What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

A Great Santa Clara University Essay Example

What’s Covered:


Santa Clara University is a private Jesuit university in California. The acceptance rate is around 50%, so it’s important to write strong essays to help your application stand out. In this post, we’ll go over some essays real students have submitted to Santa Clara University and outline their strengths and areas for improvement. (Names and identifying information have been changed, but all other details are preserved).


Alexandra Johnson, an expert advisor on CollegeVine, provided commentary on this post. Advisors offer one-on-one guidance on everything from essays to test prep to financial aid. If you want help writing your essays or feedback on drafts, book a consultation with Alexandra Johnson or another skilled advisor. 


Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 


Read our SCU essay breakdown for a comprehensive overview of how to write this year’s supplemental essays.


Santa Clara University Essay Example 


Prompt: At SCU, we push our students to be creative, be challenged, and be the solution. Think about an ethical dilemma that you care about that our society is currently facing. This can be something happening in your local community or more globally. How can an SCU education help you prepare for and address this challenge? (150-300 words) 


When I am not studying or filling out college applications, you can find me in the kitchen trying a new recipe and experimenting with ingredients. Spending so much time cooking made me aware of the massive amount of food waste that I produce. So I changed my behavior; I now plan ahead the recipes I make to ensure that all ingredients will be used, only buy what I need for the week, and freeze leftovers for future use. Making these changes wasn’t easy. It makes me wonder how much harder it must be for larger institutions to scale up these solutions.


In my research of Santa Clara University, I came across the Food Recovery Network at SCU that aims to fight the same concerns I experience while in the kitchen. This community of dedicated students proves that there are possible ways to reduce food waste on large scales. I can contribute to help address this familiar challenge by involving myself with this network and the courses SCU offers in sustainable food systems. Additionally, SCU leads by example; their efforts in attaining food sustainability are inspiring to me as a potential student. They purchase locally grown produce and follow the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program for their dining services. Broadening its impact, SCU has made it a goal to become a zero-waste campus aligning with my values of sustainability to aid our environment. A university that shows this much care to attaining sustainable food options and reducing food waste is the perfect place for me to help be the solution. 


What the Essay Did Well


This writer did a great job choosing an ethical dilemma to write about that they care about and that uniquely connects to Santa Clara University. Based on the anecdote about cooking at the beginning of the essay, it’s clear that food waste is an important ethical issue in the writer’s personal life. They describe working to change their behavior to address the issue after discovering that it was a problem through something they love, cooking! It was smart of the writer to use this as an opportunity to share a hobby that they may not have had the opportunity to include elsewhere on their application. 


The essay is also clearly written and does a great job of providing details about why the writer wants to go to Santa Clara University. The second half of the essay answers the part of the prompt that asks: “How can an SCU education help you prepare for and address this challenge?” This half is written like a “Why this college” essay but narrowly focused on the college’s connection to the ethical dilemma discussed in the essay. In a “Why this college” essay, it’s important to use specific details. That’s exactly what the writer does here when they mention the Food Recovery Network and SCU’s adherence to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program. Mentioning these programs shows that the student has done their research on Santa Clara University, which goes a long way in showing that they want to be a student there! For more tips on this specific type of essay, check out: How to write the “Why This College” Essay


Finally, the ethical dilemma that the writer chose is great. This essay shows that an interesting and unique topic doesn’t have to be so specific that the reader has never heard of it; rather, it’s something specific that the reader has a personal connection to and could connect to their interest in attending Santa Clara. 


What Could Be Improved 


One part of this essay that the writer could improve is the ending. They share an ethical issue they care about, why they care about that issue, and what the school is doing to address the issue. Then they end with, “A university that shows this much care to attaining sustainable food options and reducing food waste is the perfect place for me to help be the solution.” This response answers the prompt; however, the writer could have strengthened the ending by connecting SCU’s work back to the writer’s own future and goals. 


An alternate conclusion sentence could mention how the writer plans to use the knowledge that SCU would give them to address food waste. This would allow the writer to remain the focus of the essay, rather than the focus at the end being on SCU’s programs to tackle food waste. Because while this is an essay about the student’s views and ethics, it’s also a chance for the student to share more about themself with the admissions officers. 


Finally, the writer is currently under the word count. While it is okay to be under the word count, the writer could use this space to improve their conclusion. They could mention any ideas that they have for how SCU could better address the problem of food waste. Currently, what the school does well is included, which is great. However, if the writer chose to share their own ideas at the end, then it would help the reader better imagine a few ways that the writer will be a positive addition to the Santa Clara community. 


Where to Get Feedback on Your Essay 


Want feedback like this on your Santa Clara University essay before you submit? We offer expert essay review by advisors who have helped students get into their dream schools. You can book a review with an expert to receive notes on your topic, grammar, and essay structure to make your essay stand out to admissions officers.


Haven’t started writing your essay yet? Advisors on CollegeVine also offer expert college counseling packages. You can purchase a package to get one-on-one guidance on any aspect of the college application process, including brainstorming and writing essays.

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Our college essay experts go through a rigorous selection process that evaluates their writing skills and knowledge of college admissions. We also train them on how to interpret prompts, facilitate the brainstorming process, and provide inspiration for great essays, with curriculum culled from our years of experience helping students write essays that work.