How to Write the Loyola Marymount University Essays 2023-2024
Loyola Marymount University gives all applicants the opportunity to respond to two optional prompts—one being about their commitment to solving pressing global challenges, and the other being a chance to explain any breaks in their education.
Since LMU receives thousands of applications from academically strong students, your essays are your best chance to stand out. In this post, we’ll go over exactly what each prompt is asking for, and we’ll explain how to craft an engaging response to each.
Read this Loyola Marymount essay example from an accepted student to inspire your writing.
Loyola Marymount University Supplemental EssayPrompts
Prompt 1 (optional): An LMU education forms ethical leaders compelled to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges. How do your personal experiences and educational goals align with this mission? (500 words)
Prompt 2 (optional): Please provide a detailed explanation, in 250 words or less, regarding any break or interruption in your academic history throughout high school (secondary school) and beyond. (250 words)
An LMU education forms ethical leaders compelled to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges. How do your personal experiences and educational goals align with this mission? (500 words)
For most students, this will be the only essay they submit to LMU (since the second one will only apply to certain students), so it’s important that your response is strong and personal. This prompt is a pretty standard “Global Challenges” prompt that asks about a large-scale issue you want to fix in the world. There are two main ways you can approach this prompt:
- Describe a specific issue that you want to solve.
- Discuss your general interest in solving important problems.
Since you will approach the essay differently depending on which method you choose, we’ll break our analysis down into the two versions.
Describe a Specific Issue
Are you incredibly passionate about climate justice? Do you have farm volunteer experience that inspired you to eliminate food waste in the U.S.? Is your primary goal in life to find a cure for Alzheimer’s after watching your grandfather suffer from the disease?
If there’s an issue you care about that you’re dedicated to solving, then we recommend you focus your essay on that specific topic and demonstrate your commitment to solving the world’s most pressing challenges through your experiences with that particular issue. You don’t necessarily need to have an issue that is at the forefront of your personality—maybe your actual experience with the problem is limited but you’ve learned a lot about it, which inspired you to take action—but it should be something that connects to your interests.
For example, a student who has worked in a medical lab researching cancer cells might have hands-on experience that fuels his desire to cure cancer. However, another student could just as easily choose curing cancer as her pressing world issue without ever having stepped foot in a lab. Maybe her interest in cancer was sparked by her AP Biology class when she tried to explore the reasons that cancer cells don’t behave predictably.
Both of the example students above are qualified to write about curing cancer despite the large difference in their backgrounds with the topic.
In this style of the essay, you’ll want to thoroughly explain your previous experience with the issue. LMU is giving you 500 words, which is ample space to discuss why this is the global problem you are committed to solving. Using a detailed anecdote, try to include details like:
- Where your passion for the issue originated
- The academic exposure you have to the topic (e.g., classes, research projects, books, documentaries, etc.)
- The hands-on exposure you have to the topic (e.g., through a club, volunteering, an extracurricular activity, a family connection, etc.)
- Why this is the most pressing issue to you personally
An important thing to note about the last bullet point is that you shouldn’t be trying to justify eliminating fossil fuels as being more valuable to the planet than ending world hunger, for example. Explaining why you think your issue is the most pressing to you should involve a broader discussion of the impacts the problem has on the world.
A student who picks wealth inequality can discuss how it has implications for racial injustice, how it perpetuates consumerism, and how its self-perpetuating nature makes it exceptionally difficult to address through a political system. As long as you provide more than just personal justification as to why this issue is pressing, you will convince the admissions officers that you know what you’re talking about.
However, it isn’t enough to just describe an issue you want to solve—you need to solve it! Well… not at this very moment, but you need to communicate to LMU that you’re dedicated to finding, or contributing to, a sustainable solution to the problem one day. This is where you connect the essay to LMU.
If you have specific solutions in mind, you should definitely go ahead and share them in your essay. Maybe you think a solution to income disparities in the U.S. is a universal basic income, so you should explain your rationale behind this idea and explain how you will advocate for them as a House Representative one day. It’s also okay if you don’t have a solution yet, but explain how an LMU education will help you discover solutions to implement.
As we said before, whether you have a solution or not, you need to establish that connection with LMU. Bring in specific opportunities and resources at the University that will help you accomplish your goal of addressing the issue you care about.
For example, you might talk about how specific skills you learn in the class Water and Wastewater Engineering will help you ensure that people across the globe have access to clean water. You could also describe how the research you conduct at the Coastal Research Institute will give you insight into ways to protect coastal communities from rising sea levels.
As you can see, if you choose to write about a specific topic, it allows you to pull in your personal experiences and explore your future career plans through the lens of an issue you care deeply about. But, if there isn’t something jumping to the front of your mind to direct your essay, don’t worry—there’s another option.
Discuss Your General Interest in Problem Solving
If you don’t want to commit yourself to a specific world problem—either because you don’t have one central enough in your life or because you have too many in mind to pick just one—you can talk about how you’re committed to the mission of solving global problems more generally.
Since the first option naturally allows you to home in on a specific problem and include personal stories about your connection to that problem, it’s easier to make that essay more engaging. But don’t despair! Your essay can still be just as exciting even if it’s more general.
In order to keep that same level of personal connection, you should pick one or two anecdotes that demonstrate your interest in problem solving. Maybe this interest isn’t necessarily directly concerned with solving a global issue, but is instead something different that could be used to help with solving issues.
For example, you could write about your passion for math and how you combine pieces of information together to come up with a solution. Or, you could talk about how you are good at conflict management and describe a situation where you mediated a conflict with your friends and devised a solution to help them both.
Be sure to include why you enjoy problem solving in your anecdotes. Whether you get a thrill from contributing to something bigger than yourself, or you just love it when you’re able to make others smile, it’s important that you communicate the appealing emotional response you get from problem solving. This will provide that added layer of depth that the admissions committee is looking for.
Once you’ve established your commitment to, and enjoyment of, solving problems in your personal life, you should zoom out and talk about how you can apply those same principles to bigger issues. You don’t necessarily need to pick an issue, but you do need to highlight how you will take on larger challenges in the future.
You might consider discussing a particular field that you’re interested in exploring, or one in which you want to find problems to solve. For example, someone interested in computer science might write about their desire to learn more about ethical and technical challenges facing the future of computer science and artificial intelligence.
Just like with the other method, you need to connect your passion for problem solving and your future goals to LMU. Bring in classes, student organizations, professors, internship opportunities, research opportunities, centers and institutes, and more, that will help you discover new issues to address and allow you to continue problem solving on a grander scale.
Please provide a detailed explanation, in 250 words or less, regarding any break or interruption in your academic history throughout high school (secondary school) and beyond. (250 words)
This optional prompt should only be answered if you took some kind of substantial break during your education. A majority of students will not respond to this prompt.
This prompt resembles the Additional Information section in the Common App, as it’s giving you a chance to explain any exceptional personal circumstances you have faced in high school. If at any point you experienced an academic lapse, this is your chance to explain what happened.
If you have a gap in your educational history, you should first outline the reason (e.g., an illness, a big move, a family emergency, etc.). Then, explain what you were doing when you weren’t in school. For example, if your family moved across the country due to a parent’s job relocation, explain your role in the move—perhaps you were in charge of selling your family’s old belongings or you had to get a temporary job to make up for the missed months of income.
Additionally, if you did not return to school promptly, explain the reason (for example, some schools do not allow mid-term transfers).
You should absolutely justify the necessity of your time off. This essay doesn’t need to be colorful or super engaging—it just needs to be honest. Don’t overthink it and don’t make shallow excuses. Simply explain your situation in a straightforward way if this prompt is relevant to you. And remember, if this prompt doesn’t apply to you, just skip it!
Where to Get Your Loyola Marymount University Essay Edited
Do you want feedback on your LMU essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool, where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays.
If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!