To Uni, With Love

By Moksha Agarwal 2020-09-29

What's a ‘Why X University’ essay, if not an opportunity for you to declare your all-consuming love for a given school? Now, the trick is to not be "hide a ring in the cake" cheesy while you do that. Be a bit old-fashioned instead!

You’re writing a love letter, what does your subject want you to say? They want you to talk about all the things you admire about them. And while occasional references to physical features are well received, you don't want to limit yourself to the green lawns and the mighty corridors. You need something more, something that reflects your appreciation from a human and personal standpoint. How do you do that?

Each university, like a significant other, has a set of core values and ideals that are specific to them.  Through your activities, you must showcase how you relate to these ideals and practice them on an everyday basis. Once you've established trust at this fundamental level, the next step is to clarify how this relationship can be mutually beneficial. 

Let's start with the basics. An essential element of university education is the courses you take. Even if you did nothing else but exist on a university campus, you'd still have to pass those courses to graduate! So, when you're writing the ‘Why X University’ essay, mention a class that piques your interest and tell us why. You should, however, steer clear of most things that start with the word introduction. This is not set in stone, but if you're a computer science student, Introduction to Machine Learning ain't gonna strengthen your case. 

Moving on to the second essential element—academic research. Most universities have an independent study option that allows you to earn course credits. By taking the time to identify a relevant topic and a professor who can guide your research, you communicate that you're not just in for passive listening but also active thinking!

At this point, you're halfway through your essay, and you've proven that you have the potential to be an excellent student. But this isn't enough to tip the scale in your favor. You need to transform from a self-centered partner into a loving companion. Besides offering majors and minors, universities are in the business of driving innovation across disciplines. Showing the willingness to assist a team of researchers at a center or a lab reinforces your commitment to the university, and its long term goals. 

But what's love if not a wee bit demanding? Won't you walk the last mile for your beloved? Read up on university alums, traditions, clubs, and community endeavors to find those that intrigue you. Feature these in your supplement, because it's the little things that matter. Beyond grades and degrees, universities are really about engaging with a diverse bunch of people, hailing from all corners of the world. And by immersing yourself in this community, you lay the foundation of a bond that will last forever!