“Dear Student, why do you want to attend our school?” - Application essay guru, Sharon Epstein talks us through how to answer this question.
On the Writing Success Blog and in the Free Writing Guide found at the top of this page, along with a variety of articles, you will find a video on teaching the five-paragraph essay. What’s shocking about this video is that it is from Ashworth University and is designed for high school students. Why do soon-to-be college students need instruction on a five-paragraph essay?
This student clearly states why this school is a good match for her
There is an overriding notion within the professional world that today's crop of students are not able to write as effectively as they should. This is only one of the reasons why the scholarship essay has gained so much recognition within the college recruitment process. More than ever, college admission boards and scholarship committees are looking for students with the ability to communicate effectively through the written word.
At the same time, writing the "why us" essay can be a moment of clarity. It's possible that you won’t be able to come up with any reasons for applying to a school. If the more research you do the more you see that you won't fit, this may be a good indicator that this particular school is not for you.The purpose of this essay goes two ways. On the one hand, seeing how you answer this question gives admissions officers a sense of whether you know and value their school. On the other hand, having to verbalize why you are applying is a chance for you to ponder what you want to get out of your college experience, and whether your target schools fit your goals and aspirations.These three well-written essays create a strong set. The first and the last would have been impressive on their own. Reading them all together magnifies their impact considerably. This student does an especially good job of targeting the school. This student focuses his first essay on his extracurriculars and relates them to why Duke would be perfect for him. He focuses the third on his Chinese background and how it relates to his career goals and academic interests. Then he also relates these interests to why Duke matches him perfectly. His favorite book provided the focus of the second essay. What makes this second essay better than others like it is that the applicant manages to put himself into the question. He does not just talk about the book, he uses it to talk about himself and stress the inquisitive nature of his personality-always a plus.Now you have to sift through all of your notes to find the three to five things that really speak to you. Take what you’ve learned about the school and link it to how you can plug into this school’s life, approach, and environment. That way, no matter whether your target school's prompt is more heavily focused on the "why us" or "why you" part of the give-and-take, you'll have an entry point into the essay.