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How to Write the Perfect “Why Us?” Essay

As an essay writing coach, I have seen that this is the supplemental essay prompt that gives students the most trouble. The reason: it’s expected. Students know they’re going to be asked why they want to apply to a particular college or university. However, students often fear that their reasoning isn’t reason enough for them to receive one of those acceptance letters. But that is backwards thinking. This is the chance for students to stand out. That is why it’s essential for students to consider these two factors before tackling this prompt:

1. Why would you be a great fit for this college or university? 

Yes, colleges and universities want their roses too. Everyone wants to feel special. But this is more about what the student brings to the table. How do you envision yourself excelling on campus? What programs, clubs, or courses do they offer that will help you accomplish your goals? Students need to be specific here and include how their interests, talents, and abilities align with what their prospective college or university provide.

2. Focus on the academic element of the essay. 

We know there is more to college than academics alone, and students are free to mention the non-academic factors that are appealing to them. However, they should not be the core of their essays. What major do you intend to study? What faculty members might you want to work with? What specific programs, study abroad, or research opportunities will you explore? These should be the questions students focus on, and trust me when I say it will serve them well.