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TIPS PLS!! "Why this college" essay for a religious school when I'm not super religious



I'm applying early to Pepperdine and my app is due in about 2 weeks. So, I'm the most stumped about the "why this college" supplemental question. To be honest, these types of questions already stress me out and the fact Pepperdine is religious increases it.

I grew up going to Church A LOT with my grandparents when I was younger, but my actual parents aren't super religious so we only go a few times over a year. Do you think I'm stressing out too much by being afraid of looking like a 'bad Christian"

I know why I want to study at the school (the programs, school clubs, small community, etc) but I still want to explain why I chose a Christian school.

Just for reference, Pepperdine is a Southern California school and isn't extremely religious or conservative, or so I've been told. They're open to accepting not-Christian and even non-religious students.


4 answers

answered on[edited]
Accepted answer

So I was interested in some of the Christian affiliated schools and my experience of a Christian school especially the well-known ones (like TCU Marquette ND Creighton etc) is to not talk about faith itself as in dont say "I want to attend a Christian school" but instead say something like "I want to attend a school that has x y z value (those values are Christian values as in giving back to community etc) and your school embodies that and that's why insert school is the school I want to enroll at. But in the why this school definitely focus on the school not the religion. With the exception of only a few well-known religious conservative school like Liberty, a religious school (Pepperdine is different from non religious schools like USC is they may receive funding from the church, may require a religious credit, and MAY make more time for religious occasions) is exactly the same as a normal private-non-profit school. They want to see you interested in their school.

TLDR: Talk about the values, not the faith itself.

Really hope this helps and please comment if you need clarification as I’d be happy to help clarify!

Edited for spelling on 10/16.

Yes! This is the exact type of mindset I tried to use in my essay. I figured since Pepperdine is accepting of people of different stages of their faith or even different religions I needed to focus specifically on my personal values and how this would connect with the school. I'm superrrr confident in my essay now. thank you for these tips, I feel much more at ease now.
Your welcome!
answered on

Hello, how are you? I already went through the same situation asking myself the same thing, but what I learned in the end was that nobody, exactly nobody can dictate how to be a Christian. It is a relationship, a commitment, but not a chain! If that's what you want to do, do it, don't mind other opinions! it's your decision.

Uh what does being a Christian have to do with writing the essay. OP specifically said s/he is non-religious.
Actually I would consider myself at least somewhat religious, so this type of advice Marley provided is really helpful. I was concerned about not looking like a 'good' Christian since I'm not as involved in Church as I was as a kid. But Marley is right, I shouldn't feel pressured to appear like the by-the book Christian in my essay. Thanks Marley!
Oh my bad! @Jaade
answered on

Haha totally understand where you're coming from! Honestly I wouldn't mention the religious stuff, mention why you want to study at this school(maybe one of the only schools with your major). You could also mention what clubs and activities you'll take advantage of and how you as a student/person will add to the school. Also if you've thought of studying abroad and the have abroad programs, tell them you want to take the opportunity to study abroad and why you would want to do that. I'm not religious at all and I've considered applying to Pepperdine, so if I were you, I just wouldn't mention the religious stuff :)

answered on

I agree with @DebaterMAX. Especially if the school isn't extremely religious and will accept non-Christians, you don't really need to address the fact that it's a Christian school at all if it didn't affect you wanting to go there. I would focus on the things that you do like about the school and what made you want to go there, like programs, classes you want to take or professors you look forward to having, or possible extracurriculars. Also bring in how you can make a difference at the school and maybe you can bring in some more Christian ideals into that part if you really do want to include something religion-related, and then after you include all those things, I think you'll have no problem filling your essay without having to explain about religion so much.

I’d argue that if you are wanting to attend a religious affiliated school doesn’t make it religious. So “hyping” your religion doesn’t make a whole lot of sense especially if you are non-religious.
I'm a little confused as to what you're saying here. I did say that if the school isn't religious that there isn't a need to, but since the person asking the question did want to explain why they chose a school that was specifically Christian, I said that they could slide in some ideas that could be tied to the religion. I never said anything about hyping religion or making it a big thing.
Ah maybe I didn’t word it right but don’t advertise yourself as someone your not. So to quote @sny “maybe you can bring in some more Christian ideals into that part if you really do want to include something religion-related”. I’d argue against that. This is admittedly on a much bigger scale but I saw on quora that an interviewer for MIT who volunteered to do interviews for applicants said interview was known locally for being an airplane geek and an applicant tried to pass himself off as
Knowledgeable about planes. Interviewer caught that pdq and said applicant essentially got a 0/100 on the interview. So don’t try to be someone you’re not.
I agree with not trying to be someone you're not. Christian ideals/values don't have to be unique to only Christians; they can be as simple as kindness and those things can be included even if you're not Christian.
Hey Sny, thanks for the tips! I decided to make my essay more so on the close-knit community this school offers and how faith takes play while also linking it to how I think this "atmosphere" would benefit me academically. You're tips were super helpful!
Yeh @sny I said talk about values not religion so I should have said don’t pretend to be religious to get into a religious afflieted school as an atheist. Also @Jaade talking about the atmosphere is a great choice!