In October of 2016 President Barrack Obama issued a proclamation deeming November National College Application Month. He might have been dealing with one application firsthand, since his oldest daughter, Malia, was immersed in the process. This year, many seniors are once again working overtime to complete their college applications. One question that they often struggle with is how to approach the “Why Our College?” essay.
It is important to understand that every college or university is trying to accomplish at least two things by asking this popular prompt, which may come in various forms. First, the college wants to learn if the applicant has done the research necessary to know exactly why he or she is applying to their school. And second, the college wants to determine if the student is a good match for their campus.
In order to make these decisions, they ask questions that will help them to understand what the student knows about the school beyond name recognition. What are the specific factors that appeal? For example, is it the quarter system that permits many courses to be taken, making a dual major more feasible? Or perhaps it is the exploratory curriculum for freshman engineering students, permitting them to determine what area of engineering is best before choosing it as a major. Maybe a prospective applicant is excited by the option to apply to the honors college in the sophomore year, if she is not eligible as an incoming freshman. If the student wants to major in finance, do investment banking companies have a strong presence on campus at the college’s career fairs? If the applicant is uncertain about his path, how easy or hard is it to change majors?
If the prospective student has done sufficient homework, the response to the “Why our college?” essay will reflect that effort and prove that he is truly a great fit for their school.
Here are 8 basic tips:
Now you are on your way to writing a great essay! Remember—your overall goal is to discover specific details that appeal to you about each school, and then add in your personal experiences to show the connection between the person you are now, and what kind of college student you will be on campus over the next four years.