• India’s most comprehensive parenting portal, with excerpts from ParentEdge – India’s leading parenting magazine

Approaching the Application School Supplement

If you answered that question effectively it will also answer another implicit question that they are asking: “Will this student likely attend our school?” This is key as I have seen over and over again that students will often work hard on their ‘dream’ schools, but they ‘phone-in’ their applications on the others. That can sometimes result in your not getting accepted at your ‘sure thing’ school! Make every school feel like it is your FAVORITE school by showing them exactly why you are applying there!

Here are some tips to help you tackle “Why This College?” essays:

1. Review your In-Depth Research Tables. Decide on the most salient points, keeping in mind the word/character count limits, choose the things that are most important to you.

2. Do more research:

  • College websites are loaded with information. Read the descriptions of departments you’re interested in, explore a few faculty bios, examine the school’s mission statement, read the online archives of the student newspaper, and scroll through recent press releases issued by the college news office. A note on the Mission Statement: schools live by this! Their admissions staff will try to bring in students who reflect their mission.
  • Often Admissions officers will keep blogs, students do as well. These can be great places to find out what is going on and what is important to the person that may read your application or the mindset of the typical student at that school.
  • Wikipedia may have interesting facts or descriptions and also links to further explore your school.

3. Make it personal. Don’t write about things that any applicant can say about the school. Tell the admissions committee why everything you mention relates specifically to you. Instead of “I like University XYZ because it has a wonderful science program” say “I’ve had a lengthy curiosity with zoology and the opportunity to work at the XYZ primate research center in Professor Smith’s undergraduate program will allow me to get hands-on experience working with chimpanzees.”

4. Don’t comment on the obvious. The admissions office already knows they have a beautiful campus, a world-renowned faculty, are ranked highly in U.S. News & World Report, and are located in an exciting city. If you keep it personal, and focus on why this college or university and you truly are a match, your essay will stand out.

5. Be specific. Don’t just say, “I was impressed with your library.” Look up the name of the library, and tell them exactly what impressed you. Sometimes little details can speak loudly. I once read an excellent essay from a student that began, “When I entered the drawing and painting studio on the third floor of Smith Hall, felt the warm sun streaming through the large floor-to-ceiling windows, and smelled the pungent aroma of fresh turpentine, I knew that I had found a place where I could not only create art, but live it.”


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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.

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