How to Write the Santa Clara University Essay 2023-2024
If you’re dreaming of attending Santa Clara University, you want to be confident your application will stand out. One of the best ways to improve your chances of acceptance during the admissions process is to submit thorough, creative essay responses. In this post, we’ll share how to write a strong supplemental essay to improve your chances of acceptance at Santa Clara.
Read this Santa Clara essay example to inspire your writing.
Santa Clara University Supplemental Essay Prompt
At Santa Clara University, we value our diverse and inclusive community. Our campus learning environment is enriched by the lived experiences of people from different backgrounds. What people, places, events, or circumstances have shaped the individual you are today and how you could contribute to our community? (150-300 words)
This is a classic example of a Diversity prompt. Santa Clara University is using this prompt to get to know you and your background a little bit better, so this is a great opportunity to dig into some of your more unique experiences, or character traits that you feel are particularly important to who you are.
A common misconception is that a Diversity essay has to focus on an identity characteristic, but in reality, your answer can be almost anything that you feel has contributed to who you are. It’s not just picking an attribute, identity, or aspect of yourself that makes for a good essay; it’s also making a case for what your chosen subject says about you, and what you’ll bring to Santa Clara.
It’s also important to note that while the Supreme Court ended affirmative action this summer, colleges continue to consider racial diversity on an individual basis through information shared in essays. If your racial or ethnic heritage has helped shape who you are, what you believe, and what you value, this could be a good time to write about that.
What should you choose if you don’t want to write about your racial ethnic background? Your options are broader than you might think. You might write about your religion, sexuality, gender identity, or socioeconomic status, but you could also write about hobbies, languages, or family structure. You could go a bit more abstract, and write about personality traits, talents, or values that set you apart from the crowd. Consider these examples of students who wrote unique diversity essays about uncommon traits they possess.
- One student wrote an essay about being the younger sister of identical twins, and how she navigated the expectations around how she and her twin sisters would relate to each other.
- Another student wrote about his strong value for honesty, how he stuck to it, even in tough situations, and how though people didn’t always understand it, his real friends came to respect his beliefs.
- An applicant wrote about collecting stamps from a young age, how it brought him into a world that was largely made up of older people, and what it was like to be in that space as a teenager.
- A student wrote about her stutter, and how self-consciousness over how she talked eventually grew into confidence, resilience, and inner strength.
All of these examples, while perhaps not anyone’s first thought when they hear the word diversity, give deep insight into these students’ lives and their individuality. You’ll want to do the same, by highlighting what makes you stand out from the crowd. If you have an identity or experience that most other people don’t, consider writing about that, rather than something that might be more stereotypically associated with diversity. You want your essay to paint a vivid picture of you, one that can’t be confused with any other applicant the Santa Clara admissions team might be reading about.
Once you’ve picked your topic, think about using anecdotes to illustrate your point, and show, don’t tell, the important details. Consider two different openings to the story of the young stamp collector.
Since I was a kid, I’ve collected stamps, which is an unusual hobby for someone my age. Most other stamp collectors are older adults, which means I spend a lot of time with elderly people. I’ve learned some things from them, and they’ve definitely passed some interesting habits to me, in an unintentional intergenerational exchange that has enriched all of us.
This is direct and informative, but not very exciting, and not very unique.
Some of my best friends have liver spots and firsthand memories of watching the moon landing on TV. It’s not through volunteering, or because I live with my grandparents; it’s because I’m a philatelist – a stamp collector who sees a slice of history in each carefully detailed sticker. My septuagenarian friends understand this better than most, and through the years, we’ve even come to understand each other through our shared passion. I have a subscription to Reader’s Digest, and some of the older stamp collectors are regular guests on my TikTok account, proving that all of us have something to learn from each other.
This is a longer excerpt, and depending on what the student has left to say, he may want to trim some of this detail. Still, the paragraph automatically stands out as more dynamic and full of personality. The student is also indirectly giving us a glimpse into his open-minded attitude, willingness to learn from others, and unique insight into an older generation, alongside his passion for stamps, art, and history. Just a few sentences can pack quite a punch!
In concluding your essay, make sure to reflect on how this experience, trait, or identity has shaped who you are. Remember to show, not tell, and try to avoid the generic or cliche, like saying “X experience has made me stronger as a person.” Share specific examples or details about how you’ve developed or grown as a person. In our philatelist example, the student wrote about how communicating across generational divides has helped him develop patience, open-mindedness, and a respect for others’ experiences, even if he didn’t always agree with their opinions. Use this essay to tell the admissions committee at Santa Clara how your chosen subject has impacted you and your life, and end by showing them why that should make them want you at their school.
Where to Get Your Santa Clara University Essays Edited
A fresh pair of eyes can really help spot areas for improvement that might not occur to you, or other ways to make you stand out to the admissions officers at Santa Clara. CollegeVine has created a free Peer Review Essay Tool, where you can get feedback on your essay, and give feedback to other students just like you!
CollegeVine also offers essay review by our team of experienced advisors, who have helped hundreds of students submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you and get the feedback you need to make your application a success!