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Answering the Loyola Marymount Essay Prompts: 2020-21

Loyola Marymount University, a private Jesuit and Marymount university in Los Angeles, asks for several supplemental essays in addition to the main Common or Coalition Application personal statement. You’ll have to respond to one out of three prompts, so it’s important to choose the best one for you. There’s also a separate “Why Marymount” essay which, although not required, we highly recommend writing!

Below, let’s look at how to choose the most appropriate Loyola Marymount essay prompt and show readers a side of yourself not highlighted in other parts of your Loyola Marymount application. Since “critical and creative thinking” is an important component for all these prompts, you’ll want to strike a balance between conveying your own personal experiences and applying what you’ve learned to your worldview.


Let's start by reviewing LMU's overall instructions.

Please read the three statements, which all relate to the mission and the values of Loyola Marymount University. Choose the one you find most interesting and thought-provoking; then, answer the question which accompanies the statement you select. This essay, usually around 500 words, is your chance to display your critical and creative thinking. (usually 500 - 1000 words)

Got it? Now let's dig into the prompts themselves, and discuss how to pick the one that's right for you!


Prompt 1:

In December 2019, LMU became an observer to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change to provide opportunities for students and faculty members to participate in discussions about global warming, greenhouse gases, and other environmental issues. Pope Francis, a leading Jesuit scholar on environmental activism, inspired LMU to act when he stated in Lautato Si, his 2015 encyclical on climate change: “Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.”

Prompt 1 question:

What role do you believe institutions like LMU should play in addressing climate change? What is your personal responsibility to respond to climate change?

Pick this prompt if: you are passionate about environmental issues or civic engagement. This prompt will work especially well if you can connect it to your broader academic passions, such as policy change, environmental engineering, political science, etc. For this particular prompt, it’s fine to make a more academic argument than you might in other personal statements. However, it’s still a good idea to include a personal angle by describing the actions you’ve taken to contribute to a more sustainable world, and how you hope to inspire other individuals, leaders, institutions, and corporations to “choose again what is good.”


Prompt 2:

Speaking about education, Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.’’ Critical thinking is a central goal of Jesuit education, and at LMU you’ll be asked to think critically and intensively in every class.

Prompt 2 question:

Please talk about a situation that demanded critical thinking from you, and how your choices or decisions integrated intelligence and character.

Pick this prompt if: you are ready to engage deeply with a difficult decision you made. This prompt will work well if you’re someone who tends to deliberate and analyze all possibilities before taking any action. On the other hand, if you usually follow your instinct, perhaps a particular experience stands out because you felt you had to think deeply before making a decision. You could even discuss a time when you failed to make the “right” decision but ended up learning a valuable lesson. Either way, you’ll want to discuss how you grew as a person through the experience.


Prompt 3:

A central component of Jesuit and Marymount schools is ‘‘Educating men and women for others” and one pillar of the LMU mission is “the service of faith and the promotion of justice.” LMU students create the world they want to live in by being generous with their time, talents, and abilities, contributing over 200,000 community service hours annually to organizations around the world.

Prompt 3 question:

What person or experience comes to mind when you consider these statements? Please give an example of someone who works for justice for the least of their neighbors or a service opportunity that was particularly inspiring for you.

Pick this prompt if: you have a history of community service or can think of people who have inspired or mentored you through their service. Even though this Loyola Marymount essay prompt allows you to discuss another person’s work, it’s important to relate this person’s efforts to your own values, experiences, and actions. Whether you choose an example of a person who works for justice or an inspiring service opportunity, you’ll want to explore how it has influenced your life. Why did this experience or person make a strong impression on you? Which aspects of your own character did they appeal to? And finally, what have they inspired you to do?


All of these Loyola Marymount essay prompts give you the chance to showcase your character, values, beliefs, and personality. Try to pick the one that lets you explore other aspects of yourself than what you cover in your Common or Coalition App personal statement.


Note: The “Why Marymount” essay is technically optional, but we recommend writing it because it’s a great opportunity to show why you belong at this school. For a guide on writing a strong “Why this college” essay, click here.

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