And how do you find the detail that will speak to you? Here are some ways you can learn more about a school. If you're going on college tours , you've got the perfect opportunity to gather information about the school. Bring a notepad and write down the following:. Try to also connect with students or faculty while you're there.
If you visit a class, note which class it is and who teaches it. See whether you can briefly chat up a student e. Don't forget to write down the answer! Trust me, you'll forget it otherwise—especially if you do this on multiple college visits. You can also connect with students without visiting the campus in person. Many admissions websites list contact information for currently enrolled students you can email to ask one or two questions about what their experience of the school has been like.
Or if you know what department, sport, or activity you're interested in, you can ask the admissions office to put you in touch with a student who is involved with that particular interest. Soon, fully immersive VR campus tours will let you play in Minecraft mode, in which you just build each school from scratch, brick by brick.
If you have an interview , ask your interviewer questions about his or her experience at the school and about what going to that school has done for him or her since graduation. As always, take notes! If you have a chance to go to a college fair where your target college has representatives, don't just come and pick up a brochure.
Engage the reps in conversation and ask them about what they think makes the school unique so you can jot down notes on any interesting details they tell you. Colleges publish lots and lots of different kinds of things—and all of these will be useful for your research. Here are some suggestions for what you can use.
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You should be able to find all of the following resources online. Read the mission statement of the school—does its educational philosophy align with yours? You should also read through its catalogs. Pro Tip: These interesting features you find should be unusual in some way or different from what other schools offer. For example, being fascinated with the English department isn't going to cut it unless you can discuss its unusual focus, its world-renowned professors, or the different way it structures the major that appeals to you specifically.
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Are any professors highlighted? Does their research speak to you or connect with a project you did in high school or for an extracurricular? Sometimes alumni magazines will highlight a college's new focus or new expansion. Does the construction of a new engineering school relate to your intended major? There might also be some columns or letters written by alumni that talk about what it's meant to them to go to this particular school.
What stands out about their experiences? Students write about the hot issues of the day, which means that the articles will be about the best and worst things on campus. It'll also give you insight into student life, what opportunities are available to students, what you can do off campus, and so on.
Your target school is most likely on Facebook , Twitter , Instagram , and other social media. Follow the school to see what it's posting about. Any exciting new campus developments? Professors in the news? Interesting events, clubs, or activities? Wikipedia is a great resource for learning basic details about a college's history, traditions, and values. I also recommend looking for forums on College Confidential that specifically deal with the school you're researching.
Another option is to search on Google for interesting phrases, such as "What students really think about [School Name]" or "[School Name] student forum. So what should you do now that you've completed a bunch of research? Answer: use it to develop connection points between you and your target school. These connections will be the skeleton of your "why this college" essay. You have on hand all kinds of information, from your own personal experiences on campus, to your conversations with people affiliated with your target school, to what you've learned from campus publications, to tidbits gleaned from the web.
Now, it's time to sift through all of your notes to find the three to five things that really speak to you. Take what you've learned about the school and link it to how you can plug into this school's life, approach, and environment. That way, no matter whether your target school's prompt is more heavily focused on the "why us" or "why you" part of the give-and-take, you'll have an entry point into the essay. But what should these three to five things be? What should you keep in mind when you're looking for the gem that will become your topic?
How to Answer the Essay Question "Why Do You Want To Attend Our School?" | Weston, CT Patch
Do your research, and articulate a multi-dimensional connection to the specific college or university. We do not want broad statements the brick pathways and historic buildings are beautiful or a rehash of the information on our website College X offers a strong liberal arts curriculum. All institutions have similarities. We want you to talk about our differences. Time to find that diamond, amethyst, opal, tourmaline, or amber in the rough. When I say "check your gems," I mean make sure that each of the three to five things you've found is something your target school has that other schools don't have.
This something should be seen from your own perspective. The point isn't to generically praise the school but instead to go into detail about why it's so great for you that they have this thing. This something you find should be meaningful to the school and specific to you. For example, if you focus on academics such as courses, instructors, opportunities, or educational philosophy , find a way to link them either to your previous work or to your future aspirations. This something should not be shallow and non-specific. Want to live in a city? Every city has more than one college in it.
Attending High School, Just Like Attendign College Essay
Find a way to explain why this specific college in this specific city calls to you. Like pretty architecture? Many schools are beautiful, so dwell on why this particular place feels unlike any other. Like good weather, beach, skiing, or some other geographical attribute? There are many schools located near these places, and they know that people enjoy sunbathing.
Either build a deeper connection or skip these as reasons. Every "why this college" essay is going to answer both the "why us" and the "why you" parts of the back-and-forth equation. But depending on which way your target school has worded its prompt, you'll lean more heavily on that part. This is why I'm going to split this brainstorming into two parts—to go with the "why us" and "why you" types of questions. Of course, since they are both sides of the same coin, you can always easily flip each of these ideas around in order to have it work well for the other type of prompt. For example, a "why us" essay might talk about how interesting the XYZ interdisciplinary project is and how it fits well with your senior project.
By contrast, a "why you" essay would take the same idea but flip it to say that you've learned through your senior project how you deeply value an interdisciplinary approach to academics, making you a great fit for this school and its commitment to such work, as evidenced by project XYZ. Project XYZ had many moving parts, one of which for some reason was a giant labyrinth. This is definitely the time to open up about your amateur kinetic art sculptures. Pop quiz: this pretty Gothic building is on what college campus?
Yup, that's right—could be anywhere. We can help. PrepScholar Admissions is the world's best admissions consulting service. We combine world-class admissions counselors with our data-driven, proprietary admissions strategies. We've overseen thousands of students get into their top choice schools , from state colleges to the Ivy League. We know what kinds of students colleges want to admit.
We want to get you admitted to your dream schools. Learn more about PrepScholar Admissions to maximize your chance of getting in. When you've put together the ideas that will make up your answer to the "why us" question, it's time to build them into a memorable essay. Here are some tips for doing that successfully:.
For more tips, check out our step-by-step essay-writing advice. Cookie cutters: great for dough, terrible for college applications. At this point, it'll be helpful to take a look at a "why us" essay that works and figure out what the author did to create a meaningful answer to this challenging question. It was on my official visit with the cross country team that I realized Tufts was the perfect school for me. Our topics of conversation ranged from Asian geography to efficient movement patterns, and everyone spoke enthusiastically about what they were involved in on campus.
I really related with the guys I met, and I think they represent the passion that Tufts' students have. I can pursue my dream of being a successful entrepreneur by joining the Tufts Entrepreneurs Society, pursuing an Entrepreneurial Leadership minor, and taking part in an up-and-coming computer science program. You can see more great "why this school" essays for Tufts by visiting the Tufts website.
The prompt may be phrased in one of two ways: "Why us? Writing the perfect "why this school" essay requires you to first research the specific qualities and characteristics of this school that appeal to you. You can find this information by doing any or all of the following:. Instead, focus on the details that differentiate your target school from all the others. Through your essay, you get the chance to speak directly to the college's admissions committee to help them see you the way you want to be seen - as a thinking, feeling person and not a set of impersonal statistics.
It's one of the few chances to share your thoughts, insights, and opinions, highlight your accomplishments, and share your outlook on life. The first step in shaping how you approach the essay is understanding what the purpose of the essay is to the people reading it - the admissions committee. For admissions officers, the essay is important for two major reasons:. Some colleges and universities will give you a topic to write about or present you with several specific topics to choose from. Others may present you with a broad, more generalized suggestion, but will still give you the opportunity to write about a topic of your choice.
No matter which situation you find yourself in, here are a few general tips in deciding on the topic of your essay:.
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Before you actually sit down to write a draft of your essay, spend some time organizing your thoughts and developing a framework for your ideas. Consider your purpose, your tone, and what you ultimately want to convey in your essay. Finally, remember to leave room for flexibility and creativity as you write.
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If you find yourself moving in a different direction than what you originally brainstormed, that's O. The most important thing to keep in mind is you can and should! Instead, write the first draft of your essay with the main focus on content and communicating your thoughts.
Then, step away from it for a day or two and re-read it with a fresh perspective. During this read-through, you should consider matters like organization, style, grammar, spelling, and tone. Once you have rewritten your first draft, try it out on your family, friends, English teacher, or guidance counselor - they may be able to offer helpful suggestions for improving the quality of the draft.
There is no science to writing your best essay and there are many different approaches you can take. However, there are a few dos and don'ts you should consider when writing your. Your college essay, along with your high school record, standardized test scores, and extracurricular involvement, will all be considered when a college makes it's admissions decision. A thoughtful, well-written, creative essay can cast your application in a positive light.
Keep this in mind and take full advantage of the opportunity you have with your essay. Financial Aid Forms Additional Resources. CV Resources.
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