The “Why This College” essay is one of the most common and quintessential supplemental prompts. While this essay may seem straight forward, it's vital that you take the time to get it right. The key to writing a compelling “why us” essay is by connecting what you will bing to the schools' environment, with how the specific resources they provide will help you succeed!
Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you craft the perfect “Why This College” Essay:
Do: Your Research.
The "why us" essay is a great opportunity to show that you're genuinely interested in the school by demonstrating you’ve taken the time to carefully research the college’s programs, values, and initiatives. Go beyond what the college is most commonly known for. Spend some quality time scouring the college's website, or ask the college’s admissions representative specific questions about aspects of the school you are curious about. You are making an argument to the admissions committee as to the specific avenues you’d take to be a good fit for the school, and your research will serve as the evidence to back it up.
Don’t: Discuss the school’s size, location, or sports team.
Admissions officers already assume you're excited about the school’s size, location, or sports team. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be applying in the first place! Your “why us” essay need to go much deeper than these qualities of the school. Firstly, these aspects don’t show off anything interesting or unique about you. When you demonstrate your interest in the school’s programs and academics, you also illustrate that you would be contributing to the community by taking part in them.
Do: Connect the School's Offerings with Your Passions and Interests.
Showcase how this specific school is going to cultivate you into the person you want to be. Discuss your desired career path, and what major you would pursue at this school to help you get there. Cite specific classes, and detail what skills they would provide you with in order to help you achieve your goals. Incorporate certain clubs the school offers, that aligns with the extracurriculars you were involved in during high school. Or talk about certain communities you’d join that align with you identity. Making the “why us” essay as personal as possible shows why you would thrive and grow in the college’s environment.
Don’t: Plagiarize the School’s Promotional Material.
Why writing the “Why us” essay, many students turn to the language on the college website or brochure as inspiration. While this can help you get a feel for the college environment and attitude, don't plagiarize or paraphrase the phrases on the school’s promotional material. It gives the impression that you didn't spend a lot of time considering the school. If you really loved a specific quote or phrase from the school's promotional material, discuss specific reasons why you felt connected and drawn to it.
Your “Why This College” essay doesn’t necessary have to have artistically crafted prose and metaphors to be effective. Instead, focus more on concrete reasoning as to why this college is, without a doubt, the perfect place for you. Connecting your own skills, passion, and values will illustrate how the school can help you achieve your goals, while showing what you can contribute back to the community.
Applying to multiple colleges can mean a lot of research. ES.AI’s College Admissions Tool can help do the heavy lifting for you, matching a college's courses and programs with your personal narrative, and helping you work with specific supplemental prompts.