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How to Conquer the “Why This Program/College” Essay Question

Updated: Feb 8, 2021

One of the most common questions you’ll come across in applying for college or summer programs is, "Why you want to attend?" Although this may seem like an easy, straightforward prompt, you can miss the mark if you don’t approach it the correct way. Follow the four tips below to get started in the right direction.

1. Do your research

When a program or school wants to know why you want to attend, the expectation is that you went beyond the front page of the website and the statistics you found through Google search. The more thorough your research, the more specific and personalized your answers will be.

2. Keep it concise

Many times, this type of question will have a limit of 250-300 words, but sometimes you’ll get lucky and have more space to explain your reasons. Whatever the length, you have limited space and must use it wisely. This means not elaborating too much on a single reason or another and talk about each of your reasons equally.

3. Vary your reasons

You should include a variety of reasons to hit multiple aspects of the program or school. For example, if you’re applying to a college, talk about both academics and extracurricular activities to show that you can contribute to multiple areas on campus.

4. Make it goal-oriented

While this question may seem like it’s all about the program or school, it’s secretly about you, too. Admissions officers want to know how you can use the program or school’s resources to achieve your goals. You should tie in how you’ll apply what you learn to your own personal or career goals.

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