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Be Specific When Essay Asks "Why This College?"

CCEdit_TorreyCCEdit_Torrey Editor Posts: 139 Editor
Supplemental essays often require you to share why you want to attend that specific university. Dave Berry offers some advice on how to answer these questions. https://www.collegeconfidential.com/articles/be-specific-when-essay-asks-why-this-college/

Replies to: Be Specific When Essay Asks "Why This College?"

  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 8,454 Senior Member
    Helpful advice, but I notice Dave Berry doesn't say an applicant should discuss what else appeals about a particular college. I see nothing wrong with incorporating something like "I am a huge football fan and I have been following the Badgers for a couple of years now. I am looking forward to being in the stands cheering on Bucky and the team." The school I am referencing here is UWM. That also shows specificity, and indicates that a student might fit in well with the rest of the student body.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 30,649 Senior Member
    edited October 2018
    Some of it is very good. Eg, to research this college, not US News rankings. But some have the collar buttoned too tight.

    It's not all about coming off with intellectual sounding reasons (at 17, these will sound more pseudo-intellectual,) certainly not repeating back course or prof names, dept focus. You can take a breath. You're a kid, they want you to be open, not fixated. You can breathe, even have a little fun.

    Just watch out for the mascot or food or architecture, etc, when that seems too easy, too generic, too "insert name here."
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,440 Senior Member
    I know that Northwestern University wants specific information as to "Why Northwestern ?", but I am not as sure that applicants to Harvard need to justify their reasons for targeting the most renowned school in the world.

    Responding to a "Why This College or University?" application question is a bit trickier than one might think. While specifics garnered from researching a particular school are important, sincerity is still the most important quality sought by admissions officers in my opinion.
  • yucca10yucca10 Registered User Posts: 826 Member
    I suspect adcoms take HS kids' gushing about some very specific courses or areas of a very specific major with a grain of salt.
  • TiggerDadTiggerDad Registered User Posts: 1,752 Senior Member
    The key to writing "Why Us?" type of essay is not just repeating what the college has or provides to evidence your knowledge of the college but the way in which you, your needs, your growth, as well as contribution, potential, can be met through the college's resources in a cogent manner.

    My son's a serious violinist, so when he came to composing such essays in his college applications, he specifically researched those resources pertaining to his musical interests and presented "his case." We thought his "Why Us?" essays were lot more effective than the main essay.
  • lemon droplemon drop Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    This might be a bit on the obvious side. My daughter is going to use her notes from the information sessions at the schools she visited to expound upon what caught her ear and actually convinced her she wanted to apply. One school mentioned there was a "low wall" between their humanities and engineering program, she liked that and plans on mentioning that in her essay.
  • gardenstategalgardenstategal Registered User Posts: 4,747 Senior Member
    Many schools also value students who note their softer points. To be able to say "when I visited, a student approached me as I was entering the dining hall looking lost and provided an overview of the options. Coming from xyz, the opportunity to be part of a welcoming community like abc's is really exciting. It's clear that students engage with each other, and I know this is what I want. I hope to involve myself in xxxx..." It shows that you visited and were taking it all in.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 30,649 Senior Member
    edited October 2018
    Lemon drop, please be sure she also researched this, not just what was said at a session. Be sure there aren't standards or etc that set a bar.
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