“Why Did You Choose This School?” How to Answer the Challenging Question

‘Why did you choose this school or university?” is a question that you can be sure that admissions authorities ask and review thoroughly on your college application form. It involves crafting your answer, some research, and even some answers to avoid. The question also comes in different forms, such as:

  • What is it about our college that is most appealing to you?
  • Why do you think our university is a good fit for you?
  • What will you bring to the table?

These pro tips and sample answers will help you craft a compelling reply to this challenging question.

Red building on a college campus.

Photo by Matthis Volquardsen from Pexels

Pro Tip: Craft your answer to address the question being asked

Although the questions are similar, each college may have its own unique angle on it. ‘What will you bring to the table’ is quite different from ‘Why do you want to go to our college’. Take time to read and understand the question and angle your answer to address that specific question.

Pro Tip: Do your research before you answer “why did you choose this school” 

Go through the college website again. Explore the course offerings as well as the extracurricular opportunities. What does the college pride itself on most? Do they encourage community involvement, being green, or celebrating diversity? Make sure your response is tailored specifically for each school. You don’t want a canned response for all the schools.

The only way to give a more specific reply is to research a college and get to know the college better.

Pro Tip: Emphasize your academic interest

College authorities want to know more about your academic interests and commitments. Talk about the specific educational, research, and other academic opportunities offered by the college that appeal to you. Expand on this idea by talking about how these opportunities help support your future goals.

Whether you are applying to a fine arts program, a physics program, or a business management program, talk about specific opportunities that excite you most and why. Knowing your major is a great way to show that you are interested in the program.

5 Sample Answers To “Why did you choose this university?”

Sample Answer – Small Liberal Arts College/Private School:

I chose [insert liberal arts college] because I thrive on close relationships and a well-rounded education. I’m confident that with the smaller class sizes, I’ll have the chance to build stronger relationships with my professors and classmates. I think this college fosters an engaging and collaborative environment and builds well rounded students. The smaller campus and tight knit alumni network will help me to reach my career goals.

Sample Answer – Large University:

I chose [insert your large university] because I value diversity. This campus embodies diversity in its programs, clubs and extracurriculars, and most importantly in its people. I think diversity is important in all aspects of learning. By being exposed to this wide range of different experiences and perspectives, I hope to become a well-rounded person and future [insert profession if you know it]. In addition, I’m excited about the opportunities that universities large alumni network offers.

Sample Answer – Specialized/Focused Degree Program:

I chose this college because of your highly rated [area of study program]. I’ve had a passion for this field for a long time and I’m excited to learn from that faculty that have built such a great program. I think my skills and learning style will be a great fit for the program. In addition to this highly regarding program, I’m excited about studying on the beautiful campus and participating the rich student life that is offered her. I look forward to being a proud future alumnus.

Sample Answer – Trade School:

I chose [insert trade school name] because I have always been very passionate about this type of work. I’m excited to gain the knowledge and experience from highly specialized teachers and professionals. Along with the highly focused training his school provides a wide range of internship and job opportunities that will set me up for success in this field.

Sample Answer – Community College:

I chose [insert community college name] because flexibility and cost savings are extremely important to me as I continue my education. Spending time gaining valuable knowledge at this school while still being able to work part time as I pursue my bachelor’s degree is a huge benefit for me. It’s a belief of mine that working, and learning is a value skill in balance. I’m excited to learn through your flexible online and in person courses.

How NOT to answer this question

Here are some ways to NOT answer the question:

  • You haven’t thought it through and you’re applying just because.
  • Your friend is going to this school and you want to go with them.
  • This school is your favorite celebrity’s alma-mater and you’ve only heard good things about the school.
  • You’ve heard of the amazing frat parties student throw and you want to experience that scene.

Stating these reasons as part of your reply will get your application rejected outright. They are also not the right reasons for you to apply to any college in the first place. Applying to a college for the right reasons is so important and answering this question can be an eye-opener for you too.

Additionally, refrain from mentioning the geographic location of the school. Don’t say you like that the school is close to the beach or other superficial aspects like the cafeteria is great or they have state-of-the-art dorms.

You are likely to come across this question in some form or the other when filling up college application forms or during the college admissions interview. Some colleges even require you to address this question when writing your personal statement. We hope this article served as a good guide in answers why are considering you college or university! Good luck and happy admissions!

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