Why do you want to join this school as a student? – interview questions answered

It isn’t easy to define our goals when we are young. Living in an uncertain world, with future far from bright, we sometimes struggle to define what exactly we expect from life, and what we are ready to give back in return. When applying for a place in a study program, however, or for as scholarship, they will often ask you about reasons for your choice, and also about your future. Where do you see yourself as a student in five years time? And why do you want to join this school?

These questions are easy to answer when you apply with some Ivy League college. But what if you simply do not know, or even do not have a particular preference when it comes to their school. What if you are simply trying your chances with several applications and schools? Well, you should always give them some reason, even if it is a rather basic one.

Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to this interesting question. I tried to include on my list answers for different life situations and schools, so hopefully at least one of them will resonate with you. Once you are done with the answers, do not forget to read also my hints below them, for additional explanation on how to make the right impression on the admission committee.


7 sample answers to “Why do you want to join this school as a student?” interview question

  1. I really like your study program. I have gone through the curricula for all years, and I find many subjects interesting, particularly DEF and XYZ subject. Other schools from the area I looked at do not include such subjects in their curricula, and it really make your school stand out in my eyes. What’s more, I felt positive about my chances of getting in, which is of course also important. In my opinion, it makes no sense sending applications to schools where one has no realistic chance of getting accepted.
  2. I’ve heard so many good things about your place. I have interviewed several students, who happened to be people from my circles. Inquiring about the teachers, subjects, the campus life, after school activities, and so on, I tried to make a better picture of what you can offer here. And I really liked what they told me, and came to conclusion that it would be amazing to join your school as a student. Of course, I know you receive many applications, but I believe that I have a decent chance and can get at least an interview here.
  3. You offer scholarships for people from my country. It is as simple as that. I know you have a great track and field team in place, and I am an excellent athlete on a junior level. But I do not want to rely on my career in running only. Want to study as well, improve my English, and basically live amongst other athletes who pursue similar goals. I honestly think that you will also benefit from having me onboard, so it is a win-win situation, and I see no reason why I should not pursue my dreams here.
  4. I have several reasons, but the biggest one is the location of your school. Maybe this isn’t the best school according to the charts–if one can rely on such data anyway. In my opinion, you will find good and bad teachers at every school, and some rankings do not play much difference. Or at least they do not tell the entire story. Anyway, I’ve been living here for my entire life, and it will be so much easier for me to study here, instead of having to travel somewhere, or living in a dormitory. Do not take me wrong though. I’ve checked your study program, I understand what to expect, and find it a good match to my expectations and educational goals. But the locality was definitely the deciding factor.
  5. I want to join this school as a student because I want to work as a vet one day, and I have an excellent education. Your school has amazing reviews online, and things I’ve read on your website–especially about hands-on practice your students get from the very first year, made a deep impression on me. Sometimes you just read something and things click in your mind, and you know you made your choice. You realize “this is the place”, though you may struggle to define exactly why it is the place. It simply resonates with you. And that’s exactly the feeling I got when I was researching about your school, reading things on your website, checking your social media accounts and so on. That’s why I want to join your place, instead of some other school for future vets.
  6. I want to be 100% honest with you–you are just one of my choices. I’ve read a lot about your values and the study program, and I like it. Just as I do what I learned about other schools. That’s why I submitted my application to five institutions, hoping to get some interviews, seeing the places, meeting the people, and eventually deciding which school I will join–of course if they are interested to get me onboard.
  7. I want to join this school as a student because one day I hope to be one of the teachers working here. Yes, you hear me right. I want to continue my studies with a postgraduate degree, and eventually work on some research and teach. These are long term goals, I know, and anything can happen in five or ten years time–in both my life and in the world. But I am as motivated as ever, I love everything about your place and the research you do here, and can imagine one day belonging to your team of teachers and researchers. Of course before any of it can happen, I have to join this place as a student, earn my degree, and so on. Will try my best to make it happen.


Do not be afraid to dream

As a rule of a thumb, admission committee members love when students refer to their future. One of the best answers you can give them is explaining what you want to do once you graduate, and then elaborating on it, saying what role do your studies at their school play in this process. Just so they can connect one and the other, and see that you know what you are doing, instead of just following the dreams or wishes of your parents.

You want to become this or that, and you really believe that their school and excellent teachers can prepare you for the role. Or at least you like the subjects in the curriculum and hope for the best. Be bold, expect a lot from life, and ensure them that you are ready to pay the price if you need to pay some.

Each school has some advantages

You may find it hard trying to find a good reason why you want to join their school, especially if they have bad reputation, or when something else is wrong with them. Mark my words though: each school has some advantages and some disadvantages. And at every place you will meet some amazing people and teachers. Try to find the advantages, and refer to them in your interview.

It can be the location of their place, certain subjects they teach, or perhaps the sheer fact that you have a realistic chance of getting accepted, despite of not having the very best resume or GPA. Remember that honesty is a highly sought-after quality today, simply because it is rare to experience it, especially in the interviews… When you cannot come up with anything better, your best bet is being honest.

Ready to answer this question? I hope so! Do not forget to check also sample answers to other tricky interview questions:

Matthew Chulaw
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