Prab Singh heads CollegeSource (http://thecollegesource.net/), an organisation that provides life coaching to adolescents and support to their family through the process of deciding their higher education and career goals.
In the last blog (http://parentedge.in/demystifying-the-common-application/), we addressed how a student should look first at his own strengths and how those will relate to the main part of the application.
Most schools will also have a supplement application that usually has short answers and/or an essay. An extremely difficult question in the college application is: “Why do you want to attend this college?” The key in the supplement is to explain your particular connection to the school. In the June Blog (http://parentedge.in/narrowing-down-your-school-list/), we talked about researching your short-listed colleges by looking first at your achievements, academic preparation and aspirations and finding things in each school that connect to those. Time to pull out those In-Depth Tables with your research.
First, let’s talk a bit about why colleges ask this question in the first place. These days most colleges, especially highly selective ones, get many more applications than they have places for in their freshman class. Obviously, the admissions office does not want to waste a spot on an applicant who is not likely to attend – and they also want to make sure that every student who does attend next fall has thought through their reasons for wanting to be there. In short, they are looking for evidence that you didn’t just toss in an extra application on a whim, or use the rankings as a dartboard, but that you truly are interested enough to have thought through your decision to apply.
THIS IS THE QUESTIONS THAT IS MOST WASTED IN THE APPLICATION! WITH MOST STUDENTS WRITING A BUNCH OF STUFF THAT THE COLLEGE ALREADY KNOWS!!
The university is looking for clues to your personality, interests, and goals, and how you will contribute to, or participate in, all that the college has to offer. So, this question isn’t just about why the college is a fit for you, but why you’re a fit for the college. It’s a subtle but important difference to keep in mind as you work on this sort of essay. Don’t just tell the college why they are right for you – also tell them why you are right for them.
Essentially, they are trying to find out if you have researched the school to find out about the resources that they have that will help you reach your goals. There are some implicit things in that sentence. One, that you understand what their resources are, how they differentiate themselves in various areas, that you will USE their resources, and of course ~ that you actually have some GOALS!