How to Write the Soka University of America Essays 2023-2024
Soka University of America has two required essay prompts on its application. You are asked to write about global human progress and your purpose in pursuing a liberal arts education. In this post, we’ll go over some ways to tackle responding to these prompts.
Soka University receives hundreds of applications from students with a strong academic record, so the essays are a great opportunity for you to stand out as an individual.
Read this Soka University essay example to inspire your writing.
Soka University of America Essay Prompts
Prompt 1: In the view of global human progress, which path seems more promising to you: revolution or evolution? What role do you see for dialogue being a catalyst for progress? Please elaborate. (500-750 words)
Prompt 2: In today’s world, what is your purpose in seeking a liberal arts education? How would you use your SUA education as a tool to shape your future living a contributive life? (500-750 words)
In the view of global human progress, which path seems more promising to you: revolution or evolution? What role do you see for dialogue being a catalyst for progress? Please elaborate. (500-750 words)
This prompt is asking some deep questions. The good news is that there’s really no right or wrong answer; you should allow your values and beliefs to really shine through here. Both revolution and evolution involve change–revolution is radical, sudden, and dramatic whereas evolution is gradual, slow, and incremental.
Before you get to writing, it might be helpful to think about your societal values. Consider things you might want to see changed like healthcare, minimum wage, fast fashion, factory farming, or policing. Do you tend to want to see these things change profoundly and immediately, or do you think a slower incremental change would work better? There are valid arguments for each route, but these arguments tend to be deeply personal.
Maybe you think that there are huge problems that can only be solved with a massive societal shift overnight, or maybe you think that progress can only be sustained if it’s gradual and planned out. Either way, you should think of concrete examples like the aforementioned ones to illustrate your position. With a prompt like this, conviction is key. You don’t necessarily need to feel intensely tied to one option over the other, but you do have to pick and argue for one in this essay.
There are a couple of things to note:
- You should define both evolution and revolution briefly at the beginning of your response to give it some direction. Many students decide to cite a dictionary and quote its definition, but this has frankly become a big cliché. You should define the words in your own words and avoid the “according to Merriam-Webster” trope. Of course, you can consult dictionaries to refine your definitions, but this is a relatively short essay so using your own words throughout is strongly recommended.
- You need some concrete examples to support your choice. While we usually recommend avoiding controversial political topics, this prompt is asking about revolution, and Soka is a liberal school. In light of this, it’s fine to discuss political topics, and it would be nearly impossible to write this essay well without mentioning specific issues. Since the word count is longer, you may be able to write about 2-4 concrete examples.
- You may find it helpful to create a hypothetical progress scenario just to point out how either revolution or evolution would work well and how the other wouldn’t.
Let’s look at the second half of the prompt. How do you see dialogue being a catalyst for progress and change? Maybe you think dialogue on its smallest scale will allow us all to find common ground on the right way to move forward. Or maybe you feel that dialogue is most important at the highest levels of government so that all countries can align in their decisions.
For example, when it comes to fast fashion, dialogue between educators and consumers can help individuals overcome throwaway culture and learn to care for their clothing. Dialogue is also necessary among elected officials, workers, and businesses in passing bills to protect garment worker rights.
Or, maybe your example is universal basic income and women’s unpaid labor. Dialogue could help the public understand the reasoning behind UBI, such as a media campaign where stay at home parents share their experiences and the amount of work they do each day.
Either way, be sure to be specific and detailed about your ideas regarding dialogue catalyzing progress. You may even wish to cite examples from history of how smaller-scale or top-level dialogue brought about tangible progress.
You might not think dialogue has any role in being a catalyst for progress, but we recommend that you avoid writing that in your response. The question already presupposes that dialogue does act as a catalyst for progress, and Soka, like other universities, seeks to foster dialogue, discourse, and collaboration.
While this question is more philosophical and academic in nature, you can still consider different structures and formatting. A narrative structure works great if you have a strong anecdote that you can tie into both questions. A small collection of anecdotes might be useful if you have a relevant anecdote for each half of the prompt. If you don’t have relevant anecdotes or simply don’t want to use any, making straightforward declarative statements and answering each question in turn is absolutely fine too.
In today’s world, what is your purpose in seeking a liberal arts education? How would you use your SUA education as a tool to shape your future living a contributive life? (500-750 words)
There are two parts to this prompt. You are first asked to discuss why you are seeking a liberal arts education in today’s world. After that, you are asked how you would use your education from Soka to contribute to the world.
Soka only has one undergraduate degree program, BA in liberal arts, in which you choose a concentration (Environmental Studies, Humanities, International Studies, Life Sciences, or Social and Behavioral Sciences). No one expects you to have an exhaustive, definite life plan at this stage, but it would be helpful if you have some idea of what you want to study generally. Soka’s unique focus presupposes that you are at least leaning towards pursuing liberal arts. Thinking about what interests, fascinates, and motivates you will give you some insight into why you want to study liberal arts.
Once you have chosen those motivations, think about how a broad liberal arts education can help you achieve your goals. Maybe you want to be an author and consider a liberal arts education key to having a well-rounded style or a wider base of domain-specific knowledge.
If you’re interested in or passionate about liberal arts, you should be able to delineate your personal reasons for studying such subjects. The more open-ended question is the second one in the prompt. It subtly asks two things:
- Why do you want a Soka education specifically?
- How would you use your Soka education to contribute to the world?
Answering why you want to study at Soka specifically is a smaller-scale version of the “Why This College?” prompt. Check out CollegeVine’s guide to writing the “Why This College?” essay for some tips. Remember, you need to answer this entire prompt in 500-750 words, so be very succinct in this part of your response. Soka’s unique BA program is a good place to start, but you should also explore Soka’s student organizations and try to find one that resonates with you and your goals. Be specific in your response; a generic response doesn’t indicate a genuine interest in the university.
As for the other half of this question, you should think about how the specific education you receive can be worked into your career goals or life passions. Maybe you want to be a doctor and a liberal arts background will help you be a more versatile practitioner in terms of how you interact with your patients and how you think analytically. Or maybe you want to work in agriculture and the environmental studies concentration and Soka Instructional Garden will prepare you to more thoroughly understand food sustainability programs.
Here are examples of what to do and what not to do:
Weak: SUA is a renowned liberal arts college that appeals to me because I want to take an interdisciplinary approach to my education. I wish to join extracurriculars such as research opportunities and clubs like student government. I believe I will thrive in the learning environment provided by the small class sizes.
Strong: I am really intrigued by Soka’s concentration in Environmental Studies, especially the hands-on component. Being able to practice organic agriculture in the Soka Instructional Garden facilities would help me better understand sustainable food production. I grew up helping cultivate vegetables on my family’s farm, and I spent weekends selling produce at the farmer’s market. These experiences bred my passion for agriculture and business. At the same time, I consider myself an environmentalist and strive to support sustainable practices. I would like to one day start an environmentally-conscious food production business; Soka’s hands-on agricultural experiences would equip me with a strong foundation of knowledge and skills to achieve my goals.
Furthermore, having a background in liberal arts will allow me to approach my business with a more nuanced perspective. Business is not only technical and transactional; it also requires a strong grasp on what drives people and society. At SUA, I will not only be able to gain real experience in my direct field of interests (environment and agriculture), but I will also develop a strong foundation in relevant fields such as psychology. A liberal arts degree will equip me with the skills to develop multidimensional business solutions in the context of the communities they impact.
The former response doesn’t demonstrate a deeper knowledge of Soka; it only really talks about resources that can be found at nearly every college. The latter response shows a genuine interest in Soka by naming unique opportunities and how they align with the student’s individual goals. Additionally, the student addresses why a liberal arts college in general is a strong choice personally.
Where to Get Your Soka University of America Essays Edited
Want feedback on your SUA essays to improve your chances at admission? After reading your own essay over and over again, it can get difficult to even spot where you can improve. That’s why we’ve created our free Peer Essay Review tool, where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also sharpen 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!