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University of San Francisco 2017-18 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

Regular Decision: 

University of San Francisco 2017-18 Application Essay Question Explanations

The Requirements: 1 essay of 200 words

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why

If the University of San Francisco supplement was on the menu at a fancy restaurant, it would be called, “Why Two Ways.” Both prompts (of which you have to choose 1) act like typical why essays in that they aim to assess your fit; they also expect you to demonstrate a deep, well-researched knowledge of the school. But they deviate from your classic why prompt by asking you to focus on specific, unique elements of the USF experience. So the key to choosing the right prompt is to write the essay that focuses on the aspect of a USF education that is most important to you.

We are interested in learning more about you. Please select from one of the two options below and write a response of no more than 200 words.

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 a part of this mission?

This is quite a loaded prompt. In these two sentences, admissions gives you two points of entry into USF’s service-oriented mission: religion and social justice. You can choose to cover both or just one, but either way, you should be thinking about the relationship between your values and those of USF. Has your upbringing in a multifaith household opened your eyes to the importance of religious pluralism? Or has your blooming interest in the criminal justice system inspired you to study law as a way to advocate for others? Start with the personal, and connect it to the opportunities available at USF. The prompt asks how “you see yourself becoming a part of this mission,” so think deeply about how you would embed yourself on campus. As you do your research, think about how the kinds of classes, clubs, research, and study abroad opportunities (among others) would help you achieve your goals – and also how they connect to USF’s mission. Since you only have 200 words, our recommendation is to focus on one particular interest or theme related to service or social justice and use it as a way to trace a potential path for your four years at USF. Your essay doesn’t need to be comprehensive, but it should be authentic and say something about what you value.

A USF education is intensely personal and intellectually demanding, emphasizing disciplined thinking and life-changing experiences. As you think about the many academic programs offered at USF, what fields of study are you drawn to and why?

This is more of a classic academics-focused why essay. The admissions team at USF wants to know why you’re going into whichever field of study you have listed on your application. So focus your research on one or two departments of interest. Looking at classes and professors is a good place to start, but dig deeper. Say you’re interested in philosophy. What kinds of speakers or events does the department bring to campus? What does this tell you about their engagement with the field? Their values? What kinds of off-campus opportunities exist for philosophy majors, from internships to study abroad programs? What do the alumni go on to do? And of course, how does all of this information relate to who you are, the way you learn, and your personal goals? Or imagine you’re aiming for a career in communications. Tell admissions why their research opportunities call to you and why their student radio station, KUSF, will help you get to where you want to be. The great thing about this prompt is that it doesn’t alienate undecided students. Even if you’re not sure which major you’d like to declare, you can still look into classes and write about the classes or majors that interest you. Just make sure to focus on the why part of the essay prompt.

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