Why the “Why this school” essay? Isn’t it obvious that you want to attend the school from your application alone? Well, not exactly. In this essay, it should be your goal to show the admissions panel that you have a clear, thought out line of reasoning as to why you’d like to attend their specific college. You should also try to convince them that you will enroll in the school if admitted - this is what they’re looking for, and the best way to do it is to write a good essay. To determine what qualifies as a “good” essay, we can use the “white-out” test. Ask yourself, if you were to put white out over the name of the school you’re writing about, would someone still be able to tell what school you’re writing about?To further demonstrate this point, let’s look at some essay examples. Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly of the “why this school?” essay.This example never references the university that the student is writing about by name, but the student is still clear in which school it is. A person who is familiar with the college, like the admissions panel, would be able to tell which school they are talking about just from this passage, through the way the student mentions the “Green Research Symposium”, the “metabolic research institute”, and “Professor John Smith”. The panel can tell that the student has a true interest in the college and will use its resources - and will also be likely to attend if admitted. This is what you’re going for.Sure, these are all reasons you might want to attend a college, but they’re not specific to any one school, and they’re not going to help your case. Using the white-out test, we can see that if the school were not specifically named, an admissions officer wouldn’t know which school you were writing about. This student is not doing a good job at convincing the panel that they want to attend their institution. Furthermore, if you can’t write a more specific essay than this, maybe you should consider if you truly want to attend that school. After all, there are lots of other schools with “strong academic programs” out there. Why not consider a different one? If your essay looks like this, it might be time to do some reflecting on what you really want in a first choice (or second or third choice) school.