American University Supplemental Essay 2023-24 – Prompt and Advice

July 26, 2023

why are you interested in american university essay examples

Back in the ‘90s, American University had an acceptance rate of nearly 80%. In recent years, the acceptance rate has fallen as low as 26% and is typically under 40%. Test-optional for over a decade, this now highly-selective university in Washington, D.C. utilizes a truly holistic method of assessing candidates and this means that the American University supplemental essay now plays a key role for AU applicants.

(Want to learn more about How to Get Into American U? Visit our blog entitled:  How to Get Into American University: Admissions Data and Strategies  for all of the most recent admissions data as well as tips for gaining acceptance.)

Given this increasing level of selectivity, the American University supplemental essay offers applicants a crucial opportunity to showcase their writing ability by generating a detail-rich essay that will stand out to an admissions officer.

2023-2024 American University Supplemental Essay Question

Why are you interested in American University? (150 words)

American University isn’t messing around here. Think of this one as similar to ending up in an elevator next to a potential investor. You have 20 seconds to sell your million-dollar idea. In this “elevator pitch” essay, you only have 150 words worth of real estate to communicate why American is one of your top choices. As such, this one is going to require a fair amount of school-specific research and a good deal of editing in order to tighten up your essay enough to stay under the word count.

American University Supplemental Essay (Continued) 

Below are some examples of unique facts about American University that may help you as you brainstorm your response:

  • There are more than 170 academic programs (80 bachelor’s degree programs) at American University.
  • There are students from all 50 states and 124 countries, so you will meet people from around the globe.
  • 150+  student organizations exist on campus. Talk about the ones you would like to join.
  • AU offers funding opportunities for undergraduate research . Talk about a research idea that you’d like to pursue while at AU.
  • A 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio leads to small class sizes: the average undergraduate class enrolls only 21 students.
  • AU runs its own study abroad programs in Brussels, Nairobi, and Madrid.
  • More than half of all undergrads take a semester abroad.
  • 91% of American U grads participated in at least one internship. What’s your dream internship?
  • Students have won over 140 Fulbright awards since 2000, as well as dozens of Truman and Udall Scholarships.
  • Over 240 students have won Boren and Gilman scholarships since 2000.
  • The AU radio station WAMU reaches an astounding 900,000 listeners every week.
  • AU was the first U.S. university to become carbon neutral in 2020.

Of course, these are just 12 out of the countless number of possible features that could be part of a successful essay. As you enter the prewriting stage, you’ll want to avoid some common pitfalls that we observe applicants fall into when attacking the AU “Why Us?” essay. We don’t want to label these as “mistakes” (there is nothing inherently wrong with them); they just don’t add any needle-moving value, which is the only goal here!

American University Supplemental Essay (Continued)

Common components of a mediocre “Why American U?” essay

  • Recycled statements from your other “Why Us?” essays that come across as stale, impersonal, or worst of all–irrelevant/inaccurate.
  • An itinerary of all the things you plan to do in Washington, D.C,
  • Statements about how AU “feels like home,” you know it’s the right place for you, or you’ve wanted to attend since kindergarten; show this through specifics instead.

How to write a winning “Why American U?” essay

  • How will you become an active, contributing member of the student body?
  • Show evidence of how your past/current endeavors will carry over onto AU’s campus.
  • Make sure to address both a) why AU is the perfect fit for you  and  b) why you are the perfect fit for AU.
  • Cite specific academic programs, professors, research opportunities, internship/externship programs, study abroad programs, student-run organizations, etc (as in the examples above).
  • How will you take advantage of the university’s fantastic resources both inside and outside of the classroom?

How important is the American University Supplemental Essay?

AU only considers two factors being “very important” to their applicant evaluation process:. These are: the rigor of one’s coursework and the GPA earned. In the second tier of “important” factors are: essays, recommendations, talent/ability, character/personal qualities, extracurricular activities, and volunteer work. Clearly, essays—both the main Common App essay and the supplemental prompt—are among the most significant factors in this holistic process.

American University Supplemental Essay – Want Personalized Essay Assistance?

If you are interested in working with one of College Transitions’ experienced and knowledgeable essay coaches as you craft your American University supplemental essay, we encourage you to get a quote  today.

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why are you interested in american university essay examples

American University

  • Cost & scholarships
  • Essay prompt

Want to see your chances of admission at American University?

We take every aspect of your personal profile into consideration when calculating your admissions chances.

American University’s 2023-24 Essay Prompts

Why honors short response.

What aspect of the AU Honors Program piques your interest the most?

Intellectual Curiosity Short Response

AU Honors students are distinguished by their sense of intellectual curiosity, both inside and outside of the classroom. Tell us what you are most curious about, and how that curiosity has influenced your life thus far.

Experiences and Background Short Response

We all have meaningful experiences that shape us and inform our worldview. What aspect of your background would you most like to share with other students in the Honors Program?

Global Scholars Program Short Response

In your view, what is the greatest challenge facing humanity today and how do you envision yourself being part of the solution?

Global Scholars Essay

Describe a situation in which you had to work harder than you expected. When and how did you know that your current efforts were not enough? How did you adjust?

Lincoln Scholars Essay 1

Tell us about a morally complicated text that you think would lead to good discussion for first year college students. In what way is the text morally complicated and why do you recommend it?

Lincoln Scholars Essay 2

One goal of the Lincoln Scholars program is to encourage intellectual and political diversity on campus. What does this goal mean to you and why does a program with this goal interest you?

Lincoln Scholars Short Response

List five texts, magazines, movies, websites, podcasts, music, or other media that you regularly engage with and explain briefly why you like each one. Please list a variety of types of media.

Politics, Policy, and Law Scholars Short Response 1

The Politics, Policy, and Law Scholars Program is an intensive course of study in which students from diverse backgrounds live and learn together. Given its intense and unique nature, why do you want to be a part of the program? Why do you think you would be a good fit for the Politics, Policy and Law Scholars Program?

Politics, Policy, and Law Scholars Short Response 2

The Living Learning Community and cohort aspects are integral parts of the of the Politics, Policy & Law Scholars Program. Describe a specific project, course, or other experience that required you to work with others toward a shared goal or to resolve conflict and build consensus. How did you contribute to accomplishing the goal or resolving conflict? How did you engage with others? How has this experience prepared you for the PPL program? Be specific.

Politics, Policy, and Law Scholars Program Essay

You have been hired to advise a member of Congress or a state legislator (you can choose which one, but you should pick one) about the issues that affect Americans aged 18-26. You have been asked to identify one legal, political, or policy issue that will resonate with this group of Americans and recommend a policy proposal that he or she should support and promote. Explain the issue, explain why the elected official should highlight it, and propose a specific original policy solution. Provide support for your proposed solution. Your proposal should not simply be to support another individual’s already created policy.

Public Health Scholars Essay

Discuss a Public Health issue of local, national, international, or personal importance to you. Explain why it is important to you and describe how you envision impacting this issue?

Public Health Scholars Short Response

Why do you want to join a 3-year degree program? What skills and insight do you hope to acquire through this experience?

Sakura Scholars Program Essay

The Sakura Scholars program requires students to study in both the United States and Japan, learn the Japanese language, focus on regional topics in East Asia and the Pacific, and complete a capstone for the joint bachelor’s degree in Global International Relations. Why are you interested in this program? What are your personal and/or professional goals and how will this program help you to reach them?

Sakura Scholars Program Response

In this joint degree program, you will gain first-hand comparative international experience as you spend two years at American University and two years at Ritsumeikan University. Think of a time when you faced a challenge or found yourself in an unexpected situation. Explain what happened, what you learned, and how this experience might help you adapt to different intercultural situations, and work through future challenges as a Sakura Scholar.

Scholarship Short Response 1

Discuss a significant issue in your home country about which you are passionate and describe how you would use the education you obtain at our institution, American University (AU), Washington, DC, to create positive civic and social change once you return home.

Scholarship Short Response 2

Discuss your current involvement in community service projects and volunteer activities. Describe what you have learned about yourself as a result of these activities.

Scholarship Short Response 3

Describe an obstacle or challenge you have faced in your life. How have you overcome this challenge and grown from this experience?

Scholarship Short Response 4

The AU Diplomats are a diverse group of current AU international students and US Global Nomads who have been selected by the AU Admissions team to form and maintain connections with new and prospective American University (AU) students, and to represent AU to the international community.

Our Emerging Global Leader Scholar is expected to play an impactful role in the work of our AU Diplomats group. What outreach, communication, and/or intake strategies would you employ to inform and welcome new and prospective students to American University, Washington, DC?

Scholarship Short Response 5

What are the characteristics of leadership that you most admire? Who is a leader that exemplifies those qualities, and why?

Diversity Short Response

At American University, Inclusive Excellence is a cornerstone of the academic experience for our students, and we deeply value the learning that is inspired by the diversity of backgrounds and life experiences that all our community members bring with them. Please share why you would like to join this community.

Common App Personal Essay

The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don‘t feel obligated to do so.

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you‘ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

What will first-time readers think of your college essay?

25 Genius "Why This Major" Essay Examples for Top-20 Colleges


Here's the secret to writing your "Why This Major?" essays:

They're not really asking "Why this major?" but "Why you and this major?"

Just like with your Why This College essays, you need to show that you're a perfect match for the program you're applying to through specific examples , ideas , and connections to the school's offerings .

Even if you're applying undecided or undeclared , which is common for students to do, admissions officers ask this question because they want to know these 3 things:

  • Do you have an idea about what you want your future to look like (what you want to study, possible career, etc.), and will our school help you fulfill that vision?
  • Do you have what it takes to be a successful student within your desired major or program?
  • How genuinely interested are you in this area of study? Or are you choosing it for superficial reasons (like money)?

What if you're undecided?

Even if you're undecided, you should have some idea about possible fields you're interested in.

It's impossible for you to have lived 17 or 18 years and not picked up some sort of interest that you could study in college.

After all, why are you applying to colleges in the first place? Probably to pursue a more in-depth education in a particular area.

So if you're applying undecided, you'll need to still talk about potential areas you're interested in, even if you aren't totally committed to them yet.

What makes a great "Why This Major?" essay?

The best "Why this major" answers show a deep level of interest and knowledge about the field.

Admissions officers want to know that you're serious about what you want to study.

Tip #1. Avoid superficial or cliché reasons

I often see students write generic remarks like...

  • "Math is the language of the universe"
  • "Studying communications will help me learn how to collaborate with others better."
  • "Computer science is about problem solving"

These are OK starting points, but you need to delve deeper.

How do you go deeper? Try writing about specifics of the field.

Use some geeky or technical language . Instead of saying "biology," you could write about "molecular biology and its impact on genetic engineering."

Be specific and vivid in your writing, and show your interest in the field using specific anecdotes and moments that you haven't yet written about.

Tip #2. Ask yourself questions at the heart of the area of study.

If you're writing about math, some simple but deep question to ask yourself are things like:

  • Is math discovered or created?
  • What are the unsolved mysteries of math?
  • How do the different branches of math (e.g. algebra, geometry, etc.) relate to each other?

These types of questions will get you thinking about what the major represents, rather than just what it literally is.

Focus on ideas , which are always most interesting.

Tip #3. Think about what the most common answer would be, and then say something different.

For computer science, I see a lot of students write about things like "automation", "artificial intelligence", or "problem solving."

For engineering, I see a lot of students write things about Legos or other "building" toys that they played with growing up.

For medicine, I see students write about "wanting to help people."

These are fine starting points for reflecting, but on their own it'll come off as cliché.

Tip #4. What will this school in particular offer to help you study this field better than other schools?

All colleges offer pretty much the same selection of majors and programs, so what is unique about this school's approach?

Again, you'll need to do some thinking and research.

Tip #5. Show how you've already explored the field.

Think about your classes, but more importantly, think about the ways you've gone beyond the classroom.

Those reasons are the most compelling for why you're a great fit for the major.

How to structure your "Why This Major?" essay

Here's formula you can use to write this essay if you're struggling to get started:

  • I am passionate about subject X and here's why (offer a short story or anecdote)
  • Here's is what I want to do with that passion in the future
  • This is what this school has to offer or will do in order to help me achieve my goals and how (specific and unique reasons)

Now, let's look at some examples of students who wrote successful "Why This Major?" essays.

I've gathered 25 "Why Major?" essays from students who got into top-20 schools like Brown, Georgetown, MIT, and more.

This huge list covers a variety of majors and programs—from Computer Science to English to Bioinformatics—so you'll be able to find one that's similar to yours.

Let's dive right into it.

25 "Why This Major" Essay Examples

1. "why bioinformatics" georgetown essay example.

Prompt: Please relate your interest in studying at Georgetown University to your goals. How do these thoughts relate to your chosen course of study? (If you are applying to major in the FLL or in a Science, please specifically address those interests.) (500 words max)

Why This Essay Works:

Having specific details is key to making your essays more engaging. Whenever possible, substitute broader terms for more specific ones. In this essay, the student does this well, for example by writing "recombinant DNA into Escherichia coli" instead of saying "molecular biology."

Digging into why you're passionate about certain things is important for "Why Major" type of essays like this one. Admissions wants to know how and why that interest started. This student does a great job of telling a family story that inspired their interest in French and an academic experience that sparked their biology interest.

What They Might Improve:

This essay doesn't mention much of what Georgetown would offer them. Whenever possible, it's beneficial to reference specific aspects about the school you're applying to. This demonstrates genuine interest and makes it more convincing that your studies would flourish at the school. Although this isn't a "Why Georgetown" essay, these details can and should be incorporated, as the prompt asks you to relate your chosen area(s) of study to the school.

2. "Why Linguistics?" Brown University Essay Example

Prompt: Brown’s Open Curriculum allows students to explore broadly while also diving deeply into their academic pursuits. Tell us about any academic interests that excite you, and how you might use the Open Curriculum to pursue them while also embracing topics with which you are unfamiliar. (200-250 words)

My primary interest is in languages and linguistics, specifically Spanish, Portuguese and the descent of these languages from Latin which I explored in my IB Extended Essay. Thus, something that excites me about the complete freedom of the Brown curriculum is the opportunity to learn about Hispanic and Lusophone culture, literature and language in an intersectional way through a concentration in Latin American studies combined with classes and undergraduate research in Linguistics. I intend to supplement my language acquisition with practical application through study abroad opportunities at PUC-Rio, Brazil and in Santiago, Chile, perhaps through the Engaged Scholars Program which will allow me to forge deeper connections with the communities and cultures I am studying. I am also attracted by the possibility of a 5-year BA/MA course in Linguistics which will permit me to conduct meaningful and extensive research on a topic I am truly passionate about.

However, I also have an interest in Biochemistry and Molecular biology. The Open Curriculum will enable me to pursue this avenue of study and research without detracting from my principal focus on languages. Therefore, perhaps what I am most excited for is interdisciplinary study at Brown and the possibility of forging unforeseen connections between disparate academic areas and weaving them together into a program of study that will engage, thrill, and inspire me towards a lifelong path of academic inquiry. For example, I am interested to explore how languages and sociolinguistics can be used to promote medical research and provision in Latin America.

Naming things unique to the school shows you have genuine interest. Listing specific programs, courses, or majors shows you've done your research.

The author's reasons for "Why Brown?" fit into their background and identity. This makes their reasons seem genuine and compelling.

The essay is divided into two parts with distinct answers. Showing how those reasons relate could make the essay more cohesive.

Ending with a sentence "For example..." leaves more to be desired and explained.

3. "Why Medicine and Surgery?" Pomona College Essay Example

Prompt: Most Pomona students enter the College undecided about a major, or they change their minds about their prospective major by the time they graduate. Certainly we aren’t going to hold you to any of the choices you’ve made above. But, in no more than 250 words, please tell us why you’ve chosen the academic programs (or undecided!) that you have listed. (250 words max)

I’m sitting backstage at my first international piano competition, anxiously awaiting my turn to perform. Unconsciously, I massage my right wrist, still recovering from a recent injury. The young man beside me feels my nervousness and starts a conversation.

As we whisper, I notice him rub his hands together uncomfortably. “What’s wrong?” I ask, quickly leaving my own wrist alone. He suppresses a nervous laugh, then quietly details the long and unsuccessful surgery that shattered his dream of becoming a professional musician. His hands were permanently damaged.

“Alessandra Fang,” the judges call. I stand up, walk to the main stage and look back to see him encourage me with a stiff, crooked thumbs-up. As my fingers dance on the keys, I observe the fragile muscles and ligaments under my skin.

I realize in that moment that it is not in a massive concert hall where I wanted to change people’s lives, but on a smaller stage: an operating room. As an artist who has had her share of painful, music-related injuries, my goal is to become a musician’s physician, and blend my greatest two passions so that I might bring relief to those around me, while understanding their musical and anatomical plight.

I wish to pursue both Biology and Music programs at Pomona College. I want to become a hand surgeon while still developing my artistry on the piano. After all, surgery also has its own cadence, complexity and composition.

4. "Why Education/Teaching?" University of Michigan Essay Example

Prompt: Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate College or School (including preferred admission and dual degree programs) to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests? (100-550 words)

Growing up, I always pictured myself as a great teacher as an adult. With the second best secondary education program in the country and an emphasis on the liberal arts and undergraduate education, I am confident that U-M will shape me into the great educator I’ve dreamed of becoming since I was a kid.

Hallmarks of a liberal arts education include teamwork, problem-solving, clear writing, and effective communication. These are also skills that any exceptional teacher needs. U-M offers an unparalleled curriculum that prepares students to successfully run classrooms and obtain Provisional Teacher Certifications upon graduation, exposing students to diverse classes and people in Ann Arbor, and providing them with an invaluable liberal arts education along the way.

Being an effective teacher means connecting with and stimulating all students at its core. The liberal arts foundation I will receive in the College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts (LSA), married with the experiential education and training the School of Education (SoE) will provide, will mold me into that great teacher—a mentor and role model for any student, regardless of creed—I’ve always aspired to become.

The Teacher Education Preferred Admission (TEPA) for incoming freshmen piqued my interest because the program is the crossroad between the liberal arts and teacher education; two components I was looking for in a college. TEPA will allow me to build a strong liberal arts base in LSA my first two years on campus before entering SoE, while also gaining beneficial experiences in the education field early on.

The education-oriented programs WE READ and Students Empowering Education specifically appealed to me because they will bridge my liberal arts education with my anticipated career as a high school English teacher. Similarly, my Spanish classes will have a practical application in the Ann Arbor Language Partnership, a program that immediately interested me as a potential Spanish minor.

During my first two years as a pre-admit, I'll be supported by my TEPA peers and staff, specifically from my SoE personal adviser. TEPA will take the large campus and make it feel smaller, allowing me to form organic connections with like-minded people and groups that can cultivate my interest in education before entering SoE junior year.

I need a meaningful education to be a meaningful educator. Truthfully, I could go to almost any college to become a teacher, but only schools that synthesize in- and out-of-classroom learning like SoE produce great ones. U-M ranking sixth in the country for undergraduate teaching bolstered my interest in the university and confirmed what I already knew: I will receive an education in LSA and SoE that will change who I am as a person and not just a student, and prepare me to provide the same for others as a teacher.

The great educator I’ve always envisioned myself becoming is one that can inspire without bounds. From my time as a student, I’ve come to realize that a truly influential teacher can work with students who have little in common with themselves and still be impactful. LSA's purposeful and broad curriculum, paired with SoE's hands-on courses and fieldwork, and the additional opportunities available through TEPA, will shape me into that life-changing teacher, for any student who walks through my classroom door.

5. "Why Business?" University of Michigan Essay Example

Growing up in a community that bleeds maize and blue, the community represented by the University of Michigan has always been one that I could see myself representing as both a student and alumni. From football games at the big house to classes at Ross, each and every opportunity available at U of M represents a piece of my life that I hope to continue to incorporate into my life for the rest of my life.

The opportunity to take courses that allow for enriched experiences in developing a real business is one that I intend to be involved in as soon as possible. I will use this type of class as a way to test my skills and learn where I need to become stronger as a leader and student. Watching others equally driven as me, their tactics that are successful and not successful will imprint on how I attack problems in the future and shape my overall leadership style.

By being involved in the Multidisciplinary Action Projects down the road as a graduate student, I hope to learn firsthand what it takes to run and be involved with real businesses. Firsthand exposure is the best way to learn how to solve problems- especially surrounded by peers who are equally as driven and dedicated as I am.

Filled with students striving for nothing but the best they are capable of is a community that I am certain I will enrich and fit into. By sharing ideas and collaborating together instead of against each other, each and every one of us will contribute to the business world as leaders and innovators.

The University of Michigan is a place I can see myself learning and growing as a leader for the next four years as I intend to use all of the tools at my disposal to become a top business person. The opportunities within the school I will be involved in and the peers that I will work beside only enrich the values of what being a Wolverine mean to me.

6. "Why Math and Accounting?" University of Southern California (USC) Essay Example

Prompt: Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests and why you want to explore them at USC specifically. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections. (250 words max)

All throughout my life, I always loved doing math no matter what the concept. My love for math led to me taking advanced math classes for my grade. I even had to take a bus to a high school when I was in middle school to take an advanced math class. I always knew that I would want to pursue a career dealing with mathematics, but I was not really sure until my junior year. I had not decided what I wanted to be in the future, so my uncle suggested being a CPA, and I looked into it. When I did my research, it interested me as they made a decent amount of money and they worked with numbers.

At USC, I would like to major in accounting and gain the opportunity to possibly receive an internship at one of the big accounting firms in Los Angeles through the networking of USC. If I were able to get an internship, I would be able to gain experience for when I graduate and search for a job. I would also consider going for a Masters of Business Administration as I know that USC has one of the best business programs in the country.

7. "Why Computer Science?" Columbia University Essay Example

Prompt: Describe two or three of your current intellectual interests and why they are exciting to you. Why will Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences be the right environment in which to pursue your interests? (650 words max)

8. "Why Engineering and Law?" University of Michigan Essay Example

The University of Michigan’s College of Engineering has a proactive approach to career path discovery and job search. While I do hope to aspire to a corporate attorney, an engineering degree from the University of Michigan would provide me the advantage of readiness.

U.S News and World Report published an article about challenges law school applicants with STEM degrees face. Number one was the lack of research skills. Michigan Undergraduate Engineering has research opportunities for all undergraduate students. I hope to even take advantage of The College of Engineering (CoE) International Internship Program. The chance to see the world and contribute to the world-class studies conducted by Michigan Engineering students is a unique quality. The article also reported that STEM applicants often lack job experience. Michigan Engineering hosts internship fairs, which even freshman can participate in. By utilizing the opportunity to work in a professional setting, I will be more adapt to presenting myself in a mature and respectable manor in a corporate setting.

Many people are puzzled by my aspirations to become a corporate lawyer with an engineering degree. While I enjoy learning about many areas of study, math and science have always peaked my interest. Like my attraction to law, I am drawn to the definitiveness of engineering specifically. While there is a right and wrong in methods and procedures, there is a chance to be creative; for the end goal is functionality. Law requires critical thinking, problem solving, and the questioning of presented facts and figures. These skills are also encompassed in Michigan Engineering. With a technical understanding of industry and engineering, I will be able to more accurately represent a corporation. Like the professors at Michigan Engineering, I hope to be an expert in my field. At Michigan Engineering, I will be educated by the best of the best. Professors that have been exposed to their fields in every aspect; allowing them to provide the best guidance to students. Instead of just presenting facts and figures in a courtroom, I will be able to understand and explain them.

9. "Why Psychology?" Carnegie Mellon Essay Example

Prompt: Most students choose their intended major or area of study based on a passion or inspiration that’s developed over time – what passion or inspiration led you to choose this area of study? (300 words max)

When I was younger, I faced a lot of negative emotions including anxiety and low self-esteem. For a long time, I felt alone and as if no one understood how I felt. My self confidence was at an all-time low when I started taking psychology. All of a sudden the negative emotions I was feeling started making sense. I was suddenly able to understand how people were wired and why others treated me a certain way. I in fact was able to feel empathy for my aggressors after understanding that those who treated me negatively often faced struggles of their own. Most importantly, I felt as though something out there finally understood me. Because psychology offered insight into my own behavior and helped me to understand others, I was eventually able to overcome my insecurities.

In the future, I would like to help others do the same. No matter where I end up, understanding why people behave a certain way and being more considerate and empathetic for others will only help me thrive. Mental health is a growing issue in our society. The world we live in is a confusing place filled with pain, but psychology provides a way to determine the cause of this suffering and how to change it. I never want anyone to feel the isolation and sorrow I felt when I was younger. I want to help others become compassionate and unconditionally loving not just toward others, but to themselves. Even if I only make a small change in the world and affect just one person’s life, I would like to pursue that.

10. "Why Biology and Environmental Science?" University of Pennsylvania Essay Example

Prompt: Considering the specific undergraduate school you have selected, how will you explore your academic and intellectual interests at the University of Pennsylvania? For students applying to the coordinated dual-degree and specialized programs, please answer these questions in regard to your single-degree school choice; your interest in the coordinated dual-degree or specialized program may be addressed through the program-specific essay. (300-450 words)

As a child the world fascinated me. From questioning the makeup of the dirt I played in, to doubting the existence of gravity as I flew a kite, I was always thinking. Time passed, and my consciousness opened to more, like atoms, the Big Bang Theory, the psychology behind dreams, and the list goes on. Everything fascinated me; curiosity quickly became a part of my character. Some say ignorance is bliss, but I have to disagree. Ignorance is what fuels my curiosity; ignorance is what drives me to discover, learn, and initiate change. Living in a small rural town with my grandmother and disabled father, I have been limited by geography and socioeconomics. A perfect blend of humanities and factualities, the College of Arts and Sciences is an exploratory lab for all I do not know. At Penn, courses from Neurobiology of Learning and Memory to The Sociology of Gender allow me to rid my ignorance one class at a time. The unique and specialized curriculum provides a place to explore whatever I wonder and answer whatever I question. While my grandmother did not have the money for me to attend science camps, to visit museums, or to travel more than a few hours from my home, living in the country always provided me with endless exploration. My interest in trees in particular led me to specialize in the forestry portion of our Envirothon team for four years of high school. The passion I have for biology is second to my interest in helping others. Rural areas of Pennsylvania are in desperate need for physicians, especially in the field of women’s health. My goal is to return to my community and fill that need. As a low income, first-generation student, I have had limited opportunities, but I have seized any that I could and where there were none, I created some. As a seventh grader, I pioneered the colorguard of our newly formed high school marching band. Last year, as captain of 14 twirlers, I took my first plane ride to Disney World where my band performed. This experience taught more than I could ever learn in a classroom. Similarly, there are endless opportunities at Penn, both intra- and extra-curricular, and I plan to take advantage of all that I can to feed my fire.

11. "Why Finance and Political Science?" University of Pennsylvania Essay Example

This essay does a great job of conveying a thoughtful and candid applicant. Their phrasing, although verbose in some places, comes across genuine because the author walks you through how they learned about the school, what they're looking for in a school, and why the school would offer those specific things. Phrases like "I didn't know if I could honestly see myself studying that" are conversational and natural-sounding, which help create a sincere tone.

By referencing specific programs, like "Penn in Washington" as well as various minors and concentrations, it is clear this student has done their research about the school. One of the most important aspects for a "Why Us" essay is to find specific and unique opportunities and name them in your essay. These could be things like specific professors and their work, campus and its location, interesting classes, unique internship/study-abroad/job programs, special events, and many more. The key is referencing things that are entirely unique to the school and not many other schools too. Avoid broad terms like "renowned faculty" or "interdisciplinary studies" because virtually all colleges offer things like this, and these are some of the most over-used and artificial reasons used in "Why Us" essays.

This essay has many moments of repetition that are unnecessary. In general, avoid repeating your ideas and when editing, ask yourself of each sentence: does this add something distinctly new and important to my essay? There are two common mistakes that often create repetition: prefacing your ideas and summarizing your ideas. Unlike academic writing, you don't need to "prepare" the reader for what you're going to say, and you don't need to conclude it with a summary. By doing so, you only create unnecessary repetition and take up words which could otherwise be used to include new specific details or ideas.

This essay spends nearly half of its words explaining the "interdisciplinary" opportunities at UPenn. However, this reason is quite superficial and not at all unique to Penn, as almost all colleges offer some sort of interdisciplinary study (i.e. combining your interests or studying multiple fields). Talking about "interdisciplinary study" is one of the most common reasons students use in their "Why Us" essay, and it often comes across as generic and unoriginal. Instead, look for offerings that no other (or very few other) schools provide. Narrow down your reasons "why" to make them more specific to the school, even if they are smaller scale. You can mention things like "interdisciplinary studies" or "diverse student body" briefly as a reason why, but don't make them one of your primary reasons why, unless you have something particularly unique about it.

12. "Why Engineering?" Duke University Essay Example

Prompt: If you are applying to the Pratt School of Engineering as a first-year applicant, please discuss why you want to study engineering and why you would like to study at Duke. (150 words max)

At Duke I was equally entranced by the articulate movements of 3D printers in the Co-Lab and the stunning Gothic architecture. Instead of forming a dichotomy, these aspects of Duke blended to symbolize its emphasis on interdisciplinary education, which will offer me a nuanced perspective of the world integral to becoming a leader in engineering.

I will join the Academy for Model Aeronautics and share my passion for designing drones, while taking fascinating courses such as “Taboo Markets” and “Banality of Evil”, while simultaneously working on an engineering project that improves real people’s lives in “Engineering Design”. By joining the Duke Robotics Club, I can expand upon my love for robotics, and I hope to write for the Duke Engineering magazine, as well as join the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. By drawing from this diverse range of educational experiences, I can become a leader in creating a better future.

13. "Why Neuroscience?" University of Southern California (USC) Essay Example

I had never considered traveling across the country to pursue an education. In fact, living in Pittsburgh all of my life and growing up with people who are so adamant about staying put, forced me to believe that I too had to box myself into this small, yet evolving city. However, now I can confidently tell my friends and family that I want to travel to California for college (and ignore their odd looks).

What strikes me most about USC is its ability to maintain uniformity despite its diverse student body--in interests, ethnicity, and opinion. There are not many schools where I could be best friends with filmmakers, artists, photographers, chemists, potential CEOs, and writers. Although all of these people are spread across different schools, they still seem to maintain a cultural unity. Being surrounded by such a distinct trojan pride combined with the ambitious atmosphere would be both inspiring and propulsive.

At USC, I would not have to confine to merely one of my interests. I have always had aspirations of becoming a doctor and pursuing neuroscience, but have never felt comfortable ignoring the humanities. As a Trojan, I could pursue research at the Dana and David Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center or even take part in PIBBS, while also honing my writing skills through the intricate Writing Program.

Much like the students, my interests could somehow be molded into a diverse uniformity, and I could prove my fellow Pittsburghers that perhaps they need to move around more.

14. "Why Journalism?" Ithaca College Essay Example

Prompt: Please tell us why you selected this specific academic program and what other academic programs interest you. (10-200 words)

Recording devices have been banned from the courtroom of the Supreme Court Building since 1946. Therefore, when the Court makes a landmark decision, interns must hand-deliver paper copies of the ruling to news organizations.

The interns often pair running shoes with their business attire, for the quarter-mile sprint from the Court building to the area where networks ​await.

When I first saw photographs of “The Running of the Interns”, I wanted nothing more than to ​be​ one of those people. I wanted to feel my running shoes beating against the sidewalks, to feel sweat staining my suit.

Why did this tradition attract me to journalism? Because it reminded me that the news is a race, a constantly-changing collection of stories shaping social and political development.

The opportunity to contribute to that collection is why, beyond Ithaca’s journalism program, I’m also interested in the College’s minors in Politics and Writing.

I think all of this desire to be part of a story defines what it means to be a journalist, a writer: When I become a journalism major at Ithaca College, and, later, perhaps a running intern, I get to be a contender in the race to change the world.

15. "Why Economics and Political Science?" University of Michigan Essay Example

In my junior year microeconomics class, my teacher extensively explored the ways in which people from different socioeconomic classes were affected by our economic system. I was frustrated by the ways our country forces those living in poverty to spend the little money they have on taxable goods. I began to empathize with them. How can people pull themselves out of poverty if their government seems to be working against them? More than anything, I was frustrated that I felt powerless to help them in any way.

Those lessons inspired and motivated me. I had always looked at economics as nothing more than an analysis of business models and resource allocation. I began to see it as a way to fix fundamental problems in our society, from examining the effects of healthcare expansion on crime and poverty rates to studying how shifts in our political climate affect how our country’s financial process will change. I now see economics as a way to help those in need in my country and throughout the world.

I volunteered after school for Representative Dingell and had the opportunity to attend numerous events hosted by the Ford School. Again and again, I was impressed by the extent of the Ford School’s student involvement in critical issues. Through my work with the Congresswoman, I was able to gain a greater understanding of how different groups of people were affected by shifts in political and economic priorities. My goal is to become a civil rights attorney or study economics as a way to promote sustainable growth in developing nations.

I want to begin my studies at the University of Michigan in LSA to gain a foundation in economics and political science-related courses. After my first year, I hope to gain admission to the Ford School. The connections that LSA and Ford have to Poverty Solutions solidified by interest in the University of Michigan. If I attended these schools as an undergraduate student, I would be able to assist with research on the causes and ramifications of poverty. Professor Michael Barr’s research on policy initiatives and our financial system is fascinating from the perspective of a prospective economics major. At the University of Michigan, I would be able to join teams of renowned researchers working toward the betterment of our society and our world.

The range of schools working in connection with Poverty Solutions is evidence of the University’s devotion to civic engagement. I would be able to participate in groundbreaking research regarding issues I am interested in; I would have the ability to study poverty and ways to stunt or alleviate its effects in other countries. As someone hoping to pursue a career in public service, it is truly incredible to have the opportunity to join a research community specifically geared toward solving problems I am passionate about solving.

I want to join the University of Michigan’s legacy of innovators. I want to be part of the LSA community, studying economics and political science. I want to attend the Ford School and understand how policy in America and abroad has an effect on global poverty. I want to be involved with the Poverty Solutions Initiative, conducting groundbreaking research on the ways we can reform our financial system to better serve the lower and middle classes.

16. "Why English Major?" Rice University Essay Example

Prompt: Please explain why you wish to study in the academic areas you selected above. (150 words max)

It's an understatement to label me as an English geek; I am that kid who squeals in excitement in English class when given a new essay assignment while others may groan in exasperation. I understand why some may be a bit anxious when preparing to turn in an essay for evaluation; you could bring an essay to two different English teachers and receive two different grades on it. This subjectivity is why some folks may prefer subjects such as mathematics in which the right answer is not debatable. However, its subjectivity is exactly what captivates me. I enjoy reasoning my opinions of arguments and the intentions of authors.

I was really happy when I learned I didn't have to major in Criminal Justice or Political Science to be a civil rights lawyer because I want to become a professional author as well. So, majoring in English is perfect for me.

17. "Why Political Science?" University of Michigan Essay Example

Riding the elevator to the seventh floor of Haven Hall, my heart was practically leaping out of my chest. I was meeting with Dr. Jenna Bednar of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts Department of Political Science, and as I recalled her credentials- B.A. in Political Science from Michigan, M.A. and PhD in Political Science from Stanford- I felt increasingly out of place. As a junior in high school with limited political experience, I am grateful that she agreed to take time out of her day to meet with me and answer my numerous questions about LSA, Michigan, and political theory.

Upon entering her office, my eyes were drawn to bookshelves full of political literature, from the classics like De Tocqueville and Locke (which I read in a summer college program in 2017), to her own recently published work, The Robust Federation. Encouraged by her broad smile and having just completed an official campus tour, I launched into my questions. Dr. Bednar described the connections she and her students have made at Michigan, through LSA and in general.

This revealed to me that the faculty would take a personal interest in my academic career. We discussed the average class size in LSA and the Department of Political Science, her academic background, and how to survive Michigan winters. Dr. Bednar then brought my attention to the benefits that LSA Political Science gives its students.

For example, as head of the Michigan in Washington program, Dr. Bednar's passion for both political science and education was evident as she introduced me to one of Michigan's most influential academic programs. Although I hail from two miles outside the D.C. border, I aspire to participate in the Michigan in Washington program, to build on my internship of the past year with my delegate to the Maryland General Assembly.

Under his guidance, I conducted nationwide policy research, attended civic association meetings and development forums, and traveled to our state capitol to watch the legislative process unfold. Consequently, an internship at the federal level is my logical next step toward building the foundations of a political career.

Dr. Bednar, upon hearing about my internship with my delegate, suggested that I think about the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. I believe that this research program offers a unique means of building my understanding of political science. I am eager to apply to the UROP program in hopes of furthering my research skills within the complex political landscape of today. Furthermore, the variety of courses that I can explore as a political science major is remarkable: from "Sports, Politics, and Society", to "Nations and Nationalism," the scope of topics will keep me engaged.

When I sat down with Dr. Bednar, I expected a five-minute chat; I received forty-five minutes of helpful advice, political theorizing, and well wishes. Leaving her office, I felt energized and ready to dive into LSA Political Science right there. Her demeanor helped to build my confidence to boldly seek connections in my search for knowledge. I saw the Michigan difference firsthand, from various undergraduate opportunities for political science, to a universal love for the school from students and faculty alike.

18. "Why Chemistry and Biology?" MIT Essay Example

Prompt: Although you may not yet know what you want to major in, which department or program at MIT appeals to you and why? (100 words max)

I remember boiling down cabbage with my dad to make titration indicators. When I first read about the process of translation, of rendering mRNA into proteins, my eyes filled with tears; this is what I would do, apply the chemistry that had defined my childhood to my love of biology. In the past few months alone, MIT researchers have visualized a critical growth kinase and decoded the kavalactone gene. To major in both the chemistry and biology departments at MIT would be an unequaled opportunity to explore the molecular basis of life and apply that knowledge to real-world innovation.

19. "Why Neuroscience?" University of Michigan Essay Example

My favorite class in high school was also my hardest. It was World Culture/World Literature, an hour and a half each day of seeing history, art, and literature not as separate entities but as intricately connected, one incomplete without the other. I learned to see humanism in Greek sculpture, religious propaganda in the chiaroscuro of Baroque paintings, disillusionment in modern art. Although seemingly unrelated to my STEM-leaning interests, the analytical skills I learned there would prove invaluable in neuroscience research. Connecting electroencephalography results to mechanisms for chronic pain relief wasn’t all too different from drawing links between historical movements and paintings; both required an intimate knowledge of background information and a willingness to take risks, to see new relationships and forge unprecedented connections.

LSA embodies precisely this mentality, fostering interdisciplinary learning and problem-solving. With classes like “Health, Biology, and Society: What is Cancer?”, bridging humanistic and biological approaches to disease, and graduation requirements ranging from Natural Sciences to Race and Ethnicity, LSA prepares students for the real world, where problems necessitate not just single-minded expertise but also a diverse understanding of other factors involved. My internship experience only confirmed the practicality of this perspective; we used mindfulness meditation alongside spinal cord stimulation technologies to treat chronic pain.

This mindset is not confined to learning inside the classroom. The LSA Opportunity Hub is robust, connecting students to internships at Nike, Forbes, and the US Department of Education, among other places. To intern as a research assistant at Mayo Clinic, to use mathematical models to predict brain tumor growth like current Michigan junior Tatum Doyle would be an unequalled opportunity. Her work in incorporating mathematical concepts in medical research personifies the LSA culture, where problems are best solved holistically. LSA’s interdisciplinary approach does not detract from fostering specialization and excellence in specific fields, but adds; its Biochemistry program promotes innovation and independence in its students and is ranked top in the nation.

I remember boiling down cabbage with my dad to make acid/base indicators. In elementary school, my teacher wrote that I had been spending too much time reading animal books and too little time playing with other kids. I loved (and still love) all things living, often marvelling at the complexity of the animal kingdom, the human body, the organs, and the cells that were the foundation for everything else. The first time I read about the process of translation, of rendering mRNA into proteins, my eyes filled with tears; this is what I wanted to do, to apply the chemistry that had defined my childhood to my love of biology.

LSA shares that passion, dedicating a plethora of resources, both intellectual and material, to its Biochemistry department. With equipment like atomic absorption spectrophotometers, classes in Endocrinology, and distinguished professors, the University of Michigan has everything any biochemistry undergraduate student would need, and much more. To research under a PI like Dr. Kopelman, winner of the J. William Fulbright Research Award, would be a dream fulfilled. His work in employing 5-dimensional chemical imaging to visualize and treat tumors does what LSA does best; it uses an interdisciplinary approach to make academic discoveries both relevant and essential in the real world. It is a culture I would be honored to take part in, should I be accepted.

20. "Why Undeclared?" University of Michigan Essay Example

Sweat drips down my face onto homework in front of me.

I just got home from a soccer game; I’m not stressed. This is until I realize I still have a plethora of edits to make on my lab report as well as emails to write for an upcoming NHS event. AND I have three tests the next day.

Although stressful, I enjoy every minute of juggling a variety of academics and extracurriculars. I appreciate all the opportunities my high school offers to me and I take advantage of as many as I can handle. Thanks to my involved years of high school, I have received a great education as well as many experiences I would never trade away.

Entering my senior year and researching universities I may want to attend, there is one question which continuously presents itself. What do I want to major in when I get to college? It is a scary question and I have never known the answer. Despite participating in many extracurriculars such as National Honor Society, Science Olympiad, Math Honor Society, and Future Business Leaders of America, I still have no idea what I want to do with my life.

As a student at LSA, I would be able to use the abundance of resources to explore possibilities for life after college. Since I am one of the many college applicants who has not decided upon a major, a large, liberal arts college like LSA is the perfect place for me to discover more about myself, pursue interests, and find my purpose. I have considered medicine, business, economics, and law. The two courses I have enjoyed the most are biomedical sciences and US History. I am truly all over the map!

With so much variety at LSA, I would be able to change majors or take a diverse group of classes so that I could find what I want to study. LSA is unique from its University of Michigan counterparts because it offers a broader range of departments, majors, and courses. The flexibility at LSA would help me discover what I want my life to be like while supporting me through my journey.

Additionally, LSA provides students with multiple opportunities not found anywhere else at University of Michigan. One program that caught my eye was Michigan Learning Communities. This program appeals to me because having the resources of this large university, yet finding a niche in the community to challenge myself and others, can help me grow as a student and a person. Similarly, the Opportunity Hub at LSA jumped out at me as I researched the University and toured the school. I would take full advantage of the great connections the Opportunity Hub provides, as it could help me find an internship or job offer when the perfect time comes. MLCs, the Opportunity Hub, and the many other programs which LSA offers are the main reasons why LSA would be the best college fit for me.

I was initially drawn to the University of Michigan by the beautiful campus, great athletics programs, unmatched prestige, and massive alumni network. However, as I dove deeper, I discovered LSA, a school that can help me realize my purpose and passions while providing a focused learning environment to lead me to a bright future.

21. "Why Computer Science?" Cornell Essay Example

22. "why kinesiology" university of michigan essay example, 23. "why mathematics" cornell essay example.

Prompt: Cornell Engineering celebrates innovative problem solving that helps people, communities…the world. Consider your ideas and aspirations and describe how a Cornell Engineering education would allow you to leverage technological problem-solving to improve the world we live in. (250-650 words)

For "Why Us?" college essays, one of the most important parts is to show ways you imagine being involved on campus. This student does a great job of showing that they've done their research about Cornell, by connecting their passion for studying heart disease to specific initiatives already taking place on campus. Try researching what events, research, or programs are being conducted. By referencing those specifics, you can create convincing reasons of why this school is fit for you.

When discussing your intended area of study, one effective strategy is to identify a problem that you see. This problem can be in the field itself, your community, or the world. Then, you can connect this problem to yourself by showing how you'd want to help solve it. Don't try to tackle it entirely yourself, but show how you'd "take bites" out of this larger problem. It is also important that you identify potential solutions to the problem. You definitely don't (and shouldn't) have all the answers, but what do you see as potential steps for combatting the issue?

Using technical language, such as referencing "semi-elliptical curves" and "modular form" in this essay, will help show your in-depth knowledge and passion. Don't be afraid to use technical jargon like this, and don't worry if admissions officers may not know all the terms. As long as they have context and knowing the terminology isn't critical to understanding your point, including "nerdy" language will make your essay more engaging and demonstrate your intelligence.

If you have personal connections to the school you're applying to (such as legacy, family members who work there, students or faculty you're close with), it can be a good idea to reference those connections. Showing personal connections to the school makes admissions think, "They're already practically one of us!" Just make sure that these connections aren't contrived: only write about them if you have a clear purpose within your essay for introducing them. In this essay, the student references their brother who attended Cornell, but does so in a way that naturally ties into the rest of their reasons for "why Cornell."

24. "Why Computer Science?" Brown University Essay Example

Prompt: Why are you drawn to the area(s) of study you indicated? (150 words max)

There was a time when I was low and afraid to be with myself. That’s when I dived into programming. I always sat with my laptop. But unlike others on Instagram or Snapchat, I was coding. I always kept myself occupied so I wouldn’t think about hardships. But as I was solving those little Instantiation and StackOverflow errors, I realized that any problem in my life had a solution. I could either modify the code and right the wrong, or just keep compiling them, producing no output. So, life is not all that different. That is why I want to pursue Computer Science. I know I can work to keep myself happy. Inevitably, what makes me happy is Computer Science, which is what I want to pursue.

25. "Why Journalism?" Emerson College Essay Example

Prompt: As you know, the academic programs at Emerson College are focused on communication and the arts. Please tell us what influenced you to select your major. If you're undecided about your major, what attracted you to Emerson's programs? Please be brief. (100-200 words)

Recording devices have been banned from the courtroom of the United States Supreme Court Building since 1946. Therefore, when the Court makes a landmark decision, interns must hand-deliver paper copies of the ruling to news organizations.

The quarter-mile sprint from the Court building to the area where networks ​await ​is no easy feat. But the interns dress with this mind, often pairing running shoes with their business attire.

When I first saw photographs of “The Running of the Interns”, I knew that I wanted nothing more than to ​be​ one of those people. I wanted to feel my running shoes beating against the limestone sidewalks, to feel sweat staining my suit.

Why did a tradition centered around dashing through D.C. attract me to journalism? Because it reminded me that the news is a race, a constantly-changing collection of stories shaping social and political development.

This, I think, defines both what it means to be a journalist and why I want to be a journalist: When I become a journalism major at Emerson, and, later, a part of the press--perhaps a running intern--I get to be a contender in the race to change the world.

What You Can Learn From These "Why This Major" Essay Examples

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Why This College Essay Sample

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Why This College Essay Sample – Introduction

Not sure how to start a “why this college” essay? Looking for a why this college essay sample? You’re in luck. We’ve compiled a collection of standout why school essay examples from a variety of schools to help you prepare to write your own why this college essay.

Throughout the admissions process, you’ll likely write “why this college” essays for many schools on your list. These prompts ask you to cite specific reasons why you’d like to attend a given school. As you start writing these essays, it can be tough to know where to start.

In this guide, we’ve included a variety of “why school” essay examples. Our why school essay examples come from many different schools—ten, to be exact. We hope these essay examples can help you prepare to write your own why this college essay.

We’ll review a “why this college” essay sample from each of the following schools and explain what made it effective.

We’ll look at why school essay examples from:

  • University of Chicago
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Wake Forest University
  • Tufts University
  • Lewis & Clark College
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • Duke University
  • Franklin & Marshall College
  • University of Florida
  • Lafayette College

What are examples of Why School essay prompts?

why this college essay sample

Before we take a look at our why this college essay examples, let’s start with the prompts. You’ll notice that our why this college essay examples have a lot in common. Namely, each why this college essay sample discusses specific details why a student belongs at a given school.

Still, you should note that each why this college essay sample is different. Each essay responds to their own why this college essay sample prompt. While these prompts have a lot in common, you’ll notice some key differences.

Essay prompts change

As you read our why college essay examples, you may notice that the prompts are slightly different from those below. That is because some schools change their prompts in different years.

At times, colleges will also eliminate prompts entirely. Certain schools, like Franklin & Marshall and Lewis & Clark , no longer require a why this college essay. However, we have still included why college essay examples for these schools. By reading these why this college essay samples, you can learn more about how to approach this type of prompt.

Now, let’s look at some prompts in the table of why this college essay examples below. 

As you can see from our why school essay examples prompts, not every prompt is as open-ended as “why this school.” So, compare each school’s why this college essay examples and prompt. Then, you’ll notice certain similarities and differences. You can apply this knowledge as you draft your own essays.

By reading through our “why college” essay examples, you’ll also familiarize yourself with the different prompts you might encounter. You can approach any prompt that references a school itself, either generally or specifically ( academics , curriculum, culture, etc.). You can see this in our why college essay examples prompts.

Different schools, different prompts

Some of the prompts are quite straightforward. They simply ask the question you’ll see answered in our why college essay examples: “Why this school?”

Other prompts, however, are a bit more leading. These might ask students about their chosen majors and how they align with a school’s values. They may also ask why a specific school will help them achieve their goals.

In all of our “why college” essay examples, you’ll notice that the prompts discuss each school by name. You’ll find questions like “why are you applying” and “how did you learn about us?” in these prompts. However, each of these boil down to the same essential question: why are you a good fit for our school?

Next, we’ll look at how our why college essay examples answer this question. But first, let’s take a look at a handful of schools and their essay prompts. This will help you understand how your why this college essay sample fits into your application strategy.

why are you interested in american university essay examples

Which schools require a Why This College essay?

Why This College Essay Sample

As you’ll see from our why school essay examples, many schools require a why this college essay sample. Our why this college essay examples include many schools, but this list isn’t exhaustive. So, do your own research to see if each school on your list requires a why this college essay.

The good news is many of our why school essay examples prompts are very similar. So, wherever you apply , our why college essay examples are great resources to reference as you write your own why school essay.

To get you started, here are some of the schools that require a why this college essay. You’ll find some why this college essay examples for these schools below. Others, you can check out in our school-specific essay guides :

Top Universities with a Why School Essay

  • Northwestern
  • American Unviersity

Why college essay examples for some of these schools didn’t make it into our list of college essays that worked. However, we still wanted to mention a few more schools that require a why this college essay.

More Why School Essay Examples Guides to Explore

Why northwestern.

Northwestern University has a two-part “why this college” essay sample prompt. They want to know what resources, opportunities, and/or communities you plan to engage with on campus. They also want to know how these offerings may enrich your time at Northwestern and beyond.

Why Barnard

The why this college essay sample prompt for Barnard College is a little more open-ended. Similar to other schools, Barnard asks what factors led you to apply at Barnard. They also ask you to share why you think Barnard will be a good match for you.

Yale University’s why this college essay sample prompt is similar to Barnard’s: “What is it about Yale that has led you to apply?” This is your opportunity to get specific about why Yale excites you. It also lets you share what you hope to take advantage of on campus.

Why Dartmouth

Dartmouth College’s why this college essay sample prompt asks students “Why Dartmouth?”—a classic why school prompt. Similar to Northwestern’s prompt, Dartmouth’s specifically asks what aspects of their academic program, community, or campus environment attract you.

Brown University asks students to describe their academic interests and how they might use Brown’s Open Curriculum to pursue them. In this instance, since the curriculum is specific to Brown, you can think of this prompt in two parts. First, what do you want to study, and second, why do you want to study it at Brown? In this way, this essay is a why this college essay, so should also be our list.

Why This College Essay Examples

why college essay examples

You can use our why school essay examples to help you begin to write your why school essays. Each of our college essays that worked was chosen because it is a strong and compelling “why this college” essay sample.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to read a why this college essay sample, you’re in luck. Take some time to read some below from over ten schools. These include our UF supplemental essay examples, Tufts essays that worked, Georgia Tech essay examples, why Duke essay examples, and more.

Why this college essay sample #1- UChicago

The University of Chicago is well-known for its quirky supplemental essay requirements. Among those you can expect to find some kind of Why This College essay. Below is an example of how one student crafted their response.

Why UChicago Essay Examples

How does the university of chicago, as you know it now, satisfy your desire for a particular kind of learning, community, and future please address with some specificity your own wishes and how they relate to uchicago. (1-2 pages).

The best thing about the University of Chicago is its subtle inconspicuousness. The ivy leagues and big select schools all have a stereotype/reputation it holds in the public eye that is difficult to live up to. Go to Harvard? Oh, you must be the smartest person ever! Go to UC Berkeley, MIT?  You must be the greatest genius the world has ever seen. But when U Chicago is mentioned, most people find it difficult to generalize the institution as anything outside of “top university” or “prestigious school.” This is because while universities at the forefront of media attention are some of the best in the United States, such overexposure lends itself to negative connotations that cannot be escaped.

I myself knew little about U Chicago, but soon came to realize how great knowing little could actually be in the grand scheme of things.

Everything starts with the amazing education system U Chicago prides itself on. Core Curriculum allows for students to really engage in critical thinking with an expanded view of the world and how it works. Students at U Chicago are not there for the perceived prestige or bonus points you get from attending a top university, they’re there to learn, and not just learn for the final exam and forget. They are there to learn and continue to use their gained knowledge as they expound upon it throughout their journey through schooling and life.

In high school and in my time taking community college courses, I haven’t been exposed to these types of students. People take courses just to put a check mark on the list, and I have been doing the same because it’s what required and it’s all I’ve ever known. There was never an opportunity to take specialized courses and as a result, my classmates’ zeal for knowledge acquisition has never been awakened. Though I try to satisfy my curiosities through articles and books, there was never anyone to discuss it with in depth without one of us leaving frustrated.

Though I plan to major in a Neuroscience-related program as a pre-medical student, I want to be able to learn new languages, Norwegian mythology, the situation of public health; anything that has piqued my interests for multiple years but remained untouched due to circumstances. I like that U Chicago forbids students from taking courses solely for their major and requires them to spend a large portion of their time in the Core Curriculum in order to make this happen.

Instead of dealing with constant pressure from society, students at U Chicago are free to pursue their passions without fear of judgment or stereotype. With the focus on education where it belongs, the overall atmosphere at the institution is laid-back and does not add stress to the rigorous course load.

A secret utopia of sorts, U Chicago sets an invincible foundation that will exponentially increase the vitality of a person in any field of work or practice and I want to be a part of that.

Explaining why this essay worked

This is one of our Why UChicago essay examples and one of our first college essays that worked. In it, the author reflects on UChicago’s academic values and culture. This “why this college” essay sample highlights the type of student that thrives at UChicago. It also shows how this student’s values align with UChicago’s.

As you’ll see in our other why school essay examples, this writer mentions specific qualities about UChicago’s Core Curriculum. They foreground how it will allow them to pursue all of their academic interests. In doing so, this student makes a strong case for why they belong at UChicago.

If you want to read another why this college essay sample, check out our guide . There, you’ll find more UChicago why school essay examples.

Why this college essay sample #2 – Georgia Tech

The second why this college essay sample we are sharing is Why School essay from Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech only requires one supplemental essay and it is a Why This College essay. Let’s look at how one student responded to the prompt below.

Georgia Tech Essay Examples

Why do you want to study your chosen major at georgia tech, and what opportunities at georgia tech will prepare you in that field after graduation (300 words).

March 29, 2019. 11 AM EST. GT Shadow Day. I remember it all so clearly: Descending the red-brick steps of the Old Civil Engineering Building. My friend and I, chatting up a storm, our minds blown by our newfound perspectives. 

We had just walked out of ECON-4060: Money & Capital Markets. To say that it changed my life would be no exaggeration; within an hour, The professor had upended my perception of society and defined my future aspirations. 

We had been asked to consider a popular commodity, diamonds. Hardly rare, fast-decaying, and intrinsically worthless. So why do we buy them? The professor had then illuminated the factors in our economic behavior that cause us to gift a ring in marriage rather than something with real value, say a treasury bond. These realizations were enough to rock me back on my heels, for I had never before noticed the large degree to which our everyday economic decision-making is irrational.

Craving more than that one splendid hour, I knew where and what I wanted to study for the next four years. I saw myself strolling through Bobby Dodd Way, bumping into old friends as I made my way to Midtown Atlanta. I saw myself exploring the realm of economics, probing questions ranging from price formation to income disparity. I saw myself at a place that felt familiar enough to call “home,” learning in a way that felt genuine enough to call “discovery.”

Educating myself on the mechanics of economics is just a glimpse of my great desires. Through the senior research project, I seek the one-on-one guidance of faculty in yielding a publishable journal paper. Someday, with the support of the program’s alumni network, I plan to pursue career and internship opportunities in the great company headquarters of Atlanta.

Why did this Georgia Tech essay work?

This is one of our favorite Georgia Tech essay examples because the writer drops us into a story that defines their interest in attending Georgia Tech. This “why this college” essay sample has a delightful and passionate tone. It communicates the writer’s interest in economics, passion for learning, and desire to explore these ideas at Georgia Tech.

Once again specificity is key (something you’ll continue to see in our other why school essay examples). This writer mentions Bobby Dodd Way, which is a street on campus. They also discuss opportunities for a senior research project and the specific professor and class that inspired them.

Why this college essay sample #3 – Wake Forest

Our next college essay that worked is from Wake Forest University.

Why Wake Forest Essay Examples

How did you become interested in wake forest university and why are you applying (150 words) .

Each time I return to campus, I see a true fit between myself and Wake Forest. I will dedicate myself to furthering the university motto, pro humanitate, by actively working with the Volunteer Service Corps and continuing my community service of providing for the basic needs of others. In addition, I will engage in the world around me and pursue a minor in Spanish while studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain; since I am currently taking AP Spanish, the language and cultural immersion would advance my fluency and expand my exposure to other cultures. In the diverse and intellectual community of Wake Forest, I will continue to pursue my goals with natural curiosity while growing as a leader in the service of others. Wake Forest is the window into the endless possibilities of my future.

Why this Wake Forest essay worked

This why this college essay sample shows how to successfully and succinctly write a why this college essay. Just like in our longer why school essay examples, this writer combines values, academics, and specificity. In doing so, they show how Wake Forest will impact their continued growth and future goals.

College essays that worked #4 – Tufts

Why tufts essay examples, “why tufts” (150 words).

I fell in love with Tufts immediately upon entering the Granoff Music Center. Standing in the lofty, sunlit atrium, I imagined being there with my enormous ekantha-veena gathered in my arms. Catching sight of the World Music Room, the glistening Indonesian gamelan housed inside—I knew that both my instrument and I would feel right at home at Tufts.

After all, Tufts is the type of school that embraces women who play instruments twice their size and, moreover, actually listens to their music.

Tufts provides women like me ample space in the music center, as well as on ground-breaking research teams such as the Sandler International Research Program; or access to intimate classroom settings with faculty such as one key professor whose dissertations are lauded by the American Sociological Association.

Tufts is a place where both the young woman and her ekantha-veena, her music and her ideas, will be heard.

This why this college essay sample prompt from Tufts admissions is extremely simple. In fact, this essay is one of our Tufts essays that worked because of its simplicity. We imagine Tufts admissions gravitated towards this essay because it reveals the writer’s passion for music. It also highlights the type of research and culture they’d like to engage with at Tufts.

Check out Tufts admissions page for more why Tufts essay examples and advice on Tufts essays that worked.

Why this college essay sample #5- Lewis and Clark

Lewis & clark supplemental essay example, lewis & clark college is a private college with a public conscience and a global reach. we celebrate our strengths in collaborative scholarship, international engagement, environmental understanding and entrepreneurial thinking. as we evaluate applications, we look for students who understand what we offer and are eager to contribute to our community. in one paragraph, please tell us why you are interested in attending lewis & clark and how you will impact our campus..

For the last eighteen years, my dad has repeated the phrase “curiosity killed the cat” at least once a week, attempting to satisfy my unrelenting curiosity. In response, I’ve adopted the mantra “but knowledge brought him back.” At Lewis and Clark College, I seek to fulfill my intense interest about the workings of society by conducting sociology research on issues in urban areas under one professor at Lewis and Clark. This research will also support my plans to perform an independent study on the aspects of criminal justice in urban environments, as the unique tensions in cities often affect the role of criminal justice.

I’ve read countless books on America’s legal system and wish to use sociology to analyze the factors that influence how justice is carried out. My unwavering curiosity also extends to my adoration of architecture, so the chance to explore my fascination with urban design through a self-designed major at Lewis and Clark deeply excites me. I know that creating my own course of study will enable me to explore my curiosity about urban history and planning. Furthermore, the chance to double major will allow me to combine architecture and social perspective and explore the connections between my majors.

The freedom to study both sociology and urban architecture at Lewis and Clark will give me a distinctive perspective on the artistic and social issues that are present in Portland and other major cities. Another opportunity that excites me is the chance to study abroad in Seville, Spain.

I am particularly enthusiastic about the ability to use my sociology and architecture education to explore a unique geographical area. Classes such as Art History of Spain will supplement my concentration on urban architecture, while Contemporary Issues of Spain will allow me to study the sociological aspects of a different culture. I also plan to study Spanish in college, so living with a host family gives me the unique ability to practice Spanish around the clock.

I believe that studying abroad in Seville, Spain through Lewis and Clark will enable me to engage in many unforgettable learning experiences. Finally, Lewis and Clark is bursting with non-traditional learning opportunities outside of the classroom. I can’t wait to learn a new skill by joining the sailing team and debating moral theories with the philosophy club.

I believe that there is no better place for me to study sociology and architecture because Lewis and Clark’s emphasis on diversity and international study are values that align perfectly with my interests.

Exploring the strengths of this essay

The Lewis and Clark College acceptance rate is higher than that of some other top schools. Still, you can tell how much thought and care this writer put into their “why this college” essay sample. Since the Lewis and Clark College acceptance rate is 79% , you might think crafting a strong supplemental essay would be easy. However, you can tell the writer of this “why this college” essay sample took their time time. In their essay, they weave a clear and compelling story about their interests and how Lewis & Clark will allow them to pursue those interests.

No matter a school’s acceptance rate, whether it is lower or higher than the Lewis and Clark College acceptance rate, make sure you take the time with every essay you write to make it the best it can be.

Why this college essay sample #6 – Loyola Marymount

Loyola marymount essay example, please briefly state your reason for wishing to attend lmu and/or how you came to select your major. (500 words).

Whether I’m bustling through people in the Metro station, taking a leisurely stroll on the beach, or studying at my local cafe, I embrace the sights, sounds, and people of Los Angeles. Though I was born in New York, I am a true L.A. native: the sunset is my muse, and my dreams are ambitious (I want to cure cancer, win a Pulitzer-Prize, and walk the red carpet, simultaneously).

Even if I don’t accomplish all of these things, I am encouraged by the fact that they are all possibilities at LMU. With a unique fusion of academic excellence, strong communal identity, and a faith-based education, LMU would prepare me to be an innovative and compassionate leader in the real world.

Reflective of L.A.’s rich cultural diversity, LMU offers students a wide array of resources. For one thing, the student to teacher ratio is 10:1, which enhances learning by fostering personal relationships with professors and peers. Furthermore, it creates a collaborative group environment, something I consider integral to my education. Secondly, as someone who is passionate about both Chicano/Latino studies and Biology, I was excited to discover that with LMU’s major and minor policy, I would be able to study both, even if they are located in different colleges.

Ultimately, I want to become a doctor, possibly a neurologist, hence my desire to major in biology. With a broad course list–encompassing everything from Immunology to Animal Behavior– and intensive, faculty-mentored research, LMU’s biology program will enable me to pursue my passion for science. At the same time, I wish to apply my medical studies to serving a greater purpose.

This is why I’ve chosen to minor in Chicano Studies. I have always taken great pride in my ethnicity, so being able to examine the Latino identity through political, historical, and cultural lenses would enrich how I understand myself and the entire Latino/a community.

The final and most important reason why I want to attend LMU is its emphasis on serving the community and the world at large. Being a practicing Catholic myself, it is important to me that faith be integrated in my education, not only because it is a part of my own identity, but because it nurtures both spiritual and personal growth. At my current high school, I have encountered and conversed with students of different faiths, or even no faith, who fully embrace the spirit of community service that characterizes Christianity.

This is what I admire most about LMU; regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or religion, LMU embraces everyone and teaches students to do the same. In short, LMU would not only augment my love of service, it would propel me forward in my mission: to be a woman of great heart and right conscience for others.

With a higher word count, this is one of our longer why school essay examples. This writer likely captured the attention of Loyola Marymount admissions with their eloquence and ambition.

While there’s no one right way to impress Loyola Marymount admissions, showcasing the school’s unique programs will help show them why attending Loyola is vital to your future. This why this college essay sample touches on LMU’s faith-based curriculum, and biology and chicano studies programs, and why they are important to this writer.

Why this college essay sample #7 – Duke

Duke University is another school that asks students Why This College as part of their supplemental essay requirements. Take a look at the essay that worked below for some ideas about how to write your Why Duke essay.

Why Duke Essay Examples

What is your sense of duke as a university and a community, and why do you consider it a good match for you  if there’s something in particular about our offerings that attracts you, feel free to share that as well. (250 words).

At Duke University, I would get the opportunity to immerse myself in interests that I harbored but never had the opportunity to explore due to circumstances. With incredible resources from world-renowned professors, I would learn directly from the best in any subject, and be able to use this advantage to further myself in my future career plans and goals.

The quality of my education, though attributed to the institution, would be the most highly enriched from the students. Although from diverse backgrounds, all the students share the same thirst for knowledge and a drive to make a difference. With the focus on education where it belongs, the overall atmosphere at the institution is collaborative and does not add stress to the rigorous course load.

A secret utopia of sorts, Duke sets an invincible foundation that will exponentially increase the vitality of a person in any field of work or practice.

Why this essay worked

This is one of our favorite why Duke essay examples because it highlights the people this writer plans to learn from at Duke: their professors and their fellow students. Surprisingly, this is probably one of the least specific why school essay examples. However, this writer still successfully manages to capture their passion for learning and how excited they are to pursue these goals on Duke’s campus.

Want more why Duke essay examples and tips on how to approach this “why this college” essay sample prompt? Check out our Duke University Essay Guide .

Why this college essay sample #8 – University of Florida

Uf supplemental essay examples, the university of florida honors program is a “community of scholars” bound together by a shared interest in maximizing the undergraduate experience. why are you drawn to this type of community at uf, and how do you plan to contribute to it in and out of the classroom.

Anyone who’s ever played a high school sport can attest to the fact that every coach has his or her own catchphrase. For some coaches, it might be “always give 110%”. Others say, “You miss every shot you don’t take.”

My 10th grade basketball coach? His catchphrase was more like a repeated lecture. It would start off as “This team is made up of different personalities.” Pause. “80% of you are pulled either up or down by your teammates. 10% of you have negative energy and bring everyone down.” Pause and sigh. “And then there’s the last 10%. You guys are the ones who carry this team with positive energy. So what percent do you want to be tonight?”

His rhetorical questions seemed like another pep talk to the rest of my team but would always strike a chord within me. From that basketball season and on, I strived to be the 10% pulling everyone positively. 

My reformed attitude taught me many things. I learned how productive and influential a positive force on a team can be. I learned something about myself too: wherever I went to college, I wanted to be in a team-like environment. A close-knit group of scholars full of diverse perspectives, but all striving towards the same common goal: gaining knowledge. 

This is what I see in the UF Honors Program. The opportunity to be surrounded by like minded people. People who are all part of that 10% who pull you up. People who are genuinely interested in learning, research, and discussion. To be able to walk into a room with overlapping conversations about an intellectual topic like the current economic status of Dubai or the psychosocial issues in the United States is something I crave in my college experience.

Not only do I envision myself in a place like this, but I also see a platform which will give me great opportunities, beginning with peers who share the same academic drive as me and smaller class sizes, which result in profound discussions. I hope to be given an opportunity to walk onto this platform and show everyone just how high I can raise it.

Why this UF Honors Program essay worked

It’s important to note that a why this college essay sample is not necessarily a required portion of your UF application. You only need to submit a why this college essay with your UF application if you apply to the UF Honors Program.

However, we still included this “why this college” essay sample as part of our why school essay examples because this writer beautifully described the kind of student and community member they hope to be at UF. They highlight a personal story—a moment where they grew and learned a valuable lesson. Then, they combine it with what they hope to find in UF’s honors community. 

Why this college essay sample #9 – Franklin & Marshall

Franklin & marshall essays.

A Franklin and Marshall education is in line with my commitment to stimulate and chronicle a more just world through health, justice, and activism for marginalized people locally and internationally in a way that giving a check never could. 

I would be able to synthesize my fascination with medicine and people by seeking out experiences in biomedical research and patient care through the Quick Response Service organization as an EMT responder for the Lancaster community. Most importantly, I can investigate a breadth of topics to a much fuller extent than I can at any other institution.

With a Franklin and Marshall acceptance rate of 38% , this is considered a more selective school. However, the Franklin and Marshall acceptance rate should not affect your why this college essay. Also, as you craft your Franklin and Marshall application, note that the university no longer requires a Why School essay. Still, this essay provides a useful blueprint for other why school essay samples.

Rather than focusing on the Franklin and Marshall acceptance rate, you’ll want to review the supplemental essay requirements . Then, use the prompt to articulate the benefits of receiving an education from Franklin and Marshall. In order to gain acceptance to Franklin and Marshall, you should focus on what attending this particular college means to you.

Why this college essay sample #10- Lafayette College

Our final why this college essay sample, is from Lafayette College. A Why School essay is the cornerstone of Lafayette College’s supplemental essay requirements. Let’s take a look at an example from a student accepted to Lafayette.

Why Lafayette College Essay Examples

Students identify lafayette as an excellent fit for countless reasons. in your response, be deliberate and specific about your motivation for applying to lafayette. why do you see yourself at lafayette (200 words).

“If you were to be accepted to every college in the country, which one would you choose above all others?” An admissions officer prompted the room with this question early in my college search. Back then, I didn’t know the answer, but now it’s a obvious choice: Lafayette.

When I visited Lafayette, I’d already seen 15 colleges. However, when I toured campus, I instantly felt a difference in the school and the students themselves. Everyone looked truly happy to be there, especially considering the people I saw were remaining at school during break while their peers returned home.

When I looked around, I saw people I could imagine myself befriending and spending time with, something I struggled to find at other institutions. I later connected with my tour guide, who also happened to be a Civil Engineering major. I’m interested in pursuing an architecture minor, and she told me about a project in her Architectural Engineering class in which students design bus stops with features like charging stations or mini libraries. I appreciated that she took time to email me, and her genuine enthusiasm about her classes was infectious. With that email, I cemented my decision to apply.

There’s a difference between being busy and being engaged. Lafayette comes alive each day with the energy of students who are deeply engaged in their academic, co-curricular and extracurricular explorations.

Of all of our why school essay examples, this why this college essay sample discusses an actual experience the student had on campus. In truth, this is a great strategy. Using this topic, admissions gets to hear about how they connected with a student. They also learn how this student already sees themself as part of the student community.

Like many of our other why school essay examples, this writer follows a strong structure. They started with a personal story, sprinkled in specific and valuable details, and ended with a big-picture summary of “Why this school.”

How To Write A Why This College Essay

why college essay examples

We’ve read some outstanding why school essay examples, including Why Duke essay examples, Tufts essays that worked, and more. Next, let’s talk about how to write your own why this college essay.

At times, you’ll find a “why this college” essay sample or two with a longer word count. However, most of our why school essay examples prompts have a smaller word limit. So, you generally need to be succinct when writing a why this college essay. For some students, this may mean writing your initial draft without worrying about the word count, then editing your draft down to the most important parts.

Do your research

Before you get into writing your why this college essay sample, we recommend getting to know more about the school you are applying to. One of the most important things you can do to prepare to write your why this college essay sample is to spend time researching specific aspects of the school that align with your candidate profile.

For example, let’s say you’re a student who wants to study engineering , you want a big school, and you’re also passionate about doing your own research. As you begin your college search , you’d want to look for schools that meet all of your needs. Once you have a list of potential schools , do some research into each school and their requirements. Watch webinars , read guides about meeting application requirements, like what is a good SAT score and test-optional colleges , and guides about approaching your college application essays . 

How to Start a Why This College Essay

why college essay examples

Next, let’s go over how to start a “why this college” essay. The beginning of your essay is always the most important because it can draw your reader in and make them want to read more. We have tons of guides to help you through every step of the writing process. So, after reading through our why school essay examples, take a look at exercises to help determine a college essay topic and what admissions officers think of 3 common college essay topics.

Once you have a topic for your why this college essay sample, take a look at our 39 essay tips . These helpful tips are from our admissions experts. We also have a resource with tips on how to craft your college essay . Then, when you’re ready to start editing your essay, check out our advice on making your essays shine .

Use these examples to help brainstorm

We’ve reviewed a variety of why this college essay examples. By reading these examples, we hope you got some insight into how to write a why this college essay. These why school essay examples are college essays that worked. That is, they used specific details to show why an applicant was a perfect fit for a given school. Each why this college essay sample is slightly different—and every student is, too. So, use our why school essay examples as a jumping-off point.

We can’t include a why this college essay sample from every school in our college essays that worked roundup. But, keep reading to the end of the guide for more resources full of why school essay examples. These resources include: why Northwestern essay examples and why Yale essay examples. They also include why NYU essay examples and a why Barnard essay example.

Other CollegeAdvisor Resources on Why This College Essays

If you’re looking for a why this college essay sample for a school we haven’t touched on, you’re in luck! We have “why school” essay examples for a ton of top schools that are sure to be on your college list. These why this college essay examples will be just as helpful as the ones we’ve already covered, like our Tufts essays that worked, Georgia Tech essay examples, and why Duke essay examples.

First, we have our why Northwestern essay examples. This guide offers two why Northwestern essay examples and a breakdown of what made each essay so impactful.

Why Northwestern Essay Examples

Then, check out our why Barnard essay example page. In addition to a why Barnard essay example, you can get some application tips. The article also covers information about Barnard’s acceptance rate and essay requirements.

Barnard Essay Examples

Next, stop by our Why Yale essay examples guide. The why Yale essay examples cover all three Yale supplemental essay requirements. These include the essays about your potential majors and a topic or idea that excites you.

Why Yale Essay Examples

Finally , read some Why NYU essay examples (and why they worked). Each of our why NYU essay examples is accompanied by feedback from an ex-admissions officer on why the essay worked.

NYU Essay Examples (And Why They Worked)

Why This College Essay Sample – Final Thoughts

After reading our why school essay examples, we hope you have a better sense of what a “why this college” essay sample should include. We also hope it can help you go about writing your own. While there is no perfect formula for writing your supplemental essays , don’t forget to take advantage of all of the resources available to you. 

If you’re nervous to begin writing your why this college essay sample, don’t worry! Each of our “why school” essay examples was written by a student just like you that managed to gain a college acceptance letter from their dream school. All it takes is time, patience, and dedication to making your college essays the best they can be. To find more examples of college essays that worked, check out our personal statement examples .

Why This College Essay Sample

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10 Best Sample Answers to “Why Do You Want to Work in Our Company?”

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10 Best Sample Answers to “Why Do You Want to Work in Our Company?” was originally published on WikiJob.

If you’ve been invited to an interview, you can expect to be asked some variation of the question, “Why do you want to work in our company?”. People often dismiss this as a trick question, or assume that the interviewer is only looking to hear how great the company is. Yet it is arguably the most significant question an interviewer can ask you.

It is also extremely difficult to answer well. This article will outline exactly what your interviewer is looking for, typical mistakes candidates make, how to prepare your answer and similar versions of the question.

Why Do You Want to Work in Our Company? – What Is the Interviewer Really Asking?

When you are faced with the question ‘Why do you want to work in our company?’ you may feel overwhelmed. However, your interviewer isn’t going to ask you to recite all of their industry awards from memory. Nor do they want you to feed them empty compliments.

The interview is about you. Your interviewer wants to know:

  • Why you are perfect for the role
  • What motivated you to apply
  • How you will fit into the company’s culture
  • Whether you understand the company’s strategy and commercial goals
  • Whether you are likely to stay at the company for a long time

You need to structure your answer in two parts:

  • Why do you want this particular job?
  • Why do you want to work at this particular company?

We will unpick these questions below, but first, let’s look at some example answers from job experts:

Why Do You Want to Work in Our Company Sample Answers

Use the below examples to help you pull together your own answer. Remember to structure your answer in two parts, and bear the above points in mind.

Example Answer 1

I applied for the position of E-commerce Marketing Assistant because I am looking to kick-start my career in digital marketing.

As a graduate specialising in digital marketing, I have expertise in promoting online brand awareness.

Whilst at university, I volunteered for a charity by promoting regular bake sales. I used social media to garner attention and boost sales. In fact, our Students’ Initiative raised the highest amount for the charity in four years.

I want to work for [company] because I am interested in your product, a meal plan subscription service. As a keen foodie who is always too busy to cook, I have an in-depth understanding of your target audience.

Why this answer is good:

  • They linked their skills and interests to the job role.
  • They understood the company’s product and explained why they want to work for this particular company.
  • They backed up their answer with examples.

Example Answer 2

Two years ago I spent six weeks volunteering with disabled children in Vietnam. This inspired me to train as a teacher because I firmly believe that education is a right every child deserves.

I want to start my Post-Qualification Employment at this school because it has an excellent reputation for ensuring no child is left behind. You have an outstanding Special Educational Needs policy and the teachers here are passionate about encouraging every student to reach their individual potential. This is all reflected in your annual performance scores.

  • They explained their reasons for wanting the position and backed this up with examples.
  • They gave reasons for admiring the school and demonstrated they share the same values.
  • They have done their research by mentioning specific policies.

Example Answer 3

I am drawn to this position of Media Sales Assistant because I am interested in the marketing side of medicine. My degree is in medical biochemistry, so I am knowledgeable about the medical industry and the principles of ethics that are relevant to medical advertising.

I want to work here because [company] has an impressive reputation for working with the major medical journals, and you offer an excellent opportunity to develop expertise within the medical advertising sector.

I understand [company] is looking to grow its client base. I am a very sociable person so I would love communicating daily with clients and building new client relationships.

  • They linked their skills to the job role.
  • They outlined why they are interested in the position.
  • They stated why they want to work for this company in particular.

Example Answer 4

Ever since I was a small child, I have loved math. I was the kid in school who would ask for extra math homework and I used this passion to help guide my choice when it came to exams and college choices.

Now that I am fully qualified as an accountant, I am hoping to direct my passions in a way that is beneficial to others. I feel that your company and this junior position will be the best ways for me to grow in knowledge about the industry as well as enable me to launch a successful career.

  • The background information indicates that this is a long-term passion of yours and something you are very interested in
  • States qualifications
  • Talks about growing within the company which indicates long-term plans

Example Answer 5

When I was a teenager, my dog got really sick. My parents couldn’t afford to pay for visits to the vet, so I researched and studied everything that I could to help improve the situation.

Through my research and actions, my dog eventually got better. This inspired me to study to become a vet and I am passionate about providing affordable and free veterinary care to people who desperately want to provide for their animals but are unable to.

I feel that your service here at the shelter is exactly what I am looking for to help provide treatment to as many animals as possible.

  • Talks about strengths such as the ability to use initiative
  • Shows the potential employer that you have researched them before your interview

Example Answer 6

Every step of the way throughout my career, I have known how important it is to learn from people who have more experience and expertise than I do. This is why, when I began looking to take the next step in my career, I researched your company.

What you do here, in terms of marketing, is bigger than anything I have tackled before. It is also the logical next step for me. Your reputation for nurturing and building up individuals to help them find and grow their strengths is exactly what attracted me to the role.

  • The background shows that you are willing to learn and grow as a person and an employee
  • Shows that you have researched the employer
  • Talks about what attracted you to the role and how you think this will help you as an employee and an individual

Example Answer 7

I have been a doctor within a hospital setting for several years now. Although I have loved treating patients and the atmosphere that a hospital setting brings, I feel that it is time for a challenge.

I feel that moving into general practice will provide a wider variety of patients and help me to maintain the level of patient care that I want to provide.

This particular practice is well known for patient satisfaction and I feel that I would be a valuable member of the team.

  • It talks about your background and expertise
  • It states what it is that you hope to gain through your new role
  • It talks about what you can bring to the position

Example Answer 8

Your company is well known in the business world for its ability to nurture individuals and help them to reach their full potential. It is especially well-known for helping those who may not have had the opportunity to attend university and gain formal qualifications. This is why I think that I would be a good fit here.

Although I don’t have all of the formal qualifications, I have worked to expand my knowledge and create a foundation in this area. I feel that I can lend my skills well to this role and the nurturing environment will help me to improve across all areas.

  • It shows the employer that you have researched their company and understand their values
  • By talking about the things that you have taught yourself, you are showing that you are motivated and keen to learn new skills
  • You are explaining how you feel that a role within the company could be beneficial to you.

Example Answer 9

I am passionate about providing a customer service experience that leaves the customer smiling and means that they are more likely to return.

This store, in particular, is widely recognized for its exceptional customer service. I feel that our values are similar and this is an environment I would be very happy working in.

  • It talks about your strengths
  • It speaks about how your values align with those of the company
  • It paints the company in a positive light
  • It talks about how you can have a positive impact on the company

Example Answer 10

I have been watching this company for quite a while now, admiring the work that you do and keeping an eye on changes in the industry. You always seem to be ahead of the curve, so I have used your work as inspiration to keep me motivated.

Everything that I have learned so far has been self-taught and when I saw that you had a vacancy available I knew that I had to apply. I feel that I would fit well with the work ethic and values here, adding my personal style to the team dynamic.

More than anything, working here would be a dream and a culmination of years of quietly watching from the sidelines.

  • It shows that you have had an interest in the company for a while and understand what it is that they do
  • It talks about how the values of the company have already helped you in the past and how you would anticipate this to carry on in the future
  • It shows that you have been waiting for an opportunity to join the company

How to Prepare for the Question “Why Do You Want to Work in Our Company?”

Now you know how not to answer, it’s time to prepare your best response to ‘Why do you want to work here?’. Here are some tips:

1. Think About Why You Want This Job in Particular

Research the role and figure out why it interests you. Think about how the job description matches your skill set, ambitions and what you genuinely like most about the business.

For example, some of these may apply:

  • The responsibilities of the role align with your personal interests. Ensure you can link what interests you about the job role to specific examples. For example, if you are applying for the role of Editorial Assistant at Love Knitting Magazine, you could mention that you are a prolific knitter and you edited a student magazine at university.
  • Opportunities for progression. For example, internal qualifications, networking opportunities or management training schemes.
  • You want to work in a professional, team-oriented environment which values collaboration and knowledge sharing.
  • You love analytical and logical problem-solving.

Example answers related to why you want the job:

  • “I want to work here because this organization’s values align with my own. I’m impressed with the work you do to improve patient outcomes and enhance the quality of care. I believe that this is a place where I can make a meaningful contribution to the healthcare field while also growing and developing my skills.”
  • “This role is an excellent fit for my skills and experience. I am confident that I have the necessary technical skills and knowledge required for the role, and I’m excited about the opportunity to take on new challenges and responsibilities.”
  • “I’m excited about the opportunity to work with a team of highly skilled and dedicated healthcare professionals. From my research on this organization, I can see that you place a strong emphasis on collaboration and teamwork, and I believe that this is an environment where I can thrive and make a positive contribution.”

2. Think About Your Career Goals and How They Align With the Company’s

A short-term career goal might be to gain more experience in customer service. Whereas a long-term goal might be to aspire to a management position. Make sure your career goal is relevant to the job role.

Here are some examples of how you can link your career goals with the company’s objectives:

  • For the role of Product Designer – The company makes a product which has inspired you to enter the industry and your career goal is to design similar products.
  • For the role of Healthcare Assistant – You are passionate about providing exceptional healthcare and you always aspire to improve your level of care. This is also a value prioritised by the company.
  • For the role of Private Client Paralegal – You value developing close professional relationships with clients and your goal is to build a legal career in private client work.

Example answers related to your career goals:

  • “I want to work here because I believe this company is at the forefront of innovation in the industry, and I’m passionate about being a part of a team that’s shaping the future of healthcare. This aligns with my career goal of continuously learning and growing while contributing to an organization’s success.”
  • “I’m excited about this opportunity because I believe that working for this company will help me achieve my career goal of becoming an expert in my field. The company’s reputation for providing high-quality care and emphasis on continuous learning aligns with my personal and professional goals.”
  • “I’m eager to work for this company because I believe it offers excellent career development opportunities. My career goal is to advance into a leadership role, and I know that this company has a track record of promoting from within and investing in their employees’ growth.”

3. Think About Why You Want to Work at This Company in Particular

Make sure you read the company’s website and any news articles you can find. A company’s blog can also be useful, since it will list important projects the company has worked on and focus on topics which are of value to the company.

If you have any connections within your network who have worked with the company, it’s also a good idea to speak with them to find out more about the company from someone who has experienced it first-hand.

Some other ideas to think about when undertaking your research are:

  • Why you admire the company – Is it a front-runner in developing a ground-breaking software? Or is it one of the only companies in the country which specialises in aviation law? Make sure your reasons are specific to demonstrate you have done your research.
  • Has the company undertaken any projects that particularly interest you, and why? – As well as the company’s blog, check whether they have listed any case studies on their website which provide more insight into the work they do.
  • Can you identify the company’s short and long-term objectives? – A short-term objective might be to reward employees who volunteer for the company’s corporate social responsibility programme. A long-term objective might be a target for the number of annual employee hours dedicated to corporate social responsibility.
  • What are the company’s values? – For example, a bank might foster a culture of sustainable lending. Or a healthcare organisation might promote their staff’s caring and attentive approach to their work.

Example answers related to the company:

  • “I’m excited about working for this company because of its excellent reputation in the industry. I believe that working for a well-respected and established organization will give me access to opportunities and experiences that will help me grow my career.”
  • “I’m passionate about the company’s mission to improve patient outcomes and provide high-quality care. This is a purpose that resonates with me, and I’m eager to be a part of a team that’s making a positive impact on people’s lives.”
  • “I want to work here because I’ve heard great things about the company culture and the supportive work environment. I believe that working in a positive and collaborative atmosphere will allow me to perform at my best and contribute meaningfully to the team.”

Why Do You Want to Work in Our Company? – Five Typical Mistakes Candidates Make

Before delving into how you answer the ‘Why do you want to work here?’ question, here is some advice on how not to approach it.

Most interviewers will not appreciate a humorous answer. It makes you appear insincere or suggests that you don’t know how to answer the question.

I’m only here for the money.

You look like you could use my help.

2. Ambiguity

The interviewer doesn’t want to hear vague compliments about how their company “looks really cool”. Ambiguous answers will indicate that you haven’t done any research on the organisation or thought about why you want the job at all.

I just think the work looks fun.

3. Not Relating Your Answer to the Job or Company

It is surprising how often candidates forget to mention the job they are applying for altogether.

I liked your website.

You have bean-bag chairs in the break area, which is a nice touch.

4. Being Too Honest

Even if you’re just here for the money, don’t confess this to your interviewer. Never lie, but keep your answer focused on the job role and why you would be a great addition to the company.

I need to pay the rent somehow.

This isn’t my dream job, but it seems tolerable.

5. Saying You Don’t Know

If you cannot come up with a single reason why the company should hire you, they probably won’t.

“Why Do You Want to Work in Our Company” Similar Questions: How They Are Different

There are many variations of the ‘Why do you want to work here?’ question that you may be asked at interview. Here are some examples of similar questions which ask the same thing:

  • “Why do you want this job?”
  • “What are you looking for in your next job?”
  • “Why did you apply for this position?”

However, make sure you listen carefully to the question you are being asked; some will require a different answer than you first expect. Never repeat a pre-prepared response without listening carefully to the question. For example:

“What qualities can you bring to this role?”

This question differs because it focuses less on what you personally think about the role. Instead, talk about your specific achievements and how you can apply your skills to the job.

Example answer:

As well as my ability to manage and administer pension claims, I have a unique background in data management and analysis.

For example, in my previous role, I was part of a project recording and analysing the causes of delayed pension payments. This led to the implementation of improved payment administration policies. I will be looking for opportunities to use my skills within this role.

This answer is good because the candidate has specified a unique skill which will set them apart from the other candidates and backed it up with an example.

“Why should we hire you?”

This question is used to single out the very best of the qualified candidates. We have a whole article about this one question .

The interviewer wants to know:

  • Whether you will do the job better than everybody else.
  • Whether you will fit into the company’s culture.

It differs from the ‘Why do you want to work here?’ question because it is less about your personal interest in the job and more about what you can do for the company.

Come up with at least three reasons you stand out from the crowd. For example:

  • You have experience in this industry;
  • Your past achievements demonstrate a proven track record;
  • You have relevant awards;
  • You have relevant qualifications or further education;
  • Your soft skills (such as communication skills) are especially strong (and proven);
  • You have specific technical skills (such as knowledge of certain programming languages).

I have over 8 years of experience working with clients to deliver successful projects. As part of this, I have developed great relationships with my clients and other team members.

This contributes to my ability to manage teams and get results. Last year I led a team that won an industry award for a national project.

“How are you a good fit for this company?”

This question differs because it focuses on your understanding of the company’s culture and what skills you can contribute.

Ensure you research the company and its values. Think about how your own goals and values coincide. Then answer the question by:

  • Describing your interpretation of the company’s culture.
  • Explaining how you fit into that culture (including specific examples).

Here are some ideas to think about when interpreting the company’s culture:

  • Does the company value collaboration?
  • Does the company value internal progression?
  • Are there any mentoring schemes?
  • What is the company’s attitude to work/life balance?

I love that [company] promotes supportive attitudes in its employees. At my current job, we also have a culture of support, especially when a tight deadline is coming up.

For example, I recently worked two weeks’ overtime to help a colleague compile the civil disclosure for a massive fraud case.

I love how stimulating and exciting that kind of work can be. Therefore, I think I will fit in well within your team where everyone comes together to work to similar tight deadlines.

Final Thoughts

Preparing to answer interview questions can be daunting, but follow the advice in this article and you will arrive at your interview prepared to impress. Remember:

  • Research the company and the position thoroughly.
  • Structure your answer in two parts: first, outline why you want the job. Then outline why you want to work at the company.
  • Be enthusiastic and back up all your reasons for wanting the job with specific examples.

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why are you interested in american university essay examples

8 Great Columbia Essay Examples

What’s covered:, essay example 1 – mechanical engineering, essay example 2 – trailblazing, essay example 3 – the core and community.

  • Essay Example 4 – Cancer Research

Essay Example 5 – Joy in Birds

Essay example 6 – psychology.

  • Essay Example 7  – Slavic Languages and Cultures

Essay Example 8 – Diversity

  • Where to Get Feedback on Your Essay

Columbia is an Ivy League school in NYC with an incredibly low acceptance rate. Like most other competitive schools, Columbia has supplemental prompts where students can demonstrate parts of their life that aren’t present in other portions of their application. Many applicants to selective colleges like Columbia have stellar grades and test scores, so the essays can help you stand out from other candidates with the same stats.   

The school requires applicants to fill out a variety of prompts, ranging from quick short-answers about your favorite books and pieces of media to fleshed out essays. In this post, we will share three essays real students have submitted to Columbia and go over what each essay did well and where they can be improved. 

Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 

Read our Columbia University essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts. 

As I continue my journey toward becoming a mechanical engineer, I am constantly searching for ways to positively impact and solve complex problems. Columbia University is the perfect place for me to do so. The university’s diverse and brilliant community, combined with its focus on hands-on learning, will provide me with the foundation I need to grow as a student and a person.

I am excited to take advantage of Columbia’s many opportunities, from its Core curriculum to its various labs and research centers. In particular, I am drawn to the F1 car club and the opportunity to work on real-world projects through Columbia World Projects. These experiences will help broaden my knowledge and skills and allow me to make a significant difference in the world.

In addition to the academic opportunities at Columbia, I am also drawn to the university’s rich traditions. From the tree lighting ceremony to the Holi celebration, these events foster a sense of belonging and connection that will be invaluable as I begin my studies. I believe my unique perspective and skills will be an asset to the community, for I am excited to contribute my voice to Columbia’s dynamic and diverse community.

What the Essay Did Well

In responding to this textbook “Why This College?” prompt, the author effectively selects a topic, mechanical engineering, to focus his essay on, and connects that topic to opportunities that can only be found at Columbia, such as the F1 car club and Columbia World Projects. These specific opportunities show admissions officers that the student has done their research, and has tangible reasons for wanting to attend Columbia that go beyond, for example, the generic “I want to go to school in New York.”

The author also expresses an interest in the traditions that form the backbone of Columbia’s community, such as the tree lighting ceremony and the Holi celebration. This variety demonstrates that the author has spent time thinking about what their life at Columbia would look like overall, not just in the context of their mechanical engineering studies.

What Could Be Improved 

While this essay effectively conveys which specific things about Columbia interest the author, it could be strengthened by providing more details about why each activity is important to them, as that will explicitly connect their past experiences to their potential future at Columbia.

For example, the author could connect the F1 car club to the summers they spent working in their parents’ car repair shop. Or when discussing Columbia World Projects, they could explain how the CWP’s “Transforming Wastewater Infrastructure in America” project would allow them to build on the skills they learned from an elective they took on urban planning.

Along the same lines, the author could expand on how they see Columbia’s traditions helping them grow as a person. They name-drop the tree lighting ceremony and Holi festival, but don’t say anything about why these events are important to them. The essay would be stronger if, for example, they discuss how lighting the Christmas tree was always a time for their family to reflect on the previous year, and they look forward to having a similar unifying moment in college.

Finally, while the author does a good job in general of using specific opportunities to show their interest in Columbia, there are places where they are too vague. For example, when they talk about Columbia’s “Core curriculum” and “various labs and research centers,” we don’t get any information about what in particular intrigues them about the Core, or which labs and research centers they hope to work at. 

The essay would be stronger if the writer highlighted their excitement about using the Core to explore topics, such as art history, that they otherwise might not make time for in their schedule, or about working at the Earth Engineering Center to learn about how to harness their knowledge of biomechanical engineering in service of a greener future.

“She is a natural leader and role model.”

This comment punctuates all my report cards. However, I never believed it, until an alumnus of my high school was murdered by a maintenance worker for rebuffing his advances. Feeling angered, I spearheaded a plan of action for my poetry club—it was a reflex. I led one group poem celebrating her warmth, which we performed for her parents, and one about the rape culture that killed her, which we performed at a sexual assault awareness event.

Columbia boasts an exceptional culture of students who feel emboldened to call out injustice, even when it’s perpetuated by their own community. From the student-driven Columbia Prison Divest campaign, which successfully led Columbia to divest from the private prison industry, to the recent protests about Columbia’s gentrification of Harlem, the tenacity of Columbia’s Lions reflects my own.

Moreover, as someone from a household of sexual and domestic violence, I feel drawn to activism in that field. As a Peer Advocate for Columbia Health, I would provide support and resources for survivors, protecting them from the environment I was in.

The core of Columbia’s ethos is building trailblazers— I can’t wait to be one of them.

The student’s discussion of the difficult topic of sexual assault is impressive, as many applicants wouldn’t be bold enough to include this topic in a college application, and many others wouldn’t have the reflective or writing skills necessary to make it work. This student, however, is able to highlight both a genuine desire to fight back against injustice on a large scale, through public poetry performances, and a grassroots compassion for the victims, by working for Columbia Health as a Peer Advocate.

On that note, the writer also does an excellent job of connecting their passion for justice and advocacy to their potential life at Columbia. Remember that a “Why This College?” essay should be as specific as possible to that particular school, and this author not only mentions a variety of activities they hope to get involved in at Columbia, but also makes it clear which of their values and past experiences are motivating their interest in those particular opportunities. That gives admissions officers a strong sense of who this student is and what they’ll bring to the table at Columbia.

Finally, the reader’s emphatic tone throughout the essay stirs up readers’ emotions, and makes us feel like getting up and marching towards justice alongside them, which is an incredibly effective way of making us experience their leadership abilities firsthand. Lines like “ it was a reflex” and “ Columbia boasts an exceptional culture of students who feel emboldened to call out injustice, even when it’s perpetuated by their own community” make us viscerally feel the writer’s passion, and that sensation adds even more weight to their points.

Currently, the beginning of the essay is disjointed, as the author’s shift from positive report card comments to a former classmate’s murder is extremely abrupt. That jarring transition may have been intentional, but you don’t want to shock readers just because. While the essay is about leadership, readers will understand that without the first line, and thus the writer could be better off starting “in medias res” (in the middle of things) to immediately immerse readers in the story.

For example, they could say: “November 20, 2022 was a dark day at our school, when news broke of our former classmate’s murder.” This alternate first line gets right into the details of how the author developed their leadership skills, rather than starting off talking about those skills in the abstract and then zooming in. Remember, space is limited in the college essay, so you want to be as efficient as possible with how you make your points.

A vibrant, intellectually curious culture cultivated by the Core Curriculum, rich student interconnectedness, and an alignment of core values attract me to Columbia.

Seminar-based courses comprehensively facilitate my learning style; learning from peers, sharing my perspective, and exploring unquenchable curiosities comprise my ideal environment. Columbia’s emphasis on such learning through the Core Curriculum provides balanced structure and an approach encouraging valuable interdisciplinary study. Although I plan to pursue current intellectual interests through Columbia’s electives, the Core offers an invigorating communal experience and exposure to potential newfound passions, such as philosophy or Western musical analysis.

In conversation with my tour guide, Ashley, and through discussions with current students, I was inspired by the emphatic sense of community pride that envelops Morningside Heights. Beginning with the shared experience of the Core, it is apparent that inclusive community is fostered through academic spaces. Through traditions such as Tree Lighting, “Surf, Turf, & Earth” – which sounds absolutely scrumptious – and cultural celebrations, the Columbian community radiates in social spaces.

I envision myself blanketed with Columbia blue, clutching a glimmering snowball on the day of First Snow. Exuberant with lion pride, I prepare for a sportive battle, and a euphoric moment, with fellow prideful lions.

In the first paragraph, the author clearly lists three characteristics of Columbia–“a vibrant, intellectually curious culture cultivated by the Core Curriculum…rich student interconnectedness…and an alignment of core values”–which provide structure for the rest of the essay. This organization makes the essay easy to follow, as each point connects back to that first paragraph.

The writer also shows that they have a true appreciation of the community at Columbia, and that they aren’t just paying lip service to one of the most frequently used words in college admissions, by mentioning their tour guide by name, and the discussions they have had with current students. Those details show that the student has spent real effort getting to know Columbia’s campus culture, which in turn shows that they will be committed to making contributions to that culture themself.

As noted above, one of the keys to this kind of “Why This College?” essay is not just showing genuine interest in the school, but also how that interest will manifest once you’re there. By referencing traditions like the Tree Lighting ceremony and “Surf, Turf, & Earth,” the author demonstrates that they have already spent time thinking about how they would fit into Columbia’s community.

Finally, the author’s vivid imagery of “[themself] blanketed with Columbia blue, clutching a glimmering snowball on the day of First Snow,” ends the essay on a high note. The author doesn’t just restate that they want to go to Columbia, but paints a tangible picture of their excitement and anticipation, which makes those feelings come across far more strongly than if they just said something generic like “I can’t wait to hopefully be arriving in Morningside Heights next fall.”

While the author does include some Columbia-specific traditions, as described above, too much of the essay, particularly the paragraph focused on academics, is phrased in general terms. For example, the line:

“Although I plan to pursue current intellectual interests through Columbia’s electives, the Core offers an invigorating communal experience and exposure to potential newfound passions, such as philosophy or Western musical analysis” 

doesn’t tell us anything about what the author’s “current intellectual interests” are, nor about which specific courses or professors at Columbia will help them pursue their “newfound passions.” The essay would be much stronger if, for example, the author talked about how Columbia’s “American Film: Cult and Exploitation” course would help them refine their interest in contemporary media culture, which they have already started exploring through a research project in their American history class.

Additionally, rather than listing general categories of courses like “philosophy or Western musical analysis,” the author should talk about the Core in more specific terms, which are also linked to their own personal interests. That line could look something like:

“While I’ve never considered myself a musician, I’ve always been fascinated by how songwriters can unify millions of people with just a clever turn of phrase, and the Core’s ‘Music Humanities” requirement will help me better understand why musicians can wield so much power in society.”

Finally, along similar lines, the author should ideally connect the Columbia-specific traditions they mention to their own interests. For example, rather than just saying that the “Surf Turf & Earth” event sounds “absolutely scrumptious,” they could talk about how their multicultural family has always encouraged adventurous eating, and so they are excited about attending a college that also values culinary exploration.

Essay Example 4 – Cancer Research and Community

I’ve always known about Columbia’s stellar core curriculum, first hearing it from my uncle. He would speak of the strengths of this method, allowing students to experience learning in all fields of study. And its rumors are nothing less than reality – being given this holistic foundation throughout college is one I wish to thrive on. It would allow me to explore other subjects and meet Columbia’s astute professors, specifically Dr. Adana Llanos. I want to journey through Cancer Epidemiology and possibly assist in her research towards breast cancer subtypes because of its prevalence in my family.

Looking past academics, I view Columbia as a family where I can learn about myself and those around me. After hearing about the South Asian club, Club Zamana, I want to use it as a mode of discovery for my own heritage, participating in flamboyant events like Tamasha. This club would create a door to indulge in the passionate cultures that make up Columbia. 

I believe Columbia to have academic resources, a community, and energy like no other. It is the home where I want to discover my passion and pursue it for my 4 years. I think my uncle would love that.

This essay succinctly captures the “why?” of the “Why This College?” essay in a straightforward, easy-to-follow response. This applicant is interested in applying to Columbia because of: 1) the core curriculum, 2) their personal interest in studying cancer epidemiology, and 3) the opportunity to explore their own heritage through the South Asian club. 

While having a simple structure may not initially seem like something to get excited about, one of the unfortunate realities of college essays is that, while you spend many hours writing and revising them, admissions officers have no choice but to read them extremely quickly, because they have so many to get through. So, you want to be sure that your readers understand what you’re saying the first time around, as if they’re confused about something, they don’t have time to  stop and figure it out.

Additionally, by mentioning a specific professor they hope to work with, the author shows they’ve done some research on how exactly Columbia will help them delve into their interest in Cancer Epidemiology. The key to successfully responding to this kind of prompt is joining your current background/interests with opportunities at the school that will help you explore them. The line “I want to journey through Cancer Epidemiology and possibly assist in her research towards breast cancer subtypes because of its prevalence in my family” accomplishes both things.

If, however, the last two sentences of the first paragraph were replaced with the vaguer “I want to journey through cancer epidemiology, and possibly learn about breast cancer subtypes because of its prevalence in my family,” the reader would still understand this student’s interest in the field, but not how that connects to their desire to attend Columbia, which would give the essay an incomplete feel.

Finally, college is more than just academics, and this student’s discussion of their non-academic interest, in a club that will help them better understand their own identity, shows they have thought comprehensively about what their life at Columbia would look like. That will in turn help admission officers create a complete picture in their minds of how this student would fit into Columbia as a whole, not just the classrooms.

As noted above, the author does a good job of tying the opportunities they hope to pursue at Columbia to their existing interests. That personal connection could be strengthened, however, by more details about why they are drawn to these opportunities over any others.

For example, regarding the student’s interest in cancer epidemiology, they do mention the prevalence of breast cancer in their family as their motivation for studying the topic, but that line is brief, and thus could be missed by someone who, as noted above, is reading quickly. It’s also lacking specificity, as plenty of people have familial connections to certain topics–say, Jewish history if you have an aunt who is a rabbi–and yet don’t have much interest in exploring them themselves.

The author could more concretely connect their background to their potential breast cancer research at Columbia by providing additional details about, say, a summer research program they completed, or their experience learning about genetics in their high school biology class, or a 5K race they run every year to raise money for breast cancer research. That will in turn show admissions officers what they would bring to Dr. Llanos’ lab, not just that they hope to work there in general.

This same general idea also applies to the student’s discussions of the Core and the South Asian club. The student generally references things that appeal to them about these features of Columbia, like a “holistic foundation” provided by the core, and “discover[ing]…[their] own heritage” through the club, but we don’t get any specific details explaining how their past experiences have led to them prioritizing these things in their college experience.

Specifically with regards to the Core, as you’ve probably noticed in our analysis of both this essay and the preceding two, just mentioning this feature of Columbia isn’t enough. When a school is particularly well known for one thing, like Columbia with the Core or Brown with their Open Curriculum, pretty much every applicant is going to mention it somewhere in their application. 

So, in order to set yourself apart–which is the whole point of the essay, after all–you want to make sure you’re being as detailed as possible about how your past experiences and goals for the future align with this aspect of the school. Otherwise, you’re wasting valuable words, as just saying you like the Core won’t move the needle on your application.

Finally, a general word of caution when writing applications: don’t lose sight of the fact that admissions officers want to understand a student’s motivations for applying to their school, not those of their family members, or anyone else for that matter. This student both starts and finishes their essay by talking about their uncle, which makes it seem like their motivation for applying to Columbia is to make their uncle proud, rather than a personal interest in the school. 

While it’s not automatically bad to mention how someone else helped you become interested in a school, the overall focus should stay on you. In the case of this essay, that means the student shouldn’t frame the second line around their uncle “speak[ing] of the strengths of this method,” but rather around how their uncle’s introduction to Columbia led them to start researching the school themself. And at the end, the last thought in their reader’s mind should be of them at Columbia, not their uncle. So, the line “I think my uncle would love that,” should be taken out.

A small bird nest rests outside my doorway. Everyday at 3:40 pm, the mother bird eagerly comes home to her ecstatic children. They remind me beauty is everywhere, even in the smallest of reunions.

The author makes great use of the limited word space in this essay with a charming account of what brings happiness in their daily routine. Thanks to the efficient writing and simple but vivid imagery, created through strong word choices like “ecstatic” and creative phrasings like “the smallest of reunions,” this short essay reads almost like poetry.

Furthermore, the author’s description also teaches us something about who they are, which is the key to any college essay, even the short ones. The reflection “They remind me beauty is everywhere, even in the smallest of reunions” shows that the author appreciates the beauty and significance of seemingly ordinary moments, which in turn shows that they would bring both thoughtfulness and positivity to Columbia’s campus.

This is an incredibly strong essay, without much room for improvement. If anything, the lesson to be learned here is that usually, you eventually get to a point where your essay doesn’t need any more changes. Calling your essay “finished” can be challenging for many students, due to the overall stress of the college process and the constant feeling that you should be doing something, anything, to improve your chances of acceptance. But at some point, it’s okay to take your hands off the keyboard, be proud of the work you’ve put into the essay, and take a five-minute break to unwind 🙂

Prompt:   For applicants to Columbia College, please tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the areas of study that you previously noted in the application. (200 words or fewer)

The flickering LED lights began to form into a face of a man when I focused my eyes. The man spoke a ruthless serial killer of the decade who had been arrested in 2004, and my parents shivered at his reaccounting of the case. I curiously tuned in, wondering who he was to speak of such crimes with concrete composure and knowledge. Later, he introduced himself as a profiler named Pyo Chang Won, and I watched the rest of the program by myself without realizing that my parents had left the couch.

After watching the program, I recited the foreign word until it was no longer unfamiliar — ”profiler”. I stayed up all-night searching the meaning; my eyes sparkled with the dim light of the monitor as I read the tales of Pyo Chang Won and his Sherlock-like stories. From predicting the future of criminals and knowing the precise vicinity of a killer on the loose, he had saved countless lives; living in communities riddled with crimes in my youth then and even now, I dreamed of working against crimes. However, the traditional path of a lawyer or a police officer only reinforced the three-step cycle of arrest, trial, and jail which continued with no fundamental changes for years; I wanted to work with the psyche of criminals beyond courts and wondered about the inner workings of the mind.

Such admiration and interest led me to invest my time in psychology. Combined with working with the likes of the Victim Witness Agency, I decided to pursue psychology as my major for my undergraduate education. Later on, I want to specialize my research and education on behavioral/forensic psychology and eventually branch out to my childhood dream of becoming a criminal profiler. 

A major positive of this essay is how it is focused on one moment in time. This student goes into depth about the night they first fell in love with criminal psychology which allows the reader to feel like they are there watching TV with the student and researching afterwards. Having the essay focus on a snapshot of the student’s life opens the door to include more imagery and delve into the internal monologue of the student, thus creating a more engaging and personable essay. 

The student’s genuine fascination for the topic is evident through what they show the reader. They explain that they stayed to finish the show after their parents left, they stayed up all night researching what they just learned, and their eyes sparkled the more they learned about criminal psychology. Providing all these details shows the student’s fascination and passion for this topic without them ever having to explicitly say they were excited about it. 

This essay also does a good job of expanding past the requirements of the prompt to explain what they hope to accomplish with their degree. Including their career aspirations reinforced their passion to pursue this field to admissions officers. It also demonstrated that they are a goal-oriented person who wants to make a difference in the world.

What Could Be Improved

One thing that could be improved in this essay is the grammar. There were a few sentences where there were either typos or just clunky sentences that could be tightened up. In order to catch grammatical errors, you should always give your essay to at least one other person to read. CollegeVine offers  essay reviews that allows students to receive feedback on the grammar, structure, and content of their essays. It’s always a good idea to have a fresh pair of eyes read your essay to catch mistakes that might go unnoticed by you. Having someone review this essay would have likely helped this student fix their grammatical errors.

Essay Example 7 – Slavic Languages and Cultures

Steaming fruit filled knedliky, singing Czech Christmas Carols, and falling asleep to fairy tales about princesses with golden stars on their foreheads compose my earliest memories. As I grew older, I found myself exploring the streets and museums of Prague on my own and requesting less fantastical fairy tales, consisting of true stories from my parents about life under Communism. These personal experiences with Czech Language and Culture have vastly influenced my academic interests. 

Exploring the manner in which Czechia developed and understanding its intrinsic components remained an innate goal of mine. Though Czech was my first language I developed my skills further as I matured by utilizing Czech news sources and literary works. Throughout my AP English and History courses, I continually sought out both works by Czech authors and their accounts of consequential historical events, attempting to discover the common ground between these readings and those assigned in class. Through these unique means, I began unearthing the intricate history and background of the country. 

Majoring in Slavic Languages and Cultures provides ideal opportunities to develop a cross-cultural understanding of pertinent political issues while defining my identity as a Czech-American, thus fostering my innate academic passions and personal ambitions. 

Although this student doesn’t reveal what their intended major is until the last line, the entire essay does a great job of building a vivid picture of Czech culture and this student’s fascination with it that we almost don’t need to be told the actual major. 

The author shows how their Czech heritage has fascinated them through different stages of their life, demonstrating their maturity through the information they seek out. To show the beauty of their childhood innocence, they describe “ Steaming fruit filled knedliky, singing Czech Christmas Carols, and falling asleep to fairy tales about princesses with golden stars on their foreheads. ” Then, they demonstrate their interest in history by asking their parents about Communism. This fascination for history continues when they discuss searching for Czech authors in their AP classes.

Not only do we see how Czech language and culture has been an integral part of their life, but we get to see their determination and drive to develop new skills through exploring their Czech heritage. This student could have been content with speaking Czech at home, but instead they demonstrated intellectual curiosity by “ utilizing Czech news sources and literary works” to go above and beyond in their studies. If this student acted on their niche passion in the confines of a high school classroom, imagine what they could do with Columbia’s resources!

While the prompt asks you to reflect on your past experiences, for this essay to really stand out, it should have touched on the future as well. You can strengthen any “ Why Major? ” essay by explaining what you hope to achieve with your major post graduation. Prompts won’t always ask for this, but it’s a nice way to demonstrate you are forward-looking.

Even if there was just a phrase in the final sentence that mentioned something about how this student wants to become a Czech historian or they want to move to Czechia after graduation to reconnect with their roots, this would be enough of an addition to show admissions officers that this student is confident in both their past and future.

Prompt: A hallmark of the Columbia experience is being able to live and learn in a community with a wide range of perspectives. How do you or would you learn from and contribute to diverse, collaborative communities? (200 words or fewer)

Uno. Jenga. Monopoly. These were the board games I grew up with in America. But I found that the seniors at St. Theresa’s Home in Singapore did not share my enthusiasm for these pastimes (nor did they understand my elation at finally capturing Boardwalk)!

Prioritizing flexibility as a facilitator, I flipped the tables.

Pai Gow. Xiangqi. Mahjong. Initially, my team and I struggled to keep track of the countless new gameplay rules. However, I embraced the initial discomfort of this “hands-off” approach, realizing how it allowed us to transfer control to a community whose voices we wanted to amplify.

The small but crucial details, like knowing Mandarin pronunciations of game and piece names, built trust and respect and soon, we found ourselves trading stories freely, like cards.

I was initially hesitant to talk about my upbringing in a Western society and my constant struggle to define my own identity. However, I found a true sounding board in the aunties and uncles. Both sides simply wanted to hear and be heard. 

This is the knowledge I will carry into Columbia, where I hope to foster cultural discourse through safe spaces and conversations, ensuring that no one feels like a missing piece.

This student very creatively displays the discomfort of cultural divides and the joys of overcoming them through playing games. The parallel of listing three US board games (“ Uno. Jenga. Monopoly. “) and then three Singapore games (“ Pai Gow. Xiangqi. Mahjong. “) shows the reader how this student had to step outside of their comfort zone to connect with the seniors.

By explaining how it was difficult to “ keep track of the countless new gameplay rules ” and know the “ Mandarin pronunciations of game and piece names ” we understand the challenges of relating to people from a different culture that this student had to overcome. However, by describing the seniors as “ aunties and uncles ” and a “ sounding board ” for this student, it shows the level of comfort they finally established and how this student benefitted from hearing diverse perspectives.

Additionally, this essay has a strong game motif running through it that contributes to the playfulness and cohesiveness of the essay. From cracking jokes about getting the most coveted property in Monopoly, to referring to their conversation as “ trading stories freely, like cards “, to concluding with the analogy of a “ missing piece “, the commitment to games is a nice way to reinforce the connections they fostered.

Something missing from this essay is an explanation of why this student was at the senior center and what they wanted to accomplish. Was this a volunteer activity they were originally hesitant to join but grew to love once they embraced the Singaporean games? They mention the seniors as “ community whose voices we wanted to amplify ,” so does that mean they were interviewing seniors for articles or research projects?

Although the essay still effectively answers the prompt without telling us more about why this student was at the senior center, the lack of answers can be distracting for the reader and diminishes the lasting impact of the story.

Where to Get Your Columbia University Essays Edited

Do you want feedback on your Columbia University essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

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