Admission prompt essay
November 5, 2022
Admission prompt essay
Essay Prompt: Pepperdine is a Christian university where all are welcomed and encouraged to challenge each other in the pursuit of truth. Students, faculty, and staff members from all backgrounds participate in conversations of faith inside and outside of the classroom. Considering that Pepperdine is a Christian university, why are you interested in attending and how would you contribute to conversations of faith on campus?
Connects Christian values to tangible goals and actions; This essay is a great example of how you can use religion as a foundation to build a much larger picture, one that encompasses your background, career aspirations, academic pursuits, and extracurricular interests. This student starts with establishing the key values she finds important in her Buddhist faith: empathy, fairness, and education. From the beginning, we see how these values guide her, which gives us a clear picture of who she is and what she stands for. But its not enough to say you care about empathy and compassion. Thats what makes the rest of the essay so critical: showing how this student has uniquely acted upon these values.
Use a clear structure to guide the reader through the essay; At 500 words, these longer Why us? essays can easily sound like a rambling list of why Pepperdine specifics, so be purposeful in your organization of it (and starting out with an outline before your write is key!). Notice how, in each paragraph, this student connects the main three values to a specific aspect of her lifefollowing a montage approach. The second paragraph sets up her theme, helping readers understand the anecdotal impetus behind her dedication to alleviating poverty, particularly in Vietnam. The third addresses her extracurricular achievements in high school toward that goal. The fourth transitions into her extracurricular aspirations in college should she get into Pepperdine. The fifth emphasizes her career goals. And the last addresses academics. The structure of this essay makes it easy to track how Buddhism connects to Christian values and then does a great job of establishing these values as key motivators in many aspects of her life.
Emphasize Christian values, not necessarily Christianity; Many applicants see this prompt and think that they arent a good fit for Pepperdine because they arent of the Christian faith. But notice that this applicant isnt even Christian! Many religions are founded on similar core tenets and overlap in interesting, meaningful, and perhaps unexpected ways. Before you write yourself off as a prospective student, take a second to think about how the values your faith instills in you may overlap with Christian teachings. You dont have to be Christian to apply to Pepperdine (but, hey, if you are, thats great too). The key is that you show youve done a lot of thinking about how Christian principles shape the community and missions of Pepperdine, then connect that back to your beliefs.
Highlight what Pepperdine has to offer; Remember, even though it takes a different approach, this is still a Why us? essay. This means you need to tie your interests and values back to what Pepperdine has to offer as an academic, religious, and cultural institution. Notice that, in each paragraph, the student clearly draws connections back to specific classes, clubs, and majors. Not only does this give your reader a sense of why Pepperdine would be a good fit for you, but it also shows that you care enough to have done your research. The relationship you have with Pepperdine is a two-way street. Admission officials want to know why you think the schools a good fit for you and why youre a good fit for Pepperdine. Doing your research and really thinking about what resources you could take advantage of is a great way to do that.
Consider what youd bring to the broader Pepperdine community; Although this essay does a great job of explaining why the student thinks Pepperdine would be a good fit, it doesnt fully address the last part of the prompt: how would you contribute to conversations of faith on campus? Remember, you arent going to college by yourself. Youll be part of a much larger community of people, with their own interests, values, relationships to religion, and backgrounds. Give your reader a sense of what you care about and how you might approach starting discourse with others. In this essay, for example, the writer could have mentioned that she wants to be a voice for faith-based solutions to global poverty on campus, using her background as a starting point for larger conversations about how religion and social actions can be synthesized. Or she could have raised some open-ended questions shed want to discuss with classmates. So, another way to think about this prompt is that there are three important actors at play: you, Pepperdine as a geographic place/set of resources, and the student body and faculty at Pepperdine. A great answer will interweave all three in a comprehensive way.