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Reddit recently hosted an AMA, or Ask Me Anything, that featured a college essay adviser with 10 years of experience answering questions about college admission essays.
Stacey Brook, the founder and CEO of College Essay Advisors, provided strategic advice for how to make your “Why (this college)” supplemental essay stand out from the rest. These essays ask students to explain why they’re applying to a particular college.
Here’s the inside scoop Brook provided (emphasis added):
The “Why Essay,” as we commonly refer to it at CEA, is one of the most commonly assigned supplemental essay questions (as I’m sure you’ve noticed!)
An effective answer to this question addresses two main areas: pointed interest and good fit. And it all begins with research!
In order to effectively answer the “Why?” you have to have a genuine “Because.” So to start off, spend some time really digging through the school website (or visiting campus, if you can).
Dig deeper than the first few pages. What classes are you interested in taking? Which professors do awesome research that excites your intellect? Is there a strong creative writing community at the school that would allow you to develop your craft and meet authors you admire?
Even if the school whose prompt you’re responding to isn’t your absolute first choice, find your real reason for applying. What does that school offer that would satisfy you intellectually? Socially? Environmentally?
Once you have found a handful of highly specific details that appeal to you, add in the context of your personal experiences. If you can build a bridge from where you are now (or where you’ve been), to where you will be next year – or in four years – your genuine interest will shine through.