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Tips on the ‘Why Us’ college supplement

Step 1: Do your research

  • Start by looking up the majors that you would consider.

  • Next, search the class & faculty directory to see which professors and courses most intrigue you.

  • Then take a look at research opportunities and any pre-professional related clubs that might interest you.

  • If you toured the school or listened to any information sessions and something stuck out to you in the moment, write it out immediately so you don’t forget it. This is a great opportunity to showcase your interest in the particular school.

  • Afterwards, spend some time learning about the traditions of the school. If you are able to contact any students at the college you are applying to (maybe older students from your highschool who attend the college), ask them their favorite tradition. If you do not know anyone at the school you are applying to, the internet is filled with so much information!

Step 2: Merge your research with a story about yourself.

  • The ‘Why Us’ essay is crucial for what is known as ‘student fit’. The reader wants to evaluate whether the culture at the school will be an environment that you can thrive in. This supplement should equally be why the college should want you, as much as why you want the college.

  • Consider how you would spend a day on campus. For example, is there a specific topic during high school you were interested in that you can develop through a research program with a professor in the field?

  • Make sure to describe how you could see yourself participating in the school’s traditions you researched to show the reader you will engage in the student life at the school.

  • Make sure to be specific in the evidence you are giving.

Step 3: Reread and edit for word count.

  • Although you want to demonstrate that you’ve done your research, you don’t want to reiterate everything you have read.

  • Make sure that you have chosen a few pieces of information and elaborate on how you could use those resources to grow.

  • Cut down your essay to make it concise. During the cutting down process, you will get a feel for which information you think is crucial and which can be left out.

Step 4: If needed, use the same framework for other colleges.

  • Although it can be risky, if you are in a time crunch, one way to go about the ‘Why Us’ essay is to follow the above steps to create a sample essay and edit according to the opportunities available in each college.

  • If you do this, make sure to take time to research and edit the essay, to avoid any mishaps with mentioning another college’s name/professor/club by accident.

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