What new research tells us about elementary and middle school start times

Subscribe to the brown center on education policy newsletter, kevin c. bastian and kevin c. bastian research associate professor - unc chapel hill, director - epic @kevin_c_bastian sarah crittenden fuller sarah crittenden fuller research associate professor - unc-chapel hill and epic @sarahcfuller1.

March 23, 2023

Every morning, K-12 students across the country wake up and prepare for another day of school. While students’ morning routines may look similar everywhere—eating breakfast, getting dressed, scrambling to finish homework assignments—the time school starts varies considerably across schools. This seemingly simple start time decision can have meaningful effects on students’ sleep, health, engagement with school, and learning .

Over the last two decades, sleep research has convincingly shown that around the onset of puberty many adolescents experience biological changes that impact the timing of their sleep. Adolescents still need approximately nine hours of sleep each night, but it becomes difficult for them to fall asleep before 11:00pm and wake before 8:00am. Early school start times make it challenging for adolescents to get the sleep they need, and fatigued students may be less engaged with and successful in school.

In response to this evidence, many school districts across the country have delayed start times for their high schools. This decision is supported by sleep research and multiple studies showing that later high school start times are associated with improved attendance , course grades , behavior , and achievement .

While later start times benefit high school students, we also need to consider the indirect effects on younger students. Districts often stagger start times for elementary, middle, and high schools to allow for multiple busing runs, lessen traffic congestion, and allow caregivers to drop off children at different schools. If high schools are starting later, it likely means that elementary and/or middle schools must start earlier.

Is this a good tradeoff? Do these earlier elementary and middle school start times come at a cost to the sleep and academic outcomes of younger students? And are there better and worse ways to organize school schedules? Over the last five years, we have sought to answer these questions through a series of studies on school start times in North Carolina.

Why Do School Start Times Matter for Student Academic Outcomes?

In prior work , we put forth a theoretical model for how start times influence academic outcomes. Later school start times allow for additional sleep , which should benefit students’ alertness , attention, and memory . An increase in sleep and cognitive functioning should improve more proximate academic outcomes such as attendance, behavior, and course grades. More distally, we would expect benefits for student achievement.

Yet, studying the effects of varying school start times can be challenging. Comparing academic outcomes across schools with different start times may conflate start time effects with other characteristics of schools and districts. A more rigorous approach is to assess how changes in school start times predict changes in academic outcomes. However, schools rarely change start times, and even when schools do change start times, there are questions regarding the generalizability of those effects to other schools.

To date, there have been only a few studies on start times and academic outcomes for elementary and middle school students. At the elementary school level, prior studies do not convincingly isolate start time effects or analyze actual changes in start times. At the middle school level, a study from one district shows that shifts to later start times predict higher test scores, especially for low-performing students.

New research from North Carolina

We add to this existing research with a series of start time studies in North Carolina. This includes analyses of an urban district that shifted many elementary school start times from 9:00am to 7:45am or 8:30am, as well as statewide analyses of start times in elementary and middle schools . Our work uses eight years of administrative data and considers a broad set of outcomes—sleep, attendance, suspensions, course grades, and test scores—for all students and certain subgroups. Notably, we focus on schools that make changes to their start times rather than relying on variation in start times between schools. In combination, our studies provide the richest evidence yet regarding the connections between start times and academic outcomes for younger students.

Finding 1: Earlier start times have small, mixed effects on elementary school students

In partnership with an urban district in North Carolina, we surveyed 5th graders, districtwide, about their sleep and perceptions of their start time. Compared to peers attending elementary schools starting at 9:00am, those attending elementary schools starting at 7:45am reported getting 45 minutes less sleep per night. In addition, those starting at 7:45am were approximately half as likely—40% to 74%—to agree that their school started at the right time. These findings are consistent with prior work showing a strong relationship between school start times and sleep.

While later start times predict more sleep for elementary school students, results for academic outcomes are modest and mixed. We find that student absences increased slightly after elementary schools switched to an earlier start time (with some evidence of larger increases for white students and those living in rural areas). Conversely, we find that earlier elementary school start times predict modestly higher math scores, especially for economically disadvantaged students and students of color. In our analysis, start times do not appear to affect elementary school reading scores or suspension rates.

Finding 2: Earlier start times negatively affect middle school students

Earlier start times have more consistent and substantially negative effects for middle schoolers. We find that student absences increase after middle schools switch to an earlier start time. These results are particularly large for economically disadvantaged students and suggest that it may be difficult for some students and families to adjust to an earlier commute. Middle school students—especially middle school boys—are also less likely to be suspended after their school switches to a later start time. For instance, after a one-hour delay in start time, middle school boys are 2.5 percentage points less likely to ever be suspended during the year. Start times do not predict course grades for middle school students.

We find robust evidence linking later start times to increased test scores for middle school students. A one-hour delay in middle school start times predicts math scores 8% of a standard deviation higher and reading scores 4% of a standard deviation higher. To put these results into perspective, these estimates are larger in magnitude than the average effectiveness differences between first- and second-year teachers.

Implications for Start Time Decisions

Our findings highlight several important takeaways for state and local education officials. Like prior work in high school , our findings show that later start times benefit the academic outcomes of middle school students. Meanwhile, we find that earlier start times for elementary school students have modest and mixed effects—i.e. a small increase in absences but also a small increase in math test scores. These findings are consistent with the biology behind adolescent sleep. That is, changes in sleep patterns occur around the onset of puberty, which is generally when adolescents are in middle school or near the end of elementary school.

Taken together, our results indicate that districts should prioritize later start times for high schools and middle schools. Evidence indicates that elementary schools can start earlier to accommodate these shifts without negatively affecting student outcomes.

More broadly, we believe our results emphasize the connections between adolescent health and educational outcomes. Initiatives to improve student health—e.g., later start times, free school meals , and school-based health clinics —can be effective approaches to improve student engagement and achievement. This is particularly important in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic as districts and schools work to promote student social-emotional and learning recovery.

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Pros and Cons of Starting School Early in the Morning

rise and shine debate

Hey there, early bird scholars ! Starting school bright and early has its perks! Imagine sharpened focus, peak alertness, and even mastering time management skills. But hold your horses, there are hiccups too! Sleepyheads and wardrobe dilemmas are real morning monsters. Health perks like Vitamin D boosts are cool, yet the struggles are real – from lack of shut-eye to meltdowns over lost homework! Teachers also dish out groggy tales of woe. Our secret recipe for success? Just wait till you hear about bedtime routines and brain-boosting brekkie ! Ready to reveal more secrets to thriving in the early school jungle?

Table of Contents

  • Early start benefits peak alertness and cognitive functioning, enhancing academic performance.
  • Impact on health, including regulation of internal clocks, physical activity, and vitamin D levels.
  • Social and emotional challenges like disrupted family connections and stress management.
  • Students and families face sleep deprivation, focus struggles, and morning routine issues.
  • Teachers note grogginess, lack of participation, and reduced retention with early school start times.

Benefits of Early School Start

Commencing the school day early in the morning has been associated with improved academic performance and enhanced cognitive functioning among students. Research shows that starting school early allows students to begin their day with a fresh mind , ready to absorb new information and tackle challenging tasks. By getting an early start, students can take advantage of their peak alertness and concentration levels , leading to better retention of material and more efficient learning.

Moreover, starting school early can help students develop valuable time management skills . Waking up early and adhering to a set schedule encourages discipline and responsibility, essential qualities for success both in academics and later in life.

Students who start their day early also have more time for extracurricular activities, hobbies, and socializing, promoting a well-rounded and balanced lifestyle .

In essence, the benefits of starting school early extend beyond the classroom, shaping students into organized, focused, and high-achieving individuals .

Impact on Academic Performance

Let’s talk about how starting school early in the morning can impact your academic performance.

Your morning alertness and focus play a significant role in how you absorb and retain information throughout the day.

Additionally, the quality of your sleep can directly affect your cognitive performance levels , influencing your ability to concentrate and learn effectively.

Morning Alertness and Focus

Improving morning alertness and focus has been shown to greatly impact students’ academic performance . Picture this: you wake up feeling refreshed, ready to conquer the day. Your brain is firing on all cylinders, absorbing information like a sponge, and your focus is laser-sharp.

Now, imagine the opposite scenario – hitting the snooze button multiple times, dragging yourself out of bed feeling groggy, and struggling to stay awake during class. It’s clear that being alert and focused in the morning can make a world of difference in how well you perform academically.

When students are alert and focused in the morning, they are more likely to actively participate in class discussions , engage with the material being taught, and retain information more effectively. This can lead to higher grades, better understanding of concepts, and improved overall academic performance.

Sleep Quality Effects

The impact of sleep quality on academic performance is an essential factor that greatly influences students’ success in their studies. Quality sleep is like a magical elixir for the brain, helping to consolidate learning, enhance memory, and boost cognitive functions .

When students get enough restful sleep , they are better equipped to tackle the challenges of the day ahead, absorb new information, and perform at their best in class.

Imagine your brain as a superhero gearing up for battle every morning. If it has been well-rested and rejuvenated, it can conquer any academic task that comes its way. On the other hand, a tired and groggy brain is like a sidekick running on empty, struggling to keep up with the demands of the school day.

Cognitive Performance Levels

Improving cognitive performance levels greatly impacts academic performance outcomes among students. When it comes to starting school early in the morning, the effects on cognitive abilities can be profound.

Here are three key ways in which cognitive performance levels can influence academic success:

  • Focus and Attention : Enhanced cognitive performance leads to better focus and attention in class, allowing students to engage more effectively with the material being taught.
  • Memory Retention : Strong cognitive abilities aid in memory retention, helping students remember important information for tests and assignments.
  • Problem-Solving Skills : Improved cognitive performance fosters better problem-solving skills, enabling students to tackle complex academic challenges with confidence.

Health Effects of Early Mornings

impact of early mornings

Commencing the day with early mornings can have significant impacts on one’s overall health and well-being . Waking up with the sun can be invigorating, setting a positive tone for the day ahead. However, it’s important to make sure that early mornings are balanced with enough restful sleep the night before. Studies have shown that a consistent wake-up time can regulate our internal body clocks , leading to better overall health.

Early mornings can also provide an excellent opportunity for some physical activity , whether it’s a brisk walk, yoga session, or some energizing stretches. This can help kickstart our metabolism and improve our mood, setting a positive trajectory for the day.

Additionally, exposure to natural sunlight in the morning can boost vitamin D levels, which is essential for bone health and overall well-being.

On the flip side, early mornings can sometimes lead to fatigue if not accompanied by sufficient rest . It’s important to listen to our bodies and make sure we get the right amount of sleep to reap the full benefits of starting our day bright and early.

Social and Emotional Well-being

Cultivating a sense of connection and emotional resilience is essential for maintaining social and emotional well-being in individuals of all ages.

Let’s explore how early school start times can impact these critical aspects of our lives:

  • Friendship Dynamics: Early mornings may leave students feeling groggy and less inclined to interact with their peers. This can impact the formation of friendships and the ability to engage in social activities, which are essential for emotional well-being.
  • Emotional Regulation: Lack of sleep due to early school start times can lead to irritability and difficulty managing emotions. This can affect how students handle stress, navigate conflicts, and cope with everyday challenges.
  • Family Connections: Early mornings can disrupt family routines, reducing quality time together. Strong family bonds are a cornerstone of emotional well-being, and when mornings are rushed, it can strain these relationships.

Challenges for Students and Families

supporting student success together

Let’s tackle the challenges that early school start times bring for students and families.

From the impact of sleep deprivation on young minds to the morning battles over getting out of bed, these hurdles can create a rocky start to the day.

Managing through these struggles requires resilience, patience, and a touch of humor to keep spirits high.

Sleep Deprivation Impact

Imagine this: your alarm blares at an ungodly hour, dragging you from the warmth of your bed into the darkness of dawn. As you stumble through your morning routine, bleary-eyed and barely awake, you can’t help but wonder why school starts so early.

Well, here are a few reasons why the lack of sleep can turn your day upside down:

  • Struggling to Focus : Sleep-deprived students often find it challenging to concentrate in class, leading to lower academic performance.
  • Increased Irritability : Ever felt like a grumpy bear in the mornings? Sleep deprivation can amplify mood swings and make you more irritable.
  • Health Concerns : Lack of sleep can weaken the immune system, making students more susceptible to illnesses and overall health issues.

Now imagine the ripple effect this has on families trying to support their tired students through these struggles. It’s a tough battle, but awareness and action can help mitigate the impact of sleep deprivation caused by early school start times.

Morning Routine Struggles

Continuing with the challenges posed by early school start times, the morning routine struggles faced by students and families can have a significant impact on daily functioning and well-being. Picture this: sleepyheads dragging themselves out of bed, mismatched socks, and maybe even toothpaste mishaps – mornings can be chaotic! Let’s peek into the world of morning struggles with a fun table:

Morning Routine StrugglesImpact on Students and FamiliesHow to Overcome
OversleepingRushed mornings, late to schoolSet multiple alarms
Breakfast SkipsDecreased energy levelsPrepare quick grab-and-go meals
Lost HomeworkStress, incomplete assignmentsEstablish a homework checklist
Wardrobe DilemmasMorning meltdownsLay out clothes the night before
Traffic JamsTardiness, stressLeave early, listen to music

These daily battles can leave everyone feeling frazzled, but with a bit of planning and a dash of humor, conquering the morning chaos is totally doable!

Teacher Perspective on Early Start

Examining the impact of starting school early in the morning from a teacher’s perspective reveals significant concerns regarding student alertness and engagement levels. As a teacher, I’ve witnessed firsthand the effects of early mornings on my students, and it’s clear that the struggle is real!

Here are three key points that highlight the challenges teachers face when school starts too early:

  • Sleepy Students: Early mornings often result in groggy and tired students who find it hard to concentrate in class.
  • Lack of Participation: With early start times, students may struggle to actively participate in classroom discussions and activities due to reduced energy levels.
  • Difficulty in Retaining Information: The brain functions better when well-rested, so an early start can make it challenging for students to retain information throughout the day.

Strategies for Success

strategies for academic success

Exploring effective strategies to optimize student performance despite early school start times is essential for promoting academic success.

One key strategy is ensuring a good night’s sleep by establishing a consistent bedtime routine . Encourage students to power down electronics , cozy up with a book, and drift off to dreamland at a reasonable hour. A well-rested brain is like a superhero ready to tackle any challenge!

Another fantastic strategy is to kickstart the day with a nutritious breakfast. Fueling up with brain-boosting foods like whole grains, fruits, and protein can set the tone for a day of focus and learning. Maybe even throw in a fun fact about how blueberries are like tiny brain fuel capsules – it’s science!

Furthermore, incorporating short movement breaks throughout the day can help students stay alert and engaged. Whether it’s a quick stretch, a dance party to shake out the jitters, or a mindful breathing exercise , keeping the body active can keep the mind sharp.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does early school start affect extracurricular activities.

Early school start times can impact extracurricular activities by limiting the amount of time available for students to participate in after-school programs, sports, clubs, and other activities due to potential conflicts with school dismissal times.

Can Starting School Early Impact Family Morning Routines?

Starting school early can disrupt family morning routines by requiring earlier wake-up times, potentially causing stress and rushed mornings. It may impact the quality of interactions between family members and hinder the ability to have a calm and organized start to the day.

Does Early Start Time Affect Student Motivation?

The start time of school can greatly impact student motivation. Early mornings may lead to fatigue and reduced engagement in learning activities. It is important to examine how the timing of the school day influences students’ overall enthusiasm and academic performance.

Are There Differences in Early Start Effects Based on Age?

Research suggests that the effects of early school start times vary based on age. Younger students may struggle with early mornings due to different sleep patterns compared to older students. Understanding age-related factors is essential in optimizing school schedules.

How Does Early School Start Impact Sleep Patterns?

Early school start times can disrupt natural sleep patterns, leading to insufficient rest. This can negatively impact cognitive function, mood, and overall well-being. Establishing a better balance between school schedules and sleep needs is essential.

To sum up, the debate over early school start times is complex, with both benefits and drawbacks . While early mornings may have a positive impact on academic performance, they can also affect student health and well-being .

It’s important for schools, students, and families to work together to find strategies for success and create a balanced approach that supports students in reaching their full potential.

Let’s keep the discussion going and find ways to make mornings a little easier for everyone involved!

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Educational Wave Team

What Is the Advantage of Having School Start Early?

Marie anderson.

Starting the school day before 8 a.m. might be a struggle at first, but there are benefits.

School days beginning after 8 a.m. have many benefits for students, especially those in middle and high school, according to Psychology Today. These benefits include better academic performance, fewer absences and even improved health. However, early start times do have some advantages that may be worth considering. Students who begin earlier have more time for after-school jobs and activities; schools may benefit by saving some money; and parents might find that an early start works better with their schedules.

Explore this article

  • More Time for Activities
  • Showed that school administrators
  • Transportation Costs
  • Also be to save up to 30 percent on transportation costs
  • Better for Parent Schedules
  • Are specific advantages

1 Academics

2 show there.

While studies show there are academic advantages to later start times for adolescents, schools that begin early in the day still can excel academically. According to an article in the Baltimore Post-Examiner, Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland has 30 high schools, and the three ranked highest by U.S. News and World Report for college readiness and algebra and English proficiency all begin classes at 7:25 a.m. Starting the day early also means more time for after-school tutoring and that student-athletes miss fewer classes to travel to after-school competitions.

3 More Time for Activities

4 showed that school administrators.

A 2001 study showed that school administrators cited extracurricular activities as a major reason why high school campuses would rather start earlier in the day. Sports needing to practice outdoors have more daylight, and students walking home from these activities can take advantage of the extra daylight for their safety. In some cases, students may need to travel, and an early start and release may mean more time in the evening for homework and family. High school students also have more time for after-school jobs.

5 Transportation Costs

6 also be to save up to 30 percent on transportation costs.

Schools may also be able to save up to 30 percent on transportation costs by starting some campuses early and staggering start times within the district. This method saves money by allowing drivers to run more than one route at a time, so fewer buses and drivers are needed. Lubbock ISD in Texas is anticipating saving more than 1 million dollars by utilizing start times prior to 8 a.m. at some campuses. Suffolk Public Schools in Virginia estimates that by starting some campuses at 7:25 a.m. they will be able to save around $680,000 a year. This schedule also means shorter bus rides for students and less time sitting in traffic.

7 Better for Parent Schedules

8 are specific advantages.

There are specific advantages for parents if younger grades have early start times. Starting school early may eliminate the need for morning childcare if parents are able to drop off their kids before work. They may drop them off at a center that buses them to their campus later in the morning. After school, the daycare picks up the students and parents retrieve their children in the evening from the center. This is necessary for some parents to have time to travel to work, especially if they have a longer commute.

  • 1 Psychology Today: Do Later School Start Times Really Help High School Students?
  • 2 Baltimore Post-Examiner: Do Schools Really Need to Start Early? How About Parenting 101 Classes Instead?
  • 3 Lubbock Online: LISD Seeks to Cut Transportation Costs by Staggering Start Times
  • 4 Suffolk Public Schools: Staggered Bell Schedules for Transportation Efficiency
  • 5 The Hamilton Project: Organizing Schools to Improve Student Achievement -- Start Times, Grade Configurations and Teacher Assignments

About the Author

Houston area native Marie Anderson began writing education articles in 2013. She holds a Bachelor of Science in exercise and sports science and a Master of Science in education administration. She has seven years of teaching and coaching experience within the Texas public school system.

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Exploring the Evidence: 7 Comprehensive Reasons Why School Should Start Later for Enhanced Student Well-being and Academic Success

7 Reasons Why School Should Start Later

Reasons why School should Start Later in the Morning: – Better for students sleep and attendance – Don’t need to stay up as late to do homework because you can do it in the morning — Pisha 🍉 ⪩⚢⪨ Et Le Ena Piou (@mafuanenautism)  September 30, 2022

On this page, you will discover:

7 Reasons Why School Should Start Later

1. improves academic performance.

Why It Is Important

2. Allows Teens to Get More Sleep

Adopting later school start times harmonizes with teenagers’ biological clocks, addressing the mismatch between early school schedules and adolescents’ sleep needs. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s recommendations highlight the importance of adequate sleep for teenagers, a demographic often burdened by early start times and societal pressures that encroach on their sleep duration. This shift not only ensures they meet the optimal sleep quota but also enhances their overall health and cognitive function.

3. Reduces Absenteeism

This not only benefits students’ academic performance and continuity of learning but also contributes to a more vibrant, participatory school environment. Improved health outcomes due to adequate sleep thus serve as a preventive measure against common ailments, ensuring that students remain present and engaged in their educational journey.

4. Lowers Risk of Depression and Mental Health Issues

The crucial relationship between sleep and mental health, particularly in adolescents, cannot be overstated. Addressing sleep deprivation through later school start times is a preventative measure that could significantly improve students’ mental health outcomes.

The interplay between sleep and mental health is critical, especially during the volatile adolescent years. Inadequate sleep has been consistently linked to increased risks of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. By shifting school start times later, students are afforded the opportunity to align their sleep schedules with their biological needs, significantly mitigating these risks.

5. Reduces Drowsy Driving in Teens

With the initiation of driving coinciding with the teenage years, the risk of drowsy driving becomes a pressing concern. Adjusting school start times to ensure teenagers get enough sleep could be a critical step in enhancing road safety and reducing accidents.

Teenage years coincide with the commencement of driving for many, introducing risks associated with drowsy driving. The CDC has identified sleep deprivation as a key factor in teen driving accidents. By enabling teens to align their sleep schedules with natural rhythms through later school start times, the incidence of drowsy driving can be significantly reduced.

This has the dual benefit of enhancing individual safety and contributing to broader public safety outcomes. Preventing accidents through such measures not only saves lives but also fosters a culture of responsible driving habits among young individuals.

Explore the findings of a new study on teen drivers and the risks of drowsy driving in this informative video recommended for viewing.

6. Helps Teens Feel Happier

By adopting later start times, schools can help rectify this misalignment, allowing students to adhere to a more natural sleep schedule. This adjustment can lead to improved mood, greater resilience, and a more positive outlook on life, which are crucial for healthy adolescent development and academic success.

Discover how a high school in Dedham, Massachusetts is combating student feelings of hopelessness with an innovative course on finding happiness through savoring experiences and fostering relationships in this inspiring video.

7. Reduced Stress

The stress induced by early mornings and lack of sleep can significantly affect students’ academic and social lives. By moving the start of the school day later, schools can alleviate a major source of daily stress, contributing to a healthier, more conducive learning environment.

By mitigating one of the many stressors in students’ lives, schools can create a more supportive and productive learning environment. The benefits of such a change extend beyond the individual, positively affecting the school culture and community at large.

The Potential Drawbacks of Starting School Later

1. scheduling sports and extracurriculars becomes more difficult.

One potential drawback of starting school later is the complication it introduces to scheduling sports and extracurricular activities. Many students are actively involved in after-school programs, including sports teams, clubs, and other organizations that play a significant role in their development. This presents a clear argument for why school should not start later, as it could lead to conflicts with extracurricular activities that depend on fixed schedules. This can result in logistical challenges for both students and program coordinators, potentially causing students to miss out on opportunities that contribute to their growth beyond academics.

In response to this challenge, schools and communities can adapt by rethinking and possibly reinventing the scheduling and structure of extracurricular activities. Flexibility in planning, such as holding some activities in the morning or making more efficient use of weekends, can ensure students continue to benefit from these programs. Moreover, a later start time might actually enhance student participation and performance in extracurriculars, as students would be better rested and more focused, potentially leading to a richer extracurricular experience.

2. Increases Childcare Costs and Logistical Challenges for Working Parents

The shift to later school start times can increase childcare costs and create logistical challenges for working parents. Parents may find themselves needing to arrange for additional morning care or adjust their work schedules to accommodate the change. This can add financial strain and complicate the balance between work and family life, creating stress and potentially impacting the overall well-being of families.

3. May Make After-School Jobs and Activities More Difficult

On the flip side, a later start time can lead to more alert and productive students, potentially making them more efficient in balancing work, activities, and school responsibilities. Schools and local businesses could collaborate to offer flexible working arrangements for students, recognizing the mutual benefits of supporting adolescent development while maintaining their contribution to the workforce and community engagement.

4. Reduces Time for Homework and Family Activities

A later dismissal time from school may compress the window available for homework, relaxation, and family time, essential components of a student’s well-being and academic success. This reduction in available time during the evening can increase stress and limit opportunities for meaningful family interaction and adequate academic preparation.

This challenge necessitates a more efficient approach to homework and after-school time management, potentially encouraging schools to reassess the volume and nature of homework assigned. With strategic planning and support, students can learn to manage their time effectively, ensuring they have sufficient opportunities for both academic responsibilities and family engagement. Additionally, the quality of family time can improve when students are less stressed and more rested, making the time spent together more meaningful.

The Impact of Delayed School Start Times in Seattle School District

The findings, published in Science Advances, revealed significant benefits stemming from the later start times. On average, students gained an additional 34 minutes of sleep per night, increasing their total nightly sleep from six hours and 50 minutes to seven hours and 24 minutes. This increase brought students closer to achieving the recommended sleep amount and marked a reversal in the century-long trend of gradual sleep loss among adolescents.

Despite the success observed in Seattle, such shifts in school start times remain relatively rare across the United States, where the typical start time still hovers around 8 a.m. However, the Seattle School District’s experience stands as a compelling testament to the benefits of later start times, supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ advocacy for this change as an effective countermeasure to the widespread issue of sleep deprivation among teenagers.

The Seattle School District’s initiative demonstrates a proactive approach to student health and education, providing valuable insights and evidence for other districts contemplating similar adjustments. By prioritizing the sleep needs of students, the district not only improved their academic and health outcomes but also set a precedent for the importance of aligning educational policies with scientific research on adolescent well-being.

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September 1, 2014

School Starts Too Early

The later high school classes start in the morning, the more academic performance improves

By Mark Fischetti

Parents, students and teachers often argue, with little evidence, about whether U.S. high schools begin too early in the morning. In the past three years, however, scientific studies have piled up, and they all lead to the same conclusion: a later start time improves learning. And the later the start, the better.

Biological research shows that circadian rhythms shift during the teen years, pushing boys and girls to stay up later at night and sleep later into the morning. The phase shift, driven by a change in melatonin in the brain, begins around age 13, gets stronger by ages 15 and 16, and peaks at ages 17, 18 or 19.

Does that affect learning? It does, according to Kyla Wahlstrom, director of the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement at the University of Minnesota. She published a large study in February that tracked more than 9,000 students in eight public high schools in Minnesota, Colorado and Wyoming. After one semester, when school began at 8:35 a.m. or later, grades earned in math, English, science and social studies typically rose a quarter step—for example, up halfway from B to B+.

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Two journal articles that Wahlstrom has reviewed but have not yet been published reach similar conclusions. So did a controlled experiment completed by the U.S. Air Force Academy, which required different sets of cadets to begin at different times during their freshman year. A 2012 study of North Carolina school districts that varied school times because of transportation problems showed that later start times correlated with higher scores in math and reading. Still other studies indicate that delaying start times raises attendance, lowers depression rates and reduces car crashes among teens, all because they are getting more of the extra sleep they need.

And the later the delay, the greater the payoff. In various studies, school districts that shifted from 7:30 to 8:00 a.m. saw more benefits than those that shifted from 7:15 to 7:45 a.m. Studies in Brazil, Italy and Israel showed similar improvements in grades. The key is allowing teens to get at least eight hours of sleep, preferably nine. In Europe, it is rare for high school to start before 9:00 a.m.

Studies also show that common arguments against later start times ring hollow. In hundreds of districts that have made the change, students do not have a harder time fitting in after-school activities such as sports or in keeping part-time jobs. “Once these school districts change, they don't want to go back,” Wahlstrom says.

Even “the bus issue” can work out for everyone. Many districts bus kids to high school first, then rerun the routes for the elementary schools. Flipping the order would bring high schoolers to class later and benefit their little sisters and brothers; other studies show that young children are more awake and more ready to learn earlier in the morning.

Argumentative Essay Example: School Should Start Early

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Before school care can be over 1,000 dollars a year per student if school starts later than 9:00 am. With a later start time parents would also need to use before school care more in order for them to get to work on time. A lot of schools start at 7:30 or earlier. Schools are trying to figure out if it would be better to keep an early start time or move it back to something later. Both early and late start times have benefits. School should continue to be at the time it does because it is expensive, sports schedules can get messed up, and it can be harder for parents who are struggling financially.

School should continue to start early because it is expensive to have it start later. In paragraph 2 of “Fairfax, Montgomery Officials to Share Experience Delaying School Start Times,” written by Cindy Huang says, “Fairfax County is spending $5 million to push back school start times by nearly an hour this school year, from 7:20 a.m. to 8:10 a.m.” In order to have a later school start time they have to spend over 5 million dollars which is very expensive. In the passage “Changing School Start Times has Ripple Effects - And Those Ripples Could Sink Many Families.” by Joannah Haney, “For the 30 percent of kids under 18 living at or below the poverty line in Boston, that’s one-third of the $2,100 monthly income for a family of four.” For a lot of kids before or after school care can take up to a third of their families income which would be worse if school started later. The table “Before-School Program Fee Schedule” shows that if school starts later then the fees for before-school care would cost more. For example if a school starts at 9:05 then the yearly fee for before school care would be over a thousand dollars, and is even more if school starts later. In order to help out those families more school should continue to start early.

School should continue to start early because sports schedules can get messed up. Some people will disagree and say that a later start time gets more sleep. I challenge this because it is not true for everyone. Cindy Huang also states in paragraph 22, “Torin Dunn, a junior at McLean High, said the later start time pushes back his sports schedule, which means he has less time to do homework after school. So he stays up later, and he doesn't sleep more than he did last year, he said.” Even though school starts later, people that play sports get their schedules to get messed up causing them to not get any more sleep than if there was an earlier start. If school starts later then it will also end later meaning that if you have sports they would get pushed back and probably made much shorter because of nighttime arriving sooner after school. This will give all the sports teams a big disadvantage of having way less practice than a school that starts earlier and has more practice time. Finally, if a sport has a game or match right after normal school ending they might not be able to go because their school starts later. This could cause the whole league to have to reschedule most of their games but it also might make the school not to do that sport if it can’t get rescheduled.

School should start early because it can be harder for parents who financially struggle if school starts later. Paragraph 11 of Johannah Haney’s article states that, “So in order to facilitate her basic needs as a young child, I may have no choice but to stop working, or work drastically reduced hours.” If a parent tries to stay home for their child they will have to work a lot less making less money. Paragraph 8 of the article says, “After-school care is for financially advantaged families.” Even if the parent tries to have their child go to before and after school care then they will likely still not make enough money because the care is very expensive. “But for those who can’t stagger working hours — specifically single parents or families who don’t have any wiggle room on working hours — kids often see themselves to bus stops in the morning, then wait an hour or so after school, alone, until parents return,” declares paragraph 6 of the article. Single parents often have to leave children to stay alone for a long time which is not good but if they tried to be home for them then they would make enough money to provide for them. This would be made worse by a later school start time because they would have to spend more time in the morning alone.

If school would be moved to start later it would be more expensive, mess up sports schedules, and be harder for financially struggling parents. School starting later would cause many problems. Even the most prominent argument of a later start time, it gives you more sleep, is true for everyone. Some people who have sports don’t get any more sleep. A later start time only makes some students more awake at school while an earlier start time helps some families from running out of money. Schools should continue to start early.

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Why School Should Start Early

School is a place where students spend much of their teen years. They have to set aside much of their free time dedicating it to their studies. While many are also playing sports and trying to juggle different activities all at the same time, balancing these things can be difficult. The start time for school is early and causes students to wake up before most usually would, but it also gets our schoolwork out of the way so we can focus on our hobbies later in the day.

Students are constantly complaining about how early the school day starts. Some stay up late that night to finish their homework or studies, and are forced to get only a couple hours of shut-eye. Some say the solution to this problem would be to start the school day later, but this would just cause more turmoil. As humans we like having schedules. We like knowing what is going to take place the next day and when and where we need to be. As high schoolers, we are all in our teen years and have grown up going to school typically at the same time. Since our bodies have gotten used to this and adapted to these schedules, changing now could cause our bodies to get confused and mess up our daily lives. If we go from a 8:00 start to a 9:00 start, we might begin to go to bed later which can be harmful to ourselves. You might get that extra hour of sleep, but when bedtime gets later and later, most students will see they are constantly losing hours of sleep due to the thought of getting an extra hour. An earlier start to the day motivates students to go to bed earlier instead of procrastinating homework. Not only can a later day be harmful on our bodies, but can also cause a huge change to our daily lives.

As teenagers, we are extremely busy in our everyday lives. We struggle finding the time to work on our studies and utilize our free time to do something we enjoy. With the school day ending at 3:00, it gives us plenty of time to finish homework, and extracurricular activities. A later start would take away time from our afternoons, and encourage worse sleeping habits. If we are waking up at a later time, we have less time to get homework done and enjoy ourselves. Some students may look at a later start as beneficial to them, but in reality it would only be hurting them.

This time change could also mess with extracurricular activities. Our schedules are based around school, and a later time could cause our hobbies to be pushed back even further in the day. If this was the case, then it would be hard to find time after to finish studies and homework. Some students might feel the pressures building up with the less time, and begin losing interest in their hobbies. One hour may seem like nothing, but this time adds up. Stress is high enough as it is for high schoolers, and taking away some of their free time can just make things worse. We all need a break from studying at some point, and finding that time will be tougher with a later start time.

It is understandable that a later start time can make students more attentive during class. It can be difficult to keep our minds on track in the early hours of the day. Though, having a regular start to the day should make students want to finish their homework earlier so they can make time for a good night of sleep. We all have that occasional long night of work, but if you prioritize your work and studies, finding the adequate shut-eye should not be an issue. This also can prepare young teens on how to properly utilize their time and prepare them for life after school and in the real world.School shouldn't start later because it will cause the school day to end later and give less time for extracurricular activities. Time is of the essence for high-schoolers and stripping even more of it can prove to be harmful to their physical and mental states. The start of school shouldn't start later or it will interfere with the daily life of students.

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Why This College Essay Sample

Why this college essay sample – introduction.

Not sure how to start a “why this college” essay? Looking for a why this college essay sample? You’re in luck. We’ve compiled a collection of standout why school essay examples from a variety of schools to help you prepare to write your own why this college essay.

Throughout the admissions process, you’ll likely write “why this college” essays for many schools on your list. These prompts ask you to cite specific reasons why you’d like to attend a given school. As you start writing these essays, it can be tough to know where to start.

In this guide, we’ve included a variety of “why school” essay examples. Our why school essay examples come from many different schools—ten, to be exact. We hope these essay examples can help you prepare to write your own why this college essay.

We’ll review a “why this college” essay sample from each of the following schools and explain what made it effective.

We’ll look at why school essay examples from:

  • University of Chicago
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Wake Forest University
  • Tufts University
  • Lewis & Clark College
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • Duke University
  • Franklin & Marshall College
  • University of Florida
  • Lafayette College

What are examples of Why School essay prompts?

Before we take a look at our why this college essay examples, let’s start with the prompts. You’ll notice that our why this college essay examples have a lot in common. Namely, each why this college essay sample discusses specific details why a student belongs at a given school.

Still, you should note that each why this college essay sample is different. Each essay responds to their own why this college essay sample prompt. While these prompts have a lot in common, you’ll notice some key differences.

Essay prompts change

As you read our why college essay examples, you may notice that the prompts are slightly different from those below. That is because some schools change their prompts in different years.

At times, colleges will also eliminate prompts entirely. Certain schools, like Franklin & Marshall and Lewis & Clark , no longer require a why this college essay. However, we have still included why college essay examples for these schools. By reading these why this college essay samples, you can learn more about how to approach this type of prompt.

Now, let’s look at some prompts in the table of why this college essay examples below. 

University of ChicagoHow does the University of Chicago, as you know it now, satisfy your desire for a particular kind of learning, community, and future? Please address with some specificity your own wishes and how they relate to UChicago.1-2 pages
Georgia Institute of TechnologyWhy do you want to study your chosen major specifically at Georgia Tech?300 words
Wake Forest UniversityWhy have you decided to apply to Wake Forest? Share with us anything that has made you interested in our institution.150 words
Tufts UniversityWhich aspects of the Tufts undergraduate experience prompt your application? In short, “Why Tufts?”100-150 words
Loyola Marymount UniversityPlease briefly state your reason for wishing to attend LMU and/or how you came to select your major.500 words
Duke UniversityWhat is your sense of Duke as a university and a community, and why do you consider it a good match for you?  If there’s something in particular about our offerings that attracts you, feel free to share that as well.250 words
University of FloridaWhy is applying for the UF Honors Program important to you? Which aspects of the program’s three pillars of opportunity, community, and challenge pique your interests? How would you engage with the program to exemplify these pillars yourself? How does the program factor into your long-term goals?400 words
Lafayette CollegeStudents identify Lafayette as an excellent fit for countless reasons. In your response, be deliberate and specific about your motivation for applying to Lafayette.20-200 words

As you can see from our why school essay examples prompts, not every prompt is as open-ended as “why this school.” So, compare each school’s why this college essay examples and prompt. Then, you’ll notice certain similarities and differences. You can apply this knowledge as you draft your own essays.

By reading through our “why college” essay examples, you’ll also familiarize yourself with the different prompts you might encounter. You can approach any prompt that references a school itself, either generally or specifically ( academics , curriculum, culture, etc.). You can see this in our why college essay examples prompts.

Different schools, different prompts

Some of the prompts are quite straightforward. They simply ask the question you’ll see answered in our why college essay examples: “Why this school?”

Other prompts, however, are a bit more leading. These might ask students about their chosen majors and how they align with a school’s values. They may also ask why a specific school will help them achieve their goals.

In all of our “why college” essay examples, you’ll notice that the prompts discuss each school by name. You’ll find questions like “why are you applying” and “how did you learn about us?” in these prompts. However, each of these boil down to the same essential question: why are you a good fit for our school?

Next, we’ll look at how our why college essay examples answer this question. But first, let’s take a look at a handful of schools and their essay prompts. This will help you understand how your why this college essay sample fits into your application strategy.

Which schools require a Why This College essay?

As you’ll see from our why school essay examples, many schools require a why this college essay sample. Our why this college essay examples include many schools, but this list isn’t exhaustive. So, do your own research to see if each school on your list requires a why this college essay.

The good news is many of our why school essay examples prompts are very similar. So, wherever you apply , our why college essay examples are great resources to reference as you write your own why school essay.

To get you started, here are some of the schools that require a why this college essay. You’ll find some why this college essay examples for these schools below. Others, you can check out in our school-specific essay guides :

Top Universities with a Why School Essay

  • Northwestern
  • American Unviersity

Why college essay examples for some of these schools didn’t make it into our list of college essays that worked. However, we still wanted to mention a few more schools that require a why this college essay.

More Why School Essay Examples Guides to Explore

Why northwestern.

Northwestern University has a two-part “why this college” essay sample prompt. They want to know what resources, opportunities, and/or communities you plan to engage with on campus. They also want to know how these offerings may enrich your time at Northwestern and beyond.

Why Barnard

The why this college essay sample prompt for Barnard College is a little more open-ended. Similar to other schools, Barnard asks what factors led you to apply at Barnard. They also ask you to share why you think Barnard will be a good match for you.

Yale University’s why this college essay sample prompt is similar to Barnard’s: “What is it about Yale that has led you to apply?” This is your opportunity to get specific about why Yale excites you. It also lets you share what you hope to take advantage of on campus.

Why Dartmouth

Dartmouth College’s why this college essay sample prompt asks students “Why Dartmouth?”—a classic why school prompt. Similar to Northwestern’s prompt, Dartmouth’s specifically asks what aspects of their academic program, community, or campus environment attract you.

Brown University asks students to describe their academic interests and how they might use Brown’s Open Curriculum to pursue them. In this instance, since the curriculum is specific to Brown, you can think of this prompt in two parts. First, what do you want to study, and second, why do you want to study it at Brown? In this way, this essay is a why this college essay, so should also be our list.

Why This College Essay Examples

You can use our why school essay examples to help you begin to write your why school essays. Each of our college essays that worked was chosen because it is a strong and compelling “why this college” essay sample.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to read a why this college essay sample, you’re in luck. Take some time to read some below from over ten schools. These include our UF supplemental essay examples, Tufts essays that worked, Georgia Tech essay examples, why Duke essay examples, and more.

Why this college essay sample #1- UChicago

The University of Chicago is well-known for its quirky supplemental essay requirements. Among those you can expect to find some kind of Why This College essay. Below is an example of how one student crafted their response.

Why UChicago Essay Examples

How does the university of chicago, as you know it now, satisfy your desire for a particular kind of learning, community, and future please address with some specificity your own wishes and how they relate to uchicago. (1-2 pages).

The best thing about the University of Chicago is its subtle inconspicuousness. The ivy leagues and big select schools all have a stereotype/reputation it holds in the public eye that is difficult to live up to. Go to Harvard? Oh, you must be the smartest person ever! Go to UC Berkeley, MIT?  You must be the greatest genius the world has ever seen. But when U Chicago is mentioned, most people find it difficult to generalize the institution as anything outside of “top university” or “prestigious school.” This is because while universities at the forefront of media attention are some of the best in the United States, such overexposure lends itself to negative connotations that cannot be escaped.

I myself knew little about U Chicago, but soon came to realize how great knowing little could actually be in the grand scheme of things.

Everything starts with the amazing education system U Chicago prides itself on. Core Curriculum allows for students to really engage in critical thinking with an expanded view of the world and how it works. Students at U Chicago are not there for the perceived prestige or bonus points you get from attending a top university, they’re there to learn, and not just learn for the final exam and forget. They are there to learn and continue to use their gained knowledge as they expound upon it throughout their journey through schooling and life.

In high school and in my time taking community college courses, I haven’t been exposed to these types of students. People take courses just to put a check mark on the list, and I have been doing the same because it’s what required and it’s all I’ve ever known. There was never an opportunity to take specialized courses and as a result, my classmates’ zeal for knowledge acquisition has never been awakened. Though I try to satisfy my curiosities through articles and books, there was never anyone to discuss it with in depth without one of us leaving frustrated.

Though I plan to major in a Neuroscience-related program as a pre-medical student, I want to be able to learn new languages, Norwegian mythology, the situation of public health; anything that has piqued my interests for multiple years but remained untouched due to circumstances. I like that U Chicago forbids students from taking courses solely for their major and requires them to spend a large portion of their time in the Core Curriculum in order to make this happen.

Instead of dealing with constant pressure from society, students at U Chicago are free to pursue their passions without fear of judgment or stereotype. With the focus on education where it belongs, the overall atmosphere at the institution is laid-back and does not add stress to the rigorous course load.

A secret utopia of sorts, U Chicago sets an invincible foundation that will exponentially increase the vitality of a person in any field of work or practice and I want to be a part of that.

Explaining why this essay worked

This is one of our Why UChicago essay examples and one of our first college essays that worked. In it, the author reflects on UChicago’s academic values and culture. This “why this college” essay sample highlights the type of student that thrives at UChicago. It also shows how this student’s values align with UChicago’s.

As you’ll see in our other why school essay examples, this writer mentions specific qualities about UChicago’s Core Curriculum. They foreground how it will allow them to pursue all of their academic interests. In doing so, this student makes a strong case for why they belong at UChicago.

If you want to read another why this college essay sample, check out our guide . There, you’ll find more UChicago why school essay examples.

Why this college essay sample #2 – Georgia Tech

The second why this college essay sample we are sharing is Why School essay from Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech only requires one supplemental essay and it is a Why This College essay. Let’s look at how one student responded to the prompt below.

Georgia Tech Essay Examples

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).

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. To say that it changed my life would be no exaggeration; within an hour, The professor 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? The professor 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. I saw 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.

Why did this Georgia Tech essay work?

This is one of our favorite Georgia Tech essay examples because the writer drops us into a story that defines their interest in attending Georgia Tech. This “why this college” essay sample has a delightful and passionate tone. It communicates the writer’s interest in economics, passion for learning, and desire to explore these ideas at Georgia Tech.

Once again specificity is key (something you’ll continue to see in our other why school essay examples). This writer mentions Bobby Dodd Way, which is a street on campus. They also discuss opportunities for a senior research project and the specific professor and class that inspired them.

Why this college essay sample #3 – Wake Forest

Our next college essay that worked is from Wake Forest University.

Why Wake Forest Essay Examples

How did you become interested in wake forest university and why are you applying (150 words) .

Each time I return to campus, I see a true fit between myself and Wake Forest. I will dedicate myself to furthering the university motto, pro humanitate, by actively working with the Volunteer Service Corps and continuing my community service of providing for the basic needs of others. In addition, I will engage in the world around me and pursue a minor in Spanish while studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain; since I am currently taking AP Spanish, the language and cultural immersion would advance my fluency and expand my exposure to other cultures. In the diverse and intellectual community of Wake Forest, I will continue to pursue my goals with natural curiosity while growing as a leader in the service of others. Wake Forest is the window into the endless possibilities of my future.

Why this Wake Forest essay worked

This why this college essay sample shows how to successfully and succinctly write a why this college essay. Just like in our longer why school essay examples, this writer combines values, academics, and specificity. In doing so, they show how Wake Forest will impact their continued growth and future goals.

College essays that worked #4 – Tufts

Why tufts essay examples, “why tufts” (150 words).

I fell in love with Tufts immediately upon entering the Granoff Music Center. Standing in the lofty, sunlit atrium, I imagined being there with my enormous ekantha-veena gathered in my arms. Catching sight of the World Music Room, the glistening Indonesian gamelan housed inside—I knew that both my instrument and I would feel right at home at Tufts.

After all, Tufts is the type of school that embraces women who play instruments twice their size and, moreover, actually listens to their music.

Tufts provides women like me ample space in the music center, as well as on ground-breaking research teams such as the Sandler International Research Program; or access to intimate classroom settings with faculty such as one key professor whose dissertations are lauded by the American Sociological Association.

Tufts is a place where both the young woman and her ekantha-veena, her music and her ideas, will be heard.

This why this college essay sample prompt from Tufts admissions is extremely simple. In fact, this essay is one of our Tufts essays that worked because of its simplicity. We imagine Tufts admissions gravitated towards this essay because it reveals the writer’s passion for music. It also highlights the type of research and culture they’d like to engage with at Tufts.

Check out Tufts admissions page for more why Tufts essay examples and advice on Tufts essays that worked.

Why this college essay sample #5- Lewis and Clark

Lewis & clark supplemental essay example, lewis & clark college is a private college with a public conscience and a global reach. we celebrate our strengths in collaborative scholarship, international engagement, environmental understanding and entrepreneurial thinking. as we evaluate applications, we look for students who understand what we offer and are eager to contribute to our community. in one paragraph, please tell us why you are interested in attending lewis & clark and how you will impact our campus..

For the last eighteen years, my dad has repeated the phrase “curiosity killed the cat” at least once a week, attempting to satisfy my unrelenting curiosity. In response, I’ve adopted the mantra “but knowledge brought him back.” At Lewis and Clark College, I seek to fulfill my intense interest about the workings of society by conducting sociology research on issues in urban areas under one professor at Lewis and Clark. This research will also support my plans to perform an independent study on the aspects of criminal justice in urban environments, as the unique tensions in cities often affect the role of criminal justice.

I’ve read countless books on America’s legal system and wish to use sociology to analyze the factors that influence how justice is carried out. My unwavering curiosity also extends to my adoration of architecture, so the chance to explore my fascination with urban design through a self-designed major at Lewis and Clark deeply excites me. I know that creating my own course of study will enable me to explore my curiosity about urban history and planning. Furthermore, the chance to double major will allow me to combine architecture and social perspective and explore the connections between my majors.

The freedom to study both sociology and urban architecture at Lewis and Clark will give me a distinctive perspective on the artistic and social issues that are present in Portland and other major cities. Another opportunity that excites me is the chance to study abroad in Seville, Spain.

I am particularly enthusiastic about the ability to use my sociology and architecture education to explore a unique geographical area. Classes such as Art History of Spain will supplement my concentration on urban architecture, while Contemporary Issues of Spain will allow me to study the sociological aspects of a different culture. I also plan to study Spanish in college, so living with a host family gives me the unique ability to practice Spanish around the clock.

I believe that studying abroad in Seville, Spain through Lewis and Clark will enable me to engage in many unforgettable learning experiences. Finally, Lewis and Clark is bursting with non-traditional learning opportunities outside of the classroom. I can’t wait to learn a new skill by joining the sailing team and debating moral theories with the philosophy club.

I believe that there is no better place for me to study sociology and architecture because Lewis and Clark’s emphasis on diversity and international study are values that align perfectly with my interests.

Exploring the strengths of this essay

The Lewis and Clark College acceptance rate is higher than that of some other top schools. Still, you can tell how much thought and care this writer put into their “why this college” essay sample. Since the Lewis and Clark College acceptance rate is 79% , you might think crafting a strong supplemental essay would be easy. However, you can tell the writer of this “why this college” essay sample took their time time. In their essay, they weave a clear and compelling story about their interests and how Lewis & Clark will allow them to pursue those interests.

No matter a school’s acceptance rate, whether it is lower or higher than the Lewis and Clark College acceptance rate, make sure you take the time with every essay you write to make it the best it can be.

Why this college essay sample #6 – Loyola Marymount

Loyola marymount essay example, please briefly state your reason for wishing to attend lmu and/or how you came to select your major. (500 words).

Whether I’m bustling through people in the Metro station, taking a leisurely stroll on the beach, or studying at my local cafe, I embrace the sights, sounds, and people of Los Angeles. Though I was born in New York, I am a true L.A. native: the sunset is my muse, and my dreams are ambitious (I want to cure cancer, win a Pulitzer-Prize, and walk the red carpet, simultaneously).

Even if I don’t accomplish all of these things, I am encouraged by the fact that they are all possibilities at LMU. With a unique fusion of academic excellence, strong communal identity, and a faith-based education, LMU would prepare me to be an innovative and compassionate leader in the real world.

Reflective of L.A.’s rich cultural diversity, LMU offers students a wide array of resources. For one thing, the student to teacher ratio is 10:1, which enhances learning by fostering personal relationships with professors and peers. Furthermore, it creates a collaborative group environment, something I consider integral to my education. Secondly, as someone who is passionate about both Chicano/Latino studies and Biology, I was excited to discover that with LMU’s major and minor policy, I would be able to study both, even if they are located in different colleges.

Ultimately, I want to become a doctor, possibly a neurologist, hence my desire to major in biology. With a broad course list–encompassing everything from Immunology to Animal Behavior– and intensive, faculty-mentored research, LMU’s biology program will enable me to pursue my passion for science. At the same time, I wish to apply my medical studies to serving a greater purpose.

This is why I’ve chosen to minor in Chicano Studies. I have always taken great pride in my ethnicity, so being able to examine the Latino identity through political, historical, and cultural lenses would enrich how I understand myself and the entire Latino/a community.

The final and most important reason why I want to attend LMU is its emphasis on serving the community and the world at large. Being a practicing Catholic myself, it is important to me that faith be integrated in my education, not only because it is a part of my own identity, but because it nurtures both spiritual and personal growth. At my current high school, I have encountered and conversed with students of different faiths, or even no faith, who fully embrace the spirit of community service that characterizes Christianity.

This is what I admire most about LMU; regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or religion, LMU embraces everyone and teaches students to do the same. In short, LMU would not only augment my love of service, it would propel me forward in my mission: to be a woman of great heart and right conscience for others.

With a higher word count, this is one of our longer why school essay examples. This writer likely captured the attention of Loyola Marymount admissions with their eloquence and ambition.

While there’s no one right way to impress Loyola Marymount admissions, showcasing the school’s unique programs will help show them why attending Loyola is vital to your future. This why this college essay sample touches on LMU’s faith-based curriculum, and biology and chicano studies programs, and why they are important to this writer.

Why this college essay sample #7 – Duke

Duke University is another school that asks students Why This College as part of their supplemental essay requirements. Take a look at the essay that worked below for some ideas about how to write your Why Duke essay.

Why Duke Essay Examples

What is your sense of duke as a university and a community, and why do you consider it a good match for you  if there’s something in particular about our offerings that attracts you, feel free to share that as well. (250 words).

At Duke University, I would get the opportunity to immerse myself in interests that I harbored but never had the opportunity to explore due to circumstances. With incredible resources from world-renowned professors, I would learn directly from the best in any subject, and be able to use this advantage to further myself in my future career plans and goals.

The quality of my education, though attributed to the institution, would be the most highly enriched from the students. Although from diverse backgrounds, all the students share the same thirst for knowledge and a drive to make a difference. With the focus on education where it belongs, the overall atmosphere at the institution is collaborative and does not add stress to the rigorous course load.

A secret utopia of sorts, Duke sets an invincible foundation that will exponentially increase the vitality of a person in any field of work or practice.

Why this essay worked

This is one of our favorite why Duke essay examples because it highlights the people this writer plans to learn from at Duke: their professors and their fellow students. Surprisingly, this is probably one of the least specific why school essay examples. However, this writer still successfully manages to capture their passion for learning and how excited they are to pursue these goals on Duke’s campus.

Want more why Duke essay examples and tips on how to approach this “why this college” essay sample prompt? Check out our Duke University Essay Guide .

Why this college essay sample #8 – University of Florida

Uf supplemental essay examples, the university of florida honors program is a “community of scholars” bound together by a shared interest in maximizing the undergraduate experience. why are you drawn to this type of community at uf, and how do you plan to contribute to it in and out of the classroom.

Anyone who’s ever played a high school sport can attest to the fact that every coach has his or her own catchphrase. For some coaches, it might be “always give 110%”. Others say, “You miss every shot you don’t take.”

My 10th grade basketball coach? His catchphrase was more like a repeated lecture. It would start off as “This team is made up of different personalities.” Pause. “80% of you are pulled either up or down by your teammates. 10% of you have negative energy and bring everyone down.” Pause and sigh. “And then there’s the last 10%. You guys are the ones who carry this team with positive energy. So what percent do you want to be tonight?”

His rhetorical questions seemed like another pep talk to the rest of my team but would always strike a chord within me. From that basketball season and on, I strived to be the 10% pulling everyone positively. 

My reformed attitude taught me many things. I learned how productive and influential a positive force on a team can be. I learned something about myself too: wherever I went to college, I wanted to be in a team-like environment. A close-knit group of scholars full of diverse perspectives, but all striving towards the same common goal: gaining knowledge. 

This is what I see in the UF Honors Program. The opportunity to be surrounded by like minded people. People who are all part of that 10% who pull you up. People who are genuinely interested in learning, research, and discussion. To be able to walk into a room with overlapping conversations about an intellectual topic like the current economic status of Dubai or the psychosocial issues in the United States is something I crave in my college experience.

Not only do I envision myself in a place like this, but I also see a platform which will give me great opportunities, beginning with peers who share the same academic drive as me and smaller class sizes, which result in profound discussions. I hope to be given an opportunity to walk onto this platform and show everyone just how high I can raise it.

Why this UF Honors Program essay worked

It’s important to note that a why this college essay sample is not necessarily a required portion of your UF application. You only need to submit a why this college essay with your UF application if you apply to the UF Honors Program.

However, we still included this “why this college” essay sample as part of our why school essay examples because this writer beautifully described the kind of student and community member they hope to be at UF. They highlight a personal story—a moment where they grew and learned a valuable lesson. Then, they combine it with what they hope to find in UF’s honors community. 

Why this college essay sample #9 – Franklin & Marshall

Franklin & marshall essays.

A Franklin and Marshall education is in line with my commitment to stimulate and chronicle a more just world through health, justice, and activism for marginalized people locally and internationally in a way that giving a check never could. 

I would be able to synthesize my fascination with medicine and people by seeking out experiences in biomedical research and patient care through the Quick Response Service organization as an EMT responder for the Lancaster community. Most importantly, I can investigate a breadth of topics to a much fuller extent than I can at any other institution.

With a Franklin and Marshall acceptance rate of 38% , this is considered a more selective school. However, the Franklin and Marshall acceptance rate should not affect your why this college essay. Also, as you craft your Franklin and Marshall application, note that the university no longer requires a Why School essay. Still, this essay provides a useful blueprint for other why school essay samples.

Rather than focusing on the Franklin and Marshall acceptance rate, you’ll want to review the supplemental essay requirements . Then, use the prompt to articulate the benefits of receiving an education from Franklin and Marshall. In order to gain acceptance to Franklin and Marshall, you should focus on what attending this particular college means to you.

Why this college essay sample #10- Lafayette College

Our final why this college essay sample, is from Lafayette College. A Why School essay is the cornerstone of Lafayette College’s supplemental essay requirements. Let’s take a look at an example from a student accepted to Lafayette.

Why Lafayette College Essay Examples

Students identify lafayette as an excellent fit for countless reasons. in your response, be deliberate and specific about your motivation for applying to lafayette. why do you see yourself at lafayette (200 words).

“If you were to be accepted to every college in the country, which one would you choose above all others?” An admissions officer prompted the room with this question early in my college search. Back then, I didn’t know the answer, but now it’s a obvious choice: Lafayette.

When I visited Lafayette, I’d already seen 15 colleges. However, when I toured campus, I instantly felt a difference in the school and the students themselves. Everyone looked truly happy to be there, especially considering the people I saw were remaining at school during break while their peers returned home.

When I looked around, I saw people I could imagine myself befriending and spending time with, something I struggled to find at other institutions. I later connected with my tour guide, who also happened to be a Civil Engineering major. I’m interested in pursuing an architecture minor, and she told me about a project in her Architectural Engineering class in which students design bus stops with features like charging stations or mini libraries. I appreciated that she took time to email me, and her genuine enthusiasm about her classes was infectious. With that email, I cemented my decision to apply.

There’s a difference between being busy and being engaged. Lafayette comes alive each day with the energy of students who are deeply engaged in their academic, co-curricular and extracurricular explorations.

Of all of our why school essay examples, this why this college essay sample discusses an actual experience the student had on campus. In truth, this is a great strategy. Using this topic, admissions gets to hear about how they connected with a student. They also learn how this student already sees themself as part of the student community.

Like many of our other why school essay examples, this writer follows a strong structure. They started with a personal story, sprinkled in specific and valuable details, and ended with a big-picture summary of “Why this school.”

How To Write A Why This College Essay

We’ve read some outstanding why school essay examples, including Why Duke essay examples, Tufts essays that worked, and more. Next, let’s talk about how to write your own why this college essay.

At times, you’ll find a “why this college” essay sample or two with a longer word count. However, most of our why school essay examples prompts have a smaller word limit. So, you generally need to be succinct when writing a why this college essay. For some students, this may mean writing your initial draft without worrying about the word count, then editing your draft down to the most important parts.

Do your research

Before you get into writing your why this college essay sample, we recommend getting to know more about the school you are applying to. One of the most important things you can do to prepare to write your why this college essay sample is to spend time researching specific aspects of the school that align with your candidate profile.

For example, let’s say you’re a student who wants to study engineering , you want a big school, and you’re also passionate about doing your own research. As you begin your college search , you’d want to look for schools that meet all of your needs. Once you have a list of potential schools , do some research into each school and their requirements. Watch webinars , read guides about meeting application requirements, like what is a good SAT score and test-optional colleges , and guides about approaching your college application essays . 

How to Start a Why This College Essay

Next, let’s go over how to start a “why this college” essay. The beginning of your essay is always the most important because it can draw your reader in and make them want to read more. We have tons of guides to help you through every step of the writing process. So, after reading through our why school essay examples, take a look at exercises to help determine a college essay topic and what admissions officers think of 3 common college essay topics.

Once you have a topic for your why this college essay sample, take a look at our 39 essay tips . These helpful tips are from our admissions experts. We also have a resource with tips on how to craft your college essay . Then, when you’re ready to start editing your essay, check out our advice on making your essays shine .

Use these examples to help brainstorm

We’ve reviewed a variety of why this college essay examples. By reading these examples, we hope you got some insight into how to write a why this college essay. These why school essay examples are college essays that worked. That is, they used specific details to show why an applicant was a perfect fit for a given school. Each why this college essay sample is slightly different—and every student is, too. So, use our why school essay examples as a jumping-off point.

We can’t include a why this college essay sample from every school in our college essays that worked roundup. But, keep reading to the end of the guide for more CollegeAdvisor.com resources full of why school essay examples. These resources include: why Northwestern essay examples and why Yale essay examples. They also include why NYU essay examples and a why Barnard essay example.

Other CollegeAdvisor Resources on Why This College Essays

If you’re looking for a why this college essay sample for a school we haven’t touched on, you’re in luck! We have “why school” essay examples for a ton of top schools that are sure to be on your college list. These why this college essay examples will be just as helpful as the ones we’ve already covered, like our Tufts essays that worked, Georgia Tech essay examples, and why Duke essay examples.

First, we have our why Northwestern essay examples. This guide offers two why Northwestern essay examples and a breakdown of what made each essay so impactful.

Why Northwestern Essay Examples

Then, check out our why Barnard essay example page. In addition to a why Barnard essay example, you can get some application tips. The article also covers information about Barnard’s acceptance rate and essay requirements.

Barnard Essay Examples

Next, stop by our Why Yale essay examples guide. The why Yale essay examples cover all three Yale supplemental essay requirements. These include the essays about your potential majors and a topic or idea that excites you.

Why Yale Essay Examples

Finally , read some Why NYU essay examples (and why they worked). Each of our why NYU essay examples is accompanied by feedback from an ex-admissions officer on why the essay worked.

NYU Essay Examples (And Why They Worked)

Why This College Essay Sample – Final Thoughts

After reading our why school essay examples, we hope you have a better sense of what a “why this college” essay sample should include. We also hope it can help you go about writing your own. While there is no perfect formula for writing your supplemental essays , don’t forget to take advantage of all of the resources available to you. 

If you’re nervous to begin writing your why this college essay sample, don’t worry! Each of our “why school” essay examples was written by a student just like you that managed to gain a college acceptance letter from their dream school. All it takes is time, patience, and dedication to making your college essays the best they can be. To find more examples of college essays that worked, check out our personal statement examples .

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

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essay on why school should start early

Home / Essay Samples / Education / Starting School Later / Advantages of Starting School Later

Advantages of Starting School Later

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