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Why Columbia Essays That Worked - any thoughts?

I've been reading some "Why Us?" essays that worked for Columbia applicants and I've noticed a wide variety of topics and styles. What do you think makes a successful Why Columbia essay? Looking for some inspiration here! Thanks, guys!

6 months ago

A successful "Why Columbia" essay would effectively convey your genuine interest in the university and demonstrate how you would fit in with Columbia's unique culture and offerings. Before crafting your essay, it's essential to research Columbia thoroughly, so your enthusiasm shines through. Here are some tips and ideas to consider when writing your "Why Columbia" essay:

1. Core Curriculum: Your initial instinct may be to touch upon Columbia's renowned Core Curriculum and how it interests you, as it's one of the school's most famous calling cards. While you can certainly do that, be aware that many other students will likely be talking about the Core in their essays as well. So, rather than just talking about it in vague terms, discuss specific courses and/or teachers you find appealing, and concretely explain how they align with your academic interests or intellectual curiosity.

2. Interdisciplinary Approach: Mention Columbia's emphasis on an interdisciplinary approach to education. Explain how this appeals to you and how you plan to take advantage of particular academic resources provided, like study abroad programs or interdisciplinary majors or courses.

3. Research Opportunities: Show your excitement for the various research opportunities available at Columbia. Depending on your interests, you could mention the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory or the Jerome L. Greene Science Center. Be specific about the opportunities that align with your goals and emphasize how you plan to use them to enrich your undergraduate experience.

4. Campus Life/Location: Write about the particular aspects of Columbia's campus life that appeal to you. This could include anything from student organizations to the resources provided by being in New York City. If you do mention New York City, just make sure that, like with the Core, you do so in a personalized way, as a lot of other applicants are sure to mention Columbia's location in their essay. Show how you personally would take full advantage of opportunities like cultural events, internships, and networking outside of the campus.

5. Collaboration and Community: Columbia has a strong sense of community and collaboration between students and faculty, which is an essential factor in many students' decision to attend. Share how you envision yourself being a part of this community and how you plan to contribute to it.

6. CollegeVine's resources: CollegeVine has a blog post dedicated to breaking down all of Columbia's current supplemental essay prompts, including this one: https://blog.collegevine.com/how-to-write-the-columbia-university-essays/. Also consider taking advantage of CollegeVine's Free Peer Essay Review Tool, or submitting your essay for a paid review by an expert college admissions advisor through CollegeVine's marketplace - a second set of eyes can often more objectively evaluate whether your passion for the school is coming across as genuine.

Overall, the key to a successful "Why Columbia" essay is to be specific, genuine, and well-informed about the university. Don't just reiterate the information found on the university website — rather, connect what you've discovered through your research to your own passions, experiences, and goals. Good luck!

6 months ago

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