The purpose of the “Why us?” or “Why this college” essay is to demonstrate—through specific details and examples—why you’re a great match for a particular school. In some cases, the “Why us?” essay is an important way to demonstrate an interest in a particular college. The “Why this college?” essay, and variations of this prompt, also happens to be one of the most popular supplemental essay questions asked of students on the college application.
Follow the five tips below to help your “why this college” essay leave a memorable impression on admissions officers.
1. Treat Each “Why Us” Essay Individually
Although it may seem tempting to write one essay about why you want to attend college and send it to every school, this strategy isn’t likely to get you far. Essay readers can tell when applicants write a general essay, and this may make it seem like they failed to make an effort. Instead, acknowledge specific characteristics of the school.
2. Spend Time Researching Your Schools
By researching your target schools, you can reference that information in your essays to impress admissions officers. In short, research shows you did your homework.
Instead of writing about general details like school size, try to include more in-depth information you can find by looking at faculty websites, student reviews, and course offerings. You can also reference info you received during any on-campus visits or admissions events.
3. Focus on Your Fit With the School
Highlight elements of the school that appeal to you and discuss why the school is a good fit for you based on these factors. You’ll want to consider the institution’s strengths and how these align with your own interests and your personality as a whole. Also, take time to explain how this college can help you meet your academic and career goals.
4. Provide Specific Details and Examples
Avoid general cliches, tropes, and superlatives — generalizations won’t impress admissions officers. Instead, refer to specific details that explain why you want to attend that particular school. For example, you could make note of unique programs that stand out to you, your interest in research opportunities, or a desire to take classes from a certain professor.
5. Demonstrate a Sense of Enthusiasm
Find ways to communicate your excitement in your essay to liven it up and demonstrate your interest to the admissions committee. For instance, you might talk about a positive interaction you’ve had with a professor, student, or alum. Alternatively, you could tell a story about your experience visiting the campus.
Once again, avoid generalities — enthusiasm expressed through cliches can come across as insincere.