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what are you supposed to write for the question: what makes x college good for you?

hewitt05hewitt05 24 replies27 postsRegistered User Junior Member
edited September 2010 in College Essays
Take Stanford for example. It asks in its supplement, tell us what makes stanford a good place for you, in 250 words. The thing is, how can you be unique for something like this?

Obviously, everyone will say the weather is perfect in stanford, or the team spirit is incredible, or this stanford feature will prepare me for the future.

What can you talk about to make you stand out?
edited September 2010
45 replies
Post edited by hewitt05 on
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Replies to: what are you supposed to write for the question: what makes x college good for you?

  • glassesarechicglassesarechic 5471 replies16 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Keep it personal and specific.

    What programs draw you to Stanford? If you've visited, what was particularly memorable? Talking about the specifics of a visit can make ubiquitous statements like "Stanford is gorgeous" less cliche.

    Essentially, this essay should convey why Stanford, or whichever school you're discussing, is on your college list.
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  • brownman23brownman23 602 replies19 postsRegistered User Member
    You can talk about a specific professor, or different programs at Stanford you're researched and interested in.
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  • digmediadigmedia 3122 replies209 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    You know when you arrive home. It's in the breeze, the view, the spirit of the place that can be seen in the body language of everyone there. Sometimes you can't articulate it, but the feeling is so deep that you feel like destiny has been working to bring you to this particular place at this time in your life.

    Stanford was probably the sixth or seventh campus we visited. Each of the previous ones left me with the thought of, "Well, perhaps I could learn to love the place... maybe (gulp)." But when we visited Stanford and first left the car, I knew something was different. I found myself listening a little more closely and paying more attention to the tour. Afterward, I immediately started my research to see if Stanford was indeed a fit.

    I had an idea about my major. I have been interested in Earth Sciences since a 9th grade field trip we did to a commercial cave. Rather than the commercial tour that pointed out a rock formation shaped like a dragon and the "Giant’s Staircase," we learned about how the cave was formed and the ecosystems which evolved without light. I was hooked.

    So I investigated the Earth Sciences program at Stanford and found that they nourished that wonder and awe about the earth and its systems. I watched several videos of guest speakers on climate change and renewable energy resources. I dipped into the websites for some of the research centers. I devoured the information about the various departments within the schools.

    It all reaffirmed the belief that I have found my home.

    (a little over 250 words)

    LOL. Don’t copy this. CC is a very public website and every plagiarism checker will turn this up. I put this up here so that you can see what you can do with even a mundane topic with few words. It’s a little cheesy, I know, but this is a first draft.
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  • 1finite1finite 206 replies8 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    ^ I hope you are already accepted, otherwise it's not too good of an idea to post that
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  • hollyerthollyert 741 replies60 postsRegistered User Member
    If you are asked (by Stanford) why you want to go to Stanford, I should hope you have an answer to give them.

    Why do you think Stanford will make you happy? Team spirit doesn't make people happy; sports and like-minded friends do. Think of those college-brochure suck-up type perks in terms of yourself.

    "OMG amazing research" becomes "I can do research here." "OMG amazing weather" becomes "I can study outdoors, commune with nature, remind myself that academics are part of a bigger picture of my own happiness".

    Make it about what you will want and contribute.


    You will be surprised why other people want to go to Stanford. Team spirit might never have occurred to others. Some people think the weather there is a DRAWBACK (how, I don't know, but I have met some people of that opinion).
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  • slpxx16slpxx16 83 replies20 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    This is my "Why Northwestern" from last year, and I got in. I also hadn't seen the campus. It's a little cheesy, but it (apparently) did the trick.

    After years of harsh New England winters, I began my college search considering only schools that never see a snowflake. I had visited the southeastern area of the country several times and liked the friendly, more relaxed atmosphere. So why did I keep flipping back to Northwestern in my Fiske book? Aside from the renowned academics and name recognition, I realized that the school fit my interests better than any other.
    I grew up in a sleepy, suburban town forty-five minutes outside of Boston. The closest movie theater or shopping mall is twenty-five minutes away, and a person cannot do much without a car. While
    ’s rich history and memorable people will always remain close to my heart, I yearn for growth and change. My high school is composed almost entirely of the white upper-middle class. I want to experience different perspectives and new ideas. Northwestern’s great diversity in a perfect location, close to Chicago and all its opportunities while offering the more relaxed atmosphere of Evanston, meets all of my desires. The university is large enough to allow a vast representation of cultures, beliefs, and ethnicities but small enough to retain the intimate community experience that I have grown accustomed to.
    I am currently interested in pursuing a major in psychology while fulfilling pre-medicine requirements, and the Weinburg College offers an honors program in psychology with opportunity for a senior thesis. I love the prospect of completing valuable research while still an undergraduate. I recognize, however, that my interests may change, and the school’s great advising program will help me with shifting plans as well as medical school admissions and career counseling. Additionally, the liberal arts program supports changing and expanding interests, as I am not required to apply directly to a major.
    I hope to feel as connected to the university as I was to my high school, which should not be a problem with the abundance of school spirit and various school-wide traditions – the dance marathon, the primal scream, and Dillo Day, to name a few. As an avid dancer and volunteer, I cannot wait to move with the music for thirty hours straight and raise money for charity at the same time. Not having had the opportunity to visit Northwestern yet, I trust the glowing reviews from many a former student. Had I settled on the South, in truth, I probably would have missed the snow.
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  • fancyheaderfancyheader 62 replies17 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Oh...er...my essays don't start as stories. And mine are a little more formal...well, we'll see how that works out when the decisions come in.

    I usually start out with mentioning what first drew me into the school. I mean, I personally think that's the most important thing about the school. It often ends up being an abstract concept which has to then be backed up with other things. I make sure to illustrate these abstract aspects, by saying something like "I like the school's diversity...this relates to me because I've lived in a convoy for thirteen years". Then I list about two or three other big things that would be quite blatantly highlighted in their viewbook, and how this relates to my future goals (and if I *don't* like the top three things in their viewbook, there's a problem!) I usually like to start out trying to convince the admissions committee to attend their own school—vivid language and illustrations. And then an ending such as, "I was finally totally convinced when I _______".

    OP: It takes a ton of practice and re-writes. All in all, be honest in your essays while still showing enthusiasm.
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  • 2boysima2boysima 1737 replies57 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Essays give you a chance to show a school how you're different from every other applicant. Rooting for D1 sports teams and getting a great education may be why you want to go to Stanford --- but it needs to be said in a way that only you can say it. Maybe bringing up a particular experience you've had related to a HS or pro team that you really like. But....something specific about YOU must come through in the essay.
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  • smorgasbordsmorgasbord 1790 replies13 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Slpxx16, I enjoyed your essay; it's not cheesy at all.
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  • UVAorBustUVAorBust 2339 replies165 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Ok after reading those two essays I'm cleaning the drool off my face. Humada Humada those admissions councilors were probably staring in awe at such perfection
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  • crimsonbearcrimsonbear 41 replies9 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Slpxx16, nice essay! I enjoyed it.
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  • digmediadigmedia 3122 replies209 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Yes, Sipxx, that was very good. Mine was made up on the spot, but yours is much better and the personal side really shows through. It used a technique at the end which is extremely effective, a "coda" to the essay:
    Had I settled on the South, in truth, I probably would have missed the snow.
    That works to leave the reader with a little chuckle at the end and makes the essay memorable. A coda is a great idea for any essay.
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  • bobtheboybobtheboy 2132 replies84 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    You will be surprised why other people want to go to Stanford. Team spirit might never have occurred to others. Some people think the weather there is a DRAWBACK (how, I don't know, but I have met some people of that opinion).

    This is a rather pointless post but it's more for the sake of a bump than what I have to say.
    Anyway, about the weather, I find it too hot (although it's even hotter here).
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  • cubeculcubecul 247 replies23 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    To Northwestern applicants: Weinberg.
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  • nemomnemom 1563 replies44 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Umm...if you have to plead on a forum for suggestions about why a school is right for you..maybe you should rethink applying there.
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  • EngineerjwEngineerjw 961 replies175 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I understand what you mean by that, but I think the OP is asking about *how* to write about it effectively without making a bulleted list impression.
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  • eacoleeacole 81 replies13 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Find a unique quality about Stanford such as tradition, a certain program offered, or an atribute usually associated with the student body. Then describe a detail of your life that relates to that atribute and explain what the part of your life means to you. Then introduce that part of Stanford that makes it a right fit for you.
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  • kaira07kaira07 519 replies13 postsRegistered User Member
    slpxx16 and digmedia- WOW! Your essays really brought out your personal sides and illustrated why the concerned college is good for you. I hope mine is half as good!

    Hewitt05- when you think of the college, what makes you want to go there above every other college? What makes that program perfect for YOU? A range of colleges might offer the course you want to study. Bring out instead why the college appeals to you keeping in mind your socio cultural context.

    Taking the weather for example- I live in a country where the temperature is HOT.

    Consequently, the snow has always held a certain fascination for me, and i'd love to study in the Northeast where i get to experience the magical(albeit freezing cold) winters.

    On the other hand, coming from such a hot climate, it will be decidedly difficult to adapt to the cold, and Stanford's weather is extremely appealing. Not too hot, not too cold for me.

    So bring out why x, y or z aspect of the college (the weather, in this case), is right for you.
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  • illusiondestinyillusiondestiny 492 replies21 postsRegistered User Member
    thank you slpxx16 and the lot of the contributors! I was having a hard time starting my Why Rutgers essay, but now I can write about something!
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  • bandgeek24601bandgeek24601 192 replies23 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Does anyone suggest writing in third person/telling a first person narrative about actually being at the school? I'm applying to Penn, and although I'm not the world's greatest creative writer, I am interested in creative writing as a hobby and would like to participate in their Kelly's Writer's House. I was thinking about writing a very short narrative about waking up on campus at the Writer's House, heading to classes in the academic programs that I think are good for me, then going to participate in the other extracurriculars I like. Is that too cheesy/cliched/obnoxious?
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