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"Why do you want to attend this school" essays

daisy444daisy444 Registered User Posts: 55 Junior Member
edited December 2012 in College Essays
i have a question abt the essay prompts that ask you to explain why you chose to apply to that specific school. Does the rule of writing something creative, original, etc still apply? Or, for this type of essay, do they just want astraightforward answers with a list of explained reasons? I was wondering the same thing abt essays that ask you to explain why you're interested in a specific school within the college (ie. school of engineering, arts and sciences, etc).
Post edited by daisy444 on

Replies to: "Why do you want to attend this school" essays

  • jamimomjamimom Registered User Posts: 3,278 Senior Member
    These is where you can really shine. If you can show that you know the school, the area, the little nooks and crannies, the details of the school, it can make a difference. It tells the adcoms that the school is not another clothespin on your line and that you are seriously interested in it. It also helps them visualize you in the school, contributing to the vibrant community they want to build.
  • jaug1jaug1 Registered User Posts: 870 Member
    Ok. Here is my advice.

    To write these essays, I would look on the school's website and handbooks to find clubs or groups on campus that interest you. I also would stress the academic side of the school by discussing a possible major that you are interested in. If you have met with a professor, use their name and explain how they helped you. Connect your passions and the school to show how you are a good fit. Be honest at all times and also be candid.

    Just my 2 cents
  • raven001raven001 Registered User Posts: 877 Member
    I absolutely hate these essays... someone made an observation that mostly 2nd-tier schools require these (so as to make sure that they're not safeties), whereas none of the most prestigious schools do...
  • daisy444daisy444 Registered User Posts: 55 Junior Member
    excellent point, raven. btw, this essay's for vandy, which is, of course, a great school, but by no means of an ivy-league status.
    thanks so much for your advice! My essay's pretty clearcut, no fancy creative touches or anything. I hope they dont consider it too "blah," but i figured it was the only way to rlly get my point across.
  • ariadne09ariadne09 Registered User Posts: 90 Junior Member
    both brown and swarthmore require "why our school" essays.
  • Roger_DooleyRoger_Dooley Founder Posts: 106,392 Senior Member
    This same question is likely to come up in interviews, discussions with admissions staff, etc. It's a quick way to judge the applicant's knowledge of the school, the depth of their thought process, and their level of commitment and interest.

    Clearly, an answer that shows specific familiarity with one or more aspects of the school (preferably non-obvious) and which ties together past interests with future objectives is the best.

    E.g., "Why do you want to attend Columbia?"

    Fair: The academics are top-notch, and I'd like to be in New York City.

    Slightly Better: The art history program is top-notch, and the cultural opportunities in New York City are fantastic.

    Better Still: I've been interested in art as long as I can remember, and have enjoyed studying art and showing my own work in high school. I can't think of a better place to pursue a major in art history than Columbia. Not only do the courses sound fascinating, but it is my dream to live so close to great museums like the Guggenheim and MOMA, not to mention so many small, private galleries. I know I'll spend many hours absorbing thousands of years of art history as well as seeing what today's cutting-edge artists are creating.

    (The last may sound a bit sappy, but you get the idea... ;)) Working in a particular prof, course, or other specific topic would be good, too - if it's honest and fits your big picture. If it looks like you grabbed something off the website that doesn't seem to mesh with your past interests, you could hurt your cause rather than help it.
  • catnamedzanecatnamedzane Registered User Posts: 61 Junior Member
    They also ask "Why us?" for NYU -- specifically saying "We know that New York City is a great draw to most applicants. Other than the location, why do you want to go to NYU?" (Something like that.) Actually, I think all of the applications I've done thus far have asked some kind of "Why?" question.

    If you interested in something special that the school has like a unique program that only they have -- like Brown's sanskrit classes or something -- and talk a little about that. Something that shows you've really done your research on the school and you aren't just applying because their application deadline is February 1 or something like that.
  • 3togo3togo Registered User Posts: 5,233 Senior Member
    edited January 2005
    > This same question is likely to come up in interviews, discussions with admissions staff, etc. It's a quick way to judge the applicant's knowledge of the school, the depth of their thought process, and their level of commitment and interest.

    and also fit ... if an applicant states they are looking for "x" from a school and this school has it then I would think this would help. For example, for someone interested in architecture Brown is located in a city and as a school has looser course requirements than most schools while Cornell is in a small college town and has a pretty regimented architecture program. While both Brown and Cornell are terrific schools pretty different "whys" could describe why a student wants to study architecture at either school.
  • mekrobmekrob Registered User Posts: 865 Member
    Duke and Yale require "why" essays. I wouldn't call them second-tier universities.
  • andrew1218andrew1218 Registered User Posts: 350 Member
    northwestern and georgetown too- both also top 25
  • Catch-22Catch-22 Registered User Posts: 1,233 Senior Member
    Penn...Penn dwells on the Why Essays...it's like the first thing the rep reads...I don't call Penn second tier, esp. its Wharton school and its joint-degree programs...which if I remember correctly, that's where you are applying to, raven.
  • frazzleddadfrazzleddad Registered User Posts: 129 Junior Member
    ...keep in mind the essay still needs to be about the applicant...it's an opportunity to make a connection between the university and the applicant...the admissions office knows all about the school, they don't need a laundry list of why it is a good school.
  • Catch-22Catch-22 Registered User Posts: 1,233 Senior Member
    Best approach:

    Here's me
    Here's you
    Here's you+me= <3....AWwwwwww. *tear*
  • daisy444daisy444 Registered User Posts: 55 Junior Member
    wow, thanks so much for all your help, everyone. :)
  • birdofprey425birdofprey425 Registered User Posts: 682 Member
    I'm applying to Columbia and may have fallen a bit into the New York trap. I started out with Brian Greene and the impressiveness of their physics program, then spoke about how NYC is the perfect extension of the learning and growth and intellectual freedom of college.

    I smoothly worked in the word 'macrocosm' as well... ;)
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