If you’re applying to study abroad, certainly you’ve been questioned about the reasons why you’re choosing one school instead of others. Follow our tips and impress with an effective answer – it will put you one step closer to the program of your dreams at the best university for you.
What does the school mean with “Why us?”?
The institution wants to know why it is special and the specific aspects that made you choose their school and not another. They also want you to explain why you’re a good candidate, how do you fit into the school and how can you contribute for its development, academically and personally.
Where will I find this question in the application form?
It can be asked in only one question – “Why did you choose us?” or similar –, where you should extensively justify your choice, almost like a cover letter. In some application forms, institutions divide this topic in several questions, asking you “Why are you a good candidate?”, “How do you expect to improve our work?”, “What does our school mean to you?”.
Do I have to answer?
Sometimes, this may be an optional field. In that case, think about what you know and what you’re going to write about you and the institution, and if it boosts you application or not.
If you decide to answer, check out the tips below and provide the best explanation, positively impressing the admissions department.
- First task: get involved
Get informed about the institution by subscribing to their newsletters, watching videos, reading student testimonials and checking all the information available on the website. This way you ensure that you really know the place you’re applying to and that you can easily answer any question for admission purposes. If you have the chance, get in touch with people connected to the university, briefly mentioning how they had an influence on your decision.
- Point out the school’s characteristics
The admission’s departments want to know if you understood the institution’s vision and mission. Our advice is to think about its fields of study, programs, staff, shifts and activities available, professional opportunities and educational philosophy, and then answer the question: what kind of institution is this?
- Use your imagination and examples
Try to picture yourself in the campus: you’re a student, taking subjects chosen by you and occupying a particular place in the student’s community. Which relevant things are you doing? Write about it, using examples from your life experience and of what you’re planning to do as a student at this school.
- Avoid being obvious and stay specific
A school doesn’t just want to be chosen because it has a good reputation or because its teachers are recognized worldwide. The institutions also want their candidates to be genuinely interested on their opportunities and resources. Also, avoid answers like “the school is a big inspiration for me” or “the facilities are great” – everybody writes that and you want to differentiate yourself from other candidates, right?
- Think about your main qualities
Now, the question is: “why do I need to think about me?” - because the institution also wants to know in which ways it can be important for you and your future. Tell them which of your academic and personal characteristics will be enhanced by studying at that particular place.
- Be honest
Do not pretend to know everything about the institution and try to stick to what is really important for you. Be authentic and don’t make unnecessary compliments, which may be seen as “over flattering”. Remember, the admissions departments receive hundreds of application forms every day – they can easily detect these “fibs”.
- Regard each application as your first and only one
Write enthusiastically but try not to seem too desperate to be admitted at any place. Consider every school as your first and only choice to study. Show them that your decision was consciously taken after a detailed search and that you’re excited to study there. Even more importantly, do not use the same text for different schools/applications. The admission’s departments will notice “standard-answers” quickly and it will just damage your image.
- Go straight to the point and don’t overwrite
Sometimes, a long text can be regarded as a bunch of repeated ideas, written by someone who doesn’t really know what to say and who is spinning around an idea instead of being objective. Around 150 words is normally the recommended length but some schools define their own word limits.