You will find many college applications ask you to write a short essay on why you want to go to their college and it’s also a common college interview question.
The typical prompt is just that: Why do you want to attend this college?
With this specific college prompt colleges are really asking you two things:
- first, what you like about the college and if you really know about their college
- secondly, if you have considered why this college is good for you.
You need to answer both these questions in one short essay of 250 to 300 words.
This essay does not require a thesis statement or an introduction and conclusion. However, it does require more than the few sentences. If you find only a few spaces provided on the application, it is better that you write out three or so paragraphs and attach them to your application.
The key to this essay is both knowing yourself and knowing the college you are applying to.
4 Tips For Your Why I-Want-to-Go-to-This-College Essay
1. Figure out what you want in a college
Before you write this essay you should sit down and list at least five things you want in a college: Do you want a large or small campus, do you want an urban or rural setting, do you want small classes or large lecture?
Depending on how you learn best, does this school have a good course of study for the future you are pursuing, does it offer courses abroad, can you do independent research, are the professors known for their research in your areas of interest, will its cost fit your pocketbook, do they offer extracurricular activities you want to be involved in, are the dorms set up to your liking, what kind of student population will you feel most comfortable with, is it a long distance from your home – which you may or may not want.
I could go on.
To know what kinds of questions to ask yourself about what you do want in college, you might want to check out our article about the first steps in selecting a college that suits you.
2. Research the college
This means real research, not looking at pictures in pamphlets or online.
You should visit the school you’re applying to and TAKE NOTES. Walk around campus; go into classes and dorms; talk to professors, admissions people, and students; and check out the library, cafeterias, and student union.
Take down names of people you talk to, note quotations from people, take down the names of buildings, and the names of classes you attend.
All this will come in handy.
3. Visit the college’s website
Here you need to check out the various courses and note down the nitty-gritty things like numbers of credits needed and prerequisites. Look at departments and their faculty. Read the professors’ vitae and note their areas of strengths and accomplishments.
Read the college’s mission statement to determine if it fits your own philosophy of what you want from an education.
If copies of the campus paper’s articles are available, read them to gather the kind of atmosphere the campus has. Is it political, ho-hum about what’s going on, student-centered?
Look at the activity calendars to get a feel for how busy the campus is and what it offers students.
4. Write the essay
The best thing is to group your notes into three or four things that you like about the campus that you can describe and to which you can add why you like that from your list of what you want from a college experience.
Here are a few more tips about writing an admissions essay to help you breeze through.
Final bonus tip!
Be sure to have your essay reviewed by ta qualified expert so that you submit the best possible essay to your colleges!