The “Why [this] major” Essay Guide

When you’re applying for college, a lot of schools will use the Common App or Common Application essay prompts. It may seem nerve-wracking to have to write on one of these common supplemental essay prompts, especially when it asks about which major you want to choose. We’ve come up with essay guides on the “Why [this] major?” essay and a few college application essays to spark your creativity. 

Your college essay is what differentiates you from other students who are also applying to that same college. You may have a high GPA, great extracurriculars, and even be the student body president, but so are a lot of other students.

5 Tips for Answering the Why [this] Major Prompt

1. Do Your Research

Some schools may ask you why you’re choosing to further your academic career with their specific program for your chosen major. It’s important to do your research on the schools you’re applying to and the academic programs they have for that specific major.

A lot of colleges are known for their programs. So finding the one dream college and explaining how you plan on being part of the student body will help strengthen your supplemental essay. 

Example introduction: 

At this particular university, students who study my first-choice major in cell molecular biology have a higher chance of getting accepted into top universities for their higher education. With world-renowned professors and a detailed course catalog, I believe that this specific undergraduate school would help further my career and education, and eventually help others. My academic and intellectual passions include learning and developing cutting-edge technology for cancer research with the help of the education provided by this institution.

2. Find the Root

So why are you actually choosing this major? Be honest with yourself and write down a simplified version of why you’re choosing the major. Then revamp it for your supplemental essay to the college admissions officers.

Do you want to be a computer engineering major because you grew up in the age of technology and have always been fascinated by it? Do you want to be a biology major because you want to study how life works and eventually want to be a doctor? 

Example essay excerpt:

Ms. Parman – that’s what I knew her as. After switching schools, once my dad was stationed in a new state, it was hard for me to adjust to school. New students, new environment, a new state, but a familiar teacher. Ms. Parman wasn’t my teacher at my old school but she made me feel like I belonged instantly, making the transition to this brand-new school much smoother for my 4th-grade self.


Ever since then, I have wanted to be Ms. Parman for others, which has ultimately inspired me to pursue a degree in education to eventually become a teacher. As a child, navigating this crazy world is difficult enough and school should be a safe place with adults who are there for you and influence your life in a positive way. 

3. Tell a Story

Use this supplemental essay as an opportunity to tell a story to the college admissions counselor. They need to see you as an individual person rather than just another high school student who wants to go to their college. Tell the story like it’s going to be made into a movie. And the characters are played by your favorite actors and actresses. Set the scene for the admissions committee so they transport themselves into your story on why you choose that intended major. 

4. Share Your Goals

Look beyond going to that particular college and think about your future ahead. Write about your intellectual and academic interests along with your goals after you graduate college with a degree in that major to end your essay with the perfect bang!

That’s ultimately what going to college is about! You want to further your education and start a career in whatever it is you choose. Write about how going to that school, with this major, will help you achieve these goals and share your aspirations with the admissions officers. 

5. Read the Directions

Following the essay prompt and directions is a given but you’ll be surprised by how many people ignore it. Well, not ignore but definitely not follow. If the essay says 200-300 words then don’t write anything under or over that. If it says to use a certain format, make sure you follow it to a T. You don’t want to deter acceptance because of a technicality in your admissions essays. 

Final Notes

Writing a supplemental essay for your college admissions can be difficult. You want to say the perfect thing for the college admissions officers to read so that they’ll push for acceptance into your dream college. Don’t worry, when you know what a supplemental essay is and exactly how to write one, you’ll be more confident in your skills. When it comes to writing an essay on why you’re choosing your major, be honest and open while following these simple tips.

Still looking for colleges? Use our college match tool to find personalized results that fit your educational needs. Don’t forget to apply for scholarships so you can get FREE money to go to school!