Skip to main content


How to Approach the SCU Supplemental Questions

As part of the Santa Clara application, you will be asked to complete two supplemental short-answer essay questions that are specific to our university. We’re looking to see why you envision yourself as a part of our community. Learn how best to approach these questions from the counselors who read your application!

College applications have many steps and pieces to complete before they’re ready to submit. At Santa Clara, we use the Common Application, which allows students to complete one main application that can be shared with any school that uses the platform. To personalize the process, most schools also have a supplemental application, which includes questions that will only be shared with that university. Our supplemental application includes a variety of questions including your familiarity with the university, how you learned about Santa Clara, and what type of involvement you’re interested in continuing in college. In addition to those more basic questions, we also ask you to complete two response questions, each about a paragraph in length. Below, you’ll find the questions for the winter 2021 and fall 2022 applications with helpful tips on how to complete each one. 


Briefly describe what prompted you to apply to Santa Clara University. Based on what you know about SCU and our Jesuit mission to educate citizens and leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion, how do you envision your life at SCU and beyond? (Maximum 200 words)

This question focuses on your familiarity with Santa Clara and why our community stands out to you in comparison to other schools. We want to know why you want to be a student at Santa Clara. To stand out in this question, you’ll need to have completed some research on the university and what we have to offer, particularly connected to the mission of Santa Clara University. As a Jesuit university, we look for students who identify with our core values and strive to create a more equitable world. Through the activities list and essay on the Common Application, we learn about how you have contributed to your community already. In this question, we want to hear how you plan to live out these values moving forward. Talk about how you will incorporate competence, conscience, and compassion into your academic and extracurricular experience at Santa Clara and beyond.  

Have you identified a specific student organization that you want to join on campus? Is a professor conducting research that interests you? Why do you think you’re a good fit for Santa Clara? Focus on answering some of these specific questions. The more specific you can be, the better! We want to see that you’ve taken the time to understand what makes Santa Clara such a special place to be and how you envision yourself contributing to our community. 

In addition, this question also considers how you have demonstrated your interest to us before applying. To learn more about how to demonstrate interest virtually, read this blog! Ultimately, we’re looking to see if and how you’ve engaged with us. We offer plenty of opportunities to attend virtual and in-person information sessions and campus tours. You can register for a session here. We love to see students talk about their memories from their interactions with SCU, whether on campus or through a computer screen, and how these influenced your decision to apply. Overall, don’t hold back; tell us exactly why you want to be a Santa Clara Bronco next year!


Please provide a statement that addresses your reasons for transferring to Santa Clara University and the objectives you hope to achieve.

This question is for transfer students to describe your academic and personal journey and why you've decided to apply to transfer at SCU. Like the first-year question, it focuses on your familiarity with Santa Clara and why our community stands out to you and can support your pursuit of higher education. We want to know why you want to be a student at Santa Clara!


First-Year and Transfer:


At SCU, we push our students to be creative, be challenged, and be the solution. Think about an ethical dilemma that you care about that our society is currently facing. This can be something happening in your local community or more globally. How can an SCU education help prepare you to address this challenge? (150-300 words)


What ethical or social issue are you most passionate about? How do you hope to contribute to solving this issue? Why is this issue important to you? Reflect on these questions as you determine how best to share your goals with us. Don’t feel like you need to include every way you plan to address this challenge. They don’t have to be big, concrete goals either. Try to focus on one issue and one or two ways you plan to support this endeavor in your daily life, academically, professionally, or personally at Santa Clara.



Overall, the best piece of advice we can give you is to have fun with these questions and reflect on why Santa Clara has stood out to you in your college search process. Don’t be afraid to show us your excitement and passion for our university. In fact, that’s exactly what we want to see! We’re looking for students who can’t wait to be Broncos and are able to communicate why they want to be a member of our community. In the end, there aren’t wrong answers to these questions. Use them as an opportunity to reflect on where you are now and where you hope to go in the future. Good luck!



*updated to reflect 2021-2022 application

application process,application tips,essays
About the author