Just when you think you are done with discharging your sweat, tears, and blood in writing your personal statement, then you are hit with a “Why this college” supplemental essay. The query may appear easy though a very critical part in numerous college applications.
The “Why This College” essay aims to show detailed illustrations of why you match a particular college’s requirements.
What does the “Why Us” essay aim to decipher about you? How can you effectively respond to this query without making the same mistake as most rookies do?
In this article, I’ll give you a guide on why colleges need you to respond to “why” you’ve made the application.
I’ll show you how to brainstorm the relevant topics about the question and ensure you sound committed and sincere. Also, I’ll walk you through the “why us” essays do’s and don’ts and provide top examples from previous students as well. However, in case you chose to skip this guide due to reasons such as a busy schedule, our premium writers are ready to ace that “Why this College” essay for you. All you need to do is placing an order with us.
College institutions desire students who desire them. Showing academic interest is crucial even when the given school aims at a higher yield (i.e., the percentage of admitted students who have chosen to enroll).
Yield is both a ranking and financial concern and is seen as a determinant in admission. When there are two equally qualified students, the particular school will choose the most likely to enroll.
Finally, not only will you enroll, but will you be content and happy during your campus days. When the students are satisfied, they, in turn, determine the success of the college – both in a good alumni base and reputation.
Through the admission officer’s minds, while reading student applications, they aim to find many students who will flourish at the college. Even though enrollment and college rankings are significant.
So, you need to prove you and the college are the perfect matches. But how do you do that?
First, I need to reassure you about the demands of writing the essay. Do not despair just because you want to apply to more than one college.
Here’s some good news: use the initial part of the essay for all the essays. Then tailor-make the other half to fit each college. It will reduce your workload a great deal!
The school admissions officers have gone through a pile of student essays to have the best class eventually. So you’ll realize that all they will ask you to state is important as well as meaningful.
The essay is essential in two ways. First, how you manage to answer this question will give the college admissions officers an understanding of whether you value and know the school.
Consequently, when you verbalize why you applied to the school grants you the chance to think about what you intend to achieve in college. It will examine whether the target college fits your aspirations and goals.
Schools have the intention of understanding three necessary items when they study your essay.
First, they intend to see that you clearly understand what makes that particular school unique and different.
- Have you figured out how the college approaches its learning process?
- Do you understand the school’s values, history, and mission?
- Are you okay with the traditions of the school and how it feels to be a student there?
Secondly, they need to prove that you are the best fit for the school
- What will be your contribution to your college life? How will you set yourself apart in the school?
- What are your interests? Do they agree with the strengths of the school?
- Is there an attribute about you that perfectly synchronizes with some of the school aspects?
And finally, they need to evaluate if the college will, in turn, be your perfect fit.
- Will you become an academic success? Is the school a suitable learning environment?
- What do you intend to take advantage of in the school (e.g., extracurricular clubs, internships, travel/volunteer opportunities, academic programs, etc.)?
- What do you intend to achieve from college? Will the college cater to those needs? Will the school contribute to your future success?
All through the gruelling procedure of adequately stating the solutions to the queries above, you still stand to win crucially:
- You build your excitement in regards to the college
When you discover opportunities and programs at the school you already are excited about will offer you a firm sense of control when you join it.
Consequently, when you describe the lower schools on the list, you’ll boost the enthusiasm for most colleges.
- It ensures you make the most suitable choice for you
When you write the “Why Us” essays, they will act as your moment of clarity. You may be unable to come up with reasons which make you apply to a certain school. If it still feels that a school may not be the right fit, this will be an appropriate indicator that the school is not your best fit.
The essay best depicts a back and forth between the college and yourself. Thus, you’ll answer separate yet related queries.
- “Why us?” – In this query, you will state why you feel the school is your perfect choice. You will mention what attracts you to it and what you think you will achieve while there.
- “Why You?” – In this, you mention why you feel you fit in the school and what abilities/talents/skills/unique qualities you will contribute as a student. You will also explain how you think your future may be impacted by being part of this school.
The colleges will make good use of either of the two queries. The essay leans heavier on the query that is most favoured in the prompt.
For instance, when a prompt leans on “why us?” you’ll need to pay attention to giving the school praises. When it focuses on “why you?” you’ll need to focus on your potential and fit into the school.
Always keep in mind that the two prompts are the two sides of a similar coin. You can work on why you apply for a school to suit each of the two queries.
For example, you wish to get a chance to be tutored by the renowned Professor Y. The “Why Us” essay will, in this case, dwell on how amazing it will be to have a chance to learn from him and how well he leads his department.
Meanwhile, the “why you” essay will show that your future career goals and academic credentials make you a good student for professor Y.
Next up, let’s look at real-life illustrations of the two approaches:
You’ll identify this prompt from the phrases below:
- What do you like best about [this school]?
- Why [this school]?
- Why are you interested in [this school]?
- Why do you want to attend [this school]?
- Why is [this school] a perfect choice for you?
Check out some examples of actual “why us” essay prompts:
- The Tufts University: “How will the features of the Tufts Undergraduate experience prompt you to apply? In Short, “Why Tufts?”
- The Tulane University: “Kindly explain why you have interest in joining this university.”
This particular command slightly changes the situation. The prompt asks questions in the following lines:
- Why are you making this college application to [this school]?
- Why are you at [this school]?
- Why are you a good fit/match for us?
- What do you intend to study, and how will its correspondence be to our program?
- What are you interested in, and how do you intend to pursue them at [this school]?
- How or what will be your contribution?
Below are some relevant examples to this version of a college essay:
- Kalamazoo College: The college community of Kalamazoo is a bustling, thriving community, home to more than 350,000 residents that makes the difference between the other private-owned organizations and us. What are you looking forward to investigating at Kalamazoo in your time?”
- Colorado College: “What drives your wish to join Colorado College, and what do you intend to impact it?”
- Brown University: “In Brown, you’ll learn as much in academic spaces as you will from your peers. How do you intend to contribute to the community at Brown?”
- Babson College: “Your moments are here. Share the experiences or moments which have geared you to make an application to this College.
Regardless of how the college words the prompts, the essay is a give-and-take between the college and you and what you can offer each other.
You will need to quickly check your key ideas and apply both detail and precision to look authentic, sincere, and excited.
How should you efficiently state the advantages you will get from the college? What additions will you bring to the dream school as an international student?
And how do you ensure you can achieve this with the one or two paragraphs you have been given?
In the following section, we will share a step-by-step process of going about the writing process.
First, I’ll discuss how you need to prepare to write the essay. Next, I’ll show you how to brainstorm your essay topics (and the topics you need to avoid).
I’ll then guide you on how to transform the research and ideas into an actual essay.
Before you can describe the college, you need the information to make the school stand out and appeal to what interests you. So, where do you find this information? And where do you discover the details you need?
Below are some ways to know more about the school.
- Visit the campus in-person
If you happen to go on a campus visit, you will have the best opportunity to get the information you need concerning the college. Take note of the following:
- The name of the tour guide
- The unusual features such as traditions, history, layout, sculptures, and buildings.
- One or two enthusiastic, surprising, or funny things the guide will mention about the school.
You can also try to connect with the faculty while there. If you happen to tour a particular class, remember who teaches it and which one it is.
Try to chat with a student to understand what they love most about the school. Don’t forget to take note of the answers to the questions you ask.
You might forget if you don’t. Because you might have several campuses to visit.
- Virtual Tour
If you cannot visit the campus personally at the moment, do an online tour from other websites such as YouTube, CampusTours, YOUniversityTV, or the school website.
In the same manner, you can also connect with other students from the college. On various college admissions process websites, you will get the contact information of the already enrolled/ accepted students. You can ask them questions about their experience in that school.
Or, where you are aware of the activity, sport, or department, you are keen on joining, request the admissions office to put you through to students with similar interests.
- Interview the Alumni
If you are slotted for an interview, remember to ask questions about their experience at the college and how joining the school has impacted their lives since they graduated. As usual, write down notes.
- College Fair
If given a chance to attend college fairs, and the college you are interested in has its representation, don’t just pick the college brochures.
Engage the representatives and, where necessary, ask questions in regards to the uniqueness of the school. Take notes on the fascinating details they share with you.
- The School’s Materials
Colleges make publications of different kinds. All this will be essential for your research.
Here are some of the publications you should use in your research. You can also find the resources online.
- Course catalogue and college brochure – Study the school’s mission statement. Check whether their educational philosophy aligns with your own. Are there activities, departments, classes, and programs that seem tailor-made for your needs?
- Alumni magazine – Are there any highlights of the professors? Has the research they have done connected with an activity you have engaged in in the past? On some occasions, the magazine will highlight the intention of the college to expand. They could also be a column for the alumnus. Do any of their experiences stand out?
- School/Campus Newspapers – Students will write mainly about the hot news in school. Thus, the articles are on the best and worst things in school. This will give you enough insight into the life of a student and the available opportunities students are predisposed to on and off campus.
- School social media – The target college most definitely has a page on the major social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Follow the pages to see what they are posting.
Wikipedia is a good information source when you need to find basic information about a school’s values, traditions, and history. Check out College confidential to get information about the college you are researching.
Another option to take advantage of is to Google essay-worthy topics. You can use examples like “What students have to say concerning [school name]” and [School Name] student forums.
You’ll get a broad perspective, views about particular courses and programs, and insights into students’ real lives.
Now that you have completed the research, what next? You are supposed to use the research in developing a connection point between you and the school of your choice.
- Find the Key Elements in the Research
You have all the information you need with you. From information on the web to lessons from the school publication to conversations with the school representatives and students, and your personal experience in the school.
Sift through the information you have and establish three to five attributes that speak to you. Take that information and link the school’s environment, approach, and life.
That way, it doesn’t matter if the school’s prompt focuses on the “why us” or “why you” aspect of the give and take. You will have a point of entry into the college essay.
But what should you have for the three to five things about the school? What should you focus on in establishing the gem that should be the topic?
You should focus on what interests you and what makes the school unique. Do the research, and establish a multi-dimensional connection with the school.
The school does not need comprehensive statements of how beautiful the historic buildings seem to be. Neither is the school interested in how the brick pathways look.
You should also not rehash the information on the website. Note that all institutions have similarities. Talk about the uniqueness in your school of academic interest.
- Check your gathered information for clarity and colour
Ensure that the three to five things you have established are unique to the school and not similar to any other school.
It would be best if you understood these pointers from your perspective. The point is not to give empty praises to the school but to explain why your experience there will be unique.
The uniqueness you establish about the school should be more meaningful to the college and more specific to you.
For instance, if you have your attention on academics (like the educational philosophy, opportunities, instructors, and courses), link them to your future aspirations or previous work.
The points should not be non-specific or shallow. Do you wish to live in a city? You will find plenty of colleges in one city.
Explain why this particular college in a city with so many other options is suitable for you. Love the school’s stunning architecture?
Many other learning institutions are beautiful too. Dwell on why the school feels like no other.
Build a more profound connection than just the good geographical location of the school and why you will enjoy the beach and skiing.
- Convert the gem discovered to an essay topic
Each “why this college” type of essay will address both the “why you” and the “why us” bits in this forward-and-back scenario.
Subject to how your focus school worded the prompt, dwell more heavily in that direction.
Since there are two sides to one coin, one can always flip the ideas to have them perfectly work for another prompt.
For instance, the “why us” type of essays can talk about how a school’s project on interdisciplinary is and why it perfectly gels with your project.
In contrast, the “why you” essay will flip the same kind of idea. It’ll state how you’ve taken lessons from your senior projects on how to have a deep value of the school’s interdisciplinary approaches to academics. Thus, this makes you a good fit for the school.
- How specific programs of internship/study-volunteer/ requirement connections will aid you in furthering your intended career goal?
- The college’s approaches to your future choices of major (if you already have an idea) or a combination of several disciplines as your major fit with interests and academic work.
- The laid out infrastructure for the low-income students and how the schools handle financial aid, and what translates to you in opening doors in the future.
- How do you manage to overcome initial disinterests in schools (minimize these negative impressions)? Did you perform adequate research? Learned about the college’s commitments to the community? Did you learn something interesting?
- The positive engagement you performed with the on-session students, faculty, or staff. It should not be about how friendly the people you met were, though.
- An exciting experience you had during the campus tour. Did any of the information surprise you? Was the tour guide passionate? Is there something that happened to change your idea about particular campus life in a positive way?
- Have you discovered any exciting interdisciplinary work in the school which connects your previous high school work/career aspirations/academic interests?
- The school’s history if it has some meaning to you. Has the school taken some unpopular but morally right stance at a critical time in its history?
- An engaging professor from who you cannot wait to get nuggets of wisdom. Is it a professor who has published a book that made you finally understand a topic you had been struggling with?
- A fascinating class in your area of study. You will have additional bonus points in an event where you have on-session students on record talking about it.
- School equipment and facilities such as a specialty library, fleet of boats, or an observatory.
- A certain curriculum you have interests in because it will provide you with excellent knowledge or is articulated uniquely.
Where the college boasts of NASA planes, fit this somewhere, too.
- Do you intend to proceed with a project you had begun in your high school? Discuss where precisely in your present course, clubs, and programs offered that your project would fit. Why do you qualify as the best addition to the school?
- Do you engage yourself on a project in a community service that is being undertaken in school? Discuss how you will integrate campus life and the community surroundings.
- Are you interested in taking advantage of internship programs?
- Are you a perfect candidate for an opportunity to further study abroad (for instance, since you can speak in foreign languages or you have set your sights on an international career)?
- Do you qualify for the specific undergraduate school research projects (e.g., since you may be interested in pursuing research as a career)?
- Is there something you have a passion for that the college does not offer? You can contribute to starting a club once you join the school.
- What programs do you intend to take part in once you have joined the university, and what uniqueness will you bring on board?
- Create a personal statement as a mini version that you never got a chance to write. Take advantage of the college essay as a way to showcase your passions, talents, and skills that may not appear in a college essay.
- Focus on the impact the course will have on your career life. Do you see yourself succeeding, helping others, or changing some existing systems?
- Discuss how the school connects with you in terms of its values philosophically, environmentally, socially, or academically.
- Discover one or two features that excite you about the schools you have on the list. If you can’t find reasons to entice you enough to join the school, maybe the school will not fit you.
College Essay Topics to Avoid
- Avoid writing about the school’s general and apparent characteristics, such as location and weather.
- Please do not discuss the sports team you wish to join because it has been overused, and it is not reason enough to want to join the school.
- Avoid copying descriptions from the school website. The admissions officer is not keen on praise but rather on how connected you are with the school.
- Don’t use the school ranking as the reason you would want to go to the school. Give your reasons why you prefer the school over another.
- If you intend to write about your major, explain why that school is your choice for studying that particular course. Do not limit yourself to what you intend to learn and your reasons.
- Don’t be poetic about how pretty you found the campus community to be. Discuss what the school offers differently from other schools.
Once you have come up with your ideas and put them together to respond to the “why us” question, create a memorable essay. Here are top tips on how to achieve that:
- Go straight to the point. This type of college essay is short and thus does not need an introduction or conclusion. Have the first paragraph discuss maybe one or two reasons for making the application. In the second paragraph, in minor detail, discuss reasons two or three to five.
- Be true to yourself and write in your voice. Ensure sincerity in what you are stating. Believe it or not, the reader can tell when you are honest or not.
- Make the school admission officers understand that you have done your research well. Indicate the unique details you have discovered about the school.
- If you have an open plan of attending the school once admitted, make sure you indicate it. Colleges bother about the acceptance numbers, and it helps when they know you are willing to join the school.
- Avoid copy-pasting the same essay for many schools. Personalize each essay to fit the perfect description of each school.
Here is a “Why Tufts” Essay to help you see how you can come up with an answer to this question:
So, why is this essay so effective? Here are the main reasons:
- Interaction with on-session students. The applicant discusses his interaction with the team and is intrigued to meet them.
- He talks about his conversation with the guys at the cross country to show how he is a good fit at Tufts.
- He uses the conversation to depict that he appreciates the opportunities offered by Tufts (the discussion about movement patterns, Asian Geography, and other activities they got involved in at the campus).
- He lists the things that are of specific value to him. The student has a particular interest in entrepreneurship; hence, the Entrepreneurship Society and the Entrepreneurship Leadership courses interest him.
- He is aware of the school’s events. He shows his knowledge by mentioning the new program in Computer Science.
There is no right or wrong way of responding to this essay. Your choice in approaching the prompt may be more artistic, creative, analytical, or mathematical.
It only matters most that you answer this question in a manner that best describes who you are.
You will also need to explain what you aim at achieving from the school and what you will have to offer the school.
Consider the criteria below in articulating your response and make an effort to avoid the common mistakes and pitfalls:
- Mention Specifics
If the school uses a program/course/major that intrigues you, discuss it! This will show that you’ve done considerable research and can relate your interest rate to what the school has to offer.
Make sure to note what makes this institution’s offering distinct from various other institutions.
If you might alter the university’s name in your reaction to one more university and your response still works, you are not specifying enough.
In addition, having the ability to discuss particular buildings/resources/opportunities around campus. It could probably be a teacher you would love to meet who will undoubtedly make your essay stand out.
Use the school’s sites and academic department web pages to explore what programs, as well as tutors, pique your rate of interest.
And also, if you’re unable to make a school visit, consider a virtual excursion. You can access virtual scenic tours straight on Youvisit.com.
This site has accessibility to over 1,000 colleges and university campuses. If a college you’re searching for isn’t on the website, you can constantly look on the institution’s website for digital excursions.
- Connect back to yourself
When providing specifics concerning an institution, ensure it is clear why you value that the college has a specific possibility, worth, or characteristic.
It is inadequate to mention the distinct high qualities of a school. You need to certify why such points are essential based on your particular rate of interest. Mention also previous experiences, as well as future ambitions.
- Clarify just how you’ll contribute to the school
Colleges are looking for trainees that can make influence their campus as well as its surrounding neighbourhood.
Research study their clubs, organizations, and exactly how you can make a difference by being a part of areas and teams on and off-campus.
- Demonstrate fit in both dimensions
Talk about how you are an excellent suitable for the institution. It would be best to discuss what you like about the school, yet what the school will undoubtedly value about you as a trainee there.
- Speak about the school’s culture
If any of the college’s values straighten with your very own, the institution will want to know. Colleges might have a backing for social justice and also advocacy.
For instance, Brown College has an abundant history of many students taking part in on-campus picketing to promote university-level adjustments. They also take part in off-campus protests to promote modification at the state and national levels.
Other institutions are devoted to offering their neighbourhoods. Georgetown University, as an example, offers perfect of service to others. It has more than 100 university-sponsored solution opportunities functioning within the D.C. area and beyond.
- Mention the college’s eminence, size, track record, or location
The school doesn’t wish to listen to that they are highly competitive or popular. They know this.
The college additionally doesn’t intend to hear arbitrary truths regarding its background, geographic positioning, or demographics.
If you do point out any of these things, there needs to be an individual and a crucial reason.
For instance, you might point out the place if you have grown up in the location and wish to cultivate collaborations between the college and neighbourhood organizations you presently deal with.
- Misstate individuals, locations, or points unique to the college
When making factual declarations regarding a college, do not puzzle their course titles, faculty, mascot, or facilities on school, keeping that of another institution. Fact-check everything.
- Make use of psychological language to justify fit
You will not encourage an admissions officer that you are an excellent fit for their school by telling them that you “feel” like you are or that you can inform them the first moment you stepped into school.
Give them concrete reasons that their school is an excellent fit.
- Recycle language from the website
Use your very own words to make your points. Do not duplicate language from the website, article, sales brochures, or anywhere else.
- State the apparent
When describing the reasons a school is excellently suitable for you, you might think that the admissions officer knows the general background, offerings, and customs of the institution.
You do not, for instance, need to discuss with UChicago what Scav Search is. You could, nevertheless, describe why you appreciate the ethos of the custom or why you want it to be part of your college experience.
Writing the “Why This College” Essays When Not Decided on the Course
I have some excellent news for you: you can still craft a good “Why This College” essay when clueless about your career path.
Here are some top tips on how to go about it:
- You can include a thesis that indicates two or three areas of interest, or it can state that you are not sure what you’d like to study. In the thesis, show what you want, and the school’s name (E.g., “I’m interested in A, B, and C, and I am certain that the best place to discover these interests is The University of Michigan.”)
- Start your essay with an excellent hook to showcase your creative ability and as a distraction because you are unsure of your intended course of study (which is fine).
Here’s a suitable example to illustrate the above:
Here’s how to explain the points stated above:
Dear 2017 Grande,
It’s the year 2027. I have arrived at the G20 summit after presenting an annual report on population stability and the demographic transition.
All through your eighteen years of life, you have been bombarded with plenty of choices: Is the answer A or B? What airline seat to pick? Is the attire black/white or gold/white? Either way, you will have to decide what allows you to harness and apply your knowledge in reality—the choice to join Johns Hopkins University.
Up to now, you have lived in the USA, India, and U.K.: a multicultural exposure that changed your view of the world. You are not sure what you want, but you strive to synchronize fields and ideas in your heart. You will discover all that at John Hopkins.
Precisely, the Hopkins Center of Humanities will present you with a more flexible approach to interdisciplinary studies: which is crucial because you value the need for exploring before making your decision.
You can find this at Homewood and globally through studying at the Sciences Po Campus in Paris. It outlines the interconnection between areas like finance, urban policy, and law.
In the United Nations Model, you advance skills in collaboration and reaching consensus and pluralism through working with many students from all over the country. At John Hopkins, your knowledge and skills on international relations in Professors Hanchards’s and Moss’s lecture, Nation, Race, Politics, and diaspora, will be enhanced.
You will get great insights into how history determines the understanding of today’s geopolitical challenges, from the human rights and political sociology discussions to the fall of late 19th century empires.
In as much as you stuck your nose into the waters of politics and governments while taking part in your internship program at Senator Brown’s office, Hopkins will provide you with a deep dive into your field through their program on international studies. There are also more opportunities at the Nitze School in Washington D.C. and Nanjing Center, China.
Locally, you can extend your service politically by running for the Hopkins Student Government Association. Here, you will continue to provide a forum for discussion and recognition and represent diverse points of view.
You also have the opportunity to keep working with the Red Cross and joining the Chesapeake Regional Chapters and the JHU to give back to the Baltimore Community. You will get access to speakers like Dr. Benjamin Richard, the Red Cross Chief Medical Officer, and Dr. Olsen Jody, the Marine Peace Corps Former Director, once you join the Public Health Student Forum.
From understanding behaviour in making decisions to building community, all your life’s experiences have emerged from One. Single. Choice. Without JHU, you wouldn’t be the expert in global policy change, taking part in events like the G20 Summit.
I acknowledge that the world has dramatically changed in the last ten years. But John Hopkins believes in this fluidity, and with you, Grande will steer the importance of integrated studies.
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Essays account for around 25% of your admissions choice. They’re your chance to humanize your college application process as well as set yourself aside from other applicants with solid profiles.
The “Why This College” essay is critical, as it allows you to reflect on your fit with the college. Your supplement requires demonstrating your rate of interest in the college and suggesting just how you’ll contribute both academically and socially.
To recognize if your essay is solid enough, you can enhance your very own writing abilities by assessing various other students’ essays.
You may also want to check ACT writing prompts!
The “Why This College” essay technically shows three attributes:
- Proof that you have an understanding of what makes the school unique and different
- Evidence that you are the perfect fit for the target school
- Evidence that the target school will, in turn, be the perfect fit for you
The prompt will appear in two ways: “Why you?” or “Why us?” You can address the queries regardless of the style used.
Writing the essay will require you to perform proper research on the specific characteristics and unique qualities of the given school which please you.
You will find such information by doing the following:
- Visiting the campus virtually or in person and interacting with the faculty and a current student on the session.
- Posing questions to the representatives at college fairs or your college interviewer.
- Reading the school’s published material such as the school website, brochures, school campus newspaper, social media, and alumni magazines.
- Checking other websites which discuss the college
To discover the appropriate topic for your essay, find up to five things that resonate with you about the college. Link each of them with yourself, your strengths, goals, and intellectual and academic interests.
Do not use clichés that would be relevant to any college, such as sports teams, weather, geography, or architecture.
Focus instead on the details that will make your target college different from all the other colleges.
Thank you for reaching this far. In case you’re still in doubt, click the green button below, follow the simple steps, and leave the hurdle of writing that essay to our top tutors!