Why College X - The One Paragraph Version (150 Words or Less)

Essay Prompt

Why College X?  10 sample answers to the one-paragraph (150 words or less) version of the most popular extra writing question on college applications.

Sample Essay

Many colleges ask that you distill your response to the Why College X question to one paragraph (150 words or less). The samples below demonstrate how persuasive one paragraph can be!


Why Brown? (100 word limit)

Note: Brown has a separate Why Major X question, so the Why College X answers do not focus on the applicant’s interest in a particular major.

I start the day in Professor Serrano’s Game Theory class, debating the odds of getting 5 aces in a hand of poker. A break and I email my B.I.G. group with my proposal to invest in the Japanese BitCoin exchange. I run (working on the PE requirement) to Ghanaian Drumming class. Then a quick stop for some paperwork for next semester’s internship at the Rhode Island Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.Tonight, I might convince some friends to stage another improv comedy show (I’m known for these.) Four years of days like this. That’s why Brown.


Why Brown? (100 word limit)

Note: Brown has a separate Why Major X question, so the Why College X answers do not focus on the applicant’s interest in a particular major.

What I appreciate and love most about Brown is that the University allows you to “be the architect of your own education.” Because I have such diverse curiosities, the open curriculum allows me to explore them all and will keep me from getting bored. A schedule of “Constitutional Law: Individual Rights,” “Kitchen Chemistry” and “Introduction to Oceanography” suits me. Plus it actually prepares me for life because as my Dad say, “The world may be driven forward by technology and science, but we only know what to do with those things from our study of the humanities.”


If you are applying to the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences as a first year applicant, please discuss why you consider Duke a good match for you. Is there something particular about Duke that attracts you? (150 word limit)

Since walking onto campus as a seventh grader, I knew Duke was for me. Then it was the beautiful Gothic architecture and the idea of being a “real college student” that drew me. Now, what attracts me is the quality of the opportunities at Duke. At the top of the list are:

1) Undergraduate research support: Having participated in scientific research while in high school, one of my goals is to be published during college. I am amazed by the undergraduate research opportunities and funding provided by Duke.

2) Study abroad: Through Duke’s integrated programs I can attain my dream of studying abroad, even as a prospective science major! I’m excited about Duke in Australia or Duke/OTS Tropical Biology in Costa Rica.

3) Awesome organizations: A long-time choir girl, what better way to further my love for singing than joining the Out of the Blue a capella group?


If you are applying to the Pratt School of Engineering as a first year applicant, please discuss why you want to study engineering and why you would like to study at Duke. (150 word limit)

Over the course of a set of summer experiences beginning with a visit to an orphanage in Africa when I was 11 to a selective summer camp for would-be engineers, I have developed a dream for myself. I want to become an engineer who helps people all over the globe. Based on that dream, I came to visit Pratt armed with a checklist of what I wanted in a college. Great engineering program with depth in sustainability? Check. Talented and motivated students? Check. Superior professors? Check. Opportunities to study abroad and engage in service? Check. Check. In fact, Duke Engage is a service program beyond my wildest dreams. But what made Pratt my top choice? The unexpected and completely persuasive bonus items – like the Smart House where I can already imagine myself living. Pratt is the next step on my path to fulfilling my dream.


Beyond rankings, location, and athletics, why are you interested in attending Georgia Tech? (150 word limit)

Since I was a little girl, I've had my heart set on science. In the last couple of years, my growing passion for the intersection of biology and physics led me straight to biomedical engineering. I am drawn to Georgia Tech because its mission matches my own: my dream is to use biomedical innovation, research and development to better humankind. At Georgia Tech, I will learn from brilliant professors who are on the cutting edge of biomedical engineering research, such as Alexzander Asea, who is working to eradicate diseases through protein-based therapies. I will take advantage of Georgia Tech's limitless research opportunities like the "Undergraduate Research Scholar Program" early on in my college career, because I believe that all innovation starts in the lab. Ultimately, I believe that Georgia Tech will equip me to achieve my dreams and I hope to be a graduate who makes Georgia Tech proud.


Please tell us what motivated you to apply to Haverford and what excites you most as you imagine your Haverford experience. (150 word limit)

Haverford is my wild card college: the college on my list that I barely knew anything about a year ago and that I didn’t really understand the appeal of until I visited. Coming from a big public school that I’ve loved, I wasn’t considering any of the “small schools,” but I found myself agreeing to visit when my Dad’s best friend, a Haverford grad, offered to spend an afternoon showing me around. As we wandered the campus and I heard his stories of his time in college, I realized that much to my surprise, Haverford is everything I want a college to be. It is a place defined by its intimate community. A place where I will be in small classes and develop close relationships with professors, instead of sitting in a huge lecture hall with hundreds of other students listening to a professor who knows none of us. A place where students like and support each other and no one is left out. A place where everyone knows everyone, and together at Plenary we make decisions about how our community is governed. So even though I always thought I was a “big school” kind of guy, Haverford is my wild card college. Go figure.


Why are you interested in Rensselaer? (100 word limit)

I, like many of my generation, am a gamer. For most of my childhood, this was the subject of much conflict in my household. My parents worried that I was “frying my brain” and they imposed strict limits on my gaming time. Then I convinced them to watch Jane McGonigal’s TED talk on how gaming can make a better world. Things changed. I got to go to a special gamers camp, then an AI camp. Now I’m applying to Rensselaer so I can get a degree in Games and Simulations Arts and Sciences with their full support. That’s why Renssalaer.


Which aspects of Tufts’ curriculum or undergraduate experience prompt your application? “Why Tufts?” (50-100 words)

Tufts is the perfect choice for me as a scientist, musician, and community member. As a prospective psychology major hoping to concentrate in cognitive and brain science, I can study a variety of sciences because Tufts recognizes neuroscience as an inherently interdisciplinary field. I look forward to discussing neuroscience with similarly interested students. With Tufts’ support for undergraduate research, I hope to conduct research at the Emotion, Brain, & Behavior Laboratory, and to present my research at the annual Tufts Undergraduate Research & Scholarship Symposium. I am also excited to join the Tufts Symphony Orchestra and the Asian American Alliance.


Which aspects of Tufts’ curriculum or undergraduate experience prompt your application? “Why Tufts?” (50-100 words)

I knew I liked Tufts when I heard about the Experimental College. There was nothing that rung truer to my personality than a section of the curriculum dedicated to exploring classes like "Demystifying the Hipster". Although studying the intricate personality of a hipster is interesting enough for me to be sold, it was the way Experimental College highlighted the most important aspect of Tufts' culture, a culture that embraces diversity, quirks, and intellect that made me realize this was the school for me.


Why Yale? What is it about Yale that has led you to apply? (125 Word Limit)

Note: Yale has a separate Why Major X question, so the Why College X answer do not focus on the applicant’s interest in a particular major.

I am attracted to the spirit of intellectualism and inquiry that pervades Yale. Shopping period alone seems like evidence that Yale is a place where I could pursue fascinating courses. Furthermore, every Yalie I've known loves learning for its own sake. I've heard stories of walking into a residential college only to see every single person with their nose in a book. These are people who I would love to live alongside. I know that our dinner table conversations would be lively, especially when a faculty member joined us. Yale is a place where I would feel at home.

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