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The Requirements: 2 essays of up to 300 words
Let’s call this the Silicon Valley Supplement, even though Pepperdine is actually in LA. The prompts here are all about Making the World a Better Place™ through personal growth and self-awareness. While you may not want to air your most personal experiences, you should push yourself to freewrite as a part of your brainstorming process. Get it all out on the page and then trim away the details that are irrelevant or that you aren’t ready to share. But first, let’s break down the questions.
While the image of “living in a bubble” is practically a modern day cliche, this prompt is actually quite profound. It gets at both your intellectual curiosity and capacity for empathy. This essay could present a great opportunity to write about something as formal as community service, or as spontaneous as a time you deliberately leaned into discomfort for the sake of fostering a greater understanding of something in the long run. But before you travel too far down any single path, we think it’s worthwhile for all applicants to ask: what is my bubble? In what ways are you isolated or sheltered? What are the societal or self-imposed factors that control or limit your relationships? When have you chosen comfort over experience? Once you have zeroed in on your bubble, you can brainstorm a few examples of times when you have pushed yourself to move beyond it. We encourage you to be aware of the balance of privilege and power when you write your story and avoid gross generalizations about other communities. At the end of the day, this essay is about you.
Let’s say you used to rely on a very specific internet community for information on current events, but lately you’ve decided to make a point of having in-person discussions with people whose viewpoints differ from your community. Rather than passing judgment on the individuals you’ve been speaking to, what can you share about your journey? How did you handle the initial discomfort? How do you handle it now? What has changed about your worldview or your approach to touchy subjects? Keep it personal and you can’t go wrong.
Given the faith-forward nature of this question and of the university website, we imagine that most of you folks reading this guide probably already have a few thoughts on this question. We’d be surprised if the religious affiliation didn’t factor into your decision to apply, but if you haven’t thought about it, now is your chance to reflect on what you might stand to gain. Writing about faith is just as personal (if not more!) than any other topic you might cover on your college application, so don’t be afraid to dig deep. If you grew up in a traditional religious household, you probably have a treasure trove of experiences and stories to draw upon, but sometimes it’s hard to write about faith when it’s always been a given in your life. Whether your background is Christian, Hindu, or any other religion, can you think about a time when you turned to your faith of your own accord. Maybe you’ve recently taken an interest in the lesser-known traditions of your faith and have adopted a practice of honoring elders by performing Bappa Jai Jai. If religion wasn’t a huge part of your upbringing, what led you to take a personal interest in it? Maybe going to your friends’ bar and bat mitzvahs made you want to seek out a structure for your own transition to adulthood. Or perhaps you’ve more recently developed an interest in philosophy and ethics, and you think it would be valuable to study these topics in a religious context. Whether you consider yourself a religious person or not, faith is a central component of the Pepperdine education, and now is your chance to figure out how you’ll fit in. In some ways, this is a sideways Why essay mixed with a Community essay, so if you’re having trouble getting started, read through our general guides to kickstart your brainstorming.