Type to search

University of San Diego | USD

San Diego, CaliforniaPrivate

Want to see your chances of admission at University of San Diego | USD?

We take every aspect of your personal profile into consideration when calculating your admissions chances.

University of San Diego | USD’s 2023-24 Essay Prompts

Living Learning Community Short Response

350 Words

The University of San Diego offers diverse educational opportunities grounded in the liberal arts and sciences. First-year students are immersed in one of our five Living Learning Communities (LLC), with the themes reflecting the vitality of the liberal arts tradition: Advocate, Collaborate, Cultivate, Illuminate and Innovate. Select one of these five themes and describe how it resonates with you and why. (Please note that your response to this question will not impact any future LLC placement.)

Select-A-Prompt Short Response

200 Words

Now choose one of the three prompts below to write about. Essays should be approximately 200 words in length.

Option 1

What contribution have you made to your current school and/or local community that best exemplifies your awareness of and commitment to creating a diverse, inclusive and equitable community? Here at USD, we believe that our campus community and the communities we engage with are integral parts of who we are as a university. Our newly launched Horizon Project is a call to action, ensuring that we are dedicating the time, energy and resources necessary to build an ever more diverse and inclusive campus community. We value the fact that our students come from all walks of life, have experienced different realities and bring with them an array of unique perspectives, including some that have often been underrepresented and underserved by higher education.

Option 2

Use this space to write about one of the challenges facing humanity today. Why does it matter to you? What experiences or insights have you had that speak to the urgency of this issue. As a proud Changemaker Campus, as designated by Ashoka U, the USD experience emphasizes changemaking through social justice efforts, civic engagement, social innovation, creativity and a global perspective.

Option 3

Share some of your ideas about the role of faith or spirituality in your life or the life of someone you know. As a contemporary Catholic university, we welcome and celebrate students from every background and faith tradition, including those who do not identify with a faith tradition. We devote great time and energy to ensuring all students feel connected to the vibrant USD community, including opportunities to grow in their relationship with God while considering who they are, what they believe and who they are called to become.

Common App Personal Essay

650 words

The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don‘t feel obligated to do so.

Option 1

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

Option 2

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Option 3

Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

Option 4

Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

Option 5

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

Option 6

Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

Option 7

Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you‘ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

What will first-time readers think of your college essay?

Join thousands of students getting and giving peer feedback on college essays—all for free!