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Loyola Marymount University 2020-21 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide 

Please note: the information below relates to last year's essay prompts. We are going to update this guide with the prompts for 2021-22 as soon as they become available. Check back soon!

Loyola Marymount University 2020-21 Application Essay Question Explanations

Loyola Marymount eases you into their supplement with a classic why essay, but don’t let your guard down. There are some challenging options in the second section. The instructions say it best: these prompts are an opportunity for you to show off your “critical and creative thinking.” So it’s important to select one that will allow you to showcase your strongest academic skills and intellectual passions. This could be the most direct opportunity you’ll ever get to show (and not tell) admissions how you think. Enjoy it!

The Requirements: 2 essays of 500 words

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why, Community, Oddball

Please briefly state your reason for wishing to attend LMU and/or how you came to select your major. (500 words)

You’ve probably seen this before: the why essay. Clocking in at 500 words, LMU’s take on this classic prompt is on the long side. There’s only one thing to do, the same thing we always tell you to do: research, research, research. Set aside some quality time to get up close and personal with the school website (or the campus if you’re able to visit) and take some detailed notes on everything that appeals to you. Go deep. Beyond the classes and professors in your department, explore the options for other subjects you’ve always wanted to study. Learn about clubs and special events on campus to get a feel for student life. Read over the school’s mission statement, and get a feel for the local community beyond the campus. You might even want to read up on the notable alumni you admire. By the time you’re done, you’ll have a whole list of reasons for applying to LMU. Now all you have to do is arrange them. Think about telling a story that illustrates your path to LMU: how do its offerings align with your own interests and goals? Or you could paint an aspirational picture of what you’d be like on campus. If you choose to focus on your major, make sure you connect your past experiences to the ones you hope to have at LMU. Show admissions that LMU the ideal fit for you.


Please read the three statements, which all relate to the mission and the values of Loyola Marymount University. Choose the one you find most interesting and thought provoking; then, answer the question which accompanies the statement you select. This essay, usually around 500 words, is your chance to display your critical and creative thinking.


Prompt 1
In December 2019, LMU became an observer to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change to provide opportunities for students and faculty members to participate in discussions about global warming, greenhouse gases, and other environmental issues. Pope Francis, a leading Jesuit scholar on environmental activism, inspired LMU to act when he stated in Lautato Si, his 2015 encyclical on climate change: “Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.”
Prompt 1 question:
What role do you believe institutions like LMU should play in addressing climate change? What is your personal responsibility to respond to climate change?

LMU wants you to know that they take environmental issues very seriously, and admissions wants to know your thoughts on the matter. What part should institutions play in combating climate change, and more personally, what do you feel is your duty in addressing the imminent threat of global warming? If you don’t know where to start, feel free to rely on your search engine of choice to find out what institutions like LMU are doing or pledging to do in the coming years. Ultimately, admissions wants to see how you think about the issues at hand and what motivates you to act. What have you done to reduce your carbon footprint and what do you hope to do in the future to further your impact? Your answer could range from your decision to bike to school instead of driving, or even pursuing a career in public policy. Reflect on your relationship to Mother Earth and share your thoughts with LMU.


Prompt 2
Speaking about education, Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.’’ Critical thinking is a central goal of Jesuit education, and at LMU you will be asked to think critically and intensively.
Prompt 2 question:
Please talk about a situation that demanded critical thinking from you, and how your choices or decisions integrated intelligence and character.

Unlike the previous question, this prompt directly solicits a personal story. A somewhat nebulous term, “critical thinking” could mean a whole range of things from media literacy to problem-solving. So think about a time in your life when you decided not to take something at face value, whether it was a big challenge or a seemingly basic aspect of the status quo. Maybe hearing adults say, “no” has always felt like the start of a negotiation, from convincing your parents to extend your bedtime to visiting your local elected officials to lobby for important issues. What has this lifelong experience taught you about human stubbornness and compromise? Or perhaps you’re a movie buff who also happens to be a future chemistry major, and you decided to start a blog to break down the science in some of your favorite movies. As you can see the examples can be both big and small, formal and informal. The key is to choose a story that connects to an issue or idea that matters to you enough to take an intellectual risk or two.


Prompt 3
A central component of Jesuit and Marymount schools is ‘‘Educating men and women for others” and one pillar of the LMU mission is “the service of faith and the promotion of justice.” LMU students create the world they want to live in by being generous with their time, talents, and abilities, contributing over 200,000 community service hours annually to organizations around the world.
Prompt 3 question:
What person or experience comes to mind when you consider these statements? Please give an example of someone who works for justice for the least of their neighbors or a service opportunity that was particularly inspiring for you.

This is a super open-ended question, which is excellent. It means that you can take it in any direction that appeals to you. Start by jotting down whatever comes to mind when you read this prompt. Did you immediately think of a prominent activist or leader that has effectively created change in your community? Maybe you were reminded of a service opportunity that you got involved in to encourage voter participation. You can write about a person or an experience here, so you should be able to think of a few options for your response. Regardless of what you pick, make sure to relay what the experience or person means to you. Why does this leader inspire you? Why was that experience so impactful? As with all college essays, you want to make sure your response is first and foremost about you.

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