Written by Traecy Hobson. If you are a high school senior, chances are you will be asked to write at least one “why us” college essay. It’s the open-ended question that sounds something like this, “tell us why our university is a good fit for you.” In theory, the question is simple enough. Right? Why do you want to go to X University? But when you sit down to write it, and you just don’t know what to say.
What is a “why” essay?
Think of it as a love letter of sorts. It is your chance to profess your love of the school and why you two would be perfect together.
What to say
Be specific on what attracts you to the school.
- If you visited, let the college know what you liked that you saw on campus.
- If there is a terrific academic program that you want to study, let them know and don’t forget to mention why you want to study that.
- If you sat in on a class, tell them what you saw and heard that interested you.
- If you spoke to a professor, give a shout out.
- If you attended a sporting event on campus and felt the school spirit in the stands, say that.
- If you heard about an awesome club you want to join, mention that and why.
- If your tour guide told you about a campus tradition that you want to be a part of, tell them.
- If you want to be part of the marching band or orchestra, let them know.
What not to say
Don’t state the obvious and tell a college what they already know. Don’t be insincere. Here are some examples of what not to say.
- Georgetown already knows that they are located in the nation’s capital.
- Don’t tell Tulane that you are looking forward to Marti Gras.
- Michigan already knows that the business school is highly ranked.
- Just like bad pick-up lines, colleges don’t want to read a lot of superlatives and sugary language that mean nothing.
I think you’re ready now. Start wrapping up those “why” essays seniors. Here’s hoping that the college you love affirms its love for you with an acceptance letter.
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