How to Write the Santa Clara University Essays 2020-2021

Located on a beautiful 106-acre campus in Silicon Valley, Santa Clara University combines Jesuit values with the pursuit of technological innovation. Founded in 1851, Santa Clara is comprised of three undergraduate schools: the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, and the Leavey School of Business. In total, more than 50 majors and minors are offered across the three schools. Santa Clara encourages students to seek academic excellence while searching for truth, goodness, and beauty through the Jesuit, Catholic tradition. 

 

With an 11:1 faculty ratio, Santa Clara’s approximately 5,500 undergraduate students are able to experience small class sizes and receive individualized assistance from professors. Additionally, undergraduate students are given the opportunity to gain first-hand research experience. These opportunities prepare students for future internships and careers. In fact, because of their close proximity to campus, companies such as Google, Apple, NVIDIA, and Cisco often recruit students from Santa Clara.

 

Santa Clara also has 20 Division I sports teams as well as 17 club teams. These teams offer Santa Clara’s students the opportunity to pursue both their academic interests and athletic aspirations.

 

In addition to its undergraduate schools, Santa Clara has several graduate schools ranging from the School of Law to the Jesuit School of Theology. These schools provide Santa Clara students with opportunities to potentially extend their education beyond their undergraduate experience.

 

Santa Clara University is ranked #54 by U.S. News and World Report and had an acceptance rate of 50% for the Class of 2024. As with many other schools, your supplemental essays are an excellent way to demonstrate your interest in Santa Clara and make your application stand out to admissions officers. 

 

In this post, we’ll discuss how to write strong supplemental essays to improve your chances of acceptance. Want to know your chances at Santa Clara? Calculate your chances for free right now.

 

Santa Clara University Supplemental Essay Prompts

Prompt 1: Briefly describe what prompted you to apply to Santa Clara University. If you have had the opportunity to visit campus or experienced Santa Clara virtually, please share your impression of SCU. (100-200 words)

 

Prompt 2: Driven by the Jesuit values outlined in our mission statement, Santa Clara University promises to educate citizens and leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion. We strive to cultivate knowledge and faith to build a more humane, just, and sustainable world. How do you plan to live out and implement these values in your own life to create a more equitable society? (150-300 words)

Prompt 1

Briefly describe what prompted you to apply to Santa Clara University. If you have had the opportunity to visit campus or experienced Santa Clara virtually, please share your impression of SCU. (100-200 words)

Santa Clara’s first prompt falls under the common “Why This College?” category. In order to fully answer this prompt, you need to describe not only the reasons for your application, but also your impression of Santa Clara. Since you have a limit of only 200 words, it is important that you focus your essay on the aspects of Santa Clara that appeal most to you. 

 

The first step in answering this prompt is to do your research; the school’s website is a great starting point. What clubs, activities, classes, organizations, or programs really pique your interest?

 

Refrain from mentioning general aspects of the school that could apply to many other colleges. Dive deeper! For instance, rather than saying you like SCU for their business program, say you want to engage in the Initiative for Women’s Economic Empowerment (IWEE), whose goal is to “accelerate economic empowerment of women leaders in Silicon Valley, STEM disciplines, and in the developing world as social entrepreneurs.” 

 

Be sure to also connect the resource you mention to your personal goals. Anyone can name unique SCU resources, but you want to underline who these opportunities support your ambitions. For the above example, a student who has campaigned to address women’s unpaid labor would be a natural fit with that resource. 

 

Next, take some time to reflect on Santa Clara’s values and why they appeal to you. Take time to read Santa Clara’s mission, vision, and values on their website and ask yourself these questions:

 

  • Which of these values speak most to me?
  • Why am I a good fit for Santa Clara’s community?
  • How will these values contribute to my education and college experience?

 

While you don’t need to deliberately answer each of these questions in your essay, it is important to consider them when crafting your response to this prompt. Maybe you were very involved in the Jesuit church in your hometown and want to continue exploring your Catholic identity in college. Or, perhaps Santa Clara’s commitment to students and engaged learning will allow you to thrive off having close connections with specific professors whose research you’re interested in. Or, maybe you’re passionate about technology and Santa Clara’s devotion to innovation will enable you to continue pursuing your passion for a particular technological niche. Remember to use the values you pick, whatever they may be, as opportunities to connect yourself with Santa Clara’s community. 

 

Lastly, you need to share your impression of Santa Clara based on the experiences you’ve had with the campus. Whether they were virtual or in person, this is the place to include any notable experiences you’ve had with Santa Clara students or faculty. While avoiding the general discussion of information sessions or campus tours, you should certainly discuss a memorable conversation, class, meeting, or experience you had either virtually or in person. 

 

Not only should you discuss the memorable event or experience, but also how it shaped your view of Santa Clara. For instance, your discussion with a tour guide about her positive experience with small classes in the philosophy department left you with the impression that Santa Clara prioritizes effective learning environments for their students. Whatever your experiences have been, be sure to connect them to an aspect of Santa Clara that appeals to you!

Prompt 2

Driven by the Jesuit values outlined in our mission statement, Santa Clara University promises to educate citizens and leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion. We strive to cultivate knowledge and faith to build a more humane, just, and sustainable world. How do you plan to live out and implement these values in your own life to create a more equitable society? (150-300 words)

In this prompt, you are being asked to connect your own values with those of Santa Clara. By creating this connection, you are demonstrating to the admissions officers that you belong on Santa Clara’s campus and that you would be a great fit for their community. 

 

Before you even start writing, revisit Santa Clara’s mission, vision, and values as well as their Jesuit Catholic Tradition. Then, make a list of two to three of the values that you feel apply most to your life. Maybe Santa Clara’s belief that “everyone is welcome” resonates with you. Or, perhaps you are drawn to Santa Clara’s combination of morals and ethics with academics. Or, maybe you are community-driven and relate to Santa Clara’s commitment to serving others. It does not matter which values you choose to focus on; just keep in mind that you will need to connect them to your own life.

 

The next step in answering this prompt is to discuss how you have already implemented Santa Clara’s values in your own life. For instance, maybe you’ve implemented the values of fairness and inclusivity through your volunteer work for the National Organization for Women. While it is important to describe the way you implement Santa Clara’s values, it is equally important to explain how you have used them to create a more equitable society. Continuing with the example above, volunteering for the National Organization for Women allows you to advocate for feminism and eliminate gender-based discrimination in order to promote equality for women. 

 

You may feel you don’t have an elaborate example of how you have exemplified Santa Clara’s values in the past; however, even the most simple examples will work. No one is expecting you to have initiated national or even state-wide change — you just need to demonstrate how you have made an effort to promote these values in your local environment. For example, you can certainly explain how you embrace Santa Clara’s value of sustainability by the educational campaign you created on composting for your school.

 

Lastly, you need to discuss how you plan to continue implementing Santa Clara’s values in your own life. In this portion of your essay, it is important to not only address your bigger-picture goals, but also how you’ll work to create a more equitable society at Santa Clara. Research the social justice movements, clubs, community service opportunities, and organizations that exist on Santa Clara’s campus or in the surrounding area. For instance, a student focused on compassion and serving others might join Santa Clara’s Camp Kesem, which provides children who have parents diagnosed with cancer a “supportive, lifelong camp community that recognizes and understands their unique needs.”

 

Conclude your response with a future-facing sentiment that explains how you plan to use these values after graduating from SCU. Perhaps you plan to implement the value in your future career, or the way you parent. This final detail should be integrated with your previous statements about how you live out this value, and provide the closure necessary to round out your essay.

 

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