3 years ago
Admissions Advice

Tips on College Supplemental "Why Us?"

I've heard from a lot of people and admissions officers that in the "Why Us?" supplemental, you shouldn't make it seem like the college is a stepping stone, like saying that it will help you get into the career of your dreams. What should we write about? (if there is anything specific) What are some tips? Thank you in advance!

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Accepted Answer
3 years ago

Great question @luisav! @DebaterMAX already gave a great response, but I'll just add in a few things and reiterate some of the points they made.

The central thing to remember about this essay is that even though it sounds like it should be an essay about a particular school, it's actually an essay about you. It's not enough to tell admissions officers that their school has amazing classes taught by world-class faculty, state-of-the-art research facilities, a diverse student body, and a terrific location. They already know this. You need to explain to admissions officers why these things are important to you.

Second, do you research. Ideally you can reference a specific (possibly unique) program the school offers in which you want to participate. You can explain how this program will help you pursue your research or career interests. You might also reference a specific class or two and explain why taking these classes will help you develop the skills you'll need to successfully pursue your future career, why they'll help you adopt a new, interdisciplinary approach to your interests, or why they'll help you open and expand your mind, introducing you to new and important perspectives. You might also reference a specific professor and explain why (and in what context) you hope to work with them. Maybe you want to take their class, or maybe you want to pursue an independent research project or senior thesis with them as your adviser. You might identify a couple specific extracurricular activities and explain why participating in them will elevate your college experience or help you develop important skills.

Of course, you don't need to mention specific classes, professors, extracurriculars, research opportunities, and more in every "Why school x" essay. How many topics you'll discuss depends on the amount of words you're allotted and how the essay prompt is structured. Just make sure that any time you give a new reason for wanting to attend a school, you effectively relate it back to yourself and explain why it will make your college experience more meaningful.

For more advice on this topic, check out our blog post here: https://blog.collegevine.com/how-to-write-the-why-us-college-essay/!

3 years ago[edited]

I’ve been active in the peer essay review so consider using that when you get a rough draft but here are some tips for writing:

Don’t try to “sell the college” to the admission officers. They know what they have. You want to convince them to accept you not flatter them. Instead talk about how it impacts you and what you’d gain. In a related note make it about yourself don’t have the essay be My family went there I also want to go there.

Include some sort of personal anecdote about yourself. For example:

When I think of StateSt, I fondly remember the time I did XYZ. Doing XYZ gave me an appreciation for what ABC does for me. I want to pass that on to StateSt community by continuing XYZ.

(I did this in a minute so obviously it should be more refined but the essence is there)

Then while don’t name drop a professor or just casually mention things you can and should mention specific things. StateSt Labatory of Science is something I’ve looked forward too since I first heard about StateSt. By being accepted I can do XYZ for myself becuase of what Lab of Science teacher me.

Hope this helps and feel free to comment if you’s like clarification as I’d be more than happy to help!

Edited for grammar.

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