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Why don't colleges just work together and have standard essays? I see so many people forgetting to change college's name in "why ..." essay. They do know we are applying to 10 or more schools so "why ..." essay can't be that unique
Haha would be great imao
I think "why.." essays show how dedicated a student is towards the school. If you do a lot of research and find activities/programs at that college that align well with your personality and achievements, they'll know you're for real. If you write a generic essay, it's a strong indication that you're not applying because of genuine interest, but applying for the sake of applying.
It's a very easy way to identify "fit" for students that can be an additional plus for colleges that use "demonstrated interest" as part of the numerous criteria they use to evaluate an applicant. As Jan put it nicely above, a generic essay is a clear signal you're applying as a means to an end. That itself won't give you a rejection, but it can't help. Likewise, if you write a very specific essay that makes you a great fit, that can only help!