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Why Major Essay Examples

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At many schools, the why major essay forms a crucial part of the college application process. In addition to your Common App essay , many schools require supplemental essays. One of the most popular supplemental essay prompts is the why major essay.

The why major essay allows colleges to learn more about you and your interests. This guide will give you some why major essay examples from popular colleges. It will also offer some tips on how to write a why major essay. 

This guide includes why major essay examples from the following colleges: The University of Texas at Austin , The University of Southern California , Cornell , Georgia Tech , and Pomona College . These college essay examples can act as a great source of inspiration for your why major essay. By looking at these college essays that worked, you can learn more about how to approach various supplemental essay prompts. 

What are examples of why major essay prompts?

The why major essay examples in this guide have varying prompts. Here are the why major essay prompts from our college essay examples: 

“Why major” essay requirements

As you can see, most why major essay examples will have between 250-300 words. However, some college essay examples will have more. Additionally, some why major essay examples will focus on college-specific information. In general, these essays ask why you’ve picked your intended major , so try to be as specific as possible. These why major essay examples are a great place to start if you need help with your why major essay. 

The college essay examples in this guide also reflect the level of research needed for a why major essay. As you research colleges, look for a class you want to take or a research opportunity that interests you. Then, be sure to include that in your why major essay for that school. If a prompt mentions the college’s name or asks why you’re interested in their school, focus on school specifics. The college essay examples we’ve included in this guide can help you jumpstart the writing process. 

Who has a why major essay?

why major essay

Many schools have a why major essay, as these essays help colleges understand you and your academic passions. The why major essay examples in this guide come from UT Austin, USC, Cornell, Georgia Tech, and Pomona College. 

In addition to these schools, many other colleges also have a why major essay. Some of these include Yale University , University of Pennsylvania , Emory University , University of Michigan , and Rice University.  

Beyond the why major essay, many colleges will also have a why this college essay. This essay asks why you’re interested in that specific college. Some schools may combine the why this college essay and the why major essay. It can be helpful to compare colleges to help you decide which schools you prefer. In these essays, try to mention specific courses and professors. Some of the why major essay examples in this guide also function as why this college essay samples.  You can find more college essay examples here.  

Choosing your major

It’s okay if you don’t have a designated major in mind yet. While many schools will allow you to apply as an undecided student, some schools will require you to pick a major as part of your application. However, this choice often is not binding.

Reading why major essay examples can help as you choose your major and prepare to apply. If you’re not sure about your major, you can read our guide on How to Choose a Major.  

In our why major essay examples, you’ll see how your personal interests and passions can help you choose a major. Our why major essay examples demonstrate how helpful it can be for colleges to know why you’re interested in your intended major. Where do you see yourself working? What’s your favorite subject in school? Thinking through these kinds of questions (and reading college essay examples) can help you navigate the different majors available. 

Why This Major Essay Example

We’ve included five different why major essay examples below. Pay attention to how these why this major essay examples include specifics about each college. These why major college essay examples can help you understand what colleges look for in a Why Major essay. Overall, by reading college essays that worked, you can learn more about how to brainstorm and structure your own essays.

Now, let’s look at some why major college essay examples. 

UT Austin Essay Examples

Why Major Essay

Please describe your interest in your intended major and how your interest in the field developed. (250 Words)

Ut austin essay example.

Some of you may wonder ‘When will I ever use derivatives in real life?’ Welcome to when.” My physics teacher, Mr. Welsh, described engineering as the “when” math and physics were applied to real problems. That is what is so attractive about engineering; it gives me the ability to apply intriguing concepts to fascinating projects. I love how engineering combines creative freedom with mathematical certainty to create projects that can impact and change the world.

During the Chain Reaction Contraption competition, a local competition, my team and I created a Rube Goldberg machine to complete a certain task. I found a love for the hands-on, creative portion of mechanical engineering and design. Other engineering activities also provided important experiences that contributed to my desire to pursue engineering. In my engineering design class, I enjoyed using computer programs like Solidworks and AutoCAD to create designs and visualizations of ideas. In FTC Robotics, I discovered that in addition to building the robot, I also loved the programming aspect behind mechanical design.

Reflecting on these experiences with engineering, particularly mechanical engineering, I am certain that engineering is the best path for me. I hope to apply my Mechanical Engineering degree to the Aerospace field. My dad is a pilot, so I have grown up hearing about and being around airplanes. As a child, I watched war plane documentaries with my dad and have had a passion for Aeronautics since then.

Why this essay worked

This why this major essay example works because it utilizes a personal story. By using a specific experience, this essay reflects on why this student is interested in mechanical engineering. Starting with a personal anecdote is a great way to introduce your essay. By including any experience you have with a club or extracurricular, you can help the reader understand your experience within the field. 

Reading UT Austin essay examples can help you start writing your why major essay. Read through the UT Austin Degree Programs and pick the major that best aligns with your interests. Try to think about what experiences, both inside and outside of school, have piqued your interest—this can be a great way to start your why major essay. Use the UT Austin essay examples to help guide your writing process. As you draft, these why major essay examples can be a great source of inspiration.  

USC Why Major Essay

Why Major Essay

Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests and why you want to explore them at USC specifically. Please feel free to address your first-and second-choice major selections. (300 Words)

The perks of being an English major is that you have a lot of opportunities, which I fully plan on partaking in during my time at USC. First and foremost, I hope to form close connections with my professors and to take advantage of the world-class education I’d be receiving. There is also a study abroad program specifically entwined with English that I hope to be able to participate in during my time at USC. I intend to participate and eventually help with the events that USC’s English department puts on as well.

As a sophomore, I hope to be a research assistant to a professor, hopefully someone who specializes in Romanticism or the niche field of ‘Law and Literature.’ I plan on starting research to write my own thesis during my junior year and hope to publish by my senior year. I plan on being a research assistant first because it would give me insight on the mechanics of research in the humanities and would help me formulate some ideas for my thesis early on. Since I am on the pre-law track, I hope to take advantage of USC’s resources by starting an internship.

While I have yet to declare a minor, I would like to capitalize on my love for languages by minoring in a language, and since Los Angeles and the campus of USC itself is a multicultural hub, I could immerse myself into the cultural aspects that come with learning a “new tongue.”

Why this essay worked 

This why this major essay example works because it focuses primarily on how this student will utilize the resources at USC to pursue their intended major. In this, the essay fully answers the prompt set by the USC Admissions Office. 

This USC Why Major essay mentions the specific study abroad program and the research opportunities available. In doing so, it shows how familiar this student is with the English program at USC. This USC essay also helps demonstrate the student’s excitement for the opportunities available at USC. Detailing a rough plan for each year in college is a great way to show the USC Admissions Office what you know about their school’s programs. 

This USC Why Major essay is a great example of combining a Why This Major essay example and a Why This College essay sample. Compared to the other Why Major essay examples you may read (including the one above), this USC essay is specific. Other Why Major college essay examples may be used for more than one school—often, you’ll include similar information in your supplemental essays for different schools. However, the USC Why Major essay can only be used for USC. The USC Admissions wants you to detail exactly what about USC you find appealing, and this USC essay does this very well. 

Cornell Arts and Sciences supplement essay example

Why Major Essay

Students in Arts and Sciences embrace the opportunity to delve into multifaceted academic interests, embodying in 21st century terms Ezra Cornell’s “any person … any study” founding vision. Tell us about the areas of study you are excited to explore, and specifically why you wish to pursue them in our College. (650 Words)

Cornell arts and sciences supplement essay example.

When 6:35 AM alarm rings, I find myself considering the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility–if I hit the snooze button, will my eight minutes of fragmented slumber garner more utility than a fresh-brewed cup of coffee? The trend continues throughout the day: with the release of the newest Yeezys, I contemplate bounded rationality. Though the sneakers scarcely justify the price tag of $550, the rapidly-depleting supply almost overwhelms my rational decision-making capabilities: textbook behavioral economics. As soon as I realized that my daily decisions could be explained by economics, I was determined to learn more. 

To many, the subject conjures images of stockbrokers painstakingly laboring over Excel spreadsheets; it’s easy to forget it governs our everyday lives. Half a century ago, the creation of the unassuming mortgage-backed security set the stage for the global 2008 Recession. Simultaneously, the power of economics can be awe-inspiring: Muhammad Yunus’ work with microfinance pioneered new ways to address global poverty. Studying AP Economics, participating in countless rounds of debate both in and outside the United States, self-studying courses like Professor Chetty’s Using Big Data to Solve Economic and Social Problems, and managing the budget of our schools debate team taught me that market principles govern our world; through my education, I hope to learn how to harness them for good.

After a summer working for Congressman DeSaulnier, I realized that economics and politics are intertwined. One of my most memorable projects was preparing a brief on H.R. 4674 (the College Affordability Act)–for two weeks, I scrutinized the social, political, and economic effects of the legislation, and concluded with a half-hour presentation on my findings to the Congressman. In the process, I realized that even seemingly minor pieces of legislation affect all of society; by helping disenfranchised communities gain access to education, the bill addresses cyclical poverty at the root. When the Congressman announced he would become a co-author, it was a personal victory–it cemented my desire to intertwine my passion in economics with our political process, and learn how to craft innovative legislation designed to benefit millions.

The College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell is the ideal environment for me to pursue those passions. As an aspiring Economics major, I’m incredibly excited to learn from world-renowned economists like Professor Basu. Beyond fascinating courses like Game Theory and Strategic Economics, which synthesize economics, business, politics, and diplomacy, it would be a privilege just to attend his office hours and learn from his experience as former Chief Economist at the World Bank and President of the International Economic Association. In addition to my classes, I’d love to get involved in the Hatsfield Undergraduate Research program and further my understanding of how economics can be applied. Papers like Professor Battaglini’s “The Political Economy of Weak Treaties” are fascinating to read, and it would be a phenomenal experience to receive mentorship from veterans in the field while aiding them in their work. 

I’d also love to minor in Public Policy, which seems almost tailor-made for my own career goals; the synthesis of an unparalleled education in the fundamentals of economics with courses designed to help students craft tangible policy would literally be a dream come true. Programs like Cornell in Washington promise the opportunity to get hands-on experience from Capitol Hill itself. I’d be more than happy to use my education in a Congressional Committee and get an insider perspective on the steps that go into developing, amending, and passing legislation.

The College of Arts and Sciences combines that with a robust undergraduate community, which offers unique opportunities to collaborate with a large student body and start developing a professional network–whether I’m catching a game of ice hockey or participating in Dragon Day, I know there’ll never be a dull moment. All in all, Cornell promises four truly life-changing years–I can’t wait to become a member of the Big Red community.

Reading through Cornell Arts and Sciences supplement essay examples, like the one above, can serve as an excellent case of how to combine a Why Major essay and a Why This College essay.  

Out of all the college essay examples we’ve included here, the Cornell Arts and Sciences supplement essay examples contain the most detail. This why this major essay example showcases how important it is to have exact details available about the college or program you are applying to. This student highlights several different professors at Cornell, as well as their specific work and research. The Cornell Admissions Office appreciates the time and effort put into these essays, so it’s crucial to do your research! 

This why this major essay example also uses the longer word count well. In particular, it offers personal anecdotes while showcasing the writer’s knowledge of economics. The reader gets to know the student better, and the Cornell Admissions team can see that the writer is serious about studying at Cornell. 

As you can see in these why major essay examples, the more specific details you can include about the college, the better. Reading multiple Cornell supplemental essay examples can help you explore the different programs students look forward to joining. Be sure to explore the Cornell Admissions website to review their offered fields of study .  If you’re undecided on a major, you can read through our guide on Cornell Majors here for some inspiration. You can also read more Cornell supplemental essay examples here . 

Georgia Tech Essay Examples

Next, let’s look at some essay examples from Georgia Tech. Here’s the prompt:

Why Major Essay

Why do you want to study your chosen major at Georgia Tech, and what opportunities at Georgia Tech will prepare you in that field after graduation? (300 Words)

Georgia tech essay example.

March 29, 2019. 11 AM EST. GT Shadow Day. I remember it all so clearly: Descending the red-brick steps of the Old Civil Engineering Building. My friend and I, chatting up a storm, our minds blown by our newfound perspectives. 

We had just walked out of ECON-4060: Money & Capital Markets, taught by Dr. Belton. To say that it changed my life would be no exaggeration; within an hour, Dr. Belton had upended my perception of society and defined my future aspirations. 

We had been asked to consider a popular commodity, diamonds. Hardly rare, fast-decaying, and intrinsically worthless. So why do we buy them? Dr. Belton had then illuminated the factors in our economic behavior that cause us to gift a ring in marriage rather than something with real value, say a treasury bond. These realizations were enough to rock me back on my heels, for I had never before noticed the large degree to which our everyday economic decision-making is irrational.

Craving more than that one splendid hour, I knew where and what I wanted to study for the next four years. I saw myself strolling through Bobby Dodd Way, bumping into old friends as I made my way to Midtown Atlanta. Then, I imagined myself exploring the realm of economics, probing questions ranging from price formation to income disparity. I saw myself at a place that felt familiar enough to call “home,” learning in a way that felt genuine enough to call “discovery.”

Educating myself on the mechanics of economics is just a glimpse of my great desires. Through the senior research project, I seek the one-on-one guidance of faculty in yielding a publishable journal paper. Someday, with the support of the program’s alumni network, I plan to pursue career and internship opportunities in the great company headquarters of Atlanta.

Like many of the why major essay examples we’ve highlighted, this why major essay starts with a personal anecdote.  Our Georgia Tech essay examples can be used as a why this college essay sample as well. 

The student’s personal story is tied to Georgia Tech. This makes it a great addition to a Georgia Tech application.  Our Georgia Tech essay examples also drive home the importance of bringing specific details about a college into your why major essay. The Georgia Tech supplemental essays examples can help spark your inspiration on what details to include. This why this major essay example does a great job of building on a personal experience with Georgia Tech. It also highlights what prompted the student’s interest in economics. 

Learning from Georgia Tech essay examples

Reading through Georgia Tech supplemental essays examples like the one above can teach you a lot. As you approach your essays, make sure you showcase how important it can be to reference specific classes or professors offered by a college. Use Georgia Tech essay examples to get some inspiration for your research and writing. 

If you are interested in submitting a Georgia Tech application, be sure to familiarize yourself with the offered majors. These can be found here .  The Georgia Tech supplemental essay examples can be a great research tool as well if you are unsure about picking a major. 

For more help on a Georgia Tech application, be sure to read through our guide on Georgia Tech Admissions as well. Reading through more Georgia Tech essay examples can help if you’re feeling stuck on your why major essay—it can be helpful to target your search for the major you’re interested in. The Georgia Tech supplemental essays examples illustrate the importance of building connections between your interests and what each college offers. 

Pomona College Essay Examples

Why Major Essay

What gets you excited about your academic interest selection(s) above? (300 Words)

Pomona college essay example.

I’m a cis-gender gay man. I came out to my family during my sophomore year and to my entire school in an assembly my junior year. 

My queer identity has inspired my involvement at Tony’s Place, my research on LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness, and my involvement in changing my school’s LGBTQ+ policies. Being gay has become a primary lens through which I view the world. 

The Gender & Women’s Studies Program would provide me with a critical lens to further understand my own experiences and ways I can become a better activist. 

The LGBTQ+ community is distinct from other marginalized groups because it is an umbrella of different experiences, and it takes a high level of literacy to understand these differences. The Gender & Women’s Studies Program’s emphasis on including diverse perspectives in the curriculum is crucial in my understanding of other perspectives and ways I can support others. 

For my Modern Middle East final, I wrote a forty-five page paper on LGBTQ+ movements in Middle Eastern countries. Writing this paper made me think about LGBTQ+ rights from an international perspective. Pomona’s Decolonizing Gender and Sexuality in Asian/America can advance my understanding of the cultural implications of Western colonization. In doing so, I’ll discover ways the United States can assist an LGBTQ+ social movement in other nations without imposing an imperialist definition of pride.

While researching alongside a University of Houston professor, I had to consider the relationship between disabilities and LGBTQ+ homeless youth’s mental health outcomes. Taking The Disability Studies: Foundations, Intersections, & Future class will help me better empathize with the different communities represented in my future research endeavors. 

By linking queer theory to disciplines such as economics, media studies, and politics, The Gender & Women’s Studies Program will prepare me for a lifetime of activism.

This why this major essay example does a great job of connecting this student’s personal identity and experiences to their intended major. This Pomona essay gives the reader insight into who the student is. It also highlights how their identity has informed their academic passions. 

Out of all the Pomona majors, this student describes a specific program that spoke to their long-term goals. Reading through the Pomona College essay examples can help you structure your Pomona essay. This why this major essay example also has a great structure. It opens with a personal anecdote and segues into specific details about Pomona naturally. As such, this why this major essay example feels cohesive and clear. 

When reading through college essay examples, pay attention to how closely they follow the exact prompt directions. The Pomona College essay examples highlight how important it is to answer the prompt. Your Pomona essay should explain why your intended major excites you. Make sure you read through the offered Pomona majors, found here. The Pomona College essay examples can also help you narrow down your options from the many Pomona majors offered. The reader can feel how excited this student is to pursue their major at Pomona, making it a great why this college essay sample as well! 

How to write a Why Major Essay

After reading through the why major college essay examples, you may still feel stuck on how to write a why major essay. The first step to writing a why major essay is to pick your major. 

While this may seem obvious, this can be a difficult step for a lot of students. There are many great guides on picking a college major, including our own guide . There are also guides from U.S. News , , and Coursera . Additionally, you can review the data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics on the most popular college majors. Reading about different majors (and reading different why did you choose this major essay examples) can help you decide which path of study is best for you. 

You can also read a number of college essays that worked from Johns Hopkins University here . These can help you explore different areas of study and see how other students have described their experiences. Additionally, you can read our guides on college search , building a college list , and how to compare colleges . 

Beginning your writing process

Once you know what major to pick, the fun part starts. Read some why did you choose this major essay examples and think of your own experience. Was there a class you took that sparked your interest or a club that inspired a new academic passion? What subjects or topics within this major speaks to you the most? Start reading why major essay examples for your intended major—they may help you focus your interest. 

Let’s think through how a student may tackle a why major essay. Imagine a student named Isla who plans to study biology in college. When sitting down to write her why major essay, she might research each school’s biology programs in depth. Then, she might pick one or two classes for each school and look up what research projects the professors design. 

She’ll also think about why she wants to study biology. She can still remember how captivated she was during her biology classes and how excited she was to learn more—this can be a great start to her essay. Isla can build her why major essay around her personal interests and the research she’s done. The Why Major essay gives Isla a great opportunity to explain her passions and to show schools she is serious about her goals. 

Why engineering essay

Why Major Essay

If you’re interested in applying to engineering programs, your why engineering essay should detail what subjects within engineering you find compelling. Some schools will have you write a why engineering essay as part of their application process. Some of these include Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering and the California Institute of Technology . 

When writing your why engineering essay, it can be helpful to include the specific field you’re interested in, such as mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, or computer engineering. Research the programs you’re applying to. Then, try to include any recent projects or news in your why engineering essay. Overall, a why engineering essay should explain your interest, include relevant information about each school and showcase your knowledge in engineering. 

In addition to the UT Austin why this major essay example included in this guide, research other college essays that worked specifically to engineering. Reading why major essay examples for engineering programs can teach you more about the programs that interest you. If you’re feeling stuck, read more why did you choose this major essay examples for some inspiration!

Why business major essay

Why Major Essay

As the most popular major for undergraduate students, writing a why business major essay can be intimidating. Since business is such a popular major, many why major essay examples will focus on business. Some schools will have you write a specific why business major essay. For example, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan Ross School of Business require them. You can also refer to the Cornell why this major essay example included in this guide. 

Try to include specific details about your experiences to ground your why business major essay. Think about your future career goals—do you have a dream company you’d like to work for? Look into each business program as well. Do they have any exciting internship programs, or connections with local businesses? Breaking down your goals and detailing what makes you excited about the specific program can help you write your why business major essay. 

Reading college essay examples specific to business programs can help as well. You may find more essays geared towards graduate degrees, but researching why did you choose this major essay examples for business can help target your search. Reading why major essay examples for business programs can also help you see what specific schools look for.

Why nursing essay

Why Major Essay

Nursing is quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing professions in the United States. Writing a why nursing essay can be a core component of applying to nursing programs. This includes applying to programs at the University of Virginia and the University of California, Los Angeles . So, reading a why this major essay example for nursing can help jumpstart your writing process. 

Your why nursing essay should explain your passion for the field. In your why nursing essay, be sure to include any personal stories you may have regarding nursing and the health field. Many why major essay examples for nursing include personal stories to help explain the student’s interest in healthcare.

Your why nursing essay should also be as specific as possible. Is there a specialization you’re interested in? Be sure to reflect on caretaking and share any personal experience you may have. These can elevate your why nursing essay. Additionally, if you’ve volunteered in a healthcare facility or have any experience with the profession, include these details in your essay. Overall, your why nursing essay should explain to the reader why you’re passionate about such an important field. It should also outline your future career goals within healthcare. 

Other CollegeAdvisor Resources on College Majors

If you’re still feeling stuck on picking a major for your why major essay, CollegeAdvisor is here to help. In addition to these why major essay examples, you can review our guide on college majors here . This guide includes college-specific resources, but we also have a guide on listing a college major . Beyond that, we have guides for business majors and computer science majors. Additionally, we have guides on college enrollment , study abroad , and test scores . 

Reading these different guides, alongside these why major essay examples, can help you navigate the wide array of majors. Once you find a major you’re interested in, reading why major essay examples for your specific major can help you start writing your why major essay. 

Why This Major Essay Examples – Final Thoughts

Applying to college may feel overwhelming, but researching schools and majors is a crucial first step. Reading college essays that worked can help you understand what goes into a great why major essay. 

Even if you’re not sure about your intended major, reading through why did you choose this major essay examples can help in the decision-making process. Arming yourself with information about each program will help, too. Reading why major college essay examples can provide specific inspiration for the programs you’re interested in. Focus on what excites you about each school’s program, and you’ll have a great starting point for your why major essay!

Why Major Essay

This essay guide was written by senior advisor, Jess Klein . Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile. We will help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how can support you in the college application process.

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Why I Want to Study Business: Essays

Studying business has advantages. here are 14 essays on the theme of why i want to study business ..

Business studies student

Andrew Lancaster


Founder and Director of

We'll let fourteen university students explain for themselves why they chose to study business. Here are some of the best essays into an essay competition on study motivation. Each business essay is from an American student who wants to complete a degree in business, business management, business administration or similar.

But first let me outline why I think business is an excellent choice for university study. These observations are based on my own Australian experiences in studying business and economics, from having recruited many business graduates into the public service, and with the knowledge gained from running a company.

Why Studying Business is a Good Idea

Business is a really solid study area. By doing choosing a business major, you'll develop skills that are relevant for almost any kind of work. And you gain a qualification that has value in the job market.

Do something useful while you figure out your career

Many business students begin their studies without really knowing where it will lead. The advantage of a business degree is that you build skills that are useful in any professional field, such as competencies in analysis, finance, planning and strategy. You also develop the ability to present different kinds of information clearly and logically.

The stats on business graduates are encouraging. Employment and early-career salaries for business graduates are competitive with vocational fields such as engineering, teaching and nursing. And business studies is a much surer bet than an arts degree for those who start university not knowing what they eventually want to do.

Be a professional or do your own thing

You can see from the Why I Want to Study Business essays that, for many, the motivation to study business is a dream to be self-employed at some stage in the future. Business students often have the ambition to be an entrepreneur or at least run their own small business.

Business can be the logical path to a range of other careers as well. You can major in a certain area within business if you want to be, for example, an accountant, banker, business manager, economist, marketing executive or stock market trader.

Become a leader eventually

At a postgraduate level, business management is the most popular area of study. In many different career streams, you eventually reach a point where further progress requires you to learn how to manage people and resources.

Dreaming of a Better Sleep

I wake up groggily and glance at the clock. I'm taken aback upon noticing the time is 8:38 PM. I'd gotten home from school and hadn't done anything other than sleep! So, I sat in bed, contemplating what to do. I could do homework or go back to sleep. (Which sounds better?!). Alas, my to-do list had just one thing: "work on my startup."

I'm 17 and trying to start my own business. The enterprise will create motorized mattress overlays to help patients in hospitals avoid health issues. I got started on it through one of my school classes and am graded on what I do, so I already had a small drive to do well.

However, my purpose behind this business is to help people. My dream to help millions of people around the world is what pushes me to work hard in every aspect of my life.

It motivates me to study, even when I can barely pull myself out of bed. My ultimate goal of helping people feel better is what drives me to sit down and get to work. I know that every class taken and every skill learned will better enable me to achieve my dream.

So, I study, even when I would rather sleep. I just think back to my purpose and realize that this dream that I have to change the world is the motivation behind every minute of studying that I do.

Liza Tarakanova Business, Mercy College

Math and Accounting

When I first started college, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I didn't have a clear plan and thought I wanted to pursue nursing. But when I took the basics, I realized it wasn't for me.

I felt lost and didn't have any hope for the future. I even considered dropping out of college and getting a job instead.

My lack of focus in school reflected in my grades. Despite my doubts, my family encouraged me to continue with my education.

Taking a semester off due to financial constraints gave me time to reflect on my goals and aspirations. I got a job and worked hard, but found myself missing the academic environment.

I realized that I enjoyed learning and had a passion for math. This made me realize that I needed to go back to school and complete my education.

It took me some time, but I finally found the motivation, drive, and determination to pursue what I truly wanted. I am now excited to pursue a career in accounting. However, I also want to remember that one's job does not define them, and I hope to travel and inspire others to continue their education and not lose hope.

Jacqueline Murillo Business, University of Houston-Downtown

Small Business Customers

Walking around my home town, you're bound to see a bunch of small businesses. These small businesses have one thing in common; they are trying to become successful.

The beginning of their success starts off with their customers. As I walk into one of these little businesses, you are greeted by the employees and immediately feel as if you are apart of their family. I see how great they interact with their customers. That is when I realize what I want to do.

I want to own a local business and have that strong relationship with my customers. That is my dream and my motivation to continue study to get my degree in business so I can be one step to making my dreams a reality.

My other motivation is my family. I want to make my parents proud since I'm going to be the first in my family to go to college. Not only would I make my parents proud but I would also be a good role model for my younger brother to continue his studies.

Diana Gonzalez Business, New Jersey City University

Working for the Right Reason

I dream to work for a company that I can help grow and improve. Being a leader is really my strongest trait and I dream that one day I can use it to work for a beneficial company. A beneficial company to me is defined as a company that is improving the world with products or services, like creating biodegradable packaging.

My ultimate goal that keeps me going when times are difficult is that one day I can make enough to create my own scholarship or give money to a hopeful student that cannot afford college on their own. I truly value my education and it would mean the world to me if I could give this gift to someone else in the future.

Like I mentioned briefly, there is more to my education than just getting by. I want to achieve, and achieve highly, so that I can give back in the future. I am not only working toward a better future of my own, but the future of other potential students.

Eleanor Bernero Business Management and Communication, Carthage College

Motivated by Environmental Success

There are roughly 7.5 billion people in the world today and so far I haven’t felt any different than the next person, average. That being said, my greatest fear is settling for average.

As for my dream, it’s to run my own company one day and then use my influence and resources to change the world’s perspective about how we treat the environment. We mistreat the only home that we’ve ever known. My dream is to change that view, and that’s what motivates me to pursue my studies and apply myself every day.

I have already begun working towards my dream. As evident through the topic of my self-selected senior project; The Economic and Environmental Advantages of Switching Branford High School Completely to Solar Energy. As I become older and more educated on the subject, I would like to start an eco-friendly company that provides environmentally responsible products.

My inspiration stems from my idol, Elon Musk. He has made such an enormous impact through his innovative mindset and technologies. In order to be able to achieve my dream, I need to pursue my studies vigorously and come out at the top of my class; only the most intelligent and dedicated individuals place themselves in a position to exact change in the world.

I will excel in my studies throughout my college education to ensure the fulfillment of my dream to be a leader in the industry of eco-friendly products and goods.

Trey Duval Business, Indiana University - Bloomington

A future without a headset

My dream no longer includes working in a call center every holiday and weekend with escalated customers. You see that’s what it use to be back when I wasn’t motivated or cared to be successful, back when I was content with just doing the bare minimum and being average. I don’t think one should even call that a dream but rather, just getting by which was okay with me.

It took me awhile to realize that I could do and be more, that life was full of opportunities and that if I really wanted it, it could be mine. I have dreams now and it took me a lot of realization to start working towards them.

My dream is to get my degree in Business in science. I see myself working at Sandia Labs here in my hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico. I see myself at the labs working in a leadership position overseeing highly classified projects and groups. My goal is to be successful and I am extremely motivated on making this a reality and everyday that goes by is one step closer.

I know that a good education and degree will land me a good job in the field of my choice, doing what I am passionate and excited about along with keeping me financial stable. I find motivation and comfort that one day all this hard work will be worth it and that I will make my family really proud of me. That the struggles we are going through now are just temporary and that things will be better soon. That thought keeps me going because I can’t let them or myself down.

Johanna Business in science, University of Phoenix

Desserts and Cupcakes

I have a dream of one day owning and operating my own business. My passion lies in the food industry and I've always been drawn to the idea of running a chain of restaurants, similar to Applebee's.

To make this dream a reality, I've decided to start small and build my way up. My first step is to open a make-your-own dessert place and then franchise it. From there, I hope to expand and open multiple restaurants. Eventually, when I reach retirement age, I envision having a small cupcake shop.

I'm driven to work hard and study by the thought of decorating cupcakes in my own little shop at the age of 70. I imagine a beautiful home filled with memories and friends from work. I also think about the potential for my business to be passed down to my children or to leave a legacy for my family through its sale.

I'm determined to make my dream come true. I know that all the hard work will pay off in the end, not just for me, but for my family as well.

Brigit Blanchard Business Administration, Youngstown State University

Restaurant Takeover

When my dad was in high school, my grandparents open a restaurant right across the old Sonic that we had in our little town. When my dad left to be in the army, my grandparents still had the restaurant running. A couple of years goes by and my dad came back to his home town but he didn't come alone. I was with him!

So when I turn 9, I started to work at the restaurant on weekends when I didn't have school and I would work during summers too. Ever since I was that age I knew that I wanted to take over the restaurant not because it was force upon me it's that I wanted to do it. I wanted to do for my grandparents.

My grandparents are my inspiration for everything. They are the reason why I am going to finish school and go to college. So that's why I want to go to college for business management so I'll know what the business needs. I know I'll go through difficult time but my grandparents well get me through those times by being there for me. So this is my essay!

Jazmin Mendoza Business Management, Western Texas College

Communism to Capitalism

My motivation in life to succeed is my parents' story about how they moved here from the Soviet Union with nothing. They came here from Yerevan, Armenia in 1992, and now do what they need to in order to support us. My parents inspire me to do well in school so I can have a life that's better than the one they have, and allow my family to have the privileges that we never had.

The ultimate goal is to do well in my life, and I want to be able to provide my parents with whatever they need after they retire. My parents came and did everything that was needed in order to graduate. Now my mother has her bachelor degree in business and my father manages a fairly decent company. I plan to do more than I need and go even further than my parents did.

I want to own my own company and enjoy life to the fullest. I want to always be there for others if they need me. Even if my parents never had the greatest financial status, they were able to always help the people that needed it. I was raised to not be a selfish person and I intend to continue to be like that. Whether it's for my future children, or my friend, I want to be able to help that person. That is my drive.

Haik Kolsuzyan Business Management, California State University Northridge

Building Success

Large. It must be huge! Influential, astounding, connects human beings. My business can not be ordinary. It must be relatable, but also innovative.

How will I achieve such a feat with so many adjectives attached? I must be able to provide both goods and services, I can not be just another money machine. I must understand the concepts of business from the inside-out, not just so that I can create a successful business but so I can introduce new ideas into the management of a business.

If I can learn what most businesses do and how they are successful, I can build off of that to create a business truly unique in its style and class. My goal of studying the innards of business and its practice is not merely to get a good grade in the course or to impress future employers, but it is to breed my inner inventiveness in a way that will allow me to separate myself from the pack.

I do not want to be ordinary, I want to stand out. I want to force others to be intrigued by my style of going about things, and I want my style to reek of success. This is why I will study hard and why I will persevere when the going gets tough. I want to be original.

Justin Boldoser Business Management, Ohio University

The Economics of Happiness

Self-interest determines human behavior. This mantra is repeated over and over by economists, but what if self-interest was no longer equated – as it so often is – with selfishness? What if self-centered aspirations could be replaced with a yearning to help those in need?

While living abroad for several years, I saw first-hand the tragic consequences of authority corrupted by greed.

When those who lead consistently act to secure their own self-interests, a culture of egocentrism and distrust begins to be instilled in society. The sad result, which I saw far too often, was a people vainly striving for happiness from within that could only truly come from looking outside themselves.

As I observed these things, a dream began to form. A dream to change the stereotypes of greed and ambition that surround the world of business, which I wish to enter.

My dream is to become the type of leader in business who cultivates an atmosphere of giving instead of taking, of helping rather than hindering. If the activities from which individuals receive the most satisfaction could be those of altruism, suddenly self-interest, which seems to guide human behavior, becomes synonymous not with selfishness, but selflessness.

As I struggle to grasp basic economic principles and decipher graphs of supply vs. demand, I am driven by this idea of changing people’s very disposition — helping them find happiness, while also being a force for good in a world that so desperately needs it.

Joshua Mortensen Economics, Brigham Young University - Provo

A Simpler Life

Three years ago, two hours before the new year was brought in, my friend and I formed our dream job. We wanted to open a bookstore cafe.

The following year, I researched bookstore cafes and my friend drifted from the dream. Surprisingly, I held on.

Normally, I would flit from the idea of one occupation to another; however, after this idea was formed, I could not let go. I made plans as to what kind of ambiance my bookstore cafe would hold to what kind of foods and beverages would be sold, even to what would happen with leftover food.

Eventually, I put the dream on hold to try and find a prestigious occupation that would make everybody around me happy. No matter what, though, I always come back to the idea of owning a bookstore cafe. Owning a bookstore cafe combines my passions of business, helping others, and books.

During that year of research I did, I realized just how much people can be helped with such a simple business. The unsold leftover food would not be thrown away and wasted; I would instead take the leftover food to the homeless. I could hold poetry and music nights to help those who dream of being writers and musicians. I could steer a person toward a life-changing book.

There is so much potential behind owning a bookstore cafe, and I know that no matter what, this will always be my ultimate motivator in my studies.

Catherine Kamerick Business, Undecided

Entrepreneurship Is My Dream

I am excited about the next phase of my life. However, others who have graduated before me have shared that college can be difficult at times. I know I am going to have to work extremely hard over these next four years if I plan to accomplish my professional dream.

I have been raised in a home where my father owns his own business. As I prepare for college, it is vital that I keep my eye on the prize.

I want to own and operate a Chick-fil-A restaurant. During high school, I have been fortunate enough to work for this impressive company. It is a company that is respected in the community and emphasizes philanthropy.

I have dreamt of owning my own store as it is a company that strives for excellence. It excites me to think I will be a part of a company that offers an outstanding product.

I view my future career as an important aspect of my life. I want to work in a place where I know I will thrive. Keeping my eye on this goal will help me overcome the difficult times I will face while in college. Each day I will give my all to my academics knowing that my goal is something I can and will accomplish.

Carson Jacob Borders Business Administration, Lee University

Marketing Exec and More

When someone is in high school, they learn many things. If there is one thing that I learned, it is that grades and meeting one's goals comes at a certain price. Sometimes, that price is missing out on things that others get to do. Studies, meaning grades and achievements, do not come at an easy price.

In order to achieve your goals, you need determination. So one may ask, "what is your goal?" I would tell them, "my goal is to become a marketing executive, wife, and mother." My dream is to be in the board rooms, making decisions, all the while having a successful family, and a husband who supports me in all that I do.

When I think back on my life, in 50 years, I am not going to be thinking and wishing I had done more. Because, I will have accomplished my dreams, and have my grandchildren running around in my living room while I think of how I accomplished my dreams.

Now, I know that doing these things may seem as though they are easy to do, however, I know that they will take determination in order to succeeded. Success is not an easy accomplishment. However, my dreams are my dreams, and I will reach them, no matter the cost.

Leah Carothers Managerial Marketing, Kent State University

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How to Write a “Why This Major” Essay

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How to Write a “Why This Major” Essay

What do you want to major in and why? The “why this major ” topic is one of the most common supplemental essay prompts used by colleges. It helps schools understand your academic interests, intellectual passions, and what you plan to do professionally. In this guide, we’ll talk about how you can write a stellar “Why this Major” essay. 

Also see: Overview of common scholarship essay prompts

Tips for writing the “Why this Major” essay

There’s no standard formula for writing a good “Why this Major” essay, but an effective one usually addresses the following three questions: 

  • How did you become interested in this major? 
  • What do you hope to accomplish by majoring in this subject? 
  • Why is this school a good fit for pursuing this major? 

Let’s discuss how you can effectively answer each of these questions and put together a well-rounded essay. 

Also read: How to choose a major

1. Share your origin story

The first objective is to explain how your interest in the major developed in the first place. One way to do this is by telling a story. To put things in Marvel terms, think of your academic passion as your superpower and how you discovered this interest as your origin story. Of course, you don’t actually have to picture yourself as a superhero. But it helps to tell a good story. 

Anecdotes bring color to your narrative and help the reader get to know you better. If you’re an aspiring English major, you might describe how you fell in love with books as a child. Or if you plan on pursuing an engineering degree, perhaps you describe your fascination with technology and how it shaped you from a young age. Ultimately, your goal is to connect your background to your current interest. 

While it can be engaging to share a brief story at the beginning of your essay, just make sure your anecdote is relevant and free of unnecessary details. Don’t get carried away and share your entire life story. Additionally, you don’t have to point to a singular experience that made you realize you wanted to pursue this major. Instead, you can paint a picture of how certain moments throughout your life led you to this point. 

Also see: How to write an essay about yourself

2. Outline your goals

The next step is to describe your vision for the future. You should outline your college goals and your career goals, and how majoring in a certain field will help you achieve them. Think of your education as a tool you can use to craft your future. What are you trying to build, and why is your major the right tool for the job? The English major, for instance, may explain that their field of study can help them hone their writing skills and launch their career as an author. Or the engineering major might describe how they want to get a job as an environmental engineer and address problems such as waste disposal and water pollution. 

You don’t (and probably shouldn’t) focus exclusively on your career goals, though. If you’re not sure what kind of job you want after graduation, that’s totally okay. Instead, focus on what you hope to accomplish during your college years. What do you hope to learn by pursuing this major? What projects do you want to produce? Do you have plans to perform research in this field? Your answers to these questions will demonstrate your passion for your major and your motivation behind choosing it. 

Also see: How to write a 250 word essay

3. Explain your school choice 

Finally, you should mention why this particular school is a good fit for pursuing your major. While this doesn’t have to be a big part of your essay, you should still weave in your excitement about the school. Colleges want students who believe that their institution is the right path to achieving their goals. Try to go beyond superficial answers like “this college is ranked highly for this major”. Get specific and discuss unique aspects of the program, courses that interest you, or faculty members you’d like to work with. 

Related: How to choose a college

What if I’m undecided? 

If you’re unsure of your major, try to pick 1-3 potential fields of study and describe how you feel about them. Why are you interested in these subjects, and how do they relate to your potential career goals? Explain why you haven’t settled on a particular major yet. And if you can, describe how your various interests connect with each other. You’re essentially writing the same type of essay described above, but acknowledging that you don’t know what you want to major in. Colleges understand that and actually expect many of their incoming students to be undecided. That’s why it’s still possible to write the “Why this Major” essay even when your academic interests aren’t set in stone. 

Read more: Is it bad to apply to college as an undeclared major?

Example essay prompts

Although it’s a fairly straightforward question, it can take many forms. Here’s a few examples of how different colleges phrase the “Why this Major” essay prompt: 

Yale University : Students at Yale have plenty of time to explore their academic interests before committing to one or more major fields of study. Many students either modify their original academic direction or change their minds entirely. As of this moment, what academic areas seem to fit your interests or goals most comfortably? Please indicate up to three from the list provided. (100 words)

Purdue University : Briefly discuss your reasons for pursuing the major you have selected. (250 words)

North Carolina State University : Explain why you selected the academic program(s) above and why you are interested in studying these at NC State.

Brown University : Brown’s Open Curriculum allows students to explore broadly while also diving deeply into their academic pursuits. Tell us about any academic interests that excite you, and how you might pursue them at Brown. (200-250 words) 

Georgia Tech : Why do you want to study your chosen major specifically at Georgia Tech? 

Top tips for how to write a “why this major” essay 

Make it personal .

No matter what major you choose, it is meaningful to detail a true representation of your passion. Be authentic and use storytelling to emphasize your love for your intended major! Try to write about a time in your life when you realized what your passions were. 

Also see: Supplemental essays: how important are they? 

Be specific! 

When you are writing about your major or the school, you be as specific as possible! Try to avoid broad statements that do not reveal much about your interests. Rather, be specific about certain aspects of your life and journey to discovering what you want to major in. Additionally, when detailing the school mention specific classes, professors and buildings that can help you achieve your career goals. 

One of the most important and often overlooked aspects of the “why this major” essay is the tie back to the school itself. It’s important to detail why the school itself is a perfect fit for pursuing your major interests. In order to successfully write about why the school is a good fit for you need to adequately research the institution. You can do this by scrolling through the school’s social media pages and their website. 

Related: How to write a great supplemental essay

Mistakes to avoid in your “why this major” essay

Repeating the website.

Do not just parrot the school website! Rather, take the information from the website and turn it into your own words. Be sure to describe how you will take advantage of the resources available rather than just stating them. 

Choosing the wrong major

Do not feel pressured to just write about a random major! If you are undecided, then write about that! Or, if you want to pick a less popular major to stand out from the rest of applicants, this can end in an inauthentic and boring essay. Rather, choose a major that genuinely aligns with your interests, even if it may be a more “basic” option. Ultimately, admissions officers just want to get a good idea of who you are and why you want to study what you want to study.

Choosing too many majors

If you are someone who is interested in multiple topics, this may not be the best outlet to detail all of your passions. Rather, try to stick to 1 or 2 majors you want to pursue. If you do not assert a strong opinion or passion on 1 major it can lead to a broad and hard-to-follow response which may cause you to seem apathetic. So, dive in! Submerge yourself into one major and make sure your excitement shines through. You can always consider mentioning how another interest could become a minor or double major.  

Also see: Should you double major or minor? 

Final thoughts

Remember that an effective “Why this Major” essay accomplishes three main objectives: 

  • Ties your background to your current interest in the major
  • Connects your interest in the major to your goals for the future 
  • Explains how the school in question is a good fit 

By touching on these three areas, your essay will have a complete narrative arc. Happy writing! 

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25 Genius "Why This Major" Essay Examples for Top-20 Colleges


Here's the secret to writing your "Why This Major?" essays:

They're not really asking "Why this major?" but "Why you and this major?"

Just like with your Why This College essays, you need to show that you're a perfect match for the program you're applying to through specific examples , ideas , and connections to the school's offerings .

Even if you're applying undecided or undeclared , which is common for students to do, admissions officers ask this question because they want to know these 3 things:

  • Do you have an idea about what you want your future to look like (what you want to study, possible career, etc.), and will our school help you fulfill that vision?
  • Do you have what it takes to be a successful student within your desired major or program?
  • How genuinely interested are you in this area of study? Or are you choosing it for superficial reasons (like money)?

What if you're undecided?

Even if you're undecided, you should have some idea about possible fields you're interested in.

It's impossible for you to have lived 17 or 18 years and not picked up some sort of interest that you could study in college.

After all, why are you applying to colleges in the first place? Probably to pursue a more in-depth education in a particular area.

So if you're applying undecided, you'll need to still talk about potential areas you're interested in, even if you aren't totally committed to them yet.

What makes a great "Why This Major?" essay?

The best "Why this major" answers show a deep level of interest and knowledge about the field.

Admissions officers want to know that you're serious about what you want to study.

Tip #1. Avoid superficial or cliché reasons

I often see students write generic remarks like...

  • "Math is the language of the universe"
  • "Studying communications will help me learn how to collaborate with others better."
  • "Computer science is about problem solving"

These are OK starting points, but you need to delve deeper.

How do you go deeper? Try writing about specifics of the field.

Use some geeky or technical language . Instead of saying "biology," you could write about "molecular biology and its impact on genetic engineering."

Be specific and vivid in your writing, and show your interest in the field using specific anecdotes and moments that you haven't yet written about.

Tip #2. Ask yourself questions at the heart of the area of study.

If you're writing about math, some simple but deep question to ask yourself are things like:

  • Is math discovered or created?
  • What are the unsolved mysteries of math?
  • How do the different branches of math (e.g. algebra, geometry, etc.) relate to each other?

These types of questions will get you thinking about what the major represents, rather than just what it literally is.

Focus on ideas , which are always most interesting.

Tip #3. Think about what the most common answer would be, and then say something different.

For computer science, I see a lot of students write about things like "automation", "artificial intelligence", or "problem solving."

For engineering, I see a lot of students write things about Legos or other "building" toys that they played with growing up.

For medicine, I see students write about "wanting to help people."

These are fine starting points for reflecting, but on their own it'll come off as cliché.

Tip #4. What will this school in particular offer to help you study this field better than other schools?

All colleges offer pretty much the same selection of majors and programs, so what is unique about this school's approach?

Again, you'll need to do some thinking and research.

Tip #5. Show how you've already explored the field.

Think about your classes, but more importantly, think about the ways you've gone beyond the classroom.

Those reasons are the most compelling for why you're a great fit for the major.

How to structure your "Why This Major?" essay

Here's formula you can use to write this essay if you're struggling to get started:

  • I am passionate about subject X and here's why (offer a short story or anecdote)
  • Here's is what I want to do with that passion in the future
  • This is what this school has to offer or will do in order to help me achieve my goals and how (specific and unique reasons)

Now, let's look at some examples of students who wrote successful "Why This Major?" essays.

I've gathered 25 "Why Major?" essays from students who got into top-20 schools like Brown, Georgetown, MIT, and more.

This huge list covers a variety of majors and programs—from Computer Science to English to Bioinformatics—so you'll be able to find one that's similar to yours.

Let's dive right into it.

25 "Why This Major" Essay Examples

1. "why bioinformatics" georgetown essay example.

Prompt: Please relate your interest in studying at Georgetown University to your goals. How do these thoughts relate to your chosen course of study? (If you are applying to major in the FLL or in a Science, please specifically address those interests.) (500 words max)

Why This Essay Works:

Having specific details is key to making your essays more engaging. Whenever possible, substitute broader terms for more specific ones. In this essay, the student does this well, for example by writing "recombinant DNA into Escherichia coli" instead of saying "molecular biology."

Digging into why you're passionate about certain things is important for "Why Major" type of essays like this one. Admissions wants to know how and why that interest started. This student does a great job of telling a family story that inspired their interest in French and an academic experience that sparked their biology interest.

What They Might Improve:

This essay doesn't mention much of what Georgetown would offer them. Whenever possible, it's beneficial to reference specific aspects about the school you're applying to. This demonstrates genuine interest and makes it more convincing that your studies would flourish at the school. Although this isn't a "Why Georgetown" essay, these details can and should be incorporated, as the prompt asks you to relate your chosen area(s) of study to the school.

2. "Why Linguistics?" Brown University Essay Example

Prompt: Brown’s Open Curriculum allows students to explore broadly while also diving deeply into their academic pursuits. Tell us about any academic interests that excite you, and how you might use the Open Curriculum to pursue them while also embracing topics with which you are unfamiliar. (200-250 words)

My primary interest is in languages and linguistics, specifically Spanish, Portuguese and the descent of these languages from Latin which I explored in my IB Extended Essay. Thus, something that excites me about the complete freedom of the Brown curriculum is the opportunity to learn about Hispanic and Lusophone culture, literature and language in an intersectional way through a concentration in Latin American studies combined with classes and undergraduate research in Linguistics. I intend to supplement my language acquisition with practical application through study abroad opportunities at PUC-Rio, Brazil and in Santiago, Chile, perhaps through the Engaged Scholars Program which will allow me to forge deeper connections with the communities and cultures I am studying. I am also attracted by the possibility of a 5-year BA/MA course in Linguistics which will permit me to conduct meaningful and extensive research on a topic I am truly passionate about.

However, I also have an interest in Biochemistry and Molecular biology. The Open Curriculum will enable me to pursue this avenue of study and research without detracting from my principal focus on languages. Therefore, perhaps what I am most excited for is interdisciplinary study at Brown and the possibility of forging unforeseen connections between disparate academic areas and weaving them together into a program of study that will engage, thrill, and inspire me towards a lifelong path of academic inquiry. For example, I am interested to explore how languages and sociolinguistics can be used to promote medical research and provision in Latin America.

Naming things unique to the school shows you have genuine interest. Listing specific programs, courses, or majors shows you've done your research.

The author's reasons for "Why Brown?" fit into their background and identity. This makes their reasons seem genuine and compelling.

The essay is divided into two parts with distinct answers. Showing how those reasons relate could make the essay more cohesive.

Ending with a sentence "For example..." leaves more to be desired and explained.

3. "Why Medicine and Surgery?" Pomona College Essay Example

Prompt: Most Pomona students enter the College undecided about a major, or they change their minds about their prospective major by the time they graduate. Certainly we aren’t going to hold you to any of the choices you’ve made above. But, in no more than 250 words, please tell us why you’ve chosen the academic programs (or undecided!) that you have listed. (250 words max)

I’m sitting backstage at my first international piano competition, anxiously awaiting my turn to perform. Unconsciously, I massage my right wrist, still recovering from a recent injury. The young man beside me feels my nervousness and starts a conversation.

As we whisper, I notice him rub his hands together uncomfortably. “What’s wrong?” I ask, quickly leaving my own wrist alone. He suppresses a nervous laugh, then quietly details the long and unsuccessful surgery that shattered his dream of becoming a professional musician. His hands were permanently damaged.

“Alessandra Fang,” the judges call. I stand up, walk to the main stage and look back to see him encourage me with a stiff, crooked thumbs-up. As my fingers dance on the keys, I observe the fragile muscles and ligaments under my skin.

I realize in that moment that it is not in a massive concert hall where I wanted to change people’s lives, but on a smaller stage: an operating room. As an artist who has had her share of painful, music-related injuries, my goal is to become a musician’s physician, and blend my greatest two passions so that I might bring relief to those around me, while understanding their musical and anatomical plight.

I wish to pursue both Biology and Music programs at Pomona College. I want to become a hand surgeon while still developing my artistry on the piano. After all, surgery also has its own cadence, complexity and composition.

4. "Why Education/Teaching?" University of Michigan Essay Example

Prompt: Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate College or School (including preferred admission and dual degree programs) to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests? (100-550 words)

Growing up, I always pictured myself as a great teacher as an adult. With the second best secondary education program in the country and an emphasis on the liberal arts and undergraduate education, I am confident that U-M will shape me into the great educator I’ve dreamed of becoming since I was a kid.

Hallmarks of a liberal arts education include teamwork, problem-solving, clear writing, and effective communication. These are also skills that any exceptional teacher needs. U-M offers an unparalleled curriculum that prepares students to successfully run classrooms and obtain Provisional Teacher Certifications upon graduation, exposing students to diverse classes and people in Ann Arbor, and providing them with an invaluable liberal arts education along the way.

Being an effective teacher means connecting with and stimulating all students at its core. The liberal arts foundation I will receive in the College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts (LSA), married with the experiential education and training the School of Education (SoE) will provide, will mold me into that great teacher—a mentor and role model for any student, regardless of creed—I’ve always aspired to become.

The Teacher Education Preferred Admission (TEPA) for incoming freshmen piqued my interest because the program is the crossroad between the liberal arts and teacher education; two components I was looking for in a college. TEPA will allow me to build a strong liberal arts base in LSA my first two years on campus before entering SoE, while also gaining beneficial experiences in the education field early on.

The education-oriented programs WE READ and Students Empowering Education specifically appealed to me because they will bridge my liberal arts education with my anticipated career as a high school English teacher. Similarly, my Spanish classes will have a practical application in the Ann Arbor Language Partnership, a program that immediately interested me as a potential Spanish minor.

During my first two years as a pre-admit, I'll be supported by my TEPA peers and staff, specifically from my SoE personal adviser. TEPA will take the large campus and make it feel smaller, allowing me to form organic connections with like-minded people and groups that can cultivate my interest in education before entering SoE junior year.

I need a meaningful education to be a meaningful educator. Truthfully, I could go to almost any college to become a teacher, but only schools that synthesize in- and out-of-classroom learning like SoE produce great ones. U-M ranking sixth in the country for undergraduate teaching bolstered my interest in the university and confirmed what I already knew: I will receive an education in LSA and SoE that will change who I am as a person and not just a student, and prepare me to provide the same for others as a teacher.

The great educator I’ve always envisioned myself becoming is one that can inspire without bounds. From my time as a student, I’ve come to realize that a truly influential teacher can work with students who have little in common with themselves and still be impactful. LSA's purposeful and broad curriculum, paired with SoE's hands-on courses and fieldwork, and the additional opportunities available through TEPA, will shape me into that life-changing teacher, for any student who walks through my classroom door.

5. "Why Business?" University of Michigan Essay Example

Growing up in a community that bleeds maize and blue, the community represented by the University of Michigan has always been one that I could see myself representing as both a student and alumni. From football games at the big house to classes at Ross, each and every opportunity available at U of M represents a piece of my life that I hope to continue to incorporate into my life for the rest of my life.

The opportunity to take courses that allow for enriched experiences in developing a real business is one that I intend to be involved in as soon as possible. I will use this type of class as a way to test my skills and learn where I need to become stronger as a leader and student. Watching others equally driven as me, their tactics that are successful and not successful will imprint on how I attack problems in the future and shape my overall leadership style.

By being involved in the Multidisciplinary Action Projects down the road as a graduate student, I hope to learn firsthand what it takes to run and be involved with real businesses. Firsthand exposure is the best way to learn how to solve problems- especially surrounded by peers who are equally as driven and dedicated as I am.

Filled with students striving for nothing but the best they are capable of is a community that I am certain I will enrich and fit into. By sharing ideas and collaborating together instead of against each other, each and every one of us will contribute to the business world as leaders and innovators.

The University of Michigan is a place I can see myself learning and growing as a leader for the next four years as I intend to use all of the tools at my disposal to become a top business person. The opportunities within the school I will be involved in and the peers that I will work beside only enrich the values of what being a Wolverine mean to me.

6. "Why Math and Accounting?" University of Southern California (USC) Essay Example

Prompt: Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests and why you want to explore them at USC specifically. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections. (250 words max)

All throughout my life, I always loved doing math no matter what the concept. My love for math led to me taking advanced math classes for my grade. I even had to take a bus to a high school when I was in middle school to take an advanced math class. I always knew that I would want to pursue a career dealing with mathematics, but I was not really sure until my junior year. I had not decided what I wanted to be in the future, so my uncle suggested being a CPA, and I looked into it. When I did my research, it interested me as they made a decent amount of money and they worked with numbers.

At USC, I would like to major in accounting and gain the opportunity to possibly receive an internship at one of the big accounting firms in Los Angeles through the networking of USC. If I were able to get an internship, I would be able to gain experience for when I graduate and search for a job. I would also consider going for a Masters of Business Administration as I know that USC has one of the best business programs in the country.

7. "Why Computer Science?" Columbia University Essay Example

Prompt: Describe two or three of your current intellectual interests and why they are exciting to you. Why will Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences be the right environment in which to pursue your interests? (650 words max)

8. "Why Engineering and Law?" University of Michigan Essay Example

The University of Michigan’s College of Engineering has a proactive approach to career path discovery and job search. While I do hope to aspire to a corporate attorney, an engineering degree from the University of Michigan would provide me the advantage of readiness.

U.S News and World Report published an article about challenges law school applicants with STEM degrees face. Number one was the lack of research skills. Michigan Undergraduate Engineering has research opportunities for all undergraduate students. I hope to even take advantage of The College of Engineering (CoE) International Internship Program. The chance to see the world and contribute to the world-class studies conducted by Michigan Engineering students is a unique quality. The article also reported that STEM applicants often lack job experience. Michigan Engineering hosts internship fairs, which even freshman can participate in. By utilizing the opportunity to work in a professional setting, I will be more adapt to presenting myself in a mature and respectable manor in a corporate setting.

Many people are puzzled by my aspirations to become a corporate lawyer with an engineering degree. While I enjoy learning about many areas of study, math and science have always peaked my interest. Like my attraction to law, I am drawn to the definitiveness of engineering specifically. While there is a right and wrong in methods and procedures, there is a chance to be creative; for the end goal is functionality. Law requires critical thinking, problem solving, and the questioning of presented facts and figures. These skills are also encompassed in Michigan Engineering. With a technical understanding of industry and engineering, I will be able to more accurately represent a corporation. Like the professors at Michigan Engineering, I hope to be an expert in my field. At Michigan Engineering, I will be educated by the best of the best. Professors that have been exposed to their fields in every aspect; allowing them to provide the best guidance to students. Instead of just presenting facts and figures in a courtroom, I will be able to understand and explain them.

9. "Why Psychology?" Carnegie Mellon Essay Example

Prompt: Most students choose their intended major or area of study based on a passion or inspiration that’s developed over time – what passion or inspiration led you to choose this area of study? (300 words max)

When I was younger, I faced a lot of negative emotions including anxiety and low self-esteem. For a long time, I felt alone and as if no one understood how I felt. My self confidence was at an all-time low when I started taking psychology. All of a sudden the negative emotions I was feeling started making sense. I was suddenly able to understand how people were wired and why others treated me a certain way. I in fact was able to feel empathy for my aggressors after understanding that those who treated me negatively often faced struggles of their own. Most importantly, I felt as though something out there finally understood me. Because psychology offered insight into my own behavior and helped me to understand others, I was eventually able to overcome my insecurities.

In the future, I would like to help others do the same. No matter where I end up, understanding why people behave a certain way and being more considerate and empathetic for others will only help me thrive. Mental health is a growing issue in our society. The world we live in is a confusing place filled with pain, but psychology provides a way to determine the cause of this suffering and how to change it. I never want anyone to feel the isolation and sorrow I felt when I was younger. I want to help others become compassionate and unconditionally loving not just toward others, but to themselves. Even if I only make a small change in the world and affect just one person’s life, I would like to pursue that.

10. "Why Biology and Environmental Science?" University of Pennsylvania Essay Example

Prompt: Considering the specific undergraduate school you have selected, how will you explore your academic and intellectual interests at the University of Pennsylvania? For students applying to the coordinated dual-degree and specialized programs, please answer these questions in regard to your single-degree school choice; your interest in the coordinated dual-degree or specialized program may be addressed through the program-specific essay. (300-450 words)

As a child the world fascinated me. From questioning the makeup of the dirt I played in, to doubting the existence of gravity as I flew a kite, I was always thinking. Time passed, and my consciousness opened to more, like atoms, the Big Bang Theory, the psychology behind dreams, and the list goes on. Everything fascinated me; curiosity quickly became a part of my character. Some say ignorance is bliss, but I have to disagree. Ignorance is what fuels my curiosity; ignorance is what drives me to discover, learn, and initiate change. Living in a small rural town with my grandmother and disabled father, I have been limited by geography and socioeconomics. A perfect blend of humanities and factualities, the College of Arts and Sciences is an exploratory lab for all I do not know. At Penn, courses from Neurobiology of Learning and Memory to The Sociology of Gender allow me to rid my ignorance one class at a time. The unique and specialized curriculum provides a place to explore whatever I wonder and answer whatever I question. While my grandmother did not have the money for me to attend science camps, to visit museums, or to travel more than a few hours from my home, living in the country always provided me with endless exploration. My interest in trees in particular led me to specialize in the forestry portion of our Envirothon team for four years of high school. The passion I have for biology is second to my interest in helping others. Rural areas of Pennsylvania are in desperate need for physicians, especially in the field of women’s health. My goal is to return to my community and fill that need. As a low income, first-generation student, I have had limited opportunities, but I have seized any that I could and where there were none, I created some. As a seventh grader, I pioneered the colorguard of our newly formed high school marching band. Last year, as captain of 14 twirlers, I took my first plane ride to Disney World where my band performed. This experience taught more than I could ever learn in a classroom. Similarly, there are endless opportunities at Penn, both intra- and extra-curricular, and I plan to take advantage of all that I can to feed my fire.

11. "Why Finance and Political Science?" University of Pennsylvania Essay Example

This essay does a great job of conveying a thoughtful and candid applicant. Their phrasing, although verbose in some places, comes across genuine because the author walks you through how they learned about the school, what they're looking for in a school, and why the school would offer those specific things. Phrases like "I didn't know if I could honestly see myself studying that" are conversational and natural-sounding, which help create a sincere tone.

By referencing specific programs, like "Penn in Washington" as well as various minors and concentrations, it is clear this student has done their research about the school. One of the most important aspects for a "Why Us" essay is to find specific and unique opportunities and name them in your essay. These could be things like specific professors and their work, campus and its location, interesting classes, unique internship/study-abroad/job programs, special events, and many more. The key is referencing things that are entirely unique to the school and not many other schools too. Avoid broad terms like "renowned faculty" or "interdisciplinary studies" because virtually all colleges offer things like this, and these are some of the most over-used and artificial reasons used in "Why Us" essays.

This essay has many moments of repetition that are unnecessary. In general, avoid repeating your ideas and when editing, ask yourself of each sentence: does this add something distinctly new and important to my essay? There are two common mistakes that often create repetition: prefacing your ideas and summarizing your ideas. Unlike academic writing, you don't need to "prepare" the reader for what you're going to say, and you don't need to conclude it with a summary. By doing so, you only create unnecessary repetition and take up words which could otherwise be used to include new specific details or ideas.

This essay spends nearly half of its words explaining the "interdisciplinary" opportunities at UPenn. However, this reason is quite superficial and not at all unique to Penn, as almost all colleges offer some sort of interdisciplinary study (i.e. combining your interests or studying multiple fields). Talking about "interdisciplinary study" is one of the most common reasons students use in their "Why Us" essay, and it often comes across as generic and unoriginal. Instead, look for offerings that no other (or very few other) schools provide. Narrow down your reasons "why" to make them more specific to the school, even if they are smaller scale. You can mention things like "interdisciplinary studies" or "diverse student body" briefly as a reason why, but don't make them one of your primary reasons why, unless you have something particularly unique about it.

12. "Why Engineering?" Duke University Essay Example

Prompt: If you are applying to the Pratt School of Engineering as a first-year applicant, please discuss why you want to study engineering and why you would like to study at Duke. (150 words max)

At Duke I was equally entranced by the articulate movements of 3D printers in the Co-Lab and the stunning Gothic architecture. Instead of forming a dichotomy, these aspects of Duke blended to symbolize its emphasis on interdisciplinary education, which will offer me a nuanced perspective of the world integral to becoming a leader in engineering.

I will join the Academy for Model Aeronautics and share my passion for designing drones, while taking fascinating courses such as “Taboo Markets” and “Banality of Evil”, while simultaneously working on an engineering project that improves real people’s lives in “Engineering Design”. By joining the Duke Robotics Club, I can expand upon my love for robotics, and I hope to write for the Duke Engineering magazine, as well as join the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. By drawing from this diverse range of educational experiences, I can become a leader in creating a better future.

13. "Why Neuroscience?" University of Southern California (USC) Essay Example

I had never considered traveling across the country to pursue an education. In fact, living in Pittsburgh all of my life and growing up with people who are so adamant about staying put, forced me to believe that I too had to box myself into this small, yet evolving city. However, now I can confidently tell my friends and family that I want to travel to California for college (and ignore their odd looks).

What strikes me most about USC is its ability to maintain uniformity despite its diverse student body--in interests, ethnicity, and opinion. There are not many schools where I could be best friends with filmmakers, artists, photographers, chemists, potential CEOs, and writers. Although all of these people are spread across different schools, they still seem to maintain a cultural unity. Being surrounded by such a distinct trojan pride combined with the ambitious atmosphere would be both inspiring and propulsive.

At USC, I would not have to confine to merely one of my interests. I have always had aspirations of becoming a doctor and pursuing neuroscience, but have never felt comfortable ignoring the humanities. As a Trojan, I could pursue research at the Dana and David Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center or even take part in PIBBS, while also honing my writing skills through the intricate Writing Program.

Much like the students, my interests could somehow be molded into a diverse uniformity, and I could prove my fellow Pittsburghers that perhaps they need to move around more.

14. "Why Journalism?" Ithaca College Essay Example

Prompt: Please tell us why you selected this specific academic program and what other academic programs interest you. (10-200 words)

Recording devices have been banned from the courtroom of the Supreme Court Building since 1946. Therefore, when the Court makes a landmark decision, interns must hand-deliver paper copies of the ruling to news organizations.

The interns often pair running shoes with their business attire, for the quarter-mile sprint from the Court building to the area where networks ​await.

When I first saw photographs of “The Running of the Interns”, I wanted nothing more than to ​be​ one of those people. I wanted to feel my running shoes beating against the sidewalks, to feel sweat staining my suit.

Why did this tradition attract me to journalism? Because it reminded me that the news is a race, a constantly-changing collection of stories shaping social and political development.

The opportunity to contribute to that collection is why, beyond Ithaca’s journalism program, I’m also interested in the College’s minors in Politics and Writing.

I think all of this desire to be part of a story defines what it means to be a journalist, a writer: When I become a journalism major at Ithaca College, and, later, perhaps a running intern, I get to be a contender in the race to change the world.

15. "Why Economics and Political Science?" University of Michigan Essay Example

In my junior year microeconomics class, my teacher extensively explored the ways in which people from different socioeconomic classes were affected by our economic system. I was frustrated by the ways our country forces those living in poverty to spend the little money they have on taxable goods. I began to empathize with them. How can people pull themselves out of poverty if their government seems to be working against them? More than anything, I was frustrated that I felt powerless to help them in any way.

Those lessons inspired and motivated me. I had always looked at economics as nothing more than an analysis of business models and resource allocation. I began to see it as a way to fix fundamental problems in our society, from examining the effects of healthcare expansion on crime and poverty rates to studying how shifts in our political climate affect how our country’s financial process will change. I now see economics as a way to help those in need in my country and throughout the world.

I volunteered after school for Representative Dingell and had the opportunity to attend numerous events hosted by the Ford School. Again and again, I was impressed by the extent of the Ford School’s student involvement in critical issues. Through my work with the Congresswoman, I was able to gain a greater understanding of how different groups of people were affected by shifts in political and economic priorities. My goal is to become a civil rights attorney or study economics as a way to promote sustainable growth in developing nations.

I want to begin my studies at the University of Michigan in LSA to gain a foundation in economics and political science-related courses. After my first year, I hope to gain admission to the Ford School. The connections that LSA and Ford have to Poverty Solutions solidified by interest in the University of Michigan. If I attended these schools as an undergraduate student, I would be able to assist with research on the causes and ramifications of poverty. Professor Michael Barr’s research on policy initiatives and our financial system is fascinating from the perspective of a prospective economics major. At the University of Michigan, I would be able to join teams of renowned researchers working toward the betterment of our society and our world.

The range of schools working in connection with Poverty Solutions is evidence of the University’s devotion to civic engagement. I would be able to participate in groundbreaking research regarding issues I am interested in; I would have the ability to study poverty and ways to stunt or alleviate its effects in other countries. As someone hoping to pursue a career in public service, it is truly incredible to have the opportunity to join a research community specifically geared toward solving problems I am passionate about solving.

I want to join the University of Michigan’s legacy of innovators. I want to be part of the LSA community, studying economics and political science. I want to attend the Ford School and understand how policy in America and abroad has an effect on global poverty. I want to be involved with the Poverty Solutions Initiative, conducting groundbreaking research on the ways we can reform our financial system to better serve the lower and middle classes.

16. "Why English Major?" Rice University Essay Example

Prompt: Please explain why you wish to study in the academic areas you selected above. (150 words max)

It's an understatement to label me as an English geek; I am that kid who squeals in excitement in English class when given a new essay assignment while others may groan in exasperation. I understand why some may be a bit anxious when preparing to turn in an essay for evaluation; you could bring an essay to two different English teachers and receive two different grades on it. This subjectivity is why some folks may prefer subjects such as mathematics in which the right answer is not debatable. However, its subjectivity is exactly what captivates me. I enjoy reasoning my opinions of arguments and the intentions of authors.

I was really happy when I learned I didn't have to major in Criminal Justice or Political Science to be a civil rights lawyer because I want to become a professional author as well. So, majoring in English is perfect for me.

17. "Why Political Science?" University of Michigan Essay Example

Riding the elevator to the seventh floor of Haven Hall, my heart was practically leaping out of my chest. I was meeting with Dr. Jenna Bednar of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts Department of Political Science, and as I recalled her credentials- B.A. in Political Science from Michigan, M.A. and PhD in Political Science from Stanford- I felt increasingly out of place. As a junior in high school with limited political experience, I am grateful that she agreed to take time out of her day to meet with me and answer my numerous questions about LSA, Michigan, and political theory.

Upon entering her office, my eyes were drawn to bookshelves full of political literature, from the classics like De Tocqueville and Locke (which I read in a summer college program in 2017), to her own recently published work, The Robust Federation. Encouraged by her broad smile and having just completed an official campus tour, I launched into my questions. Dr. Bednar described the connections she and her students have made at Michigan, through LSA and in general.

This revealed to me that the faculty would take a personal interest in my academic career. We discussed the average class size in LSA and the Department of Political Science, her academic background, and how to survive Michigan winters. Dr. Bednar then brought my attention to the benefits that LSA Political Science gives its students.

For example, as head of the Michigan in Washington program, Dr. Bednar's passion for both political science and education was evident as she introduced me to one of Michigan's most influential academic programs. Although I hail from two miles outside the D.C. border, I aspire to participate in the Michigan in Washington program, to build on my internship of the past year with my delegate to the Maryland General Assembly.

Under his guidance, I conducted nationwide policy research, attended civic association meetings and development forums, and traveled to our state capitol to watch the legislative process unfold. Consequently, an internship at the federal level is my logical next step toward building the foundations of a political career.

Dr. Bednar, upon hearing about my internship with my delegate, suggested that I think about the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. I believe that this research program offers a unique means of building my understanding of political science. I am eager to apply to the UROP program in hopes of furthering my research skills within the complex political landscape of today. Furthermore, the variety of courses that I can explore as a political science major is remarkable: from "Sports, Politics, and Society", to "Nations and Nationalism," the scope of topics will keep me engaged.

When I sat down with Dr. Bednar, I expected a five-minute chat; I received forty-five minutes of helpful advice, political theorizing, and well wishes. Leaving her office, I felt energized and ready to dive into LSA Political Science right there. Her demeanor helped to build my confidence to boldly seek connections in my search for knowledge. I saw the Michigan difference firsthand, from various undergraduate opportunities for political science, to a universal love for the school from students and faculty alike.

18. "Why Chemistry and Biology?" MIT Essay Example

Prompt: Although you may not yet know what you want to major in, which department or program at MIT appeals to you and why? (100 words max)

I remember boiling down cabbage with my dad to make titration indicators. When I first read about the process of translation, of rendering mRNA into proteins, my eyes filled with tears; this is what I would do, apply the chemistry that had defined my childhood to my love of biology. In the past few months alone, MIT researchers have visualized a critical growth kinase and decoded the kavalactone gene. To major in both the chemistry and biology departments at MIT would be an unequaled opportunity to explore the molecular basis of life and apply that knowledge to real-world innovation.

19. "Why Neuroscience?" University of Michigan Essay Example

My favorite class in high school was also my hardest. It was World Culture/World Literature, an hour and a half each day of seeing history, art, and literature not as separate entities but as intricately connected, one incomplete without the other. I learned to see humanism in Greek sculpture, religious propaganda in the chiaroscuro of Baroque paintings, disillusionment in modern art. Although seemingly unrelated to my STEM-leaning interests, the analytical skills I learned there would prove invaluable in neuroscience research. Connecting electroencephalography results to mechanisms for chronic pain relief wasn’t all too different from drawing links between historical movements and paintings; both required an intimate knowledge of background information and a willingness to take risks, to see new relationships and forge unprecedented connections.

LSA embodies precisely this mentality, fostering interdisciplinary learning and problem-solving. With classes like “Health, Biology, and Society: What is Cancer?”, bridging humanistic and biological approaches to disease, and graduation requirements ranging from Natural Sciences to Race and Ethnicity, LSA prepares students for the real world, where problems necessitate not just single-minded expertise but also a diverse understanding of other factors involved. My internship experience only confirmed the practicality of this perspective; we used mindfulness meditation alongside spinal cord stimulation technologies to treat chronic pain.

This mindset is not confined to learning inside the classroom. The LSA Opportunity Hub is robust, connecting students to internships at Nike, Forbes, and the US Department of Education, among other places. To intern as a research assistant at Mayo Clinic, to use mathematical models to predict brain tumor growth like current Michigan junior Tatum Doyle would be an unequalled opportunity. Her work in incorporating mathematical concepts in medical research personifies the LSA culture, where problems are best solved holistically. LSA’s interdisciplinary approach does not detract from fostering specialization and excellence in specific fields, but adds; its Biochemistry program promotes innovation and independence in its students and is ranked top in the nation.

I remember boiling down cabbage with my dad to make acid/base indicators. In elementary school, my teacher wrote that I had been spending too much time reading animal books and too little time playing with other kids. I loved (and still love) all things living, often marvelling at the complexity of the animal kingdom, the human body, the organs, and the cells that were the foundation for everything else. The first time I read about the process of translation, of rendering mRNA into proteins, my eyes filled with tears; this is what I wanted to do, to apply the chemistry that had defined my childhood to my love of biology.

LSA shares that passion, dedicating a plethora of resources, both intellectual and material, to its Biochemistry department. With equipment like atomic absorption spectrophotometers, classes in Endocrinology, and distinguished professors, the University of Michigan has everything any biochemistry undergraduate student would need, and much more. To research under a PI like Dr. Kopelman, winner of the J. William Fulbright Research Award, would be a dream fulfilled. His work in employing 5-dimensional chemical imaging to visualize and treat tumors does what LSA does best; it uses an interdisciplinary approach to make academic discoveries both relevant and essential in the real world. It is a culture I would be honored to take part in, should I be accepted.

20. "Why Undeclared?" University of Michigan Essay Example

Sweat drips down my face onto homework in front of me.

I just got home from a soccer game; I’m not stressed. This is until I realize I still have a plethora of edits to make on my lab report as well as emails to write for an upcoming NHS event. AND I have three tests the next day.

Although stressful, I enjoy every minute of juggling a variety of academics and extracurriculars. I appreciate all the opportunities my high school offers to me and I take advantage of as many as I can handle. Thanks to my involved years of high school, I have received a great education as well as many experiences I would never trade away.

Entering my senior year and researching universities I may want to attend, there is one question which continuously presents itself. What do I want to major in when I get to college? It is a scary question and I have never known the answer. Despite participating in many extracurriculars such as National Honor Society, Science Olympiad, Math Honor Society, and Future Business Leaders of America, I still have no idea what I want to do with my life.

As a student at LSA, I would be able to use the abundance of resources to explore possibilities for life after college. Since I am one of the many college applicants who has not decided upon a major, a large, liberal arts college like LSA is the perfect place for me to discover more about myself, pursue interests, and find my purpose. I have considered medicine, business, economics, and law. The two courses I have enjoyed the most are biomedical sciences and US History. I am truly all over the map!

With so much variety at LSA, I would be able to change majors or take a diverse group of classes so that I could find what I want to study. LSA is unique from its University of Michigan counterparts because it offers a broader range of departments, majors, and courses. The flexibility at LSA would help me discover what I want my life to be like while supporting me through my journey.

Additionally, LSA provides students with multiple opportunities not found anywhere else at University of Michigan. One program that caught my eye was Michigan Learning Communities. This program appeals to me because having the resources of this large university, yet finding a niche in the community to challenge myself and others, can help me grow as a student and a person. Similarly, the Opportunity Hub at LSA jumped out at me as I researched the University and toured the school. I would take full advantage of the great connections the Opportunity Hub provides, as it could help me find an internship or job offer when the perfect time comes. MLCs, the Opportunity Hub, and the many other programs which LSA offers are the main reasons why LSA would be the best college fit for me.

I was initially drawn to the University of Michigan by the beautiful campus, great athletics programs, unmatched prestige, and massive alumni network. However, as I dove deeper, I discovered LSA, a school that can help me realize my purpose and passions while providing a focused learning environment to lead me to a bright future.

21. "Why Computer Science?" Cornell Essay Example

22. "why kinesiology" university of michigan essay example, 23. "why mathematics" cornell essay example.

Prompt: Cornell Engineering celebrates innovative problem solving that helps people, communities…the world. Consider your ideas and aspirations and describe how a Cornell Engineering education would allow you to leverage technological problem-solving to improve the world we live in. (250-650 words)

For "Why Us?" college essays, one of the most important parts is to show ways you imagine being involved on campus. This student does a great job of showing that they've done their research about Cornell, by connecting their passion for studying heart disease to specific initiatives already taking place on campus. Try researching what events, research, or programs are being conducted. By referencing those specifics, you can create convincing reasons of why this school is fit for you.

When discussing your intended area of study, one effective strategy is to identify a problem that you see. This problem can be in the field itself, your community, or the world. Then, you can connect this problem to yourself by showing how you'd want to help solve it. Don't try to tackle it entirely yourself, but show how you'd "take bites" out of this larger problem. It is also important that you identify potential solutions to the problem. You definitely don't (and shouldn't) have all the answers, but what do you see as potential steps for combatting the issue?

Using technical language, such as referencing "semi-elliptical curves" and "modular form" in this essay, will help show your in-depth knowledge and passion. Don't be afraid to use technical jargon like this, and don't worry if admissions officers may not know all the terms. As long as they have context and knowing the terminology isn't critical to understanding your point, including "nerdy" language will make your essay more engaging and demonstrate your intelligence.

If you have personal connections to the school you're applying to (such as legacy, family members who work there, students or faculty you're close with), it can be a good idea to reference those connections. Showing personal connections to the school makes admissions think, "They're already practically one of us!" Just make sure that these connections aren't contrived: only write about them if you have a clear purpose within your essay for introducing them. In this essay, the student references their brother who attended Cornell, but does so in a way that naturally ties into the rest of their reasons for "why Cornell."

24. "Why Computer Science?" Brown University Essay Example

Prompt: Why are you drawn to the area(s) of study you indicated? (150 words max)

There was a time when I was low and afraid to be with myself. That’s when I dived into programming. I always sat with my laptop. But unlike others on Instagram or Snapchat, I was coding. I always kept myself occupied so I wouldn’t think about hardships. But as I was solving those little Instantiation and StackOverflow errors, I realized that any problem in my life had a solution. I could either modify the code and right the wrong, or just keep compiling them, producing no output. So, life is not all that different. That is why I want to pursue Computer Science. I know I can work to keep myself happy. Inevitably, what makes me happy is Computer Science, which is what I want to pursue.

25. "Why Journalism?" Emerson College Essay Example

Prompt: As you know, the academic programs at Emerson College are focused on communication and the arts. Please tell us what influenced you to select your major. If you're undecided about your major, what attracted you to Emerson's programs? Please be brief. (100-200 words)

Recording devices have been banned from the courtroom of the United States Supreme Court Building since 1946. Therefore, when the Court makes a landmark decision, interns must hand-deliver paper copies of the ruling to news organizations.

The quarter-mile sprint from the Court building to the area where networks ​await ​is no easy feat. But the interns dress with this mind, often pairing running shoes with their business attire.

When I first saw photographs of “The Running of the Interns”, I knew that I wanted nothing more than to ​be​ one of those people. I wanted to feel my running shoes beating against the limestone sidewalks, to feel sweat staining my suit.

Why did a tradition centered around dashing through D.C. attract me to journalism? Because it reminded me that the news is a race, a constantly-changing collection of stories shaping social and political development.

This, I think, defines both what it means to be a journalist and why I want to be a journalist: When I become a journalism major at Emerson, and, later, a part of the press--perhaps a running intern--I get to be a contender in the race to change the world.

What You Can Learn From These "Why This Major" Essay Examples

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How to Answer the Why Major Essay: Tips for Success

Padya Paramita

September 27, 2022

why major in business essay

There are certain common patterns in supplemental essay questions that you might recognize across different colleges. One of these is the why major essay . Colleges want to know why you’re passionate about the specific field you have indicated in wanting to study. To help guide you through the different types of the why major essay colleges ask, I’ve outlined some example prompts, tips for answering them, and included a couple of sample essays that can help you get the hang of this prompt.

Examples of the Why Major Essay

For prompts such as these, you must prioritize clarity and precision when explaining your interest and background that make you a strong candidate for your intended major, as well as detailed knowledge of the school and its programs. Some example why major essay questions are:

University of Illinois: Please provide an essay that explains why you chose your intended program of study. What interests you the most about this major? Please be specific - those evaluating these essays are highly interested in your response. If Undecided, what areas of study do you look forward to studying in college? [50-500 words]  

Bucknell University: Please explain your interest in your first-choice major/undecided status and your second-choice major, should you opt to list one [Max. 250 words]

How to Answer the Why Major Essay

Start with an idea or a problem that you find most compelling within your intended field to show your unique approach to the discipline. Use your response to explain your academic interest—not your major. Your major should be determined by your interest, instead of your interest by your major. Connect your past experiences and academic activities to your interest. How did your intellectual curiosity develop out of your activities? Identify which major or program would best help you explore your interest before sitting down to write the essay and then explain why.

The Why School + Why Major

Sometimes, supplemental essay prompts may combine the “why school” and “why major” essay questions . An example of this is:

University of Michigan: Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate College or School (including preferred admission and dual degree programs) to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests? [Required for all applicants; 550 word limit]

For prompts such as these, you must divide your essay into two parts. Admissions officers don’t just want to know why you’re applying to the university generally; they expect you to go into greater detail about the campus(es), school, and major you’ve picked. Think about what makes you excited to attend college on the campus you’re applying to. But, don’t just fixate on the location, because your main focus should be explaining why the particular university is the best institution to pursue your interests and goals, rather than the campus setting. Then dive into the major. Think about specific resources that are available within your chosen department that you can’t find elsewhere.

Notice that this type of essay should mainly cover academics. A university’s clubs and student organizations may make it an alluring place for you, but the question explicitly asks about your choice of study. Look through the website and think about what you can write that won’t be common in other students’ essays. Is there a professor whose research resonates with you? Would a particular psychology or sociology class perfectly fit in with your 10-year plan? Remember that admissions officers are trying to figure out why you’d make the most of your experience on campus. So, talk elaborately about how you would take advantage of the facilities and give them a sense of the ways in which you’d make a valuable addition to the classroom.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Answering the Why Major Essay

  • What’s your main academic area of interest?
  • Why does this matter to you?
  • When did this interest first start to matter to you? Was there a specific event that sparked your interest?
  • How did your interest evolve over time?
  • Did you ever face a really big challenge in continuing to learn about or study this topic?
  • Was this challenge the result of your gender, race, or religion?
  • Was this challenge the result of your family’s socio-economic background or the result of the culture of the place you lived?
  • Would you still pursue this academic interest if you earned a very small income with your future job in this area?

A Sample Why Major Essay

How you want to explore your academic interest at usc.

To explore questions of how predominantly male-programmed technology may perpetuate the gap in professional fields for women and minorities, I am eager to research under the Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society and work on innovations that bridge together the gap in professional worlds. Finding support in the WiSE program, I look forward to bonding with women peers and mentors in STEM fields that have the same goal of increasing access in general.

I am further intrigued by the implications of cultural institutions of gender on the global language of business, drawing from my enlightening internship in China where I found myself subconsciously acting more demurely to fit in with the rooted Confucian society. Taking courses such as Women and Gender in China: Past and Present (EALC 375), I discover the automatic connotations and consequences being a woman has in different societies, knowledge I will keep closely as I pursue the Global Leadership Program in hopes of revisiting my reflections from my internship and building off of them.

From my experiences creating service programs in FBLA, I anticipate exploring social entrepreneurship under The Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab to tackle my concerns of access for women and minorities. From my experience tutoring low-income children on school subjects, I know that even the smallest impact makes a difference, and I am eager to tutor promising children in the TRIO Upward Bound Math-Science programs. To sum, from my experience at USC, I know how to translate classroom education into community and global engagement.

Hopefully, you’ve gained an insight into how to succeed with the why major essay ! Make sure you not only talk about what interests you about the subject because sometimes prompts might ask you why you might want to study the subject at their school specifically. Don’t rush either. Leave plenty of time for editing and, hopefully, you’ll write a captivating response. Good luck!

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How To Write The "Why Major" Essay (Updated)

“Why do you want to study your chosen major?" is one of the most common supplemental essay prompts. It's a fair question and one that you should be able to answer in an authentic and engaging essay.

Seemingly straightforward, this question can take many different forms. 

Examples of "Why Major" Essay Prompts

Brown university.

Brown’s Open Curriculum allows students to explore broadly while also diving deeply into their academic pursuits. Tell us about an academic interest (or interests) that excites you, and how you might use the Open Curriculum to pursue it. (250 words)

Bucknell University

Please explain your interest in your first-choice major/undecided status and your second-choice major, should you opt to list one. (250 words)

Carnegie Mellon University

Most students choose their intended major or area of study based on a passion or inspiration that’s developed over time – what passion or inspiration led you to choose this area of study?  (300 words)

Yale University

Tell us about a topic or idea that excites you and is related to one or more academic areas you selected above. Why are you drawn to it? (200 words)

Your Objectives

What should you aim to accomplish with your essay? You should:

  • Describe how you developed your academic interest(s). How did you get to where you are now? What were your motivations?
  • Tie your background and/or experiences to your current interests and pursuits.
  • Explain how that particular college will help you delve deeper into your academic interest and prepare you for the future.
  • Explain how you will contribute to that particular institution’s community while enrolled and after graduating.

How to Write the “Why Major” Essay

1. identify stories that illustrate how you developed an interest in the academic discipline..

Anecdotes are an important part of any essay you write for your college applications (and really any personal essay). They serve to draw your reader in, helping them get to know you through your experiences, and bring color to your narrative. In the case of the “why major” essay, anecdotes allow you to create an arc. You’ll show the reader how you first became interested in a discipline and bring them to the present day, building your interest with stories that offer insight into your passion for the subject.

For example, if you’re an aspiring software engineer and plan on majoring in computer science in college, you might describe your first time using a computer and what that interaction was like, or a challenge you encountered and overcame while designing an app from scratch. You should also offer a look into your experiences along the way — potentially when you realized you could not only use a machine but change the way it communicates with you and others through coding.

2. Explore how these incidents helped you develop a passion for the subject and lock onto an impactful mission you'd like to accomplish.

Connect these stories to the why of your narrative — how did these individual experiences become integral to your story and lead you to where you are today? In other words, articulate that “aha” moment. There doesn’t have to be a singular experience that made you realize this was what you wanted to do with your life; instead, you can paint a picture of how these moments together lead you to this point. In the example above, for instance, you might tie your first experience with a computer to your development in the courses you chose to take and then impetus behind your recent coding project.

In addition, connect your experience to your ultimate mission - why are you going to college? Who will you be able to positively impact with the knowledge and experience your education will give you? For example, if one of your experiences was as a coding tutor, and during that you realized that not all children have access to computer science tutors, your mission might be to create an app that provides simple and accessible lessons to children who have limited access to the internet, perhaps in a format they can download and then use offline to conserve the cost of data.

3. Explain how attending X school will help you delve even deeper into the topic.

Finally, explain what it is about the school that will help you explore your academic passion. While this is a “why major” and not a “why us” essay, you still need to weave in your excitement about this school in particular. Every admissions committee wants a student who believes that their institution is the way to achieve their goals. In order to do that, you might discuss how the program that interests you is particularly unique to that school, a faculty member you’d like to study with, a course that excites you, or something else you can’t easily find at another college.

What Not to Say 1. Don’t write about a major or class the school doesn’t offer to undergraduates.

This is a no-brainer: if the school doesn’t offer, say, journalism, don’t talk about how excited you are to pursue that major. Instead, you might discuss how their English program will prepare you for a career in journalism. Similarly, don’t mention graduate-level course offerings as there may not be an opportunity for you to actually take the course as an undergraduate.

2. Don’t regurgitate your resume.

While it’s fine to mention activities that are related to your chosen major, you should focus on how they helped shape your journey rather than describing the activities themselves. This is what the activities section is for. Your essay should be the behind the scenes story.

3. Avoid mentioning superficial reasons.

For instance, don’t say you want to be a doctor because it’s a prestigious job or that you want a high-earning potential. Your reasons need to go deeper than that (and deeper than I want to help people)! 

What If You’re Undecided?

You don’t have to have a major chosen in order to write this essay. Most colleges accept students who are undecided, unless they’re applying to a specific school or program that requires you to declare your major before matriculating.

If you’re undecided, there are a couple of ways to approach this essay. It’s a good idea to use a mix of these strategies.

  • Mention 2-3 of your top interests and correlating experiences, connecting them to one another if possible.
  • Describe how you expect X school to help you hone your areas of interest further and why this is the best place to do it.
  • Explain why you’re undecided.
  • Write about a few different courses that inspire you and explain why.
  • Reflect back to your ultimate mission and how there may be many possible routes to get there and that you’d like to explore the options before deciding.

Now that you have a better understanding of the "Why Major" essay, read the 5 Steps to   ACE your Personal Statement. Already did that? Learn more about the self-paced   Write Your Way Into College   course.  

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How to Write the “Why Major” Essay

Nerd out about your intellectual passions — and make colleges excited to meet you.

why major in business essay

As your college dreams start coming into clearer focus, you’ll probably start hearing the dreaded question: “So what are you going to study in college?” (It’s like, can you ask me about something less stressful, please?! Like my rare Tamagotchi collection?!) Though we’re not exactly thrilled about the trend of teenagers being asked to specialize earlier and earlier in their academic careers, it IS important that you have some idea of what your intellectual passions are when you start your senior year — because colleges will ask about them on the almighty “why major” essay.

The “why major” essay has long been a mainstay of college supplements; many, many colleges include some version of this prompt each year. Here are just a few examples of “why major” prompts that have cropped up in the past:

UT Austin: Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major? (250-300 words)

Emory University: What academic areas are you interested in exploring in college? (200 words)

Carnegie Mellon: Most students choose their intended major or area of study based on a passion or inspiration that’s developed over time – what passion or inspiration led you to choose this area of study? (300 words) 

Howard University: Presume there was only one spot left in your first choice major program. Given you have thoroughly researched said program, why should we offer the spot to you over another student? Please feel free to discuss your reasons for pursuing your first choice major, your unique talents & skills, and/or how said program aligns with your long-term goals. (250 words) 

MIT: Tell us more about why this field of study at MIT appeals to you. (100 words

Columbia University: Please tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the areas of study that you noted in the application. (200 words)  

The role of a “why major” essay

Colleges include “why major” essays in their supplements for three primary reasons.

  • They want to get a sense of your intellectual passions. After all, college is — first and foremost — school! In order for a college to make an informed decision about whether you’re a great fit for their academic environment, they need to understand your primary academic interests.
  • They want to get an idea of what your possible major might be. Colleges generally won’t hold you to the major you list on your application, but by giving them a general understanding of the major you’re considering now, you’re helping them assemble an incoming class that consists of a diverse array of majors. Nobody wants a class of 100% poli-sci stans.
  • In some cases, the “why major” essay gives colleges a sense of whether you’re realistically prepared for the work associated with a given major. An underdeveloped, shallow, or unconvincing “why major” essay might make you seem like a flight risk — they might worry that you’ll be taken aback by the rigor of the major and drop out.

Ingredients of a successful “why major” essay

What are your academic interests, and why.

Simple enough! Clearly state the area — or intersection — that constitutes the focus of your primary academic interest. Ex., Applied math, Latin-American literature, Mechanical engineering, Gender & Sexuality Studies + Public Health.

What’s your academic origin story?

Think about all of the moments in your life that have culminated in this one — the one in which you are preparing to apply for this particular major. Maybe your passion for Chinese poetry was kindled when you were 4 years old, and your Chinese grandmother read to you in Mandarin each night. Or maybe your interest in Business & Reproductive Health was piqued just six months ago, when your aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. Or maybe you got curious about Psychology in 9th grade, when you saw a community theater production of Next to Normal.

How have you developed and explored those academic interests?

Detail the ways in which you pursued your primary academic interest after it was originally sparked. How have you sought to deepen your engagement with your academic passions? Did you attend summer programs that helped you clarify your interests? Did you start an initiative through a student club that allowed you to explore the topic in a practical way? Did you check out books from the library that drew you further down the academic rabbit hole? Did you get an after-school job that exposed you to your interest’s application in the professional world? The key here is to demonstrate an authentic, sustained engagement to your stated academic interest!

BONUS: How will you continue developing your interest at this particular school?

Some schools roll their “why major” + “why us” essays into one — like the example from Howard above, as well as the examples below:

Please explain your interest in your first-choice major/undecided status and your second-choice major (should you opt to list one) and why you would choose Bucknell University to pursue your interest(s). (250 words)

Why do you want to study your chosen major specifically at Georgia Tech? (300 words)

Notice how these essays don’t simply ask about how you’ve engaged with your interests in the past — they also ask about your specific plans to develop that interest in the future, on their specific campus! For these essays, you’ll need to execute an additional step — after you’ve laid out how your academic interests have taken shape up to this point, you’ll need to make a case as to why this particular college is the perfect place to support you as you continue pursuing those interests. Sure, you love the Classics, but why apply to this specific Classics department? (Hint: “Because Northwestern is a great school” won’t cut it. You gotta do your research so you can talk about specific resources, opportunities, and/or programs on campus that will facilitate you achieving your specific academic goals.)

Writing the “why major” essay when you’re applying undecided

Even if you’re applying to college undecided, you might still have to write a “why major” essay! And your writing process won’t be all that different from those applying with a stated major. Though you might not be able to confidently state your single area of interest, you can certainly write about the few areas of academic study that you’re considering — even better if you can gather those areas under a single thematic umbrella. For example, if you’re applying “undecided” because you’re struggling to pick between English and Machine Learning, you might write your “why major” essay about how you’re interested in both the history and the future of storytelling

Check out our full College Essay Hub for tons of resources and guidance on writing your college essays. Need more personalized guidance on brainstorming or crafting your supplemental essays? Contact our college admissions team.

Caroline Hertz

why major in business essay

How to Write the “Why This Major?” Supplemental Essay

why major in business essay

  • September 14, 2022

If you’re applying to a school with supplemental essay requirements, you’ll likely run into a few similar questions that appear on many schools’ applications. One of the most common is the “Why this major?” essay question. Here are some examples of how a few different schools ask it:

  • University of Southern California (USC): Describe how you plan to pursue your academic interests and why you want to explore them at USC specifically. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections. (Approximately 250 words) (1-250 words)
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC): Explain, in detail, an experience you’ve had in the past 3 to 4 years related to your first-choice major. This can be an experience from an extracurricular activity, in a class you’ve taken, or through something else. Describe your personal and/or career goals after graduating from UIUC and how your selected first-choice major will help you achieve them.
  • University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin): Why are you interested in the major you indicated as your first-choice major? (maximum 40 lines, or approximately 250-300 words, typically the length of one paragraph)
  • Brown: Brown’s Open Curriculum allows students to explore broadly while also diving deeply into their academic pursuits. Tell us about any academic interests that excite you, and how you might use the Open Curriculum to pursue them while also embracing topics with which you are unfamiliar. (250 word limit)  
  • Carnegie Mellon: Most students choose their intended major or area of study based on a passion or inspiration that’s developed over time – what passion or inspiration led you to choose this area of study? (300 words)

Though the wording may vary from school to school, each school wants to know the same thing: what motivates you to study your planned major, and why their school is the right place for you to do so.  

You might notice some common themes in these questions, which all reference your academic interests, your inspiration, and your experiences. Those themes are the perfect starting points to figure out how to answer the “Why this major?” essay question—and even help you decide on a major in the first place.

How to choose a major

Maybe you went into the college application process already knowing what you want to study for the next several years. But if you’re undecided, there are plenty of strategies you can use to figure out an answer to the “Why this major?” question.

Remember that your major doesn’t have to be an academic subject—and that there are plenty of college majors you might not have come across in your high school classes. If you aren’t sure what you want to pursue in college, or if there’s no one subject in school that tends to excite you, let yourself brainstorm more broadly. What do you spend your time learning or thinking about or doing when you aren’t at school? What have you been enthusiastic about in the last few weeks or months? Write down everything you can think of! One of these moments of excitement might point you toward your future major.

If you’re into music, if you’ve had fun coming up with ideas for your after-school job, or if there’s a part of the world that has always intrigued you, explore whether there might be a major focused on that topic. Perhaps your interests lie in business or marketing, music theory, or an interdisciplinary major focused on a particular region. You could even try browsing the course listings for those majors at your top-choice schools. If you could take any classes, which would they be?

Having to decide on one major might feel like a lot of pressure, but remember that you can change your mind later. Most schools won’t hold you to the major you write about in this essay. As with the rest of the essays you write for your applications, admissions officers use the “Why this major?” essay to get a sense of who you are and where you might fit in their campus community.

Writing the “why major” essay once you know your major

You’ve made your list of topics or activities that excite you, and you’ve narrowed those down to one or two majors you’re particularly interested in—great! But don’t put your pen and paper away yet, because the next step of writing your “why this major” essay is another round of brainstorming. (It will make writing the essay much easier, we promise.)

For this brainstorm, think about how you got interested in the subject you’re hoping to study. This is where it’s important to get specific, going deeper than the list of classes on your transcript or the activities on your resume. Was there a specific day in class, a field trip or event, a conversation or book you read, that sparked or reinforced your passion for your chosen major? List as many of those moments as you can think of. One of them might make a fantastic beginning for your “Why this major?” essay. If you’re planning to major in computer science, for example, maybe an early experience with Scratch got you excited about programming.

The “why major” essay is also a place to explain how you’ve already begun exploring the topic in which you plan to major. That doesn’t necessarily mean reading textbooks before you’ve enrolled in classes (unless that’s something you enjoy)—it can include any form of exploration, from clubs to after-school jobs to personal reading.

But if your high school doesn’t offer classes or clubs connected to your future major, or if your after-school job doesn’t relate to the work you hope to do in the future, don’t worry. If you’re interested in something enough to major in it, you’ve probably been exploring that interest or developing related skills without even realizing it. 

What do you read for fun or talk about with your friends and family? What internet rabbit holes do you go down in your free time? When you have to choose a topic for a class essay or project, what do you pick? These all might be examples of ways you’ve developed an interest in your major before even setting foot on campus. They’re all experiences you could discuss in your essay.

Keep the focus on you

If you’re passionate about a topic, it can be tempting to share everything you know about it. But remember that admissions officers want to know about you , not how much you know about biology, literature, or history. 

Reflection is just as important in the “why this major?” essay as it is in the rest of the essays you write for your college applications. As you draft your answer to the “why this major?” question, try sharing anecdotes and examples of how you became interested in your major and what you’ve done to learn more about it. See if you can explain why this subject strikes a chord with you. What specifically fascinates you about it? If you hope to study literature, perhaps you’ve always loved language and how it can express the complexities of human behavior. If you want to major in political science, perhaps you’re curious about how laws are made. 

This essay is also an opportunity to write about where your major might take you in the future. Maybe you already know what kind of work you’d like to do after college. If not, individual departments will often post information about alumni careers—that’s one place to start exploring work you could pursue after graduation.

Why study this subject here?

Admissions officers don’t only want to know what you hope to study and why. They also want to know why you want to study this major at their school. Answering that question is a key element of a successful “Why this major?” essay—and figuring out that answer might require some research.

If you followed the steps above to brainstorm potential majors, you’ve done some of this research already. If not, it’s time to do a deep dive: Pull up the course catalogs and student organization lists for each of the schools you’re interested in. You might even want to browse some faculty webpages for professors who study your areas of interest. Finally, consider the school’s location—are there organizations nearby where you might be able to pursue an internship in your chosen field, or is the region or environment related to what you want to study? All of these are relevant details to mention.

Turning your research into an essay

Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to craft your “Why this major?” essay—and at most schools, you may only have 250-300 words, or about one or two paragraphs, to do so. But don’t panic! The research and thinking you’ve done up to this point only makes you better prepared to write this essay. Let’s go back to the example earlier of the student whose passion for computer science grew out of childhood experiences with Scratch, an online coding community. Perhaps that student also took related classes in high school, explored the topic in their free time, and looked for colleges that would allow them to pursue their interest in computer science. Here is an example of how they might approach their “why major” essay:

The moment I first got my motion blocks to work was the moment I knew I wanted to work with computers, specifically on animations and games. I was in middle school messing around with a Scratch project, and I was instantly hooked, thrilled by the thought that I could animate ideas that had only existed in my head before. Over the next few months, I designed more than a dozen Scratch projects, and even though my high school didn’t offer computer science courses, I worked my way through several online on my own. 

Carnegie Mellon’s interdisciplinary programs in technology, design, and arts will make it possible for me to continue doing what I started with Scratch: imagining projects and bringing them to life via programming with classes like “Introduction to Computing for Creative Practice” and “Little Games/Big Stories.”

Your task now is to winnow down your list to the most meaningful examples and specific details. You’ll only need a few to get your point across. Before you know it, you’ll have a convincing essay about why this major and this school are right for you.

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I'm struggling to write my 'Why Major?' essay for a few schools. Any advice on what I should focus on, and how to make it sound passionate and genuine? I would appreciate your thoughts!

I totally understand the challenge of writing a 'Why Major?' essay that feels genuine and passionate! Here are a few tips to consider when crafting your essay:

1. Reflect on what sparked your interest in that major: This could be a specific experience, event, or personal story that inspired you to pursue this field. Sharing personal anecdotes can make your essay more engaging and authentic.

2. Do some research on the program at the schools you're applying to: Find unique courses, professors, research opportunities, or other resources available in that major at each school, and explain why they appeal to you. This shows that you've done your homework and are genuinely interested in their offerings.

3. Link your major to long-term goals: Discuss how studying this major will help you achieve your career or life goals. This can demonstrate a strong sense of purpose and commitment to your chosen field.

4. Show how you've explored the subject outside of school: If you've participated in extracurriculars, internships, or other experiences related to the major, mention these to demonstrate that you've already been engaged with the subject and are serious about pursuing it further.

For a more in-depth look at the "Why This Major?" essay, check out this CollegeVine article:

Finally, be true to yourself and your passions. The more honest and sincere you can be in your essay, the more likely it is to resonate with admissions officers. Good luck with your essay!

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Home — Essay Samples — Education — Graduation — Why I Choose Business Major: The Reasons


Why I Choose Business Major: The Reasons

  • Categories: Academic Interests Graduation My Aspirations

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Words: 489 |

Updated: 27 November, 2023

Words: 489 | Page: 1 | 3 min read

Works Cited

  • Gabriela Cowperthwaite. (Director). (2013). Blackfish [Film]. CNN Films.
  • Carbone, J. (2018). The Impact of “Blackfish” on Theme Park Attendance and Perceptions of the Cruelty of Killer Whale Captivity. Society & Animals, 26(6), 574-590.
  • Delfour, F., & Marten, K. (2018). Cetacean Behavioral Responses to Anthropogenic Noise; Is It a Matter of Risk Assessment?. Frontiers in Marine Science, 5, 207.
  • Falcone, E. A., Schorr, G. S., Douglas, A. B., Calambokidis, J., Henderson, E. E., McKenna, M. F., ... & Hildebrand, J. A. (2019). Species‐specific responses to anthropogenic noise: Baleen whales respond to piling noise. Marine Mammal Science, 35(1), 1-19.
  • Giles, D., & Middleton, J. (2013). Killer whales, SeaWorld, and the Blackfish Effect. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Research, 1(2), 39-49.
  • Lusseau, D., & Higham, J. E. S. (2004). Managing the impacts of dolphin-based tourism through the definition of critical habitats: the case of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops spp.) in Doubtful Sound, New Zealand. Tourism Management, 25(6), 657-667.
  • Marino, L., Lilienfeld, S. O., Malamud, R., Nobis, N., & Broglio, R. (2010). Do zoos and aquariums promote attitude change in visitors? A critical evaluation of the American zoo and aquarium study. Society & Animals, 18(2), 126-138.
  • Morgan, D. K., & Tromborg, C. T. (2007). Sources of stress in captivity. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 102(3-4), 262-302.
  • Ross, L. E., & Campbell, L. K. (2013). The Psychological Effects of Captivity: A Review of the Literature. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 16(2), 105-125.
  • Smith, A. (2013, July 18). The Dark Secrets Behind America's Captive Killer Whale Industry. The Guardian.

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Sample Business School Essays

Studying business is a great way to gain valuable working experience across many industries. As such, many students decide to further their education with a degree in business. To help set your business school application apart from the others, having a stellar application essay can help tremendously. Before writing your own essay make sure you explore our sample essays to gather a few ideas and thoughts on how you can make your essay unique and engaging.

This section contains five business essay samples:

Business School Essay Sample One

Business school essay sample two, business school essay sample three, business school essay sample four.

  • Business School Essay Sample Five

Watching my brother transform from a man who had lost his ability to walk to a man who can play basketball with my father kindled my fascination of the physical therapy world. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates the field of physical therapy to grow faster than average in the upcoming years. I hope to join this field during an exciting time of growth, furthering the rehabilitation of those who have been injured.

Following graduation from ABC Business School, I intend to serve a marketing team in a local physical therapy company, such as Ridgeview Physical Therapy. My short-term goal is to lead a team, furthering success in the Ridgeview area. Due to the popular physical therapy company thirty miles from Ridgeview, much of the local population is unaware of the quality services Ridgeview Physical Therapy has to offer. I hope to increase visits by 40 percent in the first 5 years of my employment. My long-term goal includes extending the company’s reach into surrounding cities, and eventually beyond national barriers, becoming a global marketing manager.

I expect to gain skills and experiences from ABC Business School that will propel my short and long-term goals. I hope to develop an experiential and diverse learning experience and have the opportunity to interact with different groups of people to learn from their business insights and endeavours. From ABC Business School, I seek the tools and resources needed to further engage in my marketing knowledge, perform professional strategic analyses, and re-evaluate my past work experiences. I look forward to taking courses from Professor Jim. W. Reid, who has published the research of the success of Matthews and Marketing in his book, “Matthews Commerce,” which has helped me continue my career this far. I also look forward to taking the unique classes taught by Professor Rachel E. Davis, introducing me to the physical therapy world and enriching my business skills in that area.

When my brother’s car accident in 2011 caused immobility in his left leg, he never thought he would be able to play his favorite sport again. David Andrews, a 1994 graduate from ABC Business School, ensured that that would not come to pass. I spoke with Andrews about his journey, and he told me that it was through the opportunities and education he received from the professors and students at ABC Business School that helped him open his own practice. I hope to follow in Andrews’s footsteps. With the passion I have for the success of Ridgeview Physical Therapy, and the determination I learned from watching my brother, all I need to complete my goals is the knowledge available to me through an MBA at ABC Business School. I look forward to completing my career aspirations using the tools received from ABC Business School to contribute to my professional career.

The world of physical therapy is growing, and with my skills in marketing, I hope to grow the local Ridgeview services across the globe.

In this essay, the applicant is assigned to answer the prompt in approximately 500 words. The admissions officer expects a clear and concise essay that does not veer off the question and exemplifies quality writing, grammar, and punctuation. In questions similar to these, the admissions officers are looking for: Student’s understanding and knowledge in answering questions: The writer explains his short and long-term career goals, referencing the future of the career (Bureau of Labor Statistics) and quantifying his goals (Increase by 40 percent within the first 5 years). A deeper look into who the applicant is: Writer shares personal information that also relates to answering the question (brother in physical therapy). Make sure that any personal information you share does not veer off of the question that needs to be answered. Proper research on the school to adequately answer the second question: Student mentions names of professors who have demonstrated help in the past (professor’s business research book) giving credibility to the student that he believes they will be able to help him in the future. Avoid flattery and only speak of the school in a way that shows proper research and answers the question presented.

Nancy, the CEO of Jasmine Publishing House, bought me a coffee and told me I should invest in warm gloves as we sat down at a corner diner for what would be a game-changing business meeting. As the leading publishing house in Europe, Nancy informed me that JPH was interested in closing a multi-million dollar deal with our fashion magazine, Zoelle, provided we changed the magazine's appearance to attract a broader European audience.

As production manager, my job was to lead and supervise a staff of 30 to match Nancy's vision, working closely with the design team, photographers, production staff and marketing team. After three weeks of heavy brainstorming, we developed a fresh appearance for the magazine.

I invited Nancy to a meeting with me and three of our executive producers. I shared with her the strategy we had created in order to solve our appearance problem, as well as estimated costs and complications. Nancy agreed that the direction our magazine was going fit well with her vision and audience, and that JPH would be happy to work with us within the next week.

Although the team was excited to accept the offer, I was concerned that we were not prepared to complete the project so quickly. Though the executive producers did not understand, as our production team was to begin work on the next issue the following day, I explained that there may include deep financial consequences if we rush into the process. I wanted to ensure that JPH received a consistent layout from Zoelle magazine. Nancy agreed to wait until the upcoming issue was complete before beginning work on the new look.

We began work the following Tuesday, after the latest issue was produced. I collaborated with an eight member marketing team to develop new branding for our magazine and mediated this branding with the design team, ensuring that it was able to blend well with their ideas and insights based on the first meeting with Nancy. I led the operation of the first issue to be published via JPH, supervising 30 employees.

After the issue was published, our sales increased by 42 percent in the first week. After leading the Zoelle team to a business deal close and a fresh start, I learned that with the proper leadership, a staff of varied talents, insights and opinions can work closely together to produce a magazine that continues to increase its sells each issue. My initiative helped provide Zoelle with its largest new contract that year, a $2 million deal. Customers from Europe and the United States commented with positive remarks on the new look, showing interest in the replacement of the former look, which had been being published for seven years.

After this leadership experience, I was able to see my potential as a leader. I can communicate effectively with all members of a group and help connect them with one another to make a larger picture. I protect my business discernment even against an upset crowd, and am able to properly persuade others to understand other perspectives. Through learning more about leadership every day with my work in Zoelle, I hope to continue to strengthen these abilities and witness the success they can bring to media production.

In this essay, the applicant was asked to detail her leadership abilities through the application of a relevant example. She was asked to do this in approximately 550 words, using concise language and proper grammar and punctuation. In questions similar to these, the admissions officers are looking for: Applicant's ability to share leadership qualities with a relevant example: This writer shared leadership qualities of communication (brainstorming with different staffs and helping them connect their ideas together), listening (brainstorming and understanding staff concerns), delegating (ensuring each team did what was supposed to be done), and managing (managed and supervised a staff of 30) through the use of an example from her work with Zoelle Magazine. Proof of a potential growth in these leadership skills: The writer hopes to “continue to strengthen” her leadership skills. She provides examples of how she learned from previous leadership roles. How these skills will help further your career: The writer used an example from her current career and concluded her essay with a look into the potential of leadership in her field.

I looked across my celebratory cheesecake and beamed up at my new coworkers. I couldn't believe I had finally landed my dream job. All of the senior editors were having lunch in the cafe across the street from the bakery where the finance team and marketing team shared dessert. I had been hired as a budget analyst at my favorite magazine. My job was to work alongside the business manager to help create a more healthy marriage between the finance and marketing departments, thus improving our sales and workplace environment. On my way home, I reflected on my relief in finally having an exciting and secure career.

Just three months later, we met at the same bakery where I had celebrated my new job. Every department from our small, close-knit staff was present. As the publication manager began to tell us the news, I remember how our faces fell. Our publication company was going out of business, and every publication was to be shut down. She explained that they had tried to find another publishing company without success.

Not only did I feel as though I failed the company, I also knew that I, as well as the other 17 employees, was out of a job. We went back to our offices and packed up our things. Writers and designers were frantically calling around, asking for open positions. An employee from the finance department began tweaking his resume, and the marketing department apologized to the publication manager and editor-in-chief, who responded graciously.

I had to leave my apartment not long after losing my job. I stayed with a friend on the north side of town as I tried to find a job in a shrinking economic suburb. It took six months to find a position, and though I had to move and leave behind my dream, I found a new way to work toward my new dream.

From this experience, I learned the importance of adaptability. Only through my ability to embrace the change happening around me was I able to find a new job and start a new life with new visions and goals. Applying for my MBA would have sounded bizarre to the disheartened, homeless idealist who lost her dream. But now, after finding in me the strength to persevere, I am able to take what I learned from my previous job and pair it with what I learn from the university. This knowledge will help me ensure that the future companies I work with will not have to endure a similar fallout.

However, if there comes a time when I am again involved in a lost company, I know how to repair. I know how to restore.

In this essay, the applicant was asked to recall a challenging situation to which the writer overcame the boundaries. The writer was asked to do this in approximately 450 words, using concise language and proper grammar and punctuation. In questions similar to these, the admissions officers are looking for: Applicant's ability to identify a challenging moment in her life: This writer uses a relevant example of a challenging situation, describing the challenge of losing a job, losing housing, and having to move to a different city. Examples of how the applicant overcame these challenges: The writer cites her “adaptability” as the reason why she was able to overcome this challenge. Instead of giving up, the applicant tells of applying for other jobs, even ones that were out of her comfort zone and in another city. Brief insights to what the applicant learned from the challenge: This writer learned how to maintain strength, perseverance and adaptability in challenging situations. The applicant tells of continuing the learning process in her MBA program and allowing it to help future companies.

“Gallery Furniture saves you money today!” As a child, these words rang out to me, sandwiched in between the episodes of Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh that I gleefully watched every Saturday morning. During commercial breaks, an older gentleman known as Mattress Mack would dominate all 24 inches of my cartoon box with his signature hundred-mile-per-hour pitch, reserved for sputtering off the praises of American-made furniture sold at affordable prices. Mattress Mack reigned as a household favorite in the Greater Houston area; in fact, my cousin and I made games out of memorizing his lines and spitting them out as fast as we could whenever his ads came on TV.

Mack’s distinctive elevator-pitch talking style stemmed from the financial difficulties he faced at the start of his career. At that time, Mack invested his entire life savings in a single ad that aired on two stations. While watching the ad himself, he grew unhappy with the producers’ work and ad-libbed a rapid pitch which would be later recognized as one of his greatest sparks of unconventional genius. Mack's unique re-branding has taught me to recognize the value of bootstrapping and developing creative solutions to solve problems.

Beyond his unorthodox sales strategies, Mack also had a heart that was truly the size of Texas. In August of 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall and caused $125 billion in damages, and several people that I personally know lost everything. While most of us worried solely about our own survival, Mack opened his two biggest showrooms and provided food to those who needed it most. His heroic actions eventually earned him his own day, August 26th, appropriately named Mattress Mack Day. He has inspired Houstonians just like me to pursue entrepreneurship opportunities that put social focus on the forefront.

As Harvey pummelled through the Gulf Coast, I noted the amount of devastation the hurricane has caused for our local automotive industry. This sparked an idea. As a passionate watchmaker and a car enthusiast, I partnered with my co-founder to create one-of-a-kind wristwatches from wrecked supercars with stories to match. A portion of each sale would then be donated to Habitat for Humanity to rebuild communities affected by natural disasters. My dream came to fruition, and over the last two years, the work I did has gained the attention of Mayor Turner, Capital One Bank, and various other notable individuals and organizations across Texas, Florida, Switzerland, and the UK. Born from a company bootstrapped with a $10,000 award from Capital One Bank, we are now projected to take in a revenue of $500k in the coming year.

Mattress Mack’s unconventional business approaches have taught me that tackling problems with limited capital yields the most innovative solutions and that the numbers, albeit essential, are not the end-all-be-all of a company. His ability to see equal importance in their lesser-noticed counterparts -the people his business serves and the community he resides in- are what sets him apart from traditional bosses as a truly effective leader. His actions have taught me that marrying unconventional problem-solving skills to a strong moral code is the key to greater personal success.

Business Sample Essay Five

Fuqua was the first business school I visited at the beginning of my application journey. No one in my family has ever attended college, let alone business school, so my visit opened a new world of opportunity for me. I sat in the auditorium with 300 other Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) fellows soaking up facts about Fuqua’s collaborative culture, global perspective, and distinguished faculty. My most vivid memory of the experience was at the end of the first day when the Black and Latino MBA Organization (BLMBAO) came on stage and helped me understand what it truly means to be on “Team Fuqua.” Dancing, cheering, and wearing their Blue Devil gear, the students made it easy to see a cohesive community for students of color – one that I have not felt so palpably at any other business school since. As I sat in that auditorium, I began to imagine myself as a part of “Team Fuqua,” and after the visit I became more confident that there was a place for me at Duke. For these reasons, I am seeking a spot in the entering class of 2022.

Post MBA, I plan to work as a Product Manager in an innovative digital healthcare company focused on using technology to transform patient care. Specifically, I would like to work in wireless tech and data analytics focused on chronic disease management similar to Twine Health, a platform integrated into patients' Fitbits to monitor diabetes-related vitals. In preparation for a career in healthcare, I plan on being a part of Fuqua’s Health Care Club (HCC). I look forward to contributing to this community through my perspective in healthcare consulting as well as my experience in the health insurance marketplace. By participating in the HCC, I will leverage the insight from 2nd year students as I navigate the healthcare recruiting process during HCC life line sessions. In time, I hope to return the favor by helping new students navigate recruitment, coursework, and life in Durham. Particularly, I am excited to gain valuable insight into the healthcare industry through programming coordinated by HCC such as the Duke MBA Health Care Conference and panel discussions throughout the year. HCC will not only provide me the knowledge and professional aptitude for a meaningful career in the healthcare sector, but will also grant me a life-long network of Fuqua healthcare leaders. To further promote health, I want to take part in the Fuqua Running & Triathlon Club. As a cross country athlete in high school and college, I look forward to exploring the Raleigh-Durham area and sharing my love of running.

Beyond my involvement in the Fuqua healthcare community, I also plan to join BLMBAO. It is very important for me to be part of a collective of leaders of color that empower each other to reach their full potential in business. For this reason, I am interested in joining the leadership cabinet of BLMBAO and shaping events such as the MBA Minority Business Conference. I want to continue BLMBAO’s work of increasing the visibility of underrepresented minorities, engaging Fuqua on issues of race and inequality, and being an advocate for women of color in business. For example, as a Fellow and alumna of MLT, I will commit myself to building a pipeline for Latina prospective Fuqua MBA students. This will include holding workshops that focus on the application process and challenges specific to Latinas in management.

In the end, Duke is the ideal place for me to become the business leader I know I can be. The opportunities in healthcare at Fuqua with HCC in conjunction with the school’s close proximity to the research triangle are second to none. A Fuqua MBA will give me the opportunity to learn, grow, and lead among lifelong friends. As a part of the incoming class, I will continue to learn more about Fuqua and expect that the “Team Fuqua” spirit will stand out in all of my interactions within the larger community. Just as BLMBAO students inspired me on my first day at Fuqua, I hope to one day inspire a young Latina professional setting her sights on business school.

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why major in business essay

The Do’s and Don’ts of the “Why Major” Essay

This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Hale Jaeger in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.

What’s Covered:

What is the “why major” essay, the do’s for the “why major” essay, the don’ts for the “why major” essay, is your “why major” essay strong enough.

Almost every school has supplemental essays, and most will have some variation of a prompt that asks you to explain your interest in your intended major. Here are a couple of examples:

Students at Yale have plenty of time to explore their academic interests before committing to one or more major fields of study. Many students either modify their original academic direction or change their minds entirely. As of this moment, what academic areas seem to fit your interests or goals most comfortably please indicate up to three from the list provided. Why do these areas appeal to you? (100 words or fewer) 

Briefly discuss your reasons for pursuing the major you have selected. (100 words) 

Most students choose their intended major or area of study based on a passion or inspiration that’s developed over time. What passion or inspiration led you to choose this area of study? (300 words) 

These essays are all asking the same basic question, which is: “why do these areas of interest that you selected appeal to you?” Admission officers want to know about what makes you tick academically and intellectually, but unfortunately they don’t give you much space to discuss this.  Also, keep in mind that the question isn’t asking you to lock yourself into a particular area but rather to explain your passions and intellectual curiosities and how they have developed over time. Colleges know that students often change their minds and won’t always stick to the major they applied with.

Additionally, there are some other questions generally nested inside this prompt. This includes the question of how this academic background contributes to your future career or goals. Some schools will also explicitly ask in their prompt what programs or extracurriculars you are interested in taking advantage of at that school. If you also address these questions, it helps the admissions officers assess whether or not you will be a good academic fit for their program. 

No matter how this essay question is asked, you want to make sure that you are thinking about why you want to study this major and specifically about why you want to study at that particular school.

Do tell a story and include personal details

Make sure to talk about where your interest came from and how it has developed during your academics and extracurriculars. The most impactful essays tell a story. Keep in mind, however, that this “why major” essay should not be a resume, so refrain from listing every single extracurricular activity that relates to your chosen major. Admission officers have already seen all of your extracurriculars from your Common App, and instead are hoping to understand your personal connection to your intended major. 

Using an anecdote from your own life is often an even better way to explain where this passion grew from. It generally helps to share anecdotes at the beginnings of these essays because they are catchy hooks that draw the reader in. They are personal, interesting, and instantly captivating for your reader. Anecdotes also provide context for your academic interest. They show the reader where your interest came from and how it has grown it over time. 

Your anecdote can be coursework or projects you did in school since that is the setting where you interact with a lot of intellectual and academic ideas. For example, perhaps you were always interested in writing poetry in school, so you started to write in your spare time. You wrote a few books or short stories, and you began to realize that you love to write, which is why you want to major in English. 

Keep in mind that anecdotes can come from many different types of experiences. If we consider the example of wanting to study English again, you could start your essay by describing a childhood ritual where you and your dad went to the library every week. You would sit in the new arrivals section and start pulling books off the shelves. Over time, you began to learn about various authors and their personal lives, and this has inspired you to pursue an English major.

Do talk about specific areas of interest and goals

If you have the space, it may help to include specific areas of interest within the major you have chosen. For example, if you are applying as a Sociology major, you may be interested in gender relationships or the topic of institutional racism in particular. If you are able to explain exactly what it is within a given field that interests you, your essay will be more unique, personal, and genuine, while also giving the admissions officer a clear picture of what is actually exciting to you about that major. 

Another way to make your “why major” essay stand out in this way is to emphasize your goals for the future. Once you have crafted your narrative and clearly explained your passion for the major, it can be helpful for the admissions officers to have an idea of what your goals are and how majoring in this field is going to help you achieve them. For example, if your goal is to find success as an author of numerous culturally relevant novels, studying great works of literature through an English major is a clear path to this. 

Do include curriculum, program, or professor specific details

Another important aspect of the “why major” essay is to explain why the school you are applying to is a good fit for your intended major. Colleges aren’t looking for you to tell them about how highly they are ranked for this major or that their school’s prestige will lead to a successful career; instead they are looking to see that you have researched their specific program – the curriculum, the programs opportunities, and the professors.

When diving into researching a school for this essay, you want to look into what kinds of classes are being taught, the teaching ideology of the school, and whether there are specific classes or resources that you want to take advantage of, such as research or study abroad programs. There may also be professors on campus who you are really excited to learn from and work with.

One example is if you are interested in becoming a writer, you might note that a specific study abroad program might have a creative writing concentration that will allow you to hone your techniques. Additionally, there may be poets or writers who are visiting the school’s program that you are interested in taking courses from. If you dive into these specific aspects of the curriculum and program, you can convey why that school’s major is truly the right fit for your academic goals.

For another example, if you are an intended biology major, you might have seen that a professor is doing groundbreaking research in CRISPR gene editing that is highly aligned with your interest in studying specific disease processes. Adding specific details and connecting them to your personal interests will add to the authenticity of your essay and show the admissions officers that you have done research into their school specifically.

Be careful, however, that you are not name dropping things and people. Make sure to only mention a specific faculty member if their work is actually relevant to your interests. It could look disingenuous if you don’t cite exactly what about their work excites you and relates to your interests. 

Don’t mention a school’s prestige

Admissions officers know their school is great and that anybody can Google specific data, such as college rankings. Therefore, saying something along the lines of “this school has a top ranked physics program” or “this is the best school for biological research on the west coast”  isn’t very meaningful to them. 

The problem with this is these things are not very personal to you. Instead, admissions officers want to know what things you connect to with their school, why you’re a good fit, and why this program in particular is something to aspire to. 

Don’t mention post-graduation salary

In this essay, you don’t want to talk about post-graduation salary goals. Talking about only financial gain is not great because these schools don’t see themselves as a stepping stone to a salary. They see themselves as preparing you for the world and your career. 

Going to college is an experience in and of itself, and talking about money often devalues the college experience to an essay reader. As an alternative, try to focus more on your career goals and why you want to pursue that field of interest.

Don’t name drop

When writing the “why major” essay, don’t just drop professor’s names,courses, or programs in your response, but demonstrate that you have researched them and thought critically about why this is the right fit for you.

If you talk about a professor, talk about their research or a certain project and why you want to be part of it. If you talk about a course or a program, demonstrate how it fits into your academic goals and your ultimate career trajectory. These are the best ways to ensure that you’re coming across as genuine, passionate, and excited about a particular school’s offerings.

Essays account for around 25% of your admissions decision, as they’re your chance to humanize your application and set yourself apart from other applicants with strong profiles. 

The “Why Major” essay is especially important, as it allows you to reflect on your unique interests and fit with the school. Your supplement needs to demonstrate your interest in the major and paint a picture of how you’ll contribute to their program.

To understand if your essay is strong enough, we recommend using our Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. This tool will make it easier to understand your essay’s strengths and weaknesses, and help you make your writing even more compelling.

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How to Write the Why This Major Essay + Example

April 26, 2023

why this major essay

Writing the supplemental “Why this major” essay sounds like a cakewalk for approximately 4% of high school seniors—those lucky few who’ve known their purpose since kindergarten. For most, it feels more like a desperate stab at fortune-telling. How should anyone know what major they’ll choose at a school they haven’t yet been invited to attend? (Let alone what career they’d choose after graduating from said unknown institution.) In fact, if these students could flash forward two years, they’d see that a large number of sophomores will still be considering the question a week before they must pick their major.

The reality is, choosing a major often involves a lot more on-site research: visiting the offices of professors, talking to college advisors, testing out intro classes, etc. The “Why this major essay”, on the other hand, is rarely a commitment to a particular major. Rather, it’s a way for admissions officers to determine a) what subject(s) the student is interested in, b) how they’ve pursued this interest already, and c) how they would take advantage of the college’s resources while further developing in their field. Like the why this college essay, the why this major essay ultimately shows admissions officers if the student will be a good fit at their college. Yet here the scope of the essay is more focused. This makes the essay easier to tackle, so long as the student has done their research.

Researching the Why This Major Essay

Whether or not the student has already picked their intended major, it’s essential to do some preliminary research. It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised to hear how many students dash off a why this major essay without ever visiting the college website. Most college websites will be neatly laid out, with an “Academics” page linking to the various majors and minors on offer.

For undecided students, this list of majors will spark ideas. Often, subjects not offered at the high school level simply aren’t on a high schooler’s radar. Less typical liberal arts majors might include Food Studies, Fashion, and Neuroscience. A larger university may have a whole school dedicated to Engineering, with engineering majors ranging from Biomedical Engineering to Civil Engineering. (Students applying to a particular school like this will want to read up on additional guides, such as Preparing for a Top Engineering College .)

Furthermore, students may find that a particular college combines several of their interests into one major. A major in Sustainable Development will require courses on environmental science, economics, and architecture. Some colleges even offer an independent study option, allowing students to combine several disciplines of their choice as they work on a specific senior project.

Once the student has narrowed down their interests to around 1 – 3 majors, they should take notes on any aspects of the programs that appeal to them. These can include the curriculum and courses offered, research taking place in the department, study abroad options, labs, etc. Department websites also provide insight into current and previous students’ thesis work. These notes will make drafting the why this major essay a lot easier, and will provide real evidence that the student is genuinely interested in the program.

Structuring the Why This Major Essay, Part A

Structurally, the “Why this major?” essay hinges on two complementary parts. These two halves don’t need to be equally weighted in words. Yet, they are equally valuable in forming a cohesive argument.

In part A, students describe their history with the specific subject they’ve chosen. Anecdotes provide an easy way in. A why this major engineering essay may begin with a student describing the time they fixed the science class aquarium by restructuring valves connecting to the water tank.

Next, the student should show how this interest turned into a full-fledged passion. Examples here could include specific units in high school classes, books they’ve read, internships, etc. Try to choose moments and details that together shape a journey.

Structuring the Why This Major Essay, Part B

This second part of the “Why this major?” essay is all about the future. The student must link their developed interest to their chosen major. Then, returning to their research notes, the student will show why the school they’re applying to will be unique in providing a relevant and resourceful education in that arena. Though most aspects of a program are worth mentioning, it’s best to avoid naming specific professors. Faculty can vary annually, and even tenured professors go on sabbatical.

A natural final step in Part B involves describing how the chosen major will lead to the student’s desired career. It’s normal for students to feel a bit baffled here. But remember, this essay is not a promise. Rather, talking about potential career paths will demonstrate that the student has some awareness and practical knowledge of the field, as well as some idealism about what they might accomplish in it. Look again at the department website for articles and links to alumni news for inspiration.

Make it personal, and passionate. No matter what major a student chooses, admissions officers will be impressed by a student who has taken their education into their own hands in order to pursue their interest to its fullest.

Focus in on specificity. Admissions officers will remember a student interested in mutations in indigenous tropical plants, though they may forget a student who’s simply interested in botany. Detail will also make the essay more articulate.

Common Mistakes and Lingering Questions

As mentioned above, not doing the research before writing a “Why this major?” essay can lead to serious mistakes. Imagine submitting an essay about why you intend to major in International Politics, only to learn that the college’s major is called Global Politics and Economics. Here are some other common mistakes:

1) Not committing fully to any idea. Students who shy away from definitively selecting a major may do so out of a sense of honesty. Perhaps they don’t feel it’s right to wax on about Medieval Studies when they’re also interested in Historical Preservation. While trying to give both subjects a fair chance, the student can come across as only lukewarm for both. Colleges may pass over an applicant they see as apathetic. (Plus, colleges see students’ evolution as being in their best interest, and won’t hold it against you if you change your mind.) So, throw yourself fully into one major, or both, just make sure the excitement comes through. And, consider mentioning how your second or third interest may become your minor.

2) Parroting the website. Admissions officers know what their website says. That’s their job. Students who find themselves copying or paraphrasing the website can adapt this information to themselves by answering the question, how would I take advantage of this particular feature?

3) Picking the wrong major. Students may feel pressured to pick a major that is perceived to be lucrative, or one that is less popular because they believe it gives them a statistically higher chance of getting accepted. While an applicant’s desired field of study is weighed in the admission process , attempting to “game the system” very rarely ends in success. Ultimately, choosing a major that genuinely aligns with one’s interests and accomplishments is almost always the way to go. (For more on this question, check out Should I Declare a Major on My College Application ?)

Sample Why This Major Essay Prompts

While the Common App Prompts ask for fairly lengthy responses, the why this major essay works to complement the main essay, and can be pretty short. Short essays around 100 words will require a cursory nod to each eventful moment in the student’s life that has led them to choose their major. Medium-sized essays (250-400 words) will allow the student to sharpen each experience with more detail.

Let’s take a look at several examples:

Purdue University asks students to “Respond in 100 words or fewer. Briefly discuss your reasons for pursuing the major you have selected.” The brevity of the prompt invites the writer to be straightforward and concise in kind.

Students applying to Princeton as B.S.E. degree applicants will find that the “why this major” engineering prompt is equally straightforward. However, it asks for more specificity. It reads: “Please describe why you are interested in studying engineering at Princeton. Include any of your experiences in or exposure to engineering, and how you think the programs offered at the University suit your particular interests. (Please respond in 250 words or fewer.)”

Why This Major Essay Example

Lastly, let’s see how one engineering student answered both Purdue and Princeton’s why this major essay/why this major essay engineering prompts. You’ll notice that the student recycled various information, but condensed and adapted the essay the second time around.

Why This Major Essay Engineering: Princeton

I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig while learning to drive. Afterward, I hoped my mom’s Volvo would break down so I could put the engine back together, as I had with a lawn mower. I love rebuilding things to understand each part. In Electronics, I wrote code to make a robot move, yet was left dissatisfied.

I’d begun to see how our climate crisis is caused by greenhouse gases, a byproduct of technology. I felt deceived by misconceived notions of “progress,” by cars and engines. Only when building an Arduino-based automated watering system to measure moisture in our school garden did I realize how technology might fix our mistakes. A complex watering system might reforest our planet, though it would be an immense undertaking. As Pirsig wrote: “Steel can be any shape you want if you are skilled enough, and any shape but the one you want if you are not.”

I wish to major in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Princeton University to develop the skills necessary to design technologies that will restore our planet’s balance. I’m inspired by the recent laser-based sensing drone developed by Princeton researchers, which can pinpoint greenhouse gas leaks. With a concentration in Energy and the Environment, I would learn about remote methane sensors using chirped laser dispersion spectroscopy. I plan to develop an independent project on vapor isotope analyzers. After obtaining my B.S.E., I hope to improve the water cycles in urban environments.

Why This Major Essay Engineering: Purdue

While building an Arduino-based automated watering system for my school garden to measure moisture, I realized that human technology does not only destroy environments, but can work to reverse the effects of climate change. Majoring in Multidisciplinary Engineering with a Humanitarian Engineering Concentration at Purdue University would enable me to explore and combine various engineering disciplines in order to design technology that engenders sustainable living solutions for our species while supporting biodiversity on the planet. I plan to construct my own vapor isotope analyzer as my thesis to study and ultimately improve the water cycle of urban environments.

Why this Major Essay – Additional Resources

Looking for advice on other aspects of the college essay writing process? You may also find the following blogs to be of interest:

  • How to Write the Overcoming Challenges Essay
  • 2023-24 Common App Essay Prompts
  • Check out over 50 school-specific supplemental prompts and tips
  • College Essay

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Kaylen Baker

With a BA in Literary Studies from Middlebury College, an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University, and a Master’s in Translation from Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis, Kaylen has been working with students on their writing for over five years. Previously, Kaylen taught a fiction course for high school students as part of Columbia Artists/Teachers, and served as an English Language Assistant for the French National Department of Education. Kaylen is an experienced writer/translator whose work has been featured in Los Angeles Review, Hybrid, San Francisco Bay Guardian, France Today, and Honolulu Weekly, among others.

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Properly Write Your Degree

The correct way to communicate your degree to employers and others is by using the following formats:

Degree - This is the academic degree you are receiving. Your major is in addition to the degree; it can be added to the phrase or written separately.  Include the full name of your degree, major(s), minor(s), emphases, and certificates on your resume.

Double Majors - You will not be receiving two bachelor's degrees if you double major. Your primary major determines the degree (Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science). If you're not fully sure which of your majors is primary, check CheckMarq or call the registrar's office.

Example: Primary Major: Psychology ; Secondary Major: Marketing
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology & Marketing

Primary Major: Marketing ; Secondary Major: Psychology

  • Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing & Psychology

In a letter, you may shorten your degree by writing it this way:

  • In May 20XX, I will graduate with my Bachelor's degree in International Affairs.
  • In December 20XX, I will graduate with my Master's degree in Counseling Education.

Not sure which degree you are graduating with? Here is a list of Undergraduate Majors and corresponding degrees:

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Six people killed in stabbing attack at Sydney's Westfield Bondi Junction, offender shot dead by police officer

News ticker.

Federal Court Justice Michael Lee is delivering his findings in Bruce Lehrmann's defamation case against Network Ten and Lisa Wilkinson

Six people have been killed in a knife attack at Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre in Sydney's east.

The offender, who NSW Police believe to be a 40-year-old man, was shot dead at the scene by a senior officer.

Five of the victims — four women and a man — died at the busy centre on Saturday afternoon and another woman died from her injuries in hospital.

Eight others who were injured, including a nine-month-old child, remain in hospital and some are in a critical condition.

As the attack unfolded, some shoppers ran to find safety in stores while others fled the building and some confronted the armed man.

Warning: Some readers may find the following details of the attack, witness accounts and footage of the incident distressing. 

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Anthony Cooke said authorities believed the man acted alone and there was no ongoing threat.

Police Commissioner Karen Webb said police believed they knew who the man was but he had not been formally identified.

She said the man was known to police and, while the motive was unclear, early indications suggested the attack was not related to terrorism.

"There's no suggestions anyone was targeted but that could change," she said.

Riot squad police at Westfield Bondi Junction 130424

Police said the man was in the shopping centre at about 3pm before leaving and then returning around 20 minutes later with a knife.

A police inspector, who was nearby, was directed towards the man by witnesses, and she shot him dead after the offender confronted her.

"She confronted the offender, who had moved by this stage to level five, as she continued to walk quickly behind him to catch up with him. He turned to face her, raised a knife," Assistant Commissioner Cooke said.

"She discharged a firearm and that person is now deceased."

Police officer directs traffic

Commissioner Webb said the officer was "doing well under the circumstances".

"She showed enormous courage and bravery … we just talked [and] she's OK, her family is OK. She's got everything she needs for the time being."

She said the officer would be formally interviewed on Sunday.

People stand on the street at Bondi Junction westfield after the stabbing incident on saturday april 13 2024

A NSW Ambulance spokesperson said the injured people were taken to a number of hospitals across Sydney.

The baby has undergone surgery at Sydney Children's Hospital at Randwick. Another victim was taken to St George Hospital and another to Royal North Shore Hospital.

Three people were taken to St Vincent's Hospital at Darlinghurst. Another two are at Royal Prince Alfred in Camperdown. 

Acting NSW Premier Penny Sharpe said the event was horrific and distressing for the whole state, particularly as it came at a time when people were doing ordinary things and enjoying the first day of the school holiday.  

"I'm personally distressed by this … This is not who we are, this is not the community that we live in," Ms Sharpe said.

"We hold in our hearts the families and the friends and those who have lost loved ones.

"We stand with those who are waiting to hear from those that have been injured."

She thanked the innocent bystanders who risked their lives to help others, particularly the police officer who stopped the offender.

Premier Chris Minns is in Tokyo on leave, but Ms Sharpe said he had been briefed and was part of a crisis cabinet meeting which would be looking at providing support to those affected.

"This is going to be difficult, it's going to be hard for days to come," she said.

"This is really just the beginning of the pain and the grief for so many people."

Federal police join response to attack

The shopping centre, where a crime scene has been established, will remain closed on Sunday.

A large number of emergency vehicles and personnel arrived at the scene, one of the biggest shopping precincts in the city, after receiving triple-0 calls.

Armed police could also be seen conducting a search of the rooftop car park.

Commissioner Reece Kershaw said the Australian Federal Police (AFP) would support NSW Police in the investigation of the attack.

"The AFP has deployed AFP members to the crime scene and we've offered our full specialist capabilities such as digital forensics," he said.

"It is too early to determine a motive and it would be unhelpful to speculate."

police officers conduct a search on the car park of a roof at a shopping centre

Commissioner Kershaw said he had also spoken to the NSW police commissioner and the director-general of ASIO.

"I want to thank NSW Police, emergency services and first responders and the community for their bravery in the face of this shocking incident," he said.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the attack was "beyond words or understanding".

"Australians will be shocked this evening," Mr Albanese said.

"This was a horrific act of violence, indiscriminately targeted at innocent people going about an ordinary Saturday doing their shopping."

The prime minister praised the bravery of the police officer who confronted and shot the offender.

"She is certainly a hero," he said.

Witnesses describe 'horrific experience'

As the attack unfolded and police responded, shoppers were evacuated from the centre.

ABC sound engineer Roi Huberman said he was inside a shop when he heard gunshots.

"And suddenly we heard a shot or maybe two shots and we didn't know what to do," he said.

"Then the very capable person in the store took us to the back where it can be locked.

"She then locked the store and then she let us through the back and now we are out."

Shopper Adriana was with her two daughters at a beauty store when they heard gunshots.

"All of a sudden the front doors were closed, and in a matter of seconds we heard some gunshots and got sent to the storage room at the back of the shop. There were about 30 or 40 people there," she said.

"Everyone was screaming, crying, trying to call their relatives. It was a horrific experience.

"There was a lot of screaming and people just screaming, 'Get out, get out, get out of the shopping centre.'"

Nearby salon owner Leanne Devine said she was alerted to the attack by "hundreds and hundreds of people" running out of the centre.

"It was absolutely horrific," she said.

"We're in shock mode. We're traumatised."

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Related Stories

Police say no early signs of terrorism in fatal stabbing of six people in sydney — as it happened.

Paramedics stand with stretches near vehicles on a road.

What we know about how the Bondi Junction stabbing attack unfolded

A man confronts another man who holds a knife in a shopping centre.

'I thought I was going to die': Shoppers describe harrowing moment when they were told to 'run'

Eyewitnesses Vernon Michael (left) and Max Barnsley were at Westfield Bondi Junction

  • Bondi Junction

A major Burger King franchisee in California says he can't roll out order kiosks fast enough due to the state's new $20 fast-food minimum wage

  • A huge Burger King franchisee is rushing to cut costs over California's $20 minimum wage for fast-food workers.
  • This includes introducing digital order kiosks to all his restaurants, the franchisee said.
  • Restaurants are putting up prices, cutting staff's hours, and turning to tech to offset the wage.

Insider Today

A major fast-food franchisee in California says he's rushing to roll out digital order kiosks as part of plans to cut costs over the state's new $20 minimum wage for fast-food workers .

"We can't move fast enough on this," Harsh Ghai told Business Insider in an interview in early April.

"We have kiosks in probably about 25% of our restaurants today," he said. "However, the other 75% are going to have kiosks in the next probably 30 to 60 days."

Ghai said he owns 180 fast-food restaurants in California, including about 140 Burger King locations and numerous Taco Bell and Popeyes restaurants. Ghai said that he was the largest Burger King franchisee on the West Coast, though BI was unable to independently verify this.

"We are installing kiosks in every single restaurant," he said.

Ghai says he can't raise prices any more

The new minimum wage, which applies to limited-service restaurant chains with at least 60 locations nationwide, came into effect on April 1. It's 25% higher than the state's general minimum wage of $16 an hour, though many cities and counties in California have set theirs higher.

Fast-food workers and the unions representing them have long been campaigning for higher wages — especially in California, a state with high living costs.

Related stories

Some fast-food franchisees say that the higher payrolls could make it challenging to remain profitable. Many are desperately looking for ways to bring in more revenues and cut costs .

Ghai said that in a typical year his restaurants would put up their prices by between 2% and 3% but that he's raised them by between 8% and 10% in the last 12 months.

"The majority of that is going to get absorbed in the inflation of our food costs," he said. "So we're not even compensating for most of the labor costs that we're going to be experiencing with this legislation."

And he doesn't want to raise prices any further.

"I can't take more price than that," Ghai said. "Anything more than that is going to result in [a] significant impact to our traffic."

Instead, he's taking a number of different measures to help offset the higher wage, including cutting workers' hours, eliminating overtime, pausing the development of new restaurants, and adding kiosks, he said.

Fast-food chains are rapidly deploying more order kiosks in the US to reduce their labor costs. The new $20 wage in California has added even more urgency.

Kiosks are also more accurate and push customers to spend more — Shake Shack says that they're its most profitable channel. Burger King is rapidly rolling out kiosks while Taco Bell says it has them in all its US restaurants.

Ghai said that under his previous strategy, which included adding kiosks to new restaurants and ones he was remodeling, it would have taken him between five and 10 years to introduce kiosks to all his restaurants.

"But now we are just going ahead and installing the kiosks in every single restaurant in response to the legislation to be able to balance some of these labor costs that are hitting us," Ghai said.

"We've done the financial analysis and it makes more sense for us to spend the capital expenditure on the technology, and obviously when you're buying large amounts of the hardware, you obviously get it for a cheaper price as well," he continued.

"So it's making more sense for us to just roll that across the business in its entirety."

Are you a fast-food worker excited about the new minimum wage? Or a franchisee or restaurant manager worried about how it will affect your business? Email this reporter at [email protected] .

Watch: Why food commercials cost hundreds of thousands of dollars

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Why Oil Prices Have Been Rising Recently

The increase this year, prompted by geopolitical worries and supply constraints, has sent gasoline prices higher and could hamper efforts to tame inflation.

Stanley Reed

By Stanley Reed

Oil prices have climbed in recent weeks, spurred by concerns over supplies and geopolitical risks, including wars in Ukraine and the Middle East. Analysts say the momentum could carry prices higher.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, has risen more than 20 percent since mid-December. It has jumped more than 10 percent over the past month alone, to around $90 per barrel. “The sentiment is really bullish,” said Viktor Katona, an analyst at Kpler, a commodities research firm.

Rising oil prices could make efforts by central banks to reduce inflation more challenging. In the United States, higher gasoline prices during the summer driving season would also be unwelcome for the Biden administration, which faces a difficult election in November. The average price at the pump has risen about 50 cents per gallon since early January, to around $3.70, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Market watchers note that a short-term retreat in prices, after such a rapid rise, is also possible. The oil price also remains below the peaks reached in 2022, when prices jumped well above $100 a barrel.

In 2023, strong growth in crude output from the United States, the world’s largest oil producer, and other countries outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries helped reassure markets that there would be enough oil to slake demand. Prices remained subdued for much of the year despite the threats posed by geopolitical tensions. Initially, markets largely shrugged off the risks posed by the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

But 2024 looks like a very different year. Demand has been stronger than some analysts expected. And a series of potentially disruptive events — along with production cuts by Saudi Arabia and its allies — have raised worries of a potential supply squeeze.

The most unsettling development was the killing of a group of Iranian Revolutionary Guard commanders in an airstrike in Damascus, Syria, on April 1. Iran pledged to retaliate, raising fears that its actions could pull key exporters in the Persian Gulf into the conflict, which began with the Hamas attack on Israel in October.

“That’s always been the fear since Oct. 7, the direct confrontation between Iran, the U.S. and Israel,” said Jim Burkhard, vice president and head of research for oil markets, energy and mobility at S&P Global Commodity Insights.

The Middle East conflict has had little effect on oil supplies so far, Mr. Burkhard said, but markets will be on edge until they see how the face-off between Israel and Iran plays out.

The continuing effort by the group of oil producers known as OPEC Plus to limit oil supplies adds to the edginess. Largely orchestrated by Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, these production trims are removing around five million barrels a day, or potentially around 5 percent of supply, from the market.

There is always skepticism about whether OPEC will stick to its commitments, but it is dawning on the markets that these cuts may not be relaxed anytime soon unless prices rise substantially. “We don’t expect a formal increase out of OPEC Plus unless prices are above $100” a barrel, Mr. Burkhard said.

Instead, the Saudi-led group has focused on signaling its resolve. In March, several members announced the extension of production cuts through June. To drive the point home, OPEC Plus said in a news release on April 1 that two of its members, Iraq and Kazakhstan, had agreed to “compensate for overproduction.”

The Middle East is not the only potential source of disruption for oil markets. Russia has been making slow gains in its war with Ukraine, while Kyiv has figured out how to use drones and missiles to inflict significant damage on Russian oil infrastructure, at least temporarily reducing Russia’s ability to produce products like diesel and gasoline.

Ukraine’s aim is apparently to try to reduce the revenue Russia has available to fund the war, but the impact could be felt in world petroleum markets. Knocking out plants “tightens up” the global trade in energy products, said David Fyfe, chief economist at Argus Media, a commodities research firm. “That is helping juice up crude prices as well.”

Analysts say a further lift may come in the summer, when seasonal demand is typically high as people take to cars and planes for vacation trips.

Tensions could come to a head in early June when the ministers from OPEC Plus plan to gather in Vienna to decide how much oil to put into the market. Some members of the group may want to see an increase in production, but the Saudis are likely to resist, analysts say.

Richard Bronze, the head of Energy Aspects, a research firm, said, “The Saudis are setting their policy on what they think is right for the oil market and their budget, and there is very little leverage that Washington has at present to get them to consider loosening.”

Stanley Reed reports on energy, the environment and the Middle East from London. He has been a journalist for more than four decades. More about Stanley Reed


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