When working on your college essays, chances are that you’ll come across a “Why This College” essay. These school-specific essays are a way for colleges to get a better understanding of how you’ll take advantage of the academic resources the school offers, as well as what extracurriculars you plan to get involved in.
Prompt: Tell us about a topic or issue that sparks your curiosity and gets you intellectually excited. How do you think the environment at Haverford and the framework of the Honor Code would foster your continued intellectual growth? Please limit your response to up to 250 words.
As I cut into the intestinal tract of the pig, the odor of the formaldehyde seemed to dissipate as I stared in awe at the usually invisible world of vertebrate anatomy. My passion developed through studying plant life and human pollution. In Tanzania, on a community service trip, I planted acacia trees and surveyed the health of the forest. Unfortunately, I also experienced there how double bonds allow greenhouse gases to retain more heat and create obstacles in reversing their destruction. Technological advancements and the enormous cost of CO2 reversal requires global government commitment and economic planning. My Summer Program in Economics at Oxford clarified the complexity of fiscal policy decisions between satisfying immediate human demands and preserving the long-term health of our ecosystem.
Haverford’s Koshland Integrated Natural Sciences Center’s interesting programs, such as its environmental studies major with a biology or chemistry minor or its chemistry major with a biochemistry concentration, will allow me to expand further into the wonder of the sciences. With the Honor Code system I will take ownership of my education by engaging in research and senior projects to observe and improve energy transmission and reusables, especially in developing countries. Moreover, proactive clubs like Haverford Think Tank allow me to contribute policy proposals and work on social, academic, and environmental issues.
I look forward to a Haverford education where I can engage in hands-on learning, promote student engagement, and join a student body with the freedom to decide the nature of our experience at Haverford. (250 words)
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Tips + Analysis
- Show your values. What are those anyway? They are the core values that shape how you view and engage with the world around you. As a high school senior, you may not have given much thought to what those values are. But we got you. Take 5 minutes to do this Values Exercise, and find ways to convey your top 3-5 in your essay. Pro tip: Given this prompt’s emphasis on intellectual curiosity, you’ll want to reflect that as one of your top values here. Notice how this student does that in multiple ways. Like this: “My passion developed through studying plant life and human pollution.” And this: “I look forward to a Haverford education where I can engage in hands-on learning, promote student engagement, and join a student body with the freedom to decide the nature of our experience at Haverford.”
- Explain how the Honor Code will inform your educational experience. This student clearly articulates how he’ll use the Honor Code, by taking “ownership of my education by engaging in research and senior projects to observe and improve energy transmission and reusables, especially in developing countries.” As we noted in the step-by-step instructions above, familiarizing yourself with the various aspects of the code beforehand will make it easier to envision it can benefit your college journey.
- Don’t forget the “why me” details. Remember, this prompt is really all about Haverford’s quest to get to know you better—how you think, what you value, and how you interact with others. Use it as an opportunity to show how you’ll build on your past experiences (like a service trip to Tanzania, for example) or the skills you’ve built in high school (like from dissecting a pig) to grow and evolve as a Haverfordian.