How to Write a “Why This College” Essay

Discuss: Contemporary Nursing Practice

Applying to college is an exciting but also challenging experience. One of the critical pieces of your application is the “Why This College?” essay. This essay serves as a two-way street: It helps colleges understand why you’re a good fit for them and lets you express why the school is the right fit for you.

In this guide, we’ll explore the purpose of this essay, why colleges are interested in reading it, and provide practical tips for writing a great “Why This College” nursing essay.

What is the “Why This College?” Essay?

The “Why This College?” essay is a short piece of writing—usually about 250-500 words—accompanying your college application. It answers the question: why have you chosen this particular college or program? What makes it a good fit for your academic and personal goals?

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

The “Why Us” college essay serves multiple functions in the application process for both the applicant and the institution. Below are some of the key objectives this essay seeks to achieve:

Provides a Self-Reflective Opportunity for the Applicant

Writing a “Why Us” essay requires students to introspect and think critically about their educational goals and values. It forces them to articulate why they are interested in a specific field of study, how they plan to leverage the opportunities the college provides, and how they see their college education fitting into their broader life plans.

Helps the College Understand the Applicant’s Motivation

The essay reveals the reasons behind the applicant’s interest in the college and, more specifically, in its particular programs, faculty, or other resources. This understanding enables the college to gauge the applicant’s enthusiasm and genuine interest, a good predictor of their likely engagement and success if admitted.

Demonstrates Applicant’s Research and Preparation

A well-crafted nursing school personal statement reflects the amount of research the applicant has conducted. Have they looked into the courses, understood the faculty’s expertise, or become familiar with the college’s culture and extracurricular offerings? The depth of an applicant’s knowledge about the school can signify their seriousness about attending and making the most of what the institution offers.

Aids in the Admissions Selection Process

Colleges receive thousands of applications, and it’s not uncommon for many of the applicants to have similar grades, test scores, or extracurricular involvements. The “Why Us” essay can serve as a differentiator, highlighting applicants most aligned with the school’s values and objectives and who are most likely to contribute positively to the campus community.

Assess Fit and Alignment with Institutional Goals

Colleges and universities have their own goals, values, and missions. A well-written “Why Us” essay can demonstrate to the admissions committee how a particular applicant aligns with these institutional objectives. This can include anything from academic ambitions to social ethos and can go a long way in proving the symbiotic relationship between the applicant and the college.

Helps Estimate Yield

“Yield” is the percentage of admitted students who choose to enroll in a particular college. Colleges can better estimate their yield by gauging the applicant’s interest level and fit, an important metric for school rankings and internal evaluations.

Why Do Colleges Want You to Write a “Why Us” Essay?

The “Why Us” essay is a staple of college applications for various reasons, serving functions beyond simply understanding the applicant’s motivations. Here are some primary reasons why colleges are keen on having applicants write this type of essay:

Assessing Genuine Interest

Colleges want to admit students genuinely interested in attending, not just those applying as a backup or on a whim. An insightful, well-researched essay can strongly indicate an applicant’s sincere interest in the institution.

Yield Prediction

For colleges, the yield is an important metric. It is the percentage of admitted students who decide to enroll. A thoughtful “Why Us” essay helps colleges gauge how likely a student is to accept an offer of admission, thereby aiding in more accurate yield predictions. High yield rates can improve a school’s reputation and ranking.

Evaluating Fit

Each college has its own unique culture, ethos, and mission. Colleges are not just looking for qualified students; they’re looking for students who will also be a good fit for their environment. This essay serves as a tool to evaluate how well an applicant understands and fits into, the school’s community and academic atmosphere.

Quality Control

The “Why Us” essay effectively assesses the applicant’s writing skills, coherence, and ability to follow guidelines. It also evaluates the quality of the applicant’s research into the institution and their ability to integrate that research effectively into their argument.

Building a Cohesive Community

By understanding why students want to attend, colleges can better assess what elements of their offerings are most attractive and valued. This information is useful for admissions and can also be crucial for internal reviews, course planning, and ongoing efforts to build a cohesive and dynamic student body.

Resource Allocation

Knowing what specific programs or features attract students allows colleges to allocate resources more effectively. For instance, if many incoming students express interest in research opportunities, a school may invest more in lab facilities or research grants.

Gauging Long-Term Success

Colleges are invested in the long-term success of their students, not just their immediate enrollment. Those with a deep interest in the school and its resources are more likely to be engaged, successful students who will later become proud alumni. This long-term relationship benefits both the student and the institution.

Differentiating Among Similar Candidates

The “Why Us” essay can serve as a tiebreaker when faced with two candidates with similar qualifications. It can highlight an applicant’s enthusiasm for the school or a unique perspective that makes them slightly more appealing than another similarly qualified candidate.

What Colleges Get Out Of Reading Your “Why This College” Essay

The “Why This College” essay is a valuable tool for various reasons, offering insights into the applicant pool that statistics and scores can’t fully capture. Here’s a look into what colleges gain from this particular essay:

Understanding of Applicant’s Specific Interests

The essay can reveal what facets of the school the applicant is particularly drawn to. Are they interested in the academic programs, the extracurricular activities, or campus culture? This helps colleges understand what their prospective students value most, which can be useful for future marketing, program development, and resource allocation.

Measure of Genuine Interest

When an applicant has taken the time to research a school’s programs, values, and culture, it becomes evident in their essay. A well-crafted “Why This College” essay signals to the admission committee that the student is genuinely interested in attending, making them a more attractive candidate for admission and scholarships.

Insight into the Student’s Academic Goals

Colleges can better understand the student’s academic focus, aspirations, and intentions through this essay. Understanding a student’s academic fit can help colleges predict the applicant’s potential contributions to campus life and serve as early information for academic advisors.

Evaluation of Potential Campus Contributions

Students often mention clubs, organizations, or community service programs they’re interested in as part of the “Why This College” essay. This gives colleges an idea of how prospective students might contribute to campus life outside the classroom.

Aligning Institutional and Student Goals

Every college has specific objectives: academic excellence, social justice, research innovation, or community engagement. When a student’s essay aligns well with a college’s mission or goals, it can strengthen the case for admission.

Information for Continuous Improvement

If multiple essays highlight certain programs, faculty members, or facilities as especially attractive, the college gains insights into its strengths. Conversely, if no essays mention a particular program or feature, it could be an area for review or improvement.

Differentiating Between Similar Applicants

Especially at competitive schools, there may be little to differentiate applicants regarding GPA, test scores, and extracurricular activities. A compelling “Why This College” essay can serve as a tie-breaker, providing a reason to choose one equally qualified student over another.

Predicting Enrollment and Yield

The level of enthusiasm and specificity in the essay can be a useful predictive tool for gauging whether a student will accept an offer of admission. Accurate yield predictions are important for schools for planning purposes and can even impact a school’s ranking.

Building a Cohesive Class

Admissions officers aim to build a balanced, cohesive class. The “Why This College” essay can explain how a student might fit into the puzzle, complementing other students’ skills, interests, and personalities.

Legal and Ethical Compliance

In some instances, the essay can also serve as a way to ensure compliance with non-discriminatory admissions practices, allowing colleges to demonstrate that each applicant is considered on individual merits, including their expressed interest in the school.

Examples of “Why This College” Essay Prompts

The “Why This College” essay prompt can vary from one institution to another. However, the underlying goal remains to understand why applicants are interested in the school and how they see themselves fitting into its academic and social fabric. Below are some examples of  prompts for this type of essay:

Straightforward Prompts

  • Why have you applied to [College Name], and how do you see yourself contributing to our community?
  • What draws you to the academic program at [College Name]?
  • Please discuss why you consider [College Name] a good fit for you.

Program-Specific Prompts

  • Explain why you wish to study engineering at [College Name], and how you see our program helping you achieve your career goals.
  • What aspects of the [Specific Program] at [College Name] interest you the most?

Community and Campus Life Focus

  • Describe how you plan to engage with the [College Name] community on and off-campus.
  • What are the unique features of [College Name] make it the right place for you?

Value-Centric Prompts

  • How do your personal values align with the mission and ethos of [College Name]?
  • Describe how [College Name]’s focus on community/global engagement resonates with your own interests.

Combination Prompts

  • Discuss your academic interests and career goals, and explain how enrolling in [College Name] will help you achieve them.
  • Why have you chosen this field of study, and how does [College Name] offer the best opportunities to deepen your understanding?

Personal Growth

  • How do you see yourself growing and evolving by attending [College Name]?

Open-Ended Prompts

  • Is there anything you want us to know about you or your interest in [College Name] that this application has not covered?

5 Tips for Writing a Great “Why This College” Essay

The essay provides a platform to express your passion for nursing, detail your career goals, and explain why a specific program fits you. Here are five tips to help you craft an excellent essay:

1. Treat Each “Why Us” Essay Individually

It might be tempting to write a generic essay and modify it slightly for each college but resist that urge. Admissions officers can easily spot a generic essay that won’t leave a lasting impression. Instead, tailor your essay to each specific program.

Mention faculty members you’re interested in working with, specific courses that caught your eye, or unique clinical opportunities offered by that program.

2. Spend Time Researching Your Schools

The best “Why This College” essays are based on thorough research. Go beyond just the nursing program and look at the college. What is their philosophy on education? What kinds of research or community programs do they participate in?

The more specific details you can include, the more convincing your essay will be. You may also want to discuss state-of-the-art facilities, internship opportunities, or collaborations with hospitals or healthcare organizations.

3. Focus on Your Fit With the School

Explaining why you’re a good fit for the program is as important as stating why the program is right for you. Highlight your experiences, skills, and characteristics that align with the program’s values and goals.

If the program strongly emphasizes community service, mention your volunteer work at healthcare facilities. Discuss your passion for research and evidence-based practice if they pride themselves on academic rigor.

4. Provide Specific Details and Examples

Avoid vague statements like “I want to help people” or “I have always been interested in medicine.” These don’t offer insights into your interest in that college’s nursing program. Instead, give specific examples of experiences that have led you to nursing and why you think this program will help you fulfill your career objectives.

Have you had an inspiring interaction with a nurse? Have you already completed some relevant coursework or projects? The more concrete details you provide, the more credible and compelling your essay will be.

5. Demonstrate a Sense of Enthusiasm

Passion is crucial in healthcare careers, and the admissions committee wants to see that you’re enthusiastic about joining their program. Your interest should shine through your writing.

Show enthusiasm for the nursing field and the specific program to which you’re applying. Have they recently updated their curriculum or added new labs, and you’re excited about this? Say so in your essay!

How to Structure a “Why This College” Essay

A well-structured essay not only makes your points more compelling but also makes a better impression on the admissions committee. Below is a guide on how to structure your essay.

First Paragraph

Hook: Start with a strong opening sentence to grab the reader’s attention. This could be a personal anecdote related to nursing, a startling statistic, or a bold statement about your aspirations.

Thesis Statement: Clearly state the main point of your essay: why you’re interested in this particular nursing program and why you would be a good fit. This sets the stage for the arguments you’ll make in the body of your essay.

Body Paragraph(s)

Research-Based Points: Discuss the unique features of the program that attracted you. These could be specific courses, faculty, facilities, hospital partnerships, etc. Use the research you’ve conducted to speak to these features in detail.

Personal Fit: Explain why these features resonate with you. Maybe the program’s focus on community healthcare aligns with your volunteer experience, or perhaps their state-of-the-art simulation labs will allow you to best prepare for real-world nursing.

Your Contribution: How will you contribute to the program? Perhaps you bring a unique perspective, have professional experience, or plan to go into a specialized field of nursing that will add to the school’s diversity.

Closing Paragraph

Summary: Briefly summarize the key points you’ve made in your essay.

Reiteration: Reiterate why you and the program are an excellent match.

Closing Thoughts: End on a high note, ideally circling back to the opening hook in a way that provides a satisfying narrative closure.

“Why This College” Essay Example


When I stepped into the pediatric wing as a volunteer and witnessed the genuine smiles and strength of the young patients, I knew I wanted to pursue pediatric nursing. The nursing program at [College Name], which couples cutting-edge medical training with a compassionate approach to patient care, perfectly matches my career goals and personal ethos.

Body Paragraph 1: Academic Excellence

What sets [College Name]'s nursing program apart for me is its unique focus on specialized care, particularly in pediatrics. The courses such as “Pediatric Emergency Care” and “Child Health Assessment” directly align with my career goals. 

Furthermore, working under Dr. [Faculty Name], who has extensively researched pediatric care, would be invaluable to my academic journey. This aligns perfectly with my interest in pediatric care, cultivated through years of volunteering at [Local Children's Hospital].

Body Paragraph 2: Hands-On Experience

The clinical rotations at [College Name] are incredibly comprehensive, encompassing a range of settings from local community hospitals to large research facilities. This variety would provide me with a well-rounded clinical education. 

I am particularly excited about the program’s partnership with [Nearby Children's Hospital], one of the leading pediatric care centers in the country.

Body Paragraph 3: Community and Personal Fit

Beyond academics and clinical experience, [College Name] also promotes a sense of community and empathy, values that resonate deeply with me. The program’s outreach initiatives, like the "Healthy Kids Campaign," speak to my own experience in community service. 

Moreover, I am excited about the prospect of contributing to the Nursing Student Association at [College Name], bringing new initiatives that focus on mental health for pediatric patients.


In [College Name]'s nursing program, I see more than just a path to academic and professional advancement; I see a platform where my passion for pediatric nursing can flourish. 

The blend of rigorous academic programs, real-world clinical experience, and a community-focused ethos make [College Name] the ideal setting for me to grow as a healthcare professional. 

I am keenly enthusiastic about the possibility of enriching and being enriched by this compassionate community, committed to innovative healthcare and service to humanity.

By explicitly mentioning course offerings, faculty, and extracurricular opportunities, this example essay paints a picture of how the student and the school are a good fit for each other. It also explores the student’s future contributions to campus life, completing a compelling argument for why they should be admitted to this specific nursing program.

Final Thoughts on Writing a “Why This College” Essay

The “Why This College?” essay is crucial to many college applications. It’s your chance to showcase why you should be accepted into the program and why you and the college are a mutual fit. These essays are important for nursing, where choosing an institution can greatly influence your educational experience and future career.

Does that sound overwhelming? Don’t worry! Writing a personalized essay requires a strategic approach, thorough research about the college, and a clear understanding of your goals and aspirations. Our nursing essay writing help service will construct a compelling “Why This College?” essay that stands out. Place your order and take the first step towards making a compelling case for admission into your dream nursing program.

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