What are your chances of acceptance?

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


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

University of San Francisco Essay Example

What’s Covered:


The University of San Francisco is a top-rated private college in the Golden Gate city. With small class sizes and an abundance of eager applicants, it’s important that your application stands out with strong essays. In this post, we’ll share a real essay a student submitted to USF, and outline its strengths and areas of improvement. (Names and identifying information have been changed, but all other details are preserved).


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 USF essay breakdown for a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts.


Essay Example 


Prompt: The University of San Francisco’s Jesuit tradition emphasizes Community engagement and education for social justice, Inspiring our students to become passionate agents for others. How do you see yourself becoming part of this mission? (200 words)


Every night, my family gathers for dinner. The ability for all of us to sit together, share a meal, exchange laughter, and debrief on our day is a privilege that I value deeply. It brings us closer as a family and allows us to step back from our busy lives and be present. This sharing experience is one that I hold essential in my daily routine. 


The University of San Francisco Solidarity in Action program offers the opportunity to fill this need even while away from my family. By just giving a few hours of my time weekly, I get to engage with the unhoused souls of San Francisco at the Faithful Fools Ministry, all while sharing a warm meal. In their words, “[Faithful Fools discovers] on the streets our common humanity, through which celebration, community, and healing occur.” These thoughtful words resonate with me as I want to interact and build connections with my community and provide a safe space for me and others around me. An experience as unique, close to home, and concurrent with my beliefs will provide me with the tools to represent USF’s mission in my road to become a better person. 


What the Essay Did Well


This student does a good job of connecting an aspect of community that already exists in their life with one they want to partake in at USF. Establishing that bridge between what they already do and what they hope to do makes for a great response to the prompt because it shows how this student already values community engagement, so they will continue to participate in college.


Another way this essay stands out is that it discusses a particular program at the University of San Francisco that will allow this student to have that sense of community engagement. Many students might not use this prompt as an opportunity to demonstrate their interest in the school and the research they have done, but this student cleverly did. 


By choosing one specific opportunity at USF to focus on, it helps us easily see how this student will connect with the SF community. Not to mention, the program they chose perfectly aligns with the family dinners they spoke about in the first paragraph. This beautifly ties together because they have already told us why they value gathering for a meal, so now that same emotional rationale can be applied to USF’s program.


What Could Be Improved


While there is limited space for this essay, something that would make it a little stronger would be to spend more time elaborating on the family dinners this student has. Even if it’s just a sentence or two, adding some more details about the emotional value these meals have would make it even more impactful. Especially since the latter portion of the essay is built on the importance of these dinners, it’s important that the readers know exactly what makes them so special beyond just being told it brings people closer together.


Another way to make the first paragraph more exciting would be to start the essay in the action of a family dinner. Maybe the author asks her sibling to pass a food with some cultural significance or their dad just cracked a joke everyone is laughing about. Showing us what these dinners sound, smell, taste, and look like will make for an enticing hook and get the reader excited about what comes next.


Where to Get Feedback on Your Essay 


Want feedback like this on your University of San Francisco 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.