Patrick O’Connor’s recent blog about the short-answer supplements in college applications brings up a good point. Many applicants put a lot of time and thought into their main application essay, only to dash through the short-answer supplements that some schools require. But to rush through these could be a deal-breaker. So what’s the best way to answer, “Why do you want to attend Wonderful University?”
Keep in mind that this is a chance for them to find out more about you, and what you will bring to campus. They want to know not only that you will be a good fit, but will bring something extra to the student body. So you don’t need to repeat to them why Wonderful U is so, well, wonderful. They can read the brochure, too. In fact, they wrote the brochure.
Instead, talk about your passion or interest for something — perhaps something not mentioned in the rest of your application — and why you feel you could follow that passion at Wonderful U. If you visited Wonderful and noticed a sign up advertising a student chess club, start your answer with a vignette from your last chess tournament, and then describe the excitement you felt when you learned about Wonderful’s chess involvement. If you once heard Wonderful U’s concert choir on tour in your home city, you can write that this concert spurred you to dig deeper into Wonderful’s choral groups. You get the idea. Yes, Wonderful is wonderful and you are choosing this school because of its strong biology reputation, but only mention that in passing, because that’s a given. It’s the extra stuff — like chess or music or that visit to Wonderful when an older student showed you the school’s art gallery — that will set your short answer apart and convince the school your interest comes from the heart — as it should!