How to Write a “Why This College” Essay

Need to learn how to write a “why us” essay but have no idea where to begin? Worry less. Joining college is a thrilling experience, and many students look forward to starting a new academic chapter. However, before getting an admission letter, you must write a “why this college” essay to fulfill a mandatory section of the application procedure. 

However, not many students know how to write a “why this college” essay since it is not a standard academic paper. A “why us” college essay is a type of essay that explains in detail why you want to attend a certain college. It should comprise supporting evidence that reveals why you are the perfect candidate. Thus, it has to be original, well-written and clearly captures your personality.

This article provides insightful tips on what to say when a college asks you why you are applying. Read on and learn how to write a “why us” essay, and check out an example to inspire your own “why this college” essay composition.

What Is the Purpose of “Why Us” College Essays?

The primary objective of “why us” essays is to help the admissions board choose ideal students who are not only qualified but also passionate about the college. Most colleges strive to admit learners who are all-rounded, dedicated, and driven in their quest for higher education. 

Besides, finding a college that aligns with your qualifications, ambitions, and personality is a plus. Ensure you craft a solid explanation that cites how the school can support your academic and career goals while showing your genuine interest in joining the college. Therefore, knowing how to answer why you want to attend this college is imperative if you want to gain admission. 

Common Mistakes When Writing the “Why This College?” Essay

Most students make mistakes when composing “why us” essays, which affects their application process negatively. One of the most common mistakes to avoid is stating generic statements about the college that might sound obvious. These aspects include writing about the ranking, size, location, or weather. The admission panel knows how to spot these basic characteristics, and it will show that you have not done your research properly. Thus, it will reveal your low level of interest in that particular college. 

Below is an example of what not to write in a “why us” college essay:

Don’t Write: I am interested in joining Duke University because the student-to-faculty ratio is quite low, it has a high ranking globally, and the weather is great. Also, when I toured the campus, it felt like my second home.”

Another mistake to avoid is to use emotional appeal in your “why this college” essay. Phrases like “the college feels like my second home” are empty and will not sway the panelists to pick you. Besides, using emotions will reveal that you don’t have concrete reasons why you are the perfect fit for the college. 

Therefore, you must be careful with your choice of words if you want to know how to write a “why this college” essay. Rather than evoking emotions, be logical and explain your interests and why you need to enroll in that particular college. Showing little to no interest might compromise your chances, even if your qualifications are exceptional. 

Composing a “why us” college essay that doesn’t outline your specific goals and interests might spoil your application. It is imperative to demonstrate how the school will impact your ambitions. You must ask yourself, “Why did I choose this college?” and how it will help you achieve your goals in the long term. Keep in mind that the panelists are interested in your explanation of why you are an ideal fit for the college. Such college opportunities are quite competitive, and your “why this college” essay must stand out from the numerous applications. In a nutshell, you should be able to answer, “Why am I interested in this college?”

Examples of “Why Us” Essay Prompts

The “why us” college essay is usually a communication between a student and the college. Thus, when crafting this “why I want to go to college essay,” you will be responding to two separate but related questions. 

  • Why us?: This question prompts you to explain why the school is important to you. What makes the college an ideal choice, and what experience do you think you will get?
  • Why you?: This section is meant to reveal why you are the perfect fit for that college. You should explain how your skill set, abilities, and qualities will contribute to the college, and how it will impact your future. 

Most colleges use the above approach to issue “why this college” essay prompts. So, you must learn to identify the type of question you need to answer on the essay prompt. For instance, if you get a “why us” prompt, you need to concentrate on praising the college. In contrast, if you get a “why you” prompt, you should explain why you are a great fit for the college.

Keep in mind that the two prompts above might seem different but are closely related and will help you know how to answer “why this” college essay question.  

Here are practical pointers to help you identify “why us” essay prompts: 

  • Why do you want to join Duke University?
  • Why is Duke a great choice?
  • Why are you passionate about joining this college?
  • What do you love about this college?
  • Why are you interested in attending this college?

Let us take a look at the “why you” essay prompts:

  • Why do you think you are a good fit for Duke University?
  • Which course do you want to pursue, and how will it correspond to our college program?
  • What aspects will you contribute to our college?
  • Why are you an ideal candidate for Duke University?

How to Structure a “Why This College” Essay

As a student dreaming of joining college, knowing how to write a “why us” college essay if you want to secure your chances. It doesn’t matter how the “why this college” essay prompt is crafted; remember that your task is to elaborate on what you and the school have to offer each other. You need to be keen and carefully understand the essay prompt before you proceed on how to answer why us college essay. Ensure your “why us” essays are authentic and sound genuine.

If you want to know how to start a “why us” essay, follow the simple steps below:

  1. Research the College: The first and most important step is to conduct comprehensive research about the college you want to attend. Review the official website and familiarize yourself with the available academic programs, activities, course catalog, and career opportunities for students.
  2. Contact the admissions office: You can contact the office and request to speak to an admission representative who can help you with the application process. 
  3. Gather adequate information: Do your due diligence and collect enough information about different colleges to make an informed decision.
  4. Choose the right approach: Select one approach that will express your “why this college” essay effectively. Whether you want to dwell on one reason or multiple reasons, go for the approach that works for you and will answer “Why did I choose this college?” effectively.
  5. Write your essay: Identify your main points and start writing your “why this college” essay based on the approach you choose. Ensure you craft a convincing and sincere essay that will communicate effectively to the panelists.

Here is an overview of the structure that will guide you on how to start a “why us” college essay:

  • Introduction

– Hook sentence using an anecdote.

– Express main goals and why.

  • Main Body 

– 1st Paragraph (Topic sentence) – 1st goal with supporting evidence.

– 2nd Paragraph (Topic sentence) – 2nd goal with supporting evidence.

  • Conclusion

– Future ambitions.

– Importance of the college in your academic and professional journey.

Why I Choose This College?” Essay Example

Take a look at the “why I chose this college” essay example below:

When I was 12 years old, I had a minor accident while playing in school and broke my foot. I could not move around and had to wear a cast for three months before I recovered. My immobility altered my perspective about nurses because of the exceptional care I received. Since that period in my life, I have always admired the profession and wished to pursue nursing in college.

I believe that joining Duke University would be the best choice for preparing me to become a great nurse. I love helping people, and the academic program I am interested in pursuing will offer me the technical expertise I need to achieve my goals. In my earlier tour of the campus, I interacted with learners and faculty members, and based on our engagements, this college will contribute immensely to my success as a nurse.  


Learning how to write a good “why us” college essay is important if you want to increase your chances of joining your dream college. Make it your goal to craft flawless “why us” essays that influence the admissions board in your favor. Ensure you demonstrate your authentic personality, achievements, and skillset, which will reveal your reasons for joining that particular college. Besides, you need to persuade the panelists why you are the best fit to get admission to the college program you are interested in pursuing. 

Therefore, you need to understand how to answer the “why us” question college essay by focusing on your contribution to the academic program, college community, and research field. So, plan adequately and compose an impeccable “why this college” essay that will boost your chances of joining your dream college.  Otherwise, you can always turn for college essay help to our experts. 

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