • Swarthmore College
  • Wellesley College
  • Bowdoin College
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • Washington and Lee University
  • Davidson College
  • Hamilton College
  • Barnard College
  • Colgate University (for the 2022-2023 admissions cycle, essay prompts only appeared after students submitted applications — it was very sneaky of Colgate!)
  • Haverford College

The Specific “Why College” Essay Prompts for the Top Colleges

Of the top 25 national universities in the 2023  US News & World Report ranking, the following is a breakdown of the specific wording of their “ Why College ” essays, along with the respective word counts:

Of the top 25 liberal arts colleges in the 2023  US News & World Report  ranking, the following is a breakdown of the specific wording of their “Why College” essays, along with the respective word counts:

What Colleges Want to See in “Why College” Essay Responses

Admissions officers at America’s elite universities want to see that students have done their homework on the institution they’re applying to. They want to see that the student isn’t just submitting another application for the sake of submitting another application. In fact, so many universities ask “Why College” essay questions because admissions officers seek to admit students who they believe will matriculate. After all, their yield, or the percentage of admitted students who choose to enroll, matters to them.

The Importance of Demonstrated Interest

A great way to shape the yield is by admitting students they think are likely to enroll — or quantifying a student’s Demonstrated Interest . And what’s a good indicator of a student’s Demonstrated Interest? An applicant who cites specific after specific in their “Why College” essay. Likewise, a good indicator that a student has no intention of enrolling or that the college is a backup for the student is a “Why College” essay devoid of specifics.

How to Find Specifics for “Why College” Essays

Students searching for specifics to include in “Why College” essays should zero in on the school’s student newspaper (especially if the newspaper has archives dating back many years), Facebook, Instagram, Google Earth, and more.

If there’s a lecture series a student wishes to write about, chances are there are photos of the talk available on Facebook or Instagram. Students should comb through those photos as well as the captions. By doing so, they’ll be able to include small details, like the fact that it took place in Lowell Lecture Hall.

How to Write a “Why College” Essay

Some students worry that painting a portrait of themselves on the school’s campus is presumptuous since they may not earn admission. But admissions officers know the drill. They know students are painting a portrait of their dream, and admissions officers need to be able to envision you at their school, getting involved in the college’s community.

In addition to citing specific after specific, it’s also important that students write this essay in a conversational tone. College essays should not be formal — they’ll read as too dry. As such, students should aim to avoid beginning sentences with words like “however,” “nevertheless,” and “thus” as much as possible. It’s all about writing colloquially!

The “Why College” essay exercise is ultimately all about showing rather than telling. Telling a college that it’s a student’s first choice isn’t credible since that college knows the student can write that sentence for every school they apply to. But by including specific after specific, by showing rather than telling, they have a better chance of convincing admissions officers of their message.

5 Things Applicants Must Do in “Why College” Essays

  • Tailor most sentences to the school they’re applying to.  If a student can read the sentence aloud and replace the school’s name with another school, and the sentence still works, the student should delete it!
  • Write about themselves actively engaged on the school’s campus.  It’s not an essay just about the student. And it’s not an essay just about the school. It’s the student plus the school.
  • Cite enduring specifics about a school , like programs, institutes, the school’s culture, traditions, and so much more.
  • Write only about the school in question.  While it may seem obvious, many students compare the school to other institutions. Yikes!
  • Double-check the accuracy of the specifics cited.  Programs end. Activities get eliminated. Make sure all of the specifics mentioned remain timely.

5 Most Common Mistakes in “Why College” Essays

  • Students cut and paste their “Why College” essays for multiple universities.  It’s transparent to admissions officers when students are not tailoring their “Why College” essay to the school they’re applying to. For instance, when a student writes that they want to attend a school because of it’s beautiful campus and engaged student body, admissions officers know full well that they likely used this same sentence for the other schools to which they applied. Instead, every sentence should contain a specific reference that applies only to the school. In a “Why Columbia” essay, if one can replace Columbia with Harvard and the sentence still works, delete it!
  • Students name-drop professors and classes , thinking those count as specifics. Admissions officers are unlikely to believe a student wishes to attend a university because a specific person works there. Besides, no one likes a name-dropper. And they know students can easily cut and paste class names from one university’s course catalog to the next. In any case, classes change from year to year. Instead, students should endeavor to capture enduring specifics about a university.
  • Students write about only themselves  for vast chunks of “Why College” essays, forgetting to write about the college. The “Why College” essay should be considered a date. If someone speaks about themselves endlessly on a date without asking about the other person, it’s unlikely to end well.
  • Students cite incorrect specifics  about a university. Maybe it’s a leftover from another school’s “Why College” essay, or the student didn’t do their homework. Either way, writing about the D-Plan for Duke or the gorges for Penn will not bode well for a student’s candidacy at these schools.
  • Students cite specifics in laundry lists.  While “Why College” essays should be brimming with specific after specific, it’s important not to include these specifics in a laundry list. Instead of naming one activity after another that a student hopes to participate in, applicants should let each activity breathe. They can do so by citing more minor specifics about the individual activity they’re referencing. In short, don’t just name the activity, but go into detail about that activity.

FAQs About the “Why This College?” Essay

Do applicants need to consult with students at a school to find specifics.

It’s not necessary. All the information you’ll need to find the specifics is available online. You just have to know where to look. For example, if you’re researching the Cornell Speech & Debate Society , go on the group’s Facebook page. Do you see how they recently competed at the Hell Froze Over Tournament in Austin? It’s these very kinds of specifics that showcase a student has done their homework.

Should applicants take extensive notes on college tours and information sessions to use this information in “Why College” essays?

No, because those aren’t the kinds of specifics worthy of including in “Why College” essays. That’s general information about universities offered on tours and info sessions. Instead, students should endeavor to teach admissions officers things they don’t know about their school — not regurgitate the school’s already-existing marketing material.

Is it impossible to find genuine specifics for “Why College” essays?

No, it’s pretty easy. Students simply need to know where to look. Did you know the archives for  The Cornell Daily Sun   date back to 1880? The stuff one can find out about Cornell in such articles — and the search function makes it relatively easy to navigate!

Does every university care about Demonstrated Interest?

Some universities claim not to care about Demonstrated Interest. For example, Emory University writes on its website, “Demonstrated interest” is  not  a factor in our application review process. Things have no impact on the evaluation of your application.”

But Emory is the university that  created  Demonstrated Interest. No matter how loudly or how vociferously Emory tries to argue that they don’t care about Demonstrated Interest, we urge students and parents not to believe Emory’s marketing material . Emory, like all highly selective universities, wants students to apply. As such, they don’t want to do anything to discourage students from applying — like creating barriers such as making it seem like students need to visit the campus to improve their case for admission.

So when a college tells applicants they don’t measure Demonstrated Interest, we urge that message to go in one ear and out the other. Arguably, the only school that doesn’t care about Demonstrated Interest is Harvard College — because Harvard knows students want to go there over just about every other school. Most other universities are insecure, and, as such, they want students to prove they want to go there.

Ivy Coach Helps Students Craft Compelling “Why College” Essays

Helping students craft powerful “Why College” essays that not only wow admissions officers but teach them intel they don’t even know about their school is a big part of what we do. If you’re interested in Ivy Coach ‘s assistance, fill out our free consultation form , and we’ll be in touch.

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37 Unique "Why This College" Essay Examples for Top-20 Colleges

Ryan

Here's the secret to writing your "Why us?" and "Why this college?" essays:

Admissions officers ask these questions because they want to see if you'll be a good match for their school—both academically, socially, culturally, and otherwise.

Admissions officers are trying to answer these 4 questions about you with this essay:

  • Are you genuinely interested in our school? Is there a good chance you'll go here if we accept you?
  • Do you have what it takes to be a successful student here? What does this essay reveal about you that we didn't already know ?
  • Are you a good fit for our school and the culture? Will you positively contribute to the school if you attend?
  • Do you have an idea about what you want your future to look like, and will our school help you fulfill that vision ?

Biggest Mistakes Students Make in "Why This College" Essays

Most students approach these essays with generic answers that focus too heavily on the school itself.

Things like... "I want to go to Yale because it has..."

  • "amazing academics"
  • "world-class professors"
  • "interdisciplinary education"
  • "a hands-on approach to learning"

Then, most students throw in a few specific, but generic, qualities about the school, like...

  • "I want to research with Professor Chiang about the impact of climate change on population decline"
  • "I imagine joining the Yale Debate Team where I could continue my passion for public speaking"
  • "I'd love to take ECON 142—Behavioral Economics as I'm interested in the intersection of psychology and economics"

This is generic .

It's super generic because it doesn't tell the admissions officer anything about you .

Anybody could write these things. Admissions officers already know these things about their school.

A Better Approach to "Why This College" Essays

A better approach is to focus on yourself .

Specifically, what's a unique, specific, and interesting idea that you can explore?

Exploring ideas always make for the best essays, because sharing your thoughts is what tells the admissions officer the most about who you are.

A better approach would be something like...

I've always been fascinated with abstraction. Whether within math, physics, or computer science, abstraction is what ties it all together. And at Yale, abstraction isn't an afterthought or begrudging obligation, but it's at the heart of learning. From the Engineering Physics Club, which focuses on abstracting the theoretical physics behind engineering feats and then instantiating those learnings to create new engineering solutions, to the Leitner Observatory, where I could work with astrophysicists and infers vasts amounts of knowledge from seemingly chaotic data, Yale embodies the cycle of learning I've come to love: abstraction and instantiation, understanding the mysteries of the universe and engineering solutions based on them.

So why does this approach work so much better?

  • It focuses on an idea : a specific, unique reason that matters to you.
  • It's not focused too heavily on the school itself, but rather what you value and how the school can help you fulfill that.
  • It connects tangibly to the school's offerings, without just listing generically.

Find an interesting, unique, idea.

It could be...

  • "solving systemic problems by taking full accountability"
  • "promoting social justice through radical honesty"
  • "reducing the latency of communication to deepen our learning experience"

Or any other ideas that matter to you.

Then, connect your idea to the school's offerings.

Any student could also mention the "Engineering Physics Club" or the "Leitner Observatory", but the difference in how you mention these things.

What do these opportunities represent? How do they tie into that idea ?

Now, let's look at some examples of "Why this college?" essays that worked for top-20 schools.

I've gathered 37 "Why us?" essays that range in topics, quality, and schools, so you can see what works and what doesn't.

Let's dive right in.

37 "Why This College" Essay Examples

1. "why northwestern" essay example.

Prompt: "Why Northwestern" Statement:

While other parts of your application give us a sense of who you are, we are also excited to hear more about how you see yourself engaging with the larger Northwestern community.

In 300 words or less, help us understand how you might engage specific resources, opportunities, and/or communities here. We are curious about what these specifics are, as well as how they may enrich your time at Northwestern and beyond. (300 words max)

I love Northwestern’s academic flexibility, including the freedom of the curriculum to explore a variety of fields and the emphasis on cross-department study. Also, the quarter system provides a faster pace of learning and the opportunity to take more classes than a semester school.

Specifically, I am excited by the Spanish and Portuguese department and the classes on Hispanic and Lusophone culture, literature, and phonetics. For example, the accelerated Portuguese program is a perfect way to pick up the language at a faster pace using my prior knowledge of Spanish. I intend to supplement my language acquisition through the study abroad programs offered at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas in Rio de Janeiro or an affiliate program in Santiago, Chile. Additionally, the GESI program in Costa Rica is another intriguing opportunity through its intersectionality. It will allow me to combine a practical application of my language skills with studies in environmental conservation that I find a pressing and interesting issue. As an open-minded learner keen to forge links between academic fields of study, I believe I would be an excellent fit for the program.

I am also interested in Linguistics and pursuing undergraduate research or possibly undertaking the coterminal BA/MA program. The opportunity to link my research to a modern language of choice and investigate, for example, regional variation in Latin American Spanish or how Portuguese loanwords have infiltrated native Amazonian languages sounds fascinating and exciting.

Finally, the unique sense of community at Northwestern captivated me when I visited campus. The residential college system, the school spirit at Wildcat games, and the friendliness of the students I met, one of whom described the school as “the most welcoming place ever”, were all emblematic of this atmosphere for me. I think I will thrive in such a dynamic and inquisitive place.

2. "Why Northwestern?" Essay Example

The only reason I fear going for lunch in a hotel is probably because I wouldn’t choose between fried chicken and roasted meat and so is my dilemma over my college major. The multifaceted whole brain approach at McCormick, however, grants me the perfect opportunity to pursue my interest in Computer Science whilst acquiring the appropriate skills in entrepreneurship to a one day startup as an innovator.

As a NU computer scientist, I particularly look forward to Software Development EECS 473 – NUvention: Web, through which I would not only learn intricacies of Software development, but have related studies in real time software development in relation to market requirements in CS+X that would form a base for a startup. That would also provide a bridge for me to join Prof Todd Warren at Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation where I would specifically join the NUvention; Web + Media. Through this unparalleled program I would have the intimacy of working in a team with fellow wild cats towards an innovative business project. The results of which will be an introduction to the Northwestern Innovation and New Ventures Office (INVO) through which I look forward to gaining practical exposure in launching businesses to the general public.

Outside McCormick, I would be excited to pursue the Managerial analytics Certificate program at Kellogg to acquire intelligent business management skills, let off steam at SPARK exploring hacks while fostering entrepreneurial habits, and eventually joining preparations for the Benedictine Eagle Invite at the Henry Crown Sport’s Pavilion (SPAC) with the NU track club. I may not the best of singers, but I do have intense phases of music obsessions and where best to let it off than taking non major classes at Bienen and, joining one of the numerous Acapella groups as I await Armadillo day!

3. "Why Northwestern?" Essay Example

Why Northwestern? Because this introduction was so difficult to write; because I cannot possibly summarize these reasons in one introductory sentence. Simply put, my interests span across a wide range, and Northwestern has a place for them all.

As an enthusiastic programmer and advocate for positive minority representation in the media, I hope to combine both these interests and conduct research on the influence of media on society. To my delight as a prospective communications major, the School of Communication's research labs showcase project topics ranging from the depiction of STEM in media to improving digital communication. I look forward to taking advantage of the high-quality research, internship and even career opportunities offered to explore my ideas.

My multiple passions keep me creative and energetic, and I plan to continue pursuing them at Northwestern. With years of editing and writing experience for school publications under my belt, for instance, I hope to join the staff of Helicon and North by Northwestern . Last but not least is the constant school spirit and sense of inclusion present within campus. During my campus tour, each tour guide seemed genuinely excited to introduce prospective students to the school. As my particular tour guide described the quarter system and tradition of guarding and painting the rock with passion in her eyes, I knew that only at Northwestern could I find students as enthusiastic about the school itself as they are about their majors. I also spotted many students of color while visiting; as an Asian woman, Northwestern's focus on diversifying reassures me that not only will I not be judged for my background, but that I will get to meet students of all ethnicities and cultures.

College is a time of self-discovery, and I firmly believe I can see my dreams become reality at Northwestern.

4. "Why Northwestern?" Essay Example

I felt the cold sheets beneath me and the beeping sounds of a monitor next to my bed, my chest moving up and down and my body sinking into the mattress. I opened my eyes and was greeted with a plastic surgeon holding the cyst that was once in the corner of my eye. Medicine, I decided, was my destiny.

Flash forward to 8th grade, the year I decided to read 100 books. Emerson, John Green, Ernest Cline--you name the author, I read them. I became instantly inspired to learn to write like the wonderful authors I had read. So, writing, I decided (maybe), was my destiny.

Wait--or was it medicine? Well, perhaps it can be both.

The thing I find most striking about Northwestern is its emphasis on the word “AND.” Northwestern students can love computer science AND music theory, poetry AND Latin History, journalism AND business--I can love science AND English. At Northwestern, my interests would not be hindered by strict and unwavering guidelines. Rather, they could be effortlessly streamlined and integrated into one another. I could go from ​PSYCH 361--Brain Damage and the Mind to ENG 206 - Reading and Writing Poetry to Carol Clayberger’s Lab to continue my extensive research on T-lymphocytes, similar to that I conducted at UPMC. I would be learning each level of the human psyche, communicating my thoughts through writing, and putting them into action through my research.

At Northwestern, I plan to take advantage of the various resources that would enable me to pursue my passions, find new ones, and combine them into one, pulling from both sides of my brain. I know that I am right for Northwestern and Northwestern is right for me because we have a mutual understanding of what education should look like--emphasis on “AND,” not “OR.”

5. "Why Tufts?" Essay Example

Prompt: Which aspects of the Tufts undergraduate experience prompt your application? In short, "Why Tufts?" (150 words max)

The cross-curricular focus and freedom of study at Tufts would allow me to pursue an interdisciplinary major and draw together my love for Spanish, Portuguese, Linguistics, and the natural sciences. This unique ability to design my own major by combining elements from a variety of academic fields definitely excites me. To support this, I intend to participate in the study abroad program in Chile or a civic semester in Urubamba, Peru that will allow me to practice my language skills while also benefitting the local community and gaining an invaluable cultural understanding through intimate homestay experience. Other than the academics, the vibrant community at Tufts also attracts me, with the warm and compassionate students acting as flattering adverts for the school. One student I spoke with described the average Jumbo as “goofy and loving” which I feel accurately matches my own character and outlook.

6. "Why Tulane?" Essay Example

Prompt: Please describe why you are interested in attending Tulane University (optional). (50-800 words)

I need a meaningful education to be a meaningful educator. Tulane is unparalleled in its dedication to development of the students, on a personal and intellectual level. From when I touch the Victory Bell after Convocation all the way to when I say farewell at the Wave Goodbye Party at Commencement, I’ll have changed and grown, both in my mind and in my heart.

Why This Essay Works:

For "Why Us" essays, it's critical that you imagine how you'll be involved on campus. One strategy is to research specific initiatives, events, or programs already taking place. The more unique these are to the school, the better. Then, talk about how your personal interests would make you a perfect fit for participating in these opportunities. Don't reference too many (over 5 is pushing it) in a committal way (i.e. saying "I will do XYZ") because it can seem unrealistic. Instead, focus on a handful that you're most interested in, and then you can reference others as "possible" ways you'd get involved.

For "Why Us?" essays, one of the hardest parts is finding what is super unique about the school that other colleges don't offer. Most colleges have similar research, curriculum, sports, clubs, etc. While those can be good references (if unique to the school), it can sometimes be easier to find unique aspects by focusing on the intangibles: the culture, approach to education, values, character of student body, ideals they uphold, etc. Having a combination of both unique offerings (programs, opportunities, curriculum, etc.) and ways the school is unique in its approach will make for the most compelling reasons for "Why Us?".

What They Might Improve:

Avoid telling admissions officers what they already know about their school. You don't need to repeat the school's history or information about its faculty, unless there is something exceptionally unique about it that you're pointing out. Admissions officers will already know these facts, so instead jump into the "meat" of your point. Focus on the unique aspects that make you interested in the school, rather than the ones that could be said about almost any school.

7. "Why Tulane?" Essay Example

What starts with the letter P and is distinct to Louisiana and not the other forty-nine states? This question stumped my fifth-grade class when our resource teacher was giving a lesson on Louisiana culture. Among hands that threw out guesses, such as ports and Lake Pontchartrain, my minuscule fingers, like unwrapping a Christmas present, unveiled the correct response: parishes. It was this moment that sparked my awakening of Louisiana’s profoundly unique traditions and history, ranging the gamut of culture, such as food, music, and holidays.

From Gumbo to Zydeco to Mardi Gras, these distinctions made Louisiana my home when I emigrated at the age of three from Mexico, which, like Louisiana, shared the status of owning an inimitable culture; from an early age, I took comfort in this common characteristic. Basking in rich traditions, Tulane joins Louisiana and my Hispanic background to form a trio of diversity. With staple practices, such as swinging beads into a tree or Crawfest, Tulane fosters a living and learning experience that is grounded in unparalleled traditions, offering enlightening and invigorating undergraduate opportunities to explore social milestones.

In its liberation from normal college practices, Tulane encourages students to kindle a life that is eccentric but indicative of the individual beliefs of a student. Because of Tulane’s vigorous ties to special traditions, I would be humbled to have Tulane advise me in crafting my art piece adorned with decorations, my life adorned with personal values.

In addition to the customs on Tulane’s campus, another reason I want to attend Tulane is because of the university’s integration with the most vivid city in the United States: New Orleans. Inside this bright, bustling city, Tulane students participate in myriad festivals and celebrations, cultivating a new social perspective. Aside from the social revelations, New Orleans is Tulane’s classroom, inviting students to apply classroom discussions and academic theories to the neurons of interactions between individuals, businesses, agencies, and other entities.

Tulane returns the favor to New Orleans through community service, serving as a catalyst for students to aid a city often decimated by natural or social injustices. Moreover, Tulane emphasizes its commitment to community service throughout its undergraduate population. As a Louisiana resident, I am invested in Louisiana’s unique physique, whether it is being ecstatic for a super bowl win secured by the Saints or being sympathetic to victims of flooding. Heeding the advice of a stockbroker, it is wise to invest in a system that will provide a generous, satisfying return. Therefore, I would like to make an investment of my leadership potential, my academic excellence, my service dedication, and my social experiences into Tulane University. This investment would reap mutualistic rewards because I would be the beneficiary of a robust education and Tulane would be the beneficiary of a loyal student, who is pious to the university’s commitments to diversity, learning, and service.

8. "Why University of Michigan?" Essay Example

Prompt: Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate College or School (including preferred admission and dual degree programs) to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests? (100-550 words)

Growing up, I always pictured myself as a great teacher as an adult. With the second best secondary education program in the country and an emphasis on the liberal arts and undergraduate education, I am confident that U-M will shape me into the great educator I’ve dreamed of becoming since I was a kid.

Hallmarks of a liberal arts education include teamwork, problem-solving, clear writing, and effective communication. These are also skills that any exceptional teacher needs. U-M offers an unparalleled curriculum that prepares students to successfully run classrooms and obtain Provisional Teacher Certifications upon graduation, exposing students to diverse classes and people in Ann Arbor, and providing them with an invaluable liberal arts education along the way.

Being an effective teacher means connecting with and stimulating all students at its core. The liberal arts foundation I will receive in the College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts (LSA), married with the experiential education and training the School of Education (SoE) will provide, will mold me into that great teacher—a mentor and role model for any student, regardless of creed—I’ve always aspired to become.

The Teacher Education Preferred Admission (TEPA) for incoming freshmen piqued my interest because the program is the crossroad between the liberal arts and teacher education; two components I was looking for in a college. TEPA will allow me to build a strong liberal arts base in LSA my first two years on campus before entering SoE, while also gaining beneficial experiences in the education field early on.

The education-oriented programs WE READ and Students Empowering Education specifically appealed to me because they will bridge my liberal arts education with my anticipated career as a high school English teacher. Similarly, my Spanish classes will have a practical application in the Ann Arbor Language Partnership, a program that immediately interested me as a potential Spanish minor.

During my first two years as a pre-admit, I'll be supported by my TEPA peers and staff, specifically from my SoE personal adviser. TEPA will take the large campus and make it feel smaller, allowing me to form organic connections with like-minded people and groups that can cultivate my interest in education before entering SoE junior year.

I need a meaningful education to be a meaningful educator. Truthfully, I could go to almost any college to become a teacher, but only schools that synthesize in- and out-of-classroom learning like SoE produce great ones. U-M ranking sixth in the country for undergraduate teaching bolstered my interest in the university and confirmed what I already knew: I will receive an education in LSA and SoE that will change who I am as a person and not just a student, and prepare me to provide the same for others as a teacher.

The great educator I’ve always envisioned myself becoming is one that can inspire without bounds. From my time as a student, I’ve come to realize that a truly influential teacher can work with students who have little in common with themselves and still be impactful. LSA's purposeful and broad curriculum, paired with SoE's hands-on courses and fieldwork, and the additional opportunities available through TEPA, will shape me into that life-changing teacher, for any student who walks through my classroom door.

9. "Why University of Michigan?" Essay Example

Growing up in a community that bleeds maize and blue, the community represented by the University of Michigan has always been one that I could see myself representing as both a student and alumni. From football games at the big house to classes at Ross, each and every opportunity available at U of M represents a piece of my life that I hope to continue to incorporate into my life for the rest of my life.

The opportunity to take courses that allow for enriched experiences in developing a real business is one that I intend to be involved in as soon as possible. I will use this type of class as a way to test my skills and learn where I need to become stronger as a leader and student. Watching others equally driven as me, their tactics that are successful and not successful will imprint on how I attack problems in the future and shape my overall leadership style.

By being involved in the Multidisciplinary Action Projects down the road as a graduate student, I hope to learn firsthand what it takes to run and be involved with real businesses. Firsthand exposure is the best way to learn how to solve problems- especially surrounded by peers who are equally as driven and dedicated as I am.

Filled with students striving for nothing but the best they are capable of is a community that I am certain I will enrich and fit into. By sharing ideas and collaborating together instead of against each other, each and every one of us will contribute to the business world as leaders and innovators.

The University of Michigan is a place I can see myself learning and growing as a leader for the next four years as I intend to use all of the tools at my disposal to become a top business person. The opportunities within the school I will be involved in and the peers that I will work beside only enrich the values of what being a Wolverine mean to me.

10. "Why University of Michigan?" Essay Example

The University of Michigan’s College of Engineering has a proactive approach to career path discovery and job search. While I do hope to aspire to a corporate attorney, an engineering degree from the University of Michigan would provide me the advantage of readiness.

U.S News and World Report published an article about challenges law school applicants with STEM degrees face. Number one was the lack of research skills. Michigan Undergraduate Engineering has research opportunities for all undergraduate students. I hope to even take advantage of The College of Engineering (CoE) International Internship Program. The chance to see the world and contribute to the world-class studies conducted by Michigan Engineering students is a unique quality. The article also reported that STEM applicants often lack job experience. Michigan Engineering hosts internship fairs, which even freshman can participate in. By utilizing the opportunity to work in a professional setting, I will be more adapt to presenting myself in a mature and respectable manor in a corporate setting.

Many people are puzzled by my aspirations to become a corporate lawyer with an engineering degree. While I enjoy learning about many areas of study, math and science have always peaked my interest. Like my attraction to law, I am drawn to the definitiveness of engineering specifically. While there is a right and wrong in methods and procedures, there is a chance to be creative; for the end goal is functionality. Law requires critical thinking, problem solving, and the questioning of presented facts and figures. These skills are also encompassed in Michigan Engineering. With a technical understanding of industry and engineering, I will be able to more accurately represent a corporation. Like the professors at Michigan Engineering, I hope to be an expert in my field. At Michigan Engineering, I will be educated by the best of the best. Professors that have been exposed to their fields in every aspect; allowing them to provide the best guidance to students. Instead of just presenting facts and figures in a courtroom, I will be able to understand and explain them.

11. "Why University of Michigan?" Essay Example

In my junior year microeconomics class, my teacher extensively explored the ways in which people from different socioeconomic classes were affected by our economic system. I was frustrated by the ways our country forces those living in poverty to spend the little money they have on taxable goods. I began to empathize with them. How can people pull themselves out of poverty if their government seems to be working against them? More than anything, I was frustrated that I felt powerless to help them in any way.

Those lessons inspired and motivated me. I had always looked at economics as nothing more than an analysis of business models and resource allocation. I began to see it as a way to fix fundamental problems in our society, from examining the effects of healthcare expansion on crime and poverty rates to studying how shifts in our political climate affect how our country’s financial process will change. I now see economics as a way to help those in need in my country and throughout the world.

I volunteered after school for Representative Dingell and had the opportunity to attend numerous events hosted by the Ford School. Again and again, I was impressed by the extent of the Ford School’s student involvement in critical issues. Through my work with the Congresswoman, I was able to gain a greater understanding of how different groups of people were affected by shifts in political and economic priorities. My goal is to become a civil rights attorney or study economics as a way to promote sustainable growth in developing nations.

I want to begin my studies at the University of Michigan in LSA to gain a foundation in economics and political science-related courses. After my first year, I hope to gain admission to the Ford School. The connections that LSA and Ford have to Poverty Solutions solidified by interest in the University of Michigan. If I attended these schools as an undergraduate student, I would be able to assist with research on the causes and ramifications of poverty. Professor Michael Barr’s research on policy initiatives and our financial system is fascinating from the perspective of a prospective economics major. At the University of Michigan, I would be able to join teams of renowned researchers working toward the betterment of our society and our world.

The range of schools working in connection with Poverty Solutions is evidence of the University’s devotion to civic engagement. I would be able to participate in groundbreaking research regarding issues I am interested in; I would have the ability to study poverty and ways to stunt or alleviate its effects in other countries. As someone hoping to pursue a career in public service, it is truly incredible to have the opportunity to join a research community specifically geared toward solving problems I am passionate about solving.

I want to join the University of Michigan’s legacy of innovators. I want to be part of the LSA community, studying economics and political science. I want to attend the Ford School and understand how policy in America and abroad has an effect on global poverty. I want to be involved with the Poverty Solutions Initiative, conducting groundbreaking research on the ways we can reform our financial system to better serve the lower and middle classes.

12. "Why Oberlin?" Essay Example

Prompt: How did your interest in Oberlin develop and what aspects of our college community most excite you? (250 words max)

“Give Oberlin a look” my father suggested. A school I knew little about. I casually added Oberlin to the long list of schools of which Tufts was perched atop. My father had gone to Tufts and I had convinced myself that I should follow.

Adding Oberlin to my list begat the serendipitous series of events that ultimately saw a fly-in invitation to Oberlin in my email inbox. My father encouraged me to go; “It doesn’t hurt to listen”.

The most influential component of Oberlin were the people. My host, Estrella, like every Oberlin student I met, was generous with her time and her experiences. It wasn’t 24 hours before I could imagine myself laughing with friends at the 10 pm dinner, dozing off on a swing bench in Tappan square, spending late nights at the library in a womb chair, or petting kittens in some little art store. Sharing a day with these people who were clearly in the right place brought some force to my mind that Oberlin was the right place for me. My short trip revealed that Oberlin offered me both the academic rigor I seek and the visceral experience of living in a community of people with broadly varying backgrounds─an experience that I had in this small Ohio town and nowhere else.

I don’t know whose essay I’d be writing right now if this opportunity had never presented itself, but I am very grateful it did.

13. "Why Dartmouth?" Essay Example

Prompt: While arguing a Dartmouth-related case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1818, Daniel Webster, Class of 1801, delivered this memorable line: “It is, sir,…a small college, and yet there are those who love it!” As you seek admission to the Class of 2026, what aspects of the College’s program, community, or campus environment attract your interest? (100 words max)

I see myself nestled under the wooden arches of Sanborn Library in my Dartmouth EMT jacket too enthralled in my work to notice the snow flurries outside. I'll take a quick study break with some cross-country skiing at the outing club and then take my professor, Dr. Ackerman, out to lunch at the Hanover Inn to talk about her groundbreaking research in vaccine development. After a conversation on protein engineering and immunology, I'll stop by Foco for an infamous chocolate chip cookie with my friends from our unforgettable freshman hiking trip. I know I'm home when I am at Dartmouth.

14. "Why Claremont McKenna?" Essay Example

Prompt: Why do you want to attend CMC? (150-250 words)

I’ve been able to get to know CMC well, since my sister has relished pursuing her undergraduate studies at this amazing school. I’ve visited Claremont many times, and I’m certain this is exactly the school best positioned to both challenge and support me during this critical stage of my education.

The person I aspire to be in the wake of my undergraduate studies is a knowledgeable, accomplished and compassionate leader ready to take over our family business. The privilege of diving into CMC’s unique undergraduate major in Economics will certainly enable me to attain the knowledge I will need. The rigorous classes of the inimitable Finance Sequence will definitely challenge me, but I will savor this. My sister often talks about the exuberance with which professors at the Roberts Day School conduct their classes and I hope to experience this. More specifically, I want to study Financial Economics under Dr. Lisa K. Meulbroek and get an insight into the world of corporate finance by evaluating everything from mergers to investments.

A CMC education also complements my intellectual curiosity, since it would enable me to pursue a second major in Religious Studies. This is immensely important to me since I come from an area where religious tensions are spiraling out of control. In addition, to enable me to develop the hard and soft skills of leadership, CMC offers experiential projects and countless opportunities for me to take on leadership roles in clubs and societies I’m passionate about, like the Blockchain club.

15. "Why Indiana University?" Essay Example

Prompt: Describe your academic and career plans and any special interest (for example, undergraduate research, academic interests, leadership opportunities, etc.) that you are eager to pursue as an undergraduate at Indiana University. Also, if you encountered any unusual circumstances, challenges, or obstacles in pursuit of your education, share those experiences and how you overcame them. (200-400 words)

Walking into school on the first day of my senior year, the excitement about college was evident as I passed through the halls. While many students discussed the local options, the one name I heard that really drew me in was Indiana. Unaware of the tremendous opportunities that would be within my reach as a student there, I began to learn more information through both individual research and from discussion with alumni. This was how I knew Bloomington was the place for me.

Always interested in business, the characteristics of the Kelley School run parallel to those that I value in numerous ways. First, because I have taken Chinese for most of my time as a student, international experience is vital to me. While classroom learning is no doubt helpful, continuing my education of the language within the culture will teach me more meaning to the words that I am speaking. Tying in with business, it also will give me leadership experience dealing with planning and collaboration around the globe.

The collaborative community is another aspect of Indiana that I truly appreciate. Dating back to the first group activities I worked on at school, I have always appreciated the helpfulness in working with my peers rather than against them. Working with others to solve problems is not only how I have accomplished so many of my goals, but also how I have made some of my closest friends. Additionally, I will utilize this emphasis of collaboration with my professors at the Kelley School as a way to enrich what I have learned in their classrooms.

While in collaboration with my classmates, friends, and professors, I will begin connecting myself with the future alumna- and eventually become one down the road. Since the Kelley School has the largest alumni population of any other business school, the community I am entering into is sure to be influential in the future. This opportunity to enter this prestigious group will open up doors and give me access to some of the top people in business today.

I cannot wait to be a part of the community within the Kelley School: for not just the next four years of my life, but the rest of my life.

16. "Why New York University (NYU)?" Essay Example

Prompt: Why NYU?

We would like to know more about your interest in NYU. What motivated you to apply to NYU? Why have you applied or expressed interest in a particular campus, school, college, program, and or area of study? If you have applied to more than one, please also tell us why you are interested in these additional areas of study or campuses. We want to understand - Why NYU? (400 words max)

Living in a suburb my whole life, I've always felt as if I lived in a two-dimensional plane. I can go left, right, forward, and backward.

In a suburb, however, it is nearly impossible to get any meaningful altitude. Upon visiting New York City during the summer before my senior year, however, I found myself gazing up at the skyscrapers soaring high above me. I've always loved the views mountains and buildings; both from above and below. I also have spent time studying Mandarin, and Shanghai would offer a unique opportunity to further my linguistic studies while engaging in cultural immersion.

Beyond settings, NYU has the capacity and the resources available for me to engage in research in quantum computation. Playing video games got me into math and science beyond just playing with my calculator as a baby. There were practical applications of the numbers, and I wanted to understand how it all worked in order to get the best equipment and maximize ammo efficiency. I would watch "Mythbusters" and try to come up with my own hypothesis and see if it matched their conclusion.

In 8th grade, I figured out that I loved science along with math, but I didn't exactly know what science I loved. At the time I was in "physical science" and I did enjoy the class a lot, but I always thought of physics as "speed distance time" triangles which were no fun at all. I was convinced to take AP Physics in my junior year with my friends, and I loved it. It was almost every week we would learn something that completely altered my perception of the universe.

Once I learned about quantum physics and how it basically destroys our understanding of everything, I knew I wanted to pursue it further, and be at the forefront of quantum research.

At NYU, not only can I take courses to learn about the subject, but I can also participate in research through the "Center for Quantum Phenomena". Taking advanced courses and conducting research in a new setting, such as New York or Shanghai, can offer me a new perspective and a breath of fresh air. Conversely, I can help over NYU a new perspective on critical thinking and problem-solving. I chose to apply to NYU because NYU is fit for me, and I am fit for NYU.

17. "Why University of Michigan?" Essay Example

Riding the elevator to the seventh floor of Haven Hall, my heart was practically leaping out of my chest. I was meeting with Dr. Jenna Bednar of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts Department of Political Science, and as I recalled her credentials- B.A. in Political Science from Michigan, M.A. and PhD in Political Science from Stanford- I felt increasingly out of place. As a junior in high school with limited political experience, I am grateful that she agreed to take time out of her day to meet with me and answer my numerous questions about LSA, Michigan, and political theory.

Upon entering her office, my eyes were drawn to bookshelves full of political literature, from the classics like De Tocqueville and Locke (which I read in a summer college program in 2017), to her own recently published work, The Robust Federation. Encouraged by her broad smile and having just completed an official campus tour, I launched into my questions. Dr. Bednar described the connections she and her students have made at Michigan, through LSA and in general.

This revealed to me that the faculty would take a personal interest in my academic career. We discussed the average class size in LSA and the Department of Political Science, her academic background, and how to survive Michigan winters. Dr. Bednar then brought my attention to the benefits that LSA Political Science gives its students.

For example, as head of the Michigan in Washington program, Dr. Bednar's passion for both political science and education was evident as she introduced me to one of Michigan's most influential academic programs. Although I hail from two miles outside the D.C. border, I aspire to participate in the Michigan in Washington program, to build on my internship of the past year with my delegate to the Maryland General Assembly.

Under his guidance, I conducted nationwide policy research, attended civic association meetings and development forums, and traveled to our state capitol to watch the legislative process unfold. Consequently, an internship at the federal level is my logical next step toward building the foundations of a political career.

Dr. Bednar, upon hearing about my internship with my delegate, suggested that I think about the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. I believe that this research program offers a unique means of building my understanding of political science. I am eager to apply to the UROP program in hopes of furthering my research skills within the complex political landscape of today. Furthermore, the variety of courses that I can explore as a political science major is remarkable: from "Sports, Politics, and Society", to "Nations and Nationalism," the scope of topics will keep me engaged.

When I sat down with Dr. Bednar, I expected a five-minute chat; I received forty-five minutes of helpful advice, political theorizing, and well wishes. Leaving her office, I felt energized and ready to dive into LSA Political Science right there. Her demeanor helped to build my confidence to boldly seek connections in my search for knowledge. I saw the Michigan difference firsthand, from various undergraduate opportunities for political science, to a universal love for the school from students and faculty alike.

18. "Why University of Michigan?" Essay Example

My favorite class in high school was also my hardest. It was World Culture/World Literature, an hour and a half each day of seeing history, art, and literature not as separate entities but as intricately connected, one incomplete without the other. I learned to see humanism in Greek sculpture, religious propaganda in the chiaroscuro of Baroque paintings, disillusionment in modern art. Although seemingly unrelated to my STEM-leaning interests, the analytical skills I learned there would prove invaluable in neuroscience research. Connecting electroencephalography results to mechanisms for chronic pain relief wasn’t all too different from drawing links between historical movements and paintings; both required an intimate knowledge of background information and a willingness to take risks, to see new relationships and forge unprecedented connections.

LSA embodies precisely this mentality, fostering interdisciplinary learning and problem-solving. With classes like “Health, Biology, and Society: What is Cancer?”, bridging humanistic and biological approaches to disease, and graduation requirements ranging from Natural Sciences to Race and Ethnicity, LSA prepares students for the real world, where problems necessitate not just single-minded expertise but also a diverse understanding of other factors involved. My internship experience only confirmed the practicality of this perspective; we used mindfulness meditation alongside spinal cord stimulation technologies to treat chronic pain.

This mindset is not confined to learning inside the classroom. The LSA Opportunity Hub is robust, connecting students to internships at Nike, Forbes, and the US Department of Education, among other places. To intern as a research assistant at Mayo Clinic, to use mathematical models to predict brain tumor growth like current Michigan junior Tatum Doyle would be an unequalled opportunity. Her work in incorporating mathematical concepts in medical research personifies the LSA culture, where problems are best solved holistically. LSA’s interdisciplinary approach does not detract from fostering specialization and excellence in specific fields, but adds; its Biochemistry program promotes innovation and independence in its students and is ranked top in the nation.

I remember boiling down cabbage with my dad to make acid/base indicators. In elementary school, my teacher wrote that I had been spending too much time reading animal books and too little time playing with other kids. I loved (and still love) all things living, often marvelling at the complexity of the animal kingdom, the human body, the organs, and the cells that were the foundation for everything else. The first time I read about the process of translation, of rendering mRNA into proteins, my eyes filled with tears; this is what I wanted to do, to apply the chemistry that had defined my childhood to my love of biology.

LSA shares that passion, dedicating a plethora of resources, both intellectual and material, to its Biochemistry department. With equipment like atomic absorption spectrophotometers, classes in Endocrinology, and distinguished professors, the University of Michigan has everything any biochemistry undergraduate student would need, and much more. To research under a PI like Dr. Kopelman, winner of the J. William Fulbright Research Award, would be a dream fulfilled. His work in employing 5-dimensional chemical imaging to visualize and treat tumors does what LSA does best; it uses an interdisciplinary approach to make academic discoveries both relevant and essential in the real world. It is a culture I would be honored to take part in, should I be accepted.

19. "Why University of Michigan?" Essay Example

Sweat drips down my face onto homework in front of me.

I just got home from a soccer game; I’m not stressed. This is until I realize I still have a plethora of edits to make on my lab report as well as emails to write for an upcoming NHS event. AND I have three tests the next day.

Although stressful, I enjoy every minute of juggling a variety of academics and extracurriculars. I appreciate all the opportunities my high school offers to me and I take advantage of as many as I can handle. Thanks to my involved years of high school, I have received a great education as well as many experiences I would never trade away.

Entering my senior year and researching universities I may want to attend, there is one question which continuously presents itself. What do I want to major in when I get to college? It is a scary question and I have never known the answer. Despite participating in many extracurriculars such as National Honor Society, Science Olympiad, Math Honor Society, and Future Business Leaders of America, I still have no idea what I want to do with my life.

As a student at LSA, I would be able to use the abundance of resources to explore possibilities for life after college. Since I am one of the many college applicants who has not decided upon a major, a large, liberal arts college like LSA is the perfect place for me to discover more about myself, pursue interests, and find my purpose. I have considered medicine, business, economics, and law. The two courses I have enjoyed the most are biomedical sciences and US History. I am truly all over the map!

With so much variety at LSA, I would be able to change majors or take a diverse group of classes so that I could find what I want to study. LSA is unique from its University of Michigan counterparts because it offers a broader range of departments, majors, and courses. The flexibility at LSA would help me discover what I want my life to be like while supporting me through my journey.

Additionally, LSA provides students with multiple opportunities not found anywhere else at University of Michigan. One program that caught my eye was Michigan Learning Communities. This program appeals to me because having the resources of this large university, yet finding a niche in the community to challenge myself and others, can help me grow as a student and a person. Similarly, the Opportunity Hub at LSA jumped out at me as I researched the University and toured the school. I would take full advantage of the great connections the Opportunity Hub provides, as it could help me find an internship or job offer when the perfect time comes. MLCs, the Opportunity Hub, and the many other programs which LSA offers are the main reasons why LSA would be the best college fit for me.

I was initially drawn to the University of Michigan by the beautiful campus, great athletics programs, unmatched prestige, and massive alumni network. However, as I dove deeper, I discovered LSA, a school that can help me realize my purpose and passions while providing a focused learning environment to lead me to a bright future.

20. "Why University of Michigan?" Essay Example

Throughout my college search, I had yet to come across the perfect undergraduate school for my interests. The safe pick was always the standard “College of Arts and Sciences” or its equivalent, with the most varied options for me to craft my experience. Something was different about Michigan. I didn’t need to craft my own academic experience at another university when the perfect one was already designed here: The School of Kinesiology’s Movement Science program.

In my house, we never eat scrambled eggs. We eat denatured albumin and yolk proteins served with a sprinkling of sodium chloride; cooking was chemistry, not just a chore. From a young age, my parents have cultivated a sense of curiosity in me. So when I injured my left wrist in the summer before freshman year, it was so much more than just an injury. I researched more into my growth plate dislocation and radial fracture. I got to see the details of the procedure, the recovery process, and the gradual reversion of my X-rays to a normal wrist image. This fascinating journey got me through an otherwise disappointing summer: no basketball and no french horn.

While the seeds were planted during my injury, they didn’t start blooming until I spent a week shadowing Dr. Kesavan Ramanujan in the Royal United Hospital, Bath, England. I realized that the field of orthopedics was a field where I could visually identify a problem, come up with a solution, implement the solution through operation, and help someone progress to full recovery. The gratification on the doctor’s faces when their recovered patients came back to visit them was infectious. While this trip was my first time staying abroad without my family, the biggest takeaway for me was that I had found a career I was truly interested in.

My volunteer work at the Robert Wood Johnson Hospital Physiotherapy Clinic has only strengthened this notion. While my work as a volunteer may be the more routine tasks: making schedules, doing paperwork, cleaning the beds and the gym, setting up hot packs, cold packs, and stimulation pads, I have learned so much about the subtle details of patient interaction through what I absorb from the physical therapists. Even if a PT is having a bad day, they have taught me how important it is to have a smile on your face for the next patient coming through the doors. They have also taught me how much of an intersection there is between teaching and medicine/therapy.

These experiences draw me to the School of Kinesiology, and specifically the Movement Science program. The opportunity to actively engage with skeletomuscular system studies as opposed to solely classroom learning appeals to me, as do the extensive research opportunities. The specialized IONM Intraoperative Neuromonitoring Program-- the only accredited IONM program in the world-- would give me the chance to engage in an exciting, interdisciplinary curriculum that cannot be found anywhere else.

From scrambled eggs to broken bones; from British adventures to lessons learned in the RWJ clinic. Discovering my passion for orthopedics and movement science has already been an exhilarating ride; yet, these have all been just the beginning steps of my journey. I cannot think of a better place to continue than the University of Michigan.

21. "Why University of Southern California (USC)?" Essay Example

Prompt: Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests and why you want to explore them at USC specifically. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections. (250 words max)

All throughout my life, I always loved doing math no matter what the concept. My love for math led to me taking advanced math classes for my grade. I even had to take a bus to a high school when I was in middle school to take an advanced math class. I always knew that I would want to pursue a career dealing with mathematics, but I was not really sure until my junior year. I had not decided what I wanted to be in the future, so my uncle suggested being a CPA, and I looked into it. When I did my research, it interested me as they made a decent amount of money and they worked with numbers.

At USC, I would like to major in accounting and gain the opportunity to possibly receive an internship at one of the big accounting firms in Los Angeles through the networking of USC. If I were able to get an internship, I would be able to gain experience for when I graduate and search for a job. I would also consider going for a Masters of Business Administration as I know that USC has one of the best business programs in the country.

22. "Why University of Southern California (USC)?" Essay Example

I had never considered traveling across the country to pursue an education. In fact, living in Pittsburgh all of my life and growing up with people who are so adamant about staying put, forced me to believe that I too had to box myself into this small, yet evolving city. However, now I can confidently tell my friends and family that I want to travel to California for college (and ignore their odd looks).

What strikes me most about USC is its ability to maintain uniformity despite its diverse student body--in interests, ethnicity, and opinion. There are not many schools where I could be best friends with filmmakers, artists, photographers, chemists, potential CEOs, and writers. Although all of these people are spread across different schools, they still seem to maintain a cultural unity. Being surrounded by such a distinct trojan pride combined with the ambitious atmosphere would be both inspiring and propulsive.

At USC, I would not have to confine to merely one of my interests. I have always had aspirations of becoming a doctor and pursuing neuroscience, but have never felt comfortable ignoring the humanities. As a Trojan, I could pursue research at the Dana and David Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center or even take part in PIBBS, while also honing my writing skills through the intricate Writing Program.

Much like the students, my interests could somehow be molded into a diverse uniformity, and I could prove my fellow Pittsburghers that perhaps they need to move around more.

23. "Why Cornell?" Essay Example

Prompt: Cornell Engineering celebrates innovative problem solving that helps people, communities…the world. Consider your ideas and aspirations and describe how a Cornell Engineering education would allow you to leverage technological problem-solving to improve the world we live in. (250-650 words)

For "Why Us?" college essays, one of the most important parts is to show ways you imagine being involved on campus. This student does a great job of showing that they've done their research about Cornell, by connecting their passion for studying heart disease to specific initiatives already taking place on campus. Try researching what events, research, or programs are being conducted. By referencing those specifics, you can create convincing reasons of why this school is fit for you.

When discussing your intended area of study, one effective strategy is to identify a problem that you see. This problem can be in the field itself, your community, or the world. Then, you can connect this problem to yourself by showing how you'd want to help solve it. Don't try to tackle it entirely yourself, but show how you'd "take bites" out of this larger problem. It is also important that you identify potential solutions to the problem. You definitely don't (and shouldn't) have all the answers, but what do you see as potential steps for combatting the issue?

Using technical language, such as referencing "semi-elliptical curves" and "modular form" in this essay, will help show your in-depth knowledge and passion. Don't be afraid to use technical jargon like this, and don't worry if admissions officers may not know all the terms. As long as they have context and knowing the terminology isn't critical to understanding your point, including "nerdy" language will make your essay more engaging and demonstrate your intelligence.

If you have personal connections to the school you're applying to (such as legacy, family members who work there, students or faculty you're close with), it can be a good idea to reference those connections. Showing personal connections to the school makes admissions think, "They're already practically one of us!" Just make sure that these connections aren't contrived: only write about them if you have a clear purpose within your essay for introducing them. In this essay, the student references their brother who attended Cornell, but does so in a way that naturally ties into the rest of their reasons for "why Cornell."

24. "Why University of Pennsylvania?" Essay Example

Prompt: Considering the specific undergraduate school you have selected, how will you explore your academic and intellectual interests at the University of Pennsylvania? For students applying to the coordinated dual-degree and specialized programs, please answer these questions in regard to your single-degree school choice; your interest in the coordinated dual-degree or specialized program may be addressed through the program-specific essay. (300-450 words)

As a child the world fascinated me. From questioning the makeup of the dirt I played in, to doubting the existence of gravity as I flew a kite, I was always thinking. Time passed, and my consciousness opened to more, like atoms, the Big Bang Theory, the psychology behind dreams, and the list goes on. Everything fascinated me; curiosity quickly became a part of my character. Some say ignorance is bliss, but I have to disagree. Ignorance is what fuels my curiosity; ignorance is what drives me to discover, learn, and initiate change. Living in a small rural town with my grandmother and disabled father, I have been limited by geography and socioeconomics. A perfect blend of humanities and factualities, the College of Arts and Sciences is an exploratory lab for all I do not know. At Penn, courses from Neurobiology of Learning and Memory to The Sociology of Gender allow me to rid my ignorance one class at a time. The unique and specialized curriculum provides a place to explore whatever I wonder and answer whatever I question. While my grandmother did not have the money for me to attend science camps, to visit museums, or to travel more than a few hours from my home, living in the country always provided me with endless exploration. My interest in trees in particular led me to specialize in the forestry portion of our Envirothon team for four years of high school. The passion I have for biology is second to my interest in helping others. Rural areas of Pennsylvania are in desperate need for physicians, especially in the field of women’s health. My goal is to return to my community and fill that need. As a low income, first-generation student, I have had limited opportunities, but I have seized any that I could and where there were none, I created some. As a seventh grader, I pioneered the colorguard of our newly formed high school marching band. Last year, as captain of 14 twirlers, I took my first plane ride to Disney World where my band performed. This experience taught more than I could ever learn in a classroom. Similarly, there are endless opportunities at Penn, both intra- and extra-curricular, and I plan to take advantage of all that I can to feed my fire.

25. "Why University of Pennsylvania?" Essay Example

This essay does a great job of conveying a thoughtful and candid applicant. Their phrasing, although verbose in some places, comes across genuine because the author walks you through how they learned about the school, what they're looking for in a school, and why the school would offer those specific things. Phrases like "I didn't know if I could honestly see myself studying that" are conversational and natural-sounding, which help create a sincere tone.

By referencing specific programs, like "Penn in Washington" as well as various minors and concentrations, it is clear this student has done their research about the school. One of the most important aspects for a "Why Us" essay is to find specific and unique opportunities and name them in your essay. These could be things like specific professors and their work, campus and its location, interesting classes, unique internship/study-abroad/job programs, special events, and many more. The key is referencing things that are entirely unique to the school and not many other schools too. Avoid broad terms like "renowned faculty" or "interdisciplinary studies" because virtually all colleges offer things like this, and these are some of the most over-used and artificial reasons used in "Why Us" essays.

This essay has many moments of repetition that are unnecessary. In general, avoid repeating your ideas and when editing, ask yourself of each sentence: does this add something distinctly new and important to my essay? There are two common mistakes that often create repetition: prefacing your ideas and summarizing your ideas. Unlike academic writing, you don't need to "prepare" the reader for what you're going to say, and you don't need to conclude it with a summary. By doing so, you only create unnecessary repetition and take up words which could otherwise be used to include new specific details or ideas.

This essay spends nearly half of its words explaining the "interdisciplinary" opportunities at UPenn. However, this reason is quite superficial and not at all unique to Penn, as almost all colleges offer some sort of interdisciplinary study (i.e. combining your interests or studying multiple fields). Talking about "interdisciplinary study" is one of the most common reasons students use in their "Why Us" essay, and it often comes across as generic and unoriginal. Instead, look for offerings that no other (or very few other) schools provide. Narrow down your reasons "why" to make them more specific to the school, even if they are smaller scale. You can mention things like "interdisciplinary studies" or "diverse student body" briefly as a reason why, but don't make them one of your primary reasons why, unless you have something particularly unique about it.

26. "Why Tufts University?" Essay Example

Prompt: Why Tufts? (100 words max)

What struck me most about Tufts was not only the warm, open, and energetic atmosphere, but also the students’ willingness to be walking contradictions. With the ExCollege ​encouraging interdisciplinary education through ​classes like ​EXP-0058-PS Health, Communication & Society, it is easy to be contradictory.

During my visit, I met Biological Poets, Singing Physicists, and Mathematical Artists. I know that Tufts is right for me because it preaches everything I believe about synergistic learning. Being a contradiction my entire life--the scientific, mathematically inclined, yet literature obsessed barista--it was comforting to find a community of people identical to and completely different from me.

27. "Why Tufts University?" Essay Example

Prompt: Which aspects of Tufts’ curriculum or undergraduate experience prompt your application? (100 words max)

Touring a college is not always enough to get a sense of what the college is like. But, I had the unique opportunity to meet with Professor Dennis Rasmussen and discuss Political Science at Tufts. He talked to me about the unique opportunities which Tufts students have, from the fantastic study abroad opportunities to a senior thesis which lets you dip your feet into research before moving onto higher education. The combination of Professor Rasmussen’s thoughtfulness and the school’s academic prowess proved to me that Tufts is the place to be.

28. "Why Northwestern?" Essay Example

Think Purple: Aspiring journalist dreams of being a Wildcat F​iled under ​A​dmissions​, ​Top Stories

After brochure browsing, website wandering, and campus canvassing what felt like hundreds of different schools, it took Daisy Conant exactly 32 seconds on the Northwestern University campus to realize she had found the one.

“Northwestern is undefinable in the best way, an addicting hub of intellectuality, creativity, and school spirit - something especially appealing to a football lover,” laughed Conant. “But what excites me most about NU is the opportunity to study at the Medill School of Journalism.”

A writer with hopes of becoming a foreign correspondent, Conant has always been drawn to people and their stories, especially those completely unfamiliar to herself and her experiences. Once learning she could start on day one at Medill acquiring investigative journalism experience writing an enterprise story and end on day 600 with a journalism residency and international experience already under her belt, she was hooked.

“Conducting groundbreaking research on the socioeconomic disparities in the CPS system for the Medill Justice Project, spending a semester abroad reporting on cultural crisis in Greece, interning at the Post - at Medill, my options are boundless,” remarked Conant. “I could explore the world of print news writing in-focuses for the Daily Northwestern, dabble in magazine editing laying out spreads for North by Northwestern, even try my hand at broadcast reporting for WNUR.”

A journalist at heart, Conant is fascinated with the intersections of other disciplines. As an NU student she would be free to engage her passions for international studies and business through outside concentrations in addition to investigative journalism, uncovering the adventures (and discovering the tenacious Wildcats) that lie between Evanston and the shores of Lake Michigan. “My story is just beginning,” said Conant. “And Northwestern is the perfect lede.”

29. "Why Notre Dame?" Essay Example

Prompt: What excites you about the University of Notre Dame that makes it stand out from other institutions? (200 words max)

Lou Holtz once said, “You don't go to Notre Dame to learn something; you go to Notre Dame to be somebody.” While I can hardly tell the difference between a linebacker, quarterback and fullback, I know that the advice from the former football coach rings true. Notre Dame will not only provide me with a wonderful education, but will equip me with the tools to pursue a career in government.

Notre Dame’s emphasis on a practical political science education is what first drew me in. The emphasis on equipping students with the ability to do research through the Research Apprenticeship Course and the ability to complete a thesis allow for an undergraduate to get hands-on experience in helping contribute to the body of knowledge in political science.

Further, the ability to obtain internships, especially with the U.S. Department of State and the City of Chicago Law Division emphasize the experiential learning I hoped for. Real-world experience will empower me to solve real-world problems and enter the workforce.

While I may never understand football, with a Notre Dame education I know I will learn to understand political science deeply and be equipped for a successful future.

30. "Why Notre Dame?" Essay Example

When I attended a Notre Dame information session, the admission representative, Zach, told us wonderful stories about campus life. One thing that especially stuck out to me was how diverse Notre Dame is. It was intriguing to think that I could sit down at a lunch table and there would be someone there from Hong Kong, Germany, and Korea. This nurtures my love of cultures different from my own. Also, I’ve spent my whole life in Kansas City, which is roughly 8 hours away from Indiana.

The idea of leaving everything that I’ve grown so familiar with frightens me. A family friend who attends Notre Dame says that you form a close bond with the people in your dorm, but it extends beyond that because it’s like everyone at Notre Dame is family. Even the Alumni stay involved long after they’ve graduated. People are proud to have graduated from Notre Dame, leading me to believe that when you attend Notre Dame, you become a family for life. Notre Dame has a history and legacy of greatness, and I would love to be a part of a school that changes lives like that.

31. "Why Ithaca College?" Essay Example

Prompt: Please tell us why you selected this specific academic program and what other academic programs interest you. (10-200 words)

Recording devices have been banned from the courtroom of the Supreme Court Building since 1946. Therefore, when the Court makes a landmark decision, interns must hand-deliver paper copies of the ruling to news organizations.

The interns often pair running shoes with their business attire, for the quarter-mile sprint from the Court building to the area where networks ​await.

When I first saw photographs of “The Running of the Interns”, I wanted nothing more than to ​be​ one of those people. I wanted to feel my running shoes beating against the sidewalks, to feel sweat staining my suit.

Why did this tradition attract me to journalism? Because it reminded me that the news is a race, a constantly-changing collection of stories shaping social and political development.

The opportunity to contribute to that collection is why, beyond Ithaca’s journalism program, I’m also interested in the College’s minors in Politics and Writing.

I think all of this desire to be part of a story defines what it means to be a journalist, a writer: When I become a journalism major at Ithaca College, and, later, perhaps a running intern, I get to be a contender in the race to change the world.

32. "Why Rice University?" Essay Example

Prompt: How did you first learn about Rice University, and what motivated you to apply? (250 words max)

I live in Ponchatoula, but I am from New Orleans. Most of my family is from there, including my parents, and as a result, I have grown up in a food-loving household. My parents and I decided to take a foodie vacation to Houston since we heard about how amazing the food is there. My mom suggested I research the schools in Houston so I could visit one while we were there. I will admit that I chose Rice simply because it was the highest-ranking school according to a quick Google search. I didn't do any further research.

However, as soon as I stepped through the Sallyport, my nonchalance faded, and I was entranced.

The beauty of the school was nearly enough for me to apply, but I was intrigued when my tour guide spoke about the importance of liberal arts at Rice because I have never been in an environment that held such respect for them. I also loved the housing system of Rice. It reminded me of the houses in Hogwarts from Harry Potter! I felt incredibly welcomed at Rice; I was pleasantly surprised when I asked the tour guide if I could visit the Shepherd School of Music by myself since it wasn't included in the tour, and she told me "of course." As I stepped through the unlocked doors and strolled through the maroon floors of the Shepherd School of Music, I didn't hesitate to inform my parents of my new dream school.

33. "Why University of Wisconsin-Madison?" Essay Example

Prompt: Tell us why you decided to apply to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition, please include why you are interested in studying the major(s) you have selected. If you selected undecided please describe your areas of possible academic interest. (80-650 words)

This essay uses a lot of a great, specific references about UW Madison that show that the author has done their research and know the school well. Your reasons for applying in these "Why Us?" essays should be as specific as possible. This essay uses references to specific professors and their work, lab equipment ("biolayer interferometry"), courses, and features about campus. All of this works to create a compelling reason why this student would be a good fit, while also demonstrating strong interest in the school. When writing "Why Us" essays, doing your research to find unique and specific aspects is most important.

Even for "Why Us?" essays that don't explicitly ask you to write about your major, referencing your intended major is often a strong reason "why." By connecting what you want to study with what the school offers, you can show how your studies would be made even better. Admissions officers are trying to imagine how you'd fit into campus, so try showing them how you'd be engaged in the specific department. Researching the department is also a good idea, as often times it is easier to find unique qualities about a department (like "Biochemistry department") than it is to find about the school as a whole.

This essay starts off with a somewhat unserious introduction, referencing Wisconsin's reputation for cheese-making. Although this is casual and humorous, it serves as an engaging introduction into their main ideas about what the school offers. Using humor can show your personality, while also making it more fun for admissions officers to read. They'll be more likely to find your essay likable if you can include small moments of lightheartedness. This student also shows their personality through interjecting their thoughts (like this is doing here) using parentheses, which works to bring the reader into your thought process.

In this intro, the author sets up three points that they use as criteria for what they want in a school. However, this ultimately ends up creating unnecessary repetition because they later they discuss each of those points in detail. In general, avoid prefacing your ideas or thoughts. That is, you don't have to "prepare" or "introduce" what you're about to say to the reader. Instead, it is usually more compelling to just start with those juicy details rather than setting them up.

34. "Why Cornell University?" Essay Example

Prompt: Describe two or three of your current intellectual interests and why they are exciting to you. Why will Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences be the right environment in which to pursue your interests? (650 words max)

35. "Why Brown University?" Essay Example

Prompt: Why Brown, and why the Brown Curriculum? (200 words max)

I believe any college should equip you with tools as you embark upon your journey. Brown provides the necessary. That is what the capstone experience does (not to mention the importance of internships given to Brown Students). You can never know everything about anything. But quench the questions is exactly what the Capstone Experience fosters.

The Open Curriculum was obviously the first thing that caught my eye. In school, you are sometimes forced to take the subjects you don’t like. College shouldn’t be the same. It is supposed to be a fresh start and that is exactly why you should be allowed to take the courses that appeal to you. Here is where the S/NC option was interesting. Only if you know perspectives from all subjects, can you determine a solution; S/NC promotes this. Group Independent Study Projects is also unique. Getting into the course is something hard. But creating your own course is amusing.

I would love to be a part of The Society of Women Engineers because I had to fight with my own family to study Computer Science in the United States. If it means providing the help for people I wish I'd got, never better.

36. "Why UPenn?" Essay Example

Prompt: How will you explore your intellectual and academic interests at the University of Pennsylvania? Please answer this question given the specific undergraduate school to which you are applying. (650 words max)

37. "Why Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)?" Essay Example

Prompt: Why Carnegie Mellon? (650 words max)

With a strong background in computer science and communications, I hope to incorporate both into a future career of building data systems, conducting research, and consulting for organizations that serve underrepresented citizens.

Specific details and anecdotes will almost always be more compelling than less specific ones. In this essay, the student does a great job of including specific, "nerdy" details, such as "an association test between melanoma associated variants and survival outcome." These details demonstrate your in-depth knowledge of an area and make your essay more engaging.

This essay does a fantastic job of addressing real-world problems and emphasizing the "bigger picture" impact of their studies. Rather than just explaining what they want to study, this student explains how their education will help them have an impact on the world. Make an argument for what problems you see in the world and how you could potentially help solve them.

For "Why Us?" college essays, one of the most important parts is to reference unique aspects to the school. Almost all colleges have strong academics, great faculty, etc. So instead of referencing those points, reference what makes the school unique and different. In this essay, the student talks about "CMU's Technology Consulting in the Global Community" program, which is both highly specific to CMU and relevant to their own interests.

In general, you should avoid simply listing your achievements. This student has many remarkable activities and experiences, but it comes across less interesting because the first half of the essay is simply describing these accomplishments.

For "Why Us?" essays, it is also a good idea to reference the values the school represents. Each school has a different "culture" and type of student body, and admissions wants to know how you will fit in.

What You Can Learn From These "Why This College" Essay Examples

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People love to ask why. Why do you wear a turban? Why do you have long hair? Why are you playing a guitar with only 3 strings and watching TV at 3 A.M.—where did you get that cat? Why won’t you go back to your country, you terrorist? My answer is... uncomfortable. Many truths of the world are uncomfortable...

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Her baking is not confined to an amalgamation of sugar, butter, and flour. It's an outstretched hand, an open invitation, a makeshift bridge thrown across the divides of age and culture. Thanks to Buni, the reason I bake has evolved. What started as stress relief is now a lifeline to my heritage, a language that allows me to communicate with my family in ways my tongue cannot. By rolling dough for saratele and crushing walnuts for cornulete, my baking speaks more fluently to my Romanian heritage than my broken Romanian ever could....

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Why I-Want-to-Go-to-This-College Essay

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You will find many college applications ask you to write a short essay on why you want to go to their college and it’s also a common college interview question .

The typical prompt is just that: Why do you want to attend this college?

With this specific college prompt colleges are really asking you two things :

  • first, what you like about the college and if you really know about their college
  • secondly, if you have considered why this college is good for you.

You need to answer both these questions in one short essay of 250 to 300 words.

This essay does not require a thesis statement or an introduction and conclusion. However, it does require more than the few sentences. If you find only a few spaces provided on the application, it is better that you write out three or so paragraphs and attach them to your application.

The key to this essay is both knowing yourself and knowing the college you are applying to.

4 Tips For Your Why I-Want-to-Go-to-This-College Essay

1. figure out what you want in a college.

Before you write this essay you should sit down and list at least five things you want in a college: Do you want a large or small campus, do you want an urban or rural setting, do you want small classes or large lecture?

Depending on how you learn best, does this school have a good course of study for the future you are pursuing, does it offer courses abroad, can you do independent research, are the professors known for their research in your areas of interest, will its cost fit your pocketbook, do they offer extracurricular activities you want to be involved in, are the dorms set up to your liking, what kind of student population will you feel most comfortable with, is it a long distance from your home – which you may or may not want.

I could go on.

To know what kinds of questions to ask yourself about what you do want in college, you might want to check out our article about the first steps in selecting a college that suits you .

2. Research the college

This means real research, not looking at pictures in pamphlets or online.

You should visit the school you’re applying to and TAKE NOTES. Walk around campus; go into classes and dorms; talk to professors, admissions people, and students; and check out the library, cafeterias, and student union.

Take down names of people you talk to, note quotations from people, take down the names of buildings, and the names of classes you attend.

All this will come in handy.

3. Visit the college’s website

Here you need to check out the various courses and note down the nitty-gritty things like numbers of credits needed and prerequisites. Look at departments and their faculty. Read the professors’ vitae and note their areas of strengths and accomplishments.

Read the college’s mission statement to determine if it fits your own philosophy of what you want from an education.

If copies of the campus paper’s articles are available, read them to gather the kind of atmosphere the campus has. Is it political, ho-hum about what’s going on, student-centered?

Look at the activity calendars to get a feel for how busy the campus is and what it offers students.

4. Write the essay

The best thing is to group your notes into three or four things that you like about the campus that you can describe and to which you can add why you like that from your list of what you want from a college experience.

Here are a few more tips about writing an admissions essay to help you breeze through.

Final bonus tip!

Be sure to have your essay reviewed by ta qualified expert so that you submit the best possible essay to your colleges!

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why i want to attend this college essay

Content created by retired College Admissions consultants.

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  • The “Why This College?” Essay

This requirement for college applications is more important—and easier to write—than you may think.

BY FRANCESCA H . KELLY

why i want to attend this college essay

Somewhere in the middle of the college application process, just when you’ve patted yourself on the back for finishing your main Common Application essay, you realize that many of your chosen colleges request at least one more piece of writing. Often, it’s what I like to call the “Why This College?” essay. The prompt for this supplement can be worded several ways, but the inherent question is clear: Why do you want to attend this particular college ?

Far more important than you might think, this essay is your golden opportunity to demonstrate interest —a phrase admissions folks frequently bandy about. That’s because after they consider your transcript and standardized test scores, they start looking for “fit”: Do your interests and even your sense of purpose line up with the university’s? What will you add to the campus community?

Inside College Admissions

Colleges want students who want them. Demonstrating interest is important even if it’s because the college wants a higher yield (i.e., percentage of admitted students who choose to enroll). Because yield is both a financial and a rankings concern, it can be a determining factor in admission. When it comes down to two equally qualified students, the college will accept the student more likely to enroll.

Finally, will you not only enroll, but will you be happy during your years on campus? Satisfied students are, in the end, what make a college successful— both in reputation and in a generous alumni base.

These are some of the things going through admissions officers’ minds as they read your application, particularly the Why This College? essay. The truth is, while rankings and enrollment are significant, admissions officers will tell you that they mostly just want students who will flourish at their school. So, you need to show them why you and Wonderful College are a perfect match.

How do you do that, exactly? First, let me reassure you about your writing demands here. Lest you despair because you are applying to 10 colleges, eight of which request the Why This College? essay, here’s good news: you can use the first part of the essay for all eight colleges, and tailor the second half to each college. That will dramatically reduce your workload.

But before starting your draft, you will need to ...

Research, Research, Research

You’d be surprised how many applicants think it’s enough to like the campus tour guide or know that the college has a prestigious name. But you need to dig a lot deeper to find the best college for you.

So, do your homework. Peruse the college website, the academic majors, the actual classes. Read the school newspaper, follow the sports teams, scan student blogs and view student art projects. Listen to the college radio station. Google the professors. Look for the college on YouTube and Facebook.

Colleges want students who want them.

Visit if you can. (And if you’re lucky enough to meet a college representative visiting your school or at a college fair, engage in conversation and follow up with an appreciative email afterward— another great way to demonstrate interest.)

Once you have several pages of notes on each individual college, it’s time to write. But ...

Don’t Rewrite the College Brochure

Alas, many applicants knock off a quick, not-very-well-researched essay that says, “I really want to go to Whatever University because the campus is so beautiful and there are so many fun activities and I’m excited to take a lot of different classes and there’s diversity, too! Go Mascots!”

Trust me, college admissions officers already know how great their college is. Their impression will be that the applicant hasn’t taken the trouble to get to know Wonderful College and, therefore, isn’t particularly interested.

With a little effort, however, you can ace this supplement. After researching each college, you will write an essay that accomplishes two vital missions: illuminating who you are and demonstrating your interest—or enthusiasm.

To do that effectively, the key is using highly specific language . Just as in letters of recommendation or cover letters for job applications, specific language is believable. Generalities are the opposite. Compare these two sentences:

General : History is my life, and because Whatever College has not only a great history department but also a stellar reputation, I know I’ll be happy there on its beautiful campus.

Be specific. Remember that enthusiasm expressed in generalities can sound insincere.

Specific : My independent research into the Revolutionary War led me to read Professor Gabe McCormick’s book, The Jockey Hollow Encampment , and I’m eager to register for his freshman seminar class, “Thomas Paine and Common Sense .”

Now that you’re getting the idea, let’s move on to ...

Structuring Your Essay

Make the first half of the essay about you and your passions. If you start with an anecdote that shows them in action (rather than writing, “I love history”), you will draw the reader in. You can relay a recent experience or a typical slice of your life. This first half can be used for all your “Why This College?” essays.

Now, transition into the second half of the essay: why you and your passions will blossom at Wonderful College. This half will be written uniquely for each college, but since many of these essays are limited to 250–300 words, you usually won’t need to write more than a few sentences— just enough to enumerate some of the relevant attractions that can only be found at Wonderful College.

Some colleges ask a variant of the question: “Why This Major?” They want to know why you’re interested in the subject you intend to major in. Again, start out with an anecdote or story that demonstrates your passion for the subject, and then go into all this college offers you in that major (e.g., courses, professors, clubs). It’s pretty much the same formula.

What if you are undecided about your major? You can still use this formula, telling a story about one or more passions, and allowing enough space in the second half to discuss classes, curriculum and professors in more than one department.

Consider keeping your interests to two, or your essay may get too cluttered. (That said, there are exceptions to every rule—if you’re an excellent writer. If you have three or more interests and can tie them together in a clever way, go for it.)

You now get the idea: start with your passions, then transition to how those passions will blossom at college.

Even if you have yet to decide on a major, colleges will appreciate knowing that you have varied and keen interests— and that you have done your homework about their school.

Some Guidelines to Remember While You Write

• Be enthusiastic . You want to convey the sense that you’ve gone as far as you can go with your talents in high school, and you’re excited that this college offers so many ways for you to take your passions to a new level.

• Be specific . Remember that enthusiasm expressed in generalities can sound insincere.

• Follow the old writer’s rule: show, don’t tell . In other words, a story from your life will show them how creative you are much better than stating, “I am a creative person.” Which would you believe more?

• And please, please, please: triple-check the name of the college in your essay before uploading it to your application . If you’re tweaking the same basic essay for many schools, it’s easy to make this mistake. Sounds silly, but colleges get essays naming the wrong school every single admissions cycle.

Your Personal Stamp

The two-section system—showing your passions, followed by how those passions will blossom at college—is tried and true. But there are other approaches. One of the most effective essays I read recently was written by a student who fell in love with her first-choice college’s library, and then wrote about all the libraries she has loved in her life and what she hoped to accomplish in that college library were she to be accepted. Another student homed in on the university motto and made that the focus of his essay, because it closely aligned with his own moral code.

Bottom line: If you have your own personal style and approach, use it—as long as your essay (1) shows your passion for learning and shows the college who you are, usually through anecdote, and (2) demonstrates your interest in this college using specifics, not generalities.

I can’t resist giving you this last bit of advice: write your essays this summer, before senior year starts. You will not believe the difference in your stress levels— and your control over the process— if you start early and work a little each day over the summer. Once classes start, you will be ready to submit those applications and get on with your already very full life.

So, use your summer wisely, researching your colleges, getting excited about all the experiences you will have in college, and then expressing that enthusiasm in your essay: “Why this college? I can’t wait to show you!”

why i want to attend this college essay

Francesca Huemer Kelly, the spouse of a retired Foreign Service officer and former ambassador, has worked as a freelance writer and an editor, and is currently coaching high school students on their college application essays. She is a co-founder of Tales from a Small Planet and a former FSJ AFSA News editor.

Demonstrating the Formula: Sample Essays

You now get the idea: start with your passions, then transition to how those passions will blossom at college. Yes, it’s a formula. But it’s one you can tweak with each college to make the essay personal. And you may just find, as others have before you, that having it will be a godsend when the college application process seems overwhelming.

The following two sample essays adhere to this formula in under 250 words. Neither starts with “I love Wonderful College because…” Instead, each draws the reader in by telling a story that can be used for all Why This College? essays. All the student needs to do is to plug in the correct college name, and the names of the courses, clubs and/or professors specific to that college.

Why This College?

It was down to the last question in the finals of the “It’s Academic” televised tournament. Our family members sat sweating in the studio audience. When the announcer read, “Name the only two landlocked countries in South America,” I immediately pressed the button, even though I was sure of only one of the answers. “Bolivia, right?” I whispered to my teammates, and they nodded. “And Paraguay, for sure,” said my teammate Lauren, just as I knew she would. “Bolivia and Paraguay!” our team captain, Aaron, sang out. We won the championship.

I love the adrenaline rush that comes with tapping into knowledge under pressure, and I love it even more when it’s part of working with a team. One day I hope to put these skills and passions to use as a courtroom lawyer or an international negotiator. That is why I’m so enthusiastic about Wonderful College, which puts a premium on history, law and international relations. I’ll register for the freshman seminar, “The International Criminal Court: History and Effectiveness.” I’ll take a history course from Professor John Doe, who is the author of one of my favorite books, Trivia-Lover’s Trivia. I’m also thrilled that you offer both mock trial and debate team: my biggest challenge will be deciding if I can juggle both!

I am convinced that there is no better place for me to expand my knowledge of politics and law, develop my rhetorical skills and build deep friendships while working side by side with fellow students.

I did everything I was supposed to do. I planted long, sinewy aquarium plants. I obsessively checked the temperature and the pH of the water. I created small refuges by piling rocks in the corner of the tank so that crevices formed. Yet, for three years, I was left disappointed. Now, just this week, my hard work paid off: my pair of firemouth cichlids produced fry, filling my aquarium with dozens of tiny slivers darting here and there. This, my first successful attempt at creating the conditions necessary for spawning, marks the highlight of my years as a tropical fish hobbyist.

When I read that Wonderful College’s marine biology program includes an aquarium management minor, I jumped up from my desk with excitement. My interest in ichthyology extends from the theoretical and research components to the practical: I love maintaining aquariums. I will enthusiastically register for Wonderful College’s classes “Brackish Water Species” and “Rescuing Our Coral Reefs.” I have already read Professor Anthony Pescatore’s book, The Fish Hobbyist’s Bible, and I look forward to taking part in his aquarium club. I’m also excited about field trips to the John D. Pickering Aquarium downtown.

In addition, I hope to take advantage of the marine biology study abroad program to Sumatra where I can observe unique species found nowhere else. For these reasons and many others, I’m certain Wonderful College is the optimal place to continue expanding my knowledge in the field of marine biology and ichthyology.

—Francesca Kelly

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why i want to attend this college essay

  • Aditi Kapadia
  • Jan 22, 2021

How to Conquer the “Why This Program/College” Essay Question

Updated: Feb 8, 2021

why i want to attend this college essay

One of the most common questions you’ll come across in applying for college or summer programs is, "Why you want to attend?" Although this may seem like an easy, straightforward prompt, you can miss the mark if you don’t approach it the correct way. Follow the four tips below to get started in the right direction.

1. Do your research

When a program or school wants to know why you want to attend, the expectation is that you went beyond the front page of the website and the statistics you found through Google search. The more thorough your research, the more specific and personalized your answers will be.

2. Keep it concise

Many times, this type of question will have a limit of 250-300 words, but sometimes you’ll get lucky and have more space to explain your reasons. Whatever the length, you have limited space and must use it wisely. This means not elaborating too much on a single reason or another and talk about each of your reasons equally.

3. Vary your reasons

You should include a variety of reasons to hit multiple aspects of the program or school. For example, if you’re applying to a college, talk about both academics and extracurricular activities to show that you can contribute to multiple areas on campus.

4. Make it goal-oriented

While this question may seem like it’s all about the program or school, it’s secretly about you, too. Admissions officers want to know how you can use the program or school’s resources to achieve your goals. You should tie in how you’ll apply what you learn to your own personal or career goals.

If you’d like more information about or need help writing the best application essays, sign up for a one-hour consultation .

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Why Do I Want to Attend College

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Published: Feb 15, 2024

Words: 519 | Pages: 1 | 3 min read

As a young adult on the verge of embarking on the next chapter of my life, the decision to attend college carries significant weight. Many individuals pursue higher education to obtain a degree that will open doors to a successful career. While this is undoubtedly a valuable aspect of attending college, my motivation extends beyond the mere acquisition of a degree. I am driven by a deep desire to expand my knowledge, cultivate critical thinking skills, and foster personal growth in a dynamic and intellectually stimulating environment.

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First and foremost, college provides an unparalleled opportunity for intellectual growth. Over the years, I have developed a thirst for knowledge that cannot be quenched within the confines of high school. The idea of delving into disciplines that captivate my curiosity, such as psychology, philosophy, and literature, is both enticing and exhilarating. College offers a diverse range of courses taught by experts in their respective fields, allowing me to explore these subjects in great depth. Engaging in thoughtful discussions with professors and peers who share a similar passion for knowledge will undoubtedly broaden my horizons and challenge my existing perspectives.

Moreover, attending college presents a unique chance to develop critical thinking skills. In today's rapidly changing world, the ability to analyze information objectively and think critically has become increasingly crucial. College courses often involve complex problem-solving tasks and assignments that demand rigorous thinking. By engaging with these challenges, I can refine my ability to think critically, analyze situations from different angles, and arrive at well-reasoned conclusions. These skills will not only be valuable throughout my academic journey but also in various aspects of my future career.

Furthermore, college offers an environment conducive to personal growth and self-discovery. It provides a platform to meet diverse individuals from various backgrounds who have unique experiences and perspectives. Interacting with such a diverse community will expose me to new ideas, beliefs, and cultures, enabling me to broaden my understanding of the world. Additionally, college facilitates personal development by encouraging independence, self-discipline, and time management. Living away from home, I will have the opportunity to take responsibility for my own choices, learn from successes and failures, and develop into a mature and self-sufficient individual.

Lastly, attending college is essential in achieving my long-term career aspirations. While it is true that not all careers require a college degree, the benefits that higher education provides are undeniable. A college education equips individuals with specialized knowledge, skills, and credentials that can significantly enhance career prospects and earning potential. Furthermore, college exposes students to career opportunities and internships, allowing them to gain practical experience and establish valuable connections within their chosen field.

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In conclusion, my desire to attend college extends far beyond the acquisition of a degree. College represents an opportunity for intellectual growth, the development of critical thinking skills, personal growth, and the pursuit of long-term career aspirations. I am eager to immerse myself in an environment that fosters curiosity, challenges existing beliefs, and offers diverse perspectives. By pursuing higher education, I hope to embark on a transformative journey that will shape not only my future career but also my identity as a lifelong learner.

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why i want to attend this college essay

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, how to write a stand-out "why columbia" essay.

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College Essays

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One of the essays you'll have to write when applying to Columbia University is the "Why Columbia" essay. In this essay, you'll need to convince the admissions committee that Columbia is your dream school and that you'd be a great fit on the campus.

The "Why Columbia" essay question can be intimidating for students. You might be wondering: what should I mention in it? What does the admissions committee want to hear from me?

In this article, we'll break down the "Why Columbia" essay, explaining what the prompt asks and what the committee wants to hear. We'll also show you a real, successful "Why Columbia" essay example and explain why it works. Finally, we'll suggest potential topics for your essay and offer tips on how to write your own college admissions essays.

The 411 on the "Why Columbia" Essay Prompt

Here's the current "Why Columbia" essay prompt for the 2023-2024 application cycle :

Why are you interested in attending Columbia University? We encourage you to consider the aspect(s) that you find unique and compelling about Columbia. (150 words or fewer)

As you can see, the "Why Columbia" essay prompt asks a specific question: why do you want to attend Columbia University over any other school?

The admissions committee wants to see that you are genuinely interested in attending Columbia specifically and that you value it more than all other colleges out there.

As an applicant, you might be thinking that everyone applies to Columbia for the same reason: it's an Ivy League school and one of the best universities in the world.

The admissions committee knows all these facts about Columbia and knows that all applicants will know these facts, too.

What the Columbia admissions committee wants to learn is why you specifically want to go to Columbia rather than another amazing university.

From their perspective, students who really want to go to Columbia are more likely to enroll when they're accepted. This increases the university's yield rate and ensures that the freshman class will be full. If you can show in your essay that you’ve carefully considered the unique things about Columbia that make it the perfect school for you, you’ve got a good shot at getting an acceptance letter!

What Is the Purpose of the "Why Columbia" Essay?

Why does Columbia require applicants to answer this essay question? And what is the admissions committee really looking for in your answer? Let's analyze the "Why Columbia" essay prompt.

No matter which schools you're applying to, "Why This College" essays are perhaps the most common essay prompts you'll find on college applications because colleges want to see that you really want to attend their school.

But why exactly do colleges care that you want to go to their school?

Students who are passionate about their college or university are more likely to feel that the school is a good fit for them. They'll be more likely to commit to their studies, participate in on-campus activities, and become an active alum after graduation.

Therefore, if you show in your essay that you really love Columbia, it will make admissions officers feel more confident that you're going to have a significant and positive impact on their school.

If your reasons for attending Columbia are vague or even plain wrong (for instance, say you claim you'd like to take a major that isn't actually offered at Columbia), the admissions committee will think that you don't care about the school and aren't really interested in it.

Basically, the purpose of the essay is to suss out whether your interest in Columbia is genuine and to see whether you're ready to take advantage of Columbia's many opportunities.

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What Should You Write About in Your "Why Columbia" Essay?

There are a number of different topics you can pursue for your "Why Columbia" essay. Ideally, you'll want to explore specific topics that you can talk about in-depth.

Here are some suggested topics for your essay:

  • Majors or classes you're interested in (look for class names in the online course catalog)
  • Professors whose research you're interested in
  • Extracurriculars that you'd be interested in joining (you can likely find these online, too)
  • Current and past Columbia students you've met before and whom you admire
  • Volunteer opportunities  you'd like to get involved in 
  • Financial aid opportunities Columbia offers that make it possible for you to attend
  • Professional development opportunities Columbia offers

When it comes down to it, make sure to choose something about Columbia that no other school offers.

For instance, Columbia is in New York City and therefore has relationships with lots of businesses and organizations in the area. You could use your essay to examine how these Columbia-specific opportunities in New York will positively affect your education.

What you don't want to do, however, is wax on about how you love city-living— you need to make sure to describe how Columbia's specific relationship with NYC will help you to further your goals.

Match opportunities at Columbia to specific goals you have. For example, you could talk about how a particular professor's course aligns with your career objectives.

You need to be very specific in your answer: every single thing you say should relate back to a certain feature of Columbia. The entire focus of your essay should be what Columbia offers and how you'll take advantage of the school's academics and activities to get the best college education possible.

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4 Tips for a Great Response to the "Why Columbia" Essay

Regardless of how you decide to answer this prompt, there are four tips everyone should keep in mind to ensure that they are fully answering the question, giving the information Columbia wants to see, and standing apart from other applicants.

#1: Do Your Research

Before you begin writing your response to this essay prompt, you should know exactly why you want to attend Columbia University. There are multiple ways you can do this research:

  • Visit the school website or browse the list of departments, programs, and courses
  • Check out the school newspaper, schedule a campus visit (virtual or in-person!), or set up a meeting with an alum, current student, or professor to get a feel for the campus

Every college campus has its own vibe, and visiting is the best way to get a sense of how Columbia might work with your personality as a student.

#2: Be Specific

From your research, you should have come up with specific reasons why Columbia is a great school for you. The more specific you can be when answering this prompt, the better.

Don't say Columbia has great academics, caring professors, and an interesting student body. The vast majority of schools have that!

Instead, try to mention opportunities only Columbia can provide, such as specific professors, courses, extracurricular activities, or research opportunities.

The things you discuss should be things your other top schools don't offer—things that really make Columbia stand out.

#3: Show Your Passion

Columbia wants students who care a lot about their studies and their school, so be sure this comes across in your response.

A bland statement such as "I am impressed by Columbia's strong engineering program" doesn't tell the school anything about you or help you stand apart from other applicants. Show your passion by naming specific professors or features of the program.

You've done your research to mention certain qualities Columbia has that have enticed you, and now it's time to discuss specific qualities about yourself, too. Why does the engineering program make you so excited? What do you want to get out of it? Be detailed, specific, and honest.

#4: Proofread

Your Columbia essay should be the strongest possible example of your writing skills. Before you turn in your application, take time to edit and proofread your essays.

Your work should be free of spelling and grammar errors. Make sure to run your essays through a spelling and grammar check before you submit.

It's a good idea to have someone else read your "Why Columbia" essay, too. You can seek a second opinion on your work from a parent, teacher, or friend.

Ask them whether your work represents you as a student and person. Have them check and make sure that you haven't missed any small writing errors. Having a second opinion will help your work be the best it can be.

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Here's a little taste of what a good "Why Columbia" essay looks like.

"Why Columbia" Essay Example

If you're stuck on what to write for your own essay, looking at "Why Columbia" essays that actually worked can be helpful. Below, we examine one "Why Columbia" essay that got a student accepted to Columbia and talk about what specifically made this piece of writing so strong.

The following essay comes to us from an accepted Columbia 2020 student via AP Study Notes :

At a college visit this year, I met a Columbia alumnus named Ayushi, whose stories helped me develop a thorough understanding of Columbia. Ayushi told me that Columbia funded both her summer trip to Syria to interview refugees and her seed money for a start-up she launched. As an aspiring entrepreneur, I'm impressed by a university that encourages students to pursue their own independent creations instead of simply offering the option to work on faculty projects. Columbia's four entrepreneurship organizations, among them the Columbia Organization of Rising Entrepreneurs, provide a dynamic start-up community for me to launch my own business.

In addition, when I explored Columbia online, the emphasis put on interdisciplinary studies particularly excited me. The Columbia Engineering website is rich with stories of engineering students who are also involved in Shakespeare troupes, service projects, and multicultural groups. In my opinion, diverse experiences are the foundation of creative thinking. At Columbia, I will continue to diversify my experience by not just joining the Parliamentary Debate Team, but also by making new friends on the intramural soccer field and starting a cultural club for Italian heritage students who wish to learn more about Italian history, language, food, and current events.

Columbia Engineering stands uniquely apart from other programs by incorporating several in-depth humanities and writing classes into the graduation requirements. I believe that looking at critical issues with an open mind and sophisticated grasp of the humanities is extremely important to being an engineer. For example, I could not imagine exploring the future of quantum cryptography without considering the political ripple effects of Edward Snowden, the moral ramifications of the quantum encryption revolution, and the relationship between technology and income inequality. I am confident that I will thrive in the Columbia culture of passionate engagement and vibrant, energetic conversation.

Why does this essay work?

It answers the prompt specifically.

This essay gives examples of personal experience with the school and proves that the applicant did their research: they present clear evidence as to how engineering students are involved on campus and talk about specific academic courses.

There are many impressive details in this essay, and the section that addresses extracurriculars is cleverly written to showcase the applicant's diverse interests. This student's mention of certain extracurriculars they want to do indicates that they looked at many facets of Columbia University, not just the engineering department.

It's clear from this essay just how the author views their fit at Columbia. They've talked about specific organizations they would like to be a part of, such as the Columbia Organization of Rising Entrepreneurs, while also showing why they want to join that organization.

Additionally, the applicant mentions a Columbia University student they spoke with, which means they took getting to know the student body seriously and really wanted to find out what Columbia students were like to see whether they, too, would fit in.

The conversation with the Columbia alum also emphasizes the applicant's initiative: they're willing to go above and beyond to learn about the school.

columbia-1564328_640

Conclusion: Writing a Great "Why Columbia" Essay

The purpose of the "Why Columbia" essay is for you to prove to the admissions committee that Columbia is the best school for you

In your essay, you could write about multiple topics that are specific to Columbia, such as academics, the student body, extracurriculars, and research opportunities.

When writing your "Why Columbia" essay, make sure to research the school extensively and be specific about activities and opportunities that really make you want to attend.

If you're stuck on how to proceed, analyzing a successful "Why Columbia" essay example might help you get inspiration for what to write.

What's Next?

How tough is it to get into Columbia? For answers, read our expert guide on how to get into Columbia and the Ivy League , written by a Harvard alum!

Should you apply early or regular decision to college? Find out the pros and cons of early decision .

Want to see some more college essay examples? We have links to 100+ great college essays that includes our expert analysis on how you can write a stand-out essay of your own.

why i want to attend this college essay

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Hayley Milliman is a former teacher turned writer who blogs about education, history, and technology. When she was a teacher, Hayley's students regularly scored in the 99th percentile thanks to her passion for making topics digestible and accessible. In addition to her work for PrepScholar, Hayley is the author of Museum Hack's Guide to History's Fiercest Females.

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why i want to attend this college essay

Baylor University Essay Example by an Accepted Student

With over 15,000 undergrads, Baylor University is the largest Baptist university in the US. The Texas school is known for its top-tier athletics, quality academics, and strong religious values. Its vibrant campus life and stunning location in the heart of Waco, Texas make it a desirable place for many students to pursue a degree.

Getting into Baylor is no easy task. With tens of thousands of highly qualified candidates applying each year, you will need strong essays to make your application stand out. In this post, we will share a real essay an accepted student submitted to Baylor and go over what the essay did well, as well as where there is room for improvement.

Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 

Read our Baylor essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts.

Baylor Essay Example – Why Baylor?

Prompt: What are you looking for in a university, why do you want to attend Baylor, and how do you see yourself contributing to the Baylor community? (250-450 words)

At a university, I’m looking for more than the “top” or the “best” school; I’m looking for a school that is established and has opportunities for its students to grow in and out of the classroom. In addition, I want a school that supports its students during their time there; I want them to uplift their students and push them to do great things. For me, Baylor does that.

I want to attend Baylor because of the vast number of opportunities for a business-oriented student like me. The sheer number of classes, as well as the number of programs available to students, is immense. For business, classes like international business to management information systems have caught my attention; even classes like risk management and insurance and professional selling have caught my eye.

I plan to major in management information systems and minor in business administration or entrepreneurship. I want to attend Baylor for the expansive club selection. I intend to join clubs like the American Marketing Association at Baylor University, Association for Information Systems, and as a sophomore, have the opportunity to join the Investment and Advisory Network. These clubs can not only help me prepare for life after college but also help me grow during my time at Baylor. 

I see myself contributing at Baylor in many different ways, from contributing inside the classroom and outside. Inside the classroom, I plan to participate in group work, communicate with other students, participate in class discussions, and provide insight on topics I know well. Outside of classes, I plan to join several clubs that spark my interest, clubs to which I can contribute. For example, the Asian Student Association, the Association of Information Technology Professionals, Baylor Buddies, and even the Badminton club. At these clubs, I plan to contribute time and spirit and provide insight into things I can share with others, such as Asian culture and Asian cuisines, my interest in technology, and even my friendliness to others.

What the Essay Did Well

This “Why This College?” essay gives a comprehensive overview of why this student wants to go to Baylor, including academic, extracurricular, and personal enrichment opportunities. Each paragraph is focused on a specific aspect of the college experience—classes, academic extracurriculars, or more personal, hobby-like extracurriculars—which makes it easy to grasp what the student wants from Baylor.

The inclusion of school-specific details also contributes to the reader’s clear understanding of what this student wants from a Baylor education. They name particular classes (although they should have capitalized or italicized the names of these classes, as that provides a level of formality that’s currently missing), discuss various business associations at Baylor and when they plan to join them, and list four additional extracurriculars they want to be a part of that give us extra insight into their personality.

Between the structured presentation of ideas and the naming of nearly a dozen Baylor-specific opportunities, it’s apparent that this student has spent a significant amount of time thinking through what they want their life at Baylor to look like, and done extensive research on how to make that dream a reality. 

What Could Be Improved

There are three major points of improvement for this essay. The first is that we don’t learn much about this student’s personality. Yes, we know what they want to study and what clubs they want to be a part of, but we’re left wondering: why? What sets this student apart from any other applicant who wants to study business, or join these clubs?

This essay would be much stronger if it revealed what this student’s motivations are for pursuing business, how they think joining marketing and investing associations will help them grow or achieve a specific goal of theirs, and what excites them about being part of affinity groups like the Asian Student Association or Baylor Buddies. 

For example, instead of just saying “These clubs can not only help me prepare for life after college but also help me grow during my time at Baylor,” about the business-related extracurriculars they hope to be a part of, the student could say something like the following: 

“I’ve always wondered how the most well-known brands in the world, like Coca-Cola, Nike, and Rolex stay on top, and discussions with my peers in the American Marketing Association will help me start planning how I can one day build a renowned business of my own.”

In contrast to the current line, which is very surface-level, this change shows readers why the student is interested in marketing, and also provides some information about what specific business-related goals they have. The world of business is huge, and includes everything from graphic design to human relations. With more lines like the above example, admissions officers would get a better sense of how the student sees themselves fitting into that world, which would make the essay even stronger.

The other aspect of this essay that could use improvement is the language. Many sentences begin with “I” (i.e. “I want,” “I plan,” “I intend”), which gets repetitive and makes the reader slowly start to lose interest. If the writer had a better mix of sentence openers, the essay would have a smoother rhythm. 

For example, instead of saying “I plan to major in management information systems and minor in business administration or entrepreneurship,” the student could say “Baylor’s major in Management Information Systems, and minors in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship, provide me with an ideal academic structure.” The same information is communicated, but mixing up the presentation of that information helps the reader stay engaged.

Finally, the introductory paragraph doesn’t contribute much to the essay, as it mostly just restates the prompt. Being mindful of maximizing the limited words you have is especially important in supplemental essays, which are almost always shorter than the personal statement, as is immediately grabbing your reader’s attention, as you don’t have much room to get into the swing of things.

The student could make better use of their first paragraph by including an anecdote, ideally with strong sensory details, that shows why they love business so much. For example, they could say something like: 

“Ever since I was a kid, sweating under the summer sun and burning my skin lobster red as I sold lemonade while my friends played in the pool, I have been driven to build my own business. Baylor’s academic and extracurricular opportunities will push me to grow my business acumen, so that I can finally make my childhood dream a reality.”

Where to Get Feedback on Your Essay

Want feedback on your Baylor essay before you submit? That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

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Why I Want to Attend College, Essay Example

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You are free to use it as an inspiration or a source for your own work.

Later in one’s teen years, the dilemma arises as to where to go to college and what to major in. These have been very difficult choices for me because my interests are so wide. So choosing the right college is very important to me.

I always wondered how my life would be when I started college, where I would study, which major would I  choose, what kind of friends will I have, and most importantly, would I enjoy and be well prepared for my job after I graduated from college. My parents encouraged me to follow my dreams and explore ways to achieve my goals. They instilled in me that the education is top priority. I constantly thought about what I want to study in a university or what profession I decided to pursue should not be only for financial gain. At first, I thought I wanted to be a general doctor because I enjoyed reading about the human body, how to keep it in good health, and how to aid people. Then, I thought about being a pilot because I love traveling and sharing experiences with different cultures around the world. Nevertheless, the last few years in high school I read about business management. My family owns some businesses and he would talk to me about the kind work required.  So, I asked him, “Can I intern for you in the summer to learn how businesses are managed?” My father was very supportive and allowed me to work in one of his businesses for two months. The internship was very challenging and prompted me to think about what career I would enjoy progressing in. I desire a career that will allow me to build relationships with people, as well as require me to maintain knowledge about economics, English, mathematics, law, biology, history and more.

I have always had a great interest in computing numbers. Even as a child I enjoyed working with numbers while other children were playing video games or with some type of toy. I often played with calculators to try to see how many numbers I could get to appear on the screen. Sometimes I would practice with numbers into the night. I always did exceptionally well in my math classes. I was always the first student to complete my assignment. Most times, my teachers would allow me to go on to the next lesson without guidance. Also, I was able to assist other students who were having difficulty with math concepts. Unlike most kids, I enjoyed doing my math homework. So, early on I realized that numbers were very important in the world and that they had very practical uses in daily life. Although I did not initially realize it, I know that my father has had a great impact on my interests. My father is great with numbers too.    Often when my father and I are in a store, he will have computed the total price he owes prior to getting to the register. I respect my father a great deal. He has made many sacrifices for his family. He also believes that education is the most important thing that a person can have. As a result, I know that without an education I would not be successful in the world.  Making the choice to attend college is a milestone for me. I want to ensure that I can make a great life for my family someday. I do not want to leave from one paycheck to the next. Many people live this stressful and unhappy life. In our fast paced world, just having a high school diploma is not enough. Many jobs will not even consider a person with only a high school diploma for employment. So many places will not even give a person the opportunity to work if they only have a high school diploma.

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  1. 12 Effective "Why This College?" Essay Examples

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    The Top Secret Three-Word Trick to Finding Specific Info for Your "Why this College" Essay. Step 2: Organize Your Research. Step 3: Decide on Your Approach: Approach #1: The Basic, Solid "Why this College" Essay That Includes a Bunch of Reasons. Approach #2: The "3-5 Unique Reasons" Strategy. Approach #3: The "One Value" Strategy.

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    Here are three steps we recommend to get your essay underway: Reflect on your academic and career goals. Research unique opportunities related to your academic and extracurricular interests. Pick your top academic reasons for applying, and your top extracurricular/social reasons. 1.

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    How to research a college. The first step in the process is by far the most important. Research should be concrete and very specific—the College Board's "At a Glance" pages or the "About" section of the college website won't have the information you need. Instead, look deeply into the college website to find information that isn ...

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    5 Tips for Writing a Great "Why This College" Essay. Follow the five tips below to help your "why this school" essay leave a memorable impression on admissions officers. 1. Treat Each "Why Us" Essay Individually. Although it may seem tempting to write one essay about why you want to attend college and send it to every school, this strategy isn ...

  8. How To Answer The "Why This College" Essay Prompt

    Include a few reasons why the college is a great fit for your interests and goals. 3. Conclude by expressing why you would be a great addition to the school. Make sure that your essay is well organized and concise. Provide real reasons why the school is a perfect match for your talent and aspirations.

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    Just jump right into your reasons. Your first paragraph should focus on your main 1-2 reasons, while the next paragraph should go into slightly less detail about the remaining reasons you've selected. Recycle the same essay. This essay requires a specific response that is tailored to the college you've selected.

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    3. Explain your school choice. Finally, a "Why This Major?" essay should reveal how the college in question will help you achieve your goals. Your reasons should extend beyond "the college is highly ranked for this major," and should dive into the curriculum, teaching methodology, and specific classes or resources.

  12. How to Answer the "Why This College?" Essay Prompt

    Be Specific. If a school supplement asks "why do you want to attend this university?" don't just say "because it's a great school," or "because my parents went there.". Be as detailed as possible to demonstrate your knowledge of the institution and the aspects of the college and campus life that draw you to it.

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  19. How to Write a Stand-Out "Why Columbia" Essay

    In your essay, you could write about multiple topics that are specific to Columbia, such as academics, the student body, extracurriculars, and research opportunities. When writing your "Why Columbia" essay, make sure to research the school extensively and be specific about activities and opportunities that really make you want to attend.

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  21. Baylor University Essay Example by an Accepted Student

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