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“Why THIS College?” Essays: The Love Letter

by Sophie Herron, on Oct 17, 2014 10:40:00 AM

If you’re staring at your Early Decision application, trying to figure out the right way to answer, “Why the University of X?”, you’re not alone. We work with students every year who are trying to find the right way to express their interest in a school without sounding painfully cliché.
A great supplement essay is just like a great prom proposal-- it’s memorable, unique, and above all, reflects that you know what the recipient likes. In the Common App essay, your job is to reveal your character. In the supplement essays, your job is to prove that you and the college are a good match. And if a college asks “Why Us?” you can bet they are reading that essay especially carefully.
Here are the three steps to take write a supplement essay that will get their hearts pounding:

1.  Research their programs.

If you haven’t already, look up the different departments, professors, and  clubs you’re interested in. What opportunities are you excited to take advantage of? What conversations –with professors, the student body, the community—are you looking forward to having? Make a list of the opportunities unique to the college.

2.  Learn the college’s values.

Read the college’s About page, Facebook wall, and go see an admissions officer talk, if possible. If they have a Mission page, give it special notice. Take note of what departments, programs, or other services get special mention. Build up your sense of what the college is about, more than just education in general.
Once you can describe the college’s mission in your own words, brainstorm a list of times you lived or chose those values.

3.  Create a bridge between who you’ve been in the past to who you’ll be in the future. 

The last step is to put it all together. By telling the story of a time when you exemplified their value, (or learned! growth is always a great essay topic), and connecting it to the specific actions you plan to take on their campus, you will make it incredibly obvious to the admissions office that you’re a perfect fit.
Topics:college admission