Applying for a place at a university, you’ll always have to go through the admission process. In the better scenario (the easier one), you just fill in an application form (online or offline), submit the required documentation, and eventually get the desired reply–the acceptation of your application. In many cases, however, you will have to pass an admission interview, competing with other students for the limited number of spots in the study program. This is the case especially with nursing schools, pharmacy schools, med schools, law schools, etc.

Regardless of whether you have to interview for your place or not, you will almost always face the question about your choice: Why our university? Why not some other place? In many cases you have to answer this question directly on the application form, and you will almost always face it in your interview as well. Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to the question, including some unconventional choices. Check them out, pick one that resonates with the message you try to convey on your application, makes sense for the given university, and then adjust it slightly for your application form or the eventual interview at school.


7 sample answers to “Why did you choose this university?” interview question

  1. I’ve chosen your place for two main reasons. First one is the study program. I went through the curriculum for all four years, checked every subject, and I find your curriculum superior to other competing universities in the country. Second reason is your location. I know the city well, like it a lot, especially the surrounding nature, and I can imagine living there for the next few years at least.
  2. I wanted to study with the best. You top the national rankings of universities, many top-class professors teach at your place, and I know that a degree from your university means something in the job interviews, and will open me doors to interesting places once I earn it. I have the grades to apply for a place at your med school, and see no reason why I should opt for the second best alternative. I hope you will give me a chance to prove my motivation and readiness for studies in an interview.
  3. Honestly speaking, I applied with you because I know I have a realistic chance to get in. I haven’t been the best student at high school, and it would be a waste of time sending my application to certain universities, which would not even bother reading it once they see my GPA. But I do not support such elitist institutions. At the end of the day, you will find some great teachers at every university, and I see no reason why I cannot learn the management at your place. What’s more, I like the mission statement of your school, the role you play in a local community, and would be proud to belong to your students.
  4. I have several reasons for my choice. First of all, I did not get in the last year, but I had a really good impression from the interviews, and enjoyed my time with the teachers and students of the school. Gaining some working experience and improving my interviewing skills during the “gap year”, I wanted to give your place another shot, because I know I will have a better chance this time around, more experienced and mature. What’s more, I really like the research opportunities for undergraduate students, something not many schools in the area offer. And last but not least, I live in the city. It will be easier for me to financially support my studies, because I won’t have to pay for rent or for the dorm.
  5. I just love everything about your place. First of all, the campus. The huge library, the park, I just found the place incredibly inspirational and motivating. I have visited it several times already. Secondly, the study program, and the emphasis you put on hands-on practice. Then I also like your basketball team, I am a big supporter and will try to play in the team if I get a chance. And last but not least, the way you present your place online and in the media really resonates with my values, and I will be incredibly happy to study at your school…
  6. My main reason is your athletic team. I’ve studied the application rules carefully, and I know that with my results and record times I am eligible to get a scholarship at your place. I know the coaches, and have been following their careers for a while, and would love to train under them, and represent the colors of your school with some great results. At the same time, however, I want to have something to fall back on in life, because a career of an athlete is short, and an injury can always stop you. Studying sports management and marketing while trying to become a top-class runner seems like a dream come true to me. And I can live this dream at your university.
  7. Two of my close friends study at your university. I interviewed them a couple of times, trying to get first-hand information, about the teachers, the subjects, the life at the college and everything. And I love what they say about the quality of lectures, the interaction with both teachers and students, the after school activities, as well as the leadership of the place. It motivated me to apply with your university, and when I saw that you have a course in water resources engineering, something I always wanted to study, it was an easy choice…


Give them some praise, but try to be honest

At the end of the day, admission committee members are humans from flesh and bones, just like you or me. They enjoy when someone recognizes a good job they do, when people talk nicely about their place of work. Try to find something you can praise the university for. Options are almost endless.

Their campus, study programs, their online presentation, scholarships they offer, modern technology they have in place, attitude to various issues we face as humanity, particular teachers and professors, research activity they do, their athletic teams, and so on, and so forth. But do your research first, because it is important to be realistic.

Praising some school for the results of their students or teachers, while in fact they are on a tail end of the rankings in the categories you praise them for, will earn you nothing but rejection. Do your research, find things worthy of praise, and then praise them on your application, or in the interviews.

Refer to the study program anytime you can

At the end of day, study program is the most important thing for your choice. Regardless of having a beautiful campus or employing the best teachers in the country, it makes no sense to study at some university, unless you can study the subjects of your choice, unless you like the curriculum.

As you can observe on my list of sample answers, students typically pick several reasons for their choice. And you should do the same thing, making sure that the study program is one of the reasons. You can even take this one step further, picking particular subjects you like, or teachers, or even master’s degrees you can pursue later on at the same university, citing them as the main reason of your application.

At the end of the day, you will likely apply with several schools. And it is right to do so, because you do not want to bet all your chances on a single application form. When hearing (or reading) why you chose their university, however, admission committee members should get an impression that they are your first choice. That’s the ultimate goal you should try to achieve with your answer to this tricky question…

Ready to answer this one? I hope so! But do not forget to check also sample answers to other tricky college interview questions:

Matthew Chulaw
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