Imagine the following scenario. You are standing in front of 5 beautiful girls. They are all between 5’3″ and 5’9″. They have either blond or brown hair. They’re all interested in you. And you are POTENTIALLY interested in each and every one of them. They know this. But they’re all trying very hard to win your affection.
Now, you have to make a choice of ONE of these lovely ladies. So you pace from A to B over to D then to E and then back to C. You rub your chin, and say… “You, C. You’re the girl I choose.” The other 4 ladies dejectedly leave the room, you and your chosen C girl remain behind alone. She looks deep into your eyes and asks imploringly “Why did you pick me!?” And you say, earnestly, “Isn’t it obvious? I chose you, my darling, because you’re female. You’re taller than 5 feet. And you don’t have black hair. You are the only girl for me.”
Probably, you get smacked. Or she gets misty eyed. Knowing that you don’t REALLY want her. And honestly? You’d deserve it.
Because those are all terrible, terrible, shallow reasons to have made such a choice. The girl is thinking “Wait… I wasn’t the only girl there, we were all taller than 5 feet, and none of us had black hair. Does this fool really want ME????” The girl wants to know that you chose her because her smile melts you in a way that no one else’s does. She wants to hear that she was the only one who tilted her head to the side when she smiled and you can’t help but get a tiny shiver every time she does it. She wants to know that you like the sound of her laugh because of its husky timbre. She wants to you say that you picked her because of her amazing grasp of useless trivia. She wants to know that you want HER. Not just any ol’ girl.
When you talk about WHY HARVARD… or WHY INSEAD… WHY DARDEN… You need to make like you’re telling the girl of your dreams what makes her better than any other girl you’ve ever had eyes for. She’s going to think you’re lying, so your only hope is to be as specific and thoughtful as you can. In some ways, you really ARE writing a version of a love letter here. Don’t be obsequious. Rather, pretend like all your other choices have given you free rides to their school. But in spite of all that… you STILL pick Girl C. Make your case COUNT. Make her believe you. Make her know you want her and only her. If you mean it, the rest will come easy. If you don’t mean it, everyone will know.