why this college essay

The “Why This College” Essay is More Important Than the Personal Statement

Across to country, many seniors are realizing that the college application process is real and upon them. It’s a terrifying and exciting time to be in the 12th grade. As almost every conversation revolves around college and where a student may want to go in twelve short months, there’s equal talk about the topic of their college essays.


I know that seniors — and their parents that help them to brainstorm essay ideas — are stumbling. Everyone wants to write the amazing essay that will help them to get admitted to school and maybe even go viral on the Internet. The great “Costco essay”’of 2015 was sharp, witty and rare. I do not suggest that any parent ask their child to copy that style this fall. From previous blog posts, you will see that a personal essay should be personal to them and not a retelling of their lives. But even more so, the personal essay may not be the most important essay of your child’s application.


Many schools will have a “Why This College?” essay. This may be the piece of writing that puts your child over the edge. Why? (Pun intended!) Because it shows a school that a student understands them and their unique stature in the field of higher education. It gives students an opportunity to match their skills and interests to a particular program, department or major. This is what colleges want to see: an investigative young adult who is eager to take the plunge and maximize their mind and efforts on their college campus.

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And how can a prospective student write a “Why This College?”essay that will shine? Consider this: most “Why This College” essays usually feature information about:


1) Academic study of interest


2) Which courses spark curiosity and why (use their website)


3) Contributions that can be made within specific departments as well as overall campus community/culture

4) Express a sincere desire to attend because of familial connection, friends, academic opportunities and potential professional network.


And how can a student gather all of this?


Do the research. Use their website and delve deep into the curriculum and extracurricular activities until there this a genuine synergy between the student and the academic department and/or club. Highlight classes and professors that intrigue you and explain why.


Visit the school. The best way to show interest in a school is always to visit. Students can illustrate their experience on campus in the “Why This College?” essay which adds detail.


Discuss contributions you (the student) might be able to make to the school community academically and extracurricularly during your upcoming time there. Colleges want contributions. As students and potential and alums, it is a student’s responsibility to do what they can to make the school better. As a high schooler, being aware of what you can add to the school will help in the admissions process.

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