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How to Write the Pepperdine Supplement Essay

The Pepperdine essay supplement asks you to dig into something very personal: your relationship with faith and religion. In concert with your Common Application essay, it's a great way to show that you belong at this university. 

Pepperdine is a Christian university where all are welcomed and encouraged to challenge each other in the pursuit of truth. Students, faculty, and staff members from all backgrounds participate in conversations of faith inside and outside of the classroom. Considering that Pepperdine is a Christian university, why are you interested in attending and how would you contribute to conversations of faith on campus? (300 - 500 words


Exploring Faith

If your Christian faith is important to you, don't hesitate to talk about it in a straightforward way. Admissions readers will appreciate knowing that your values align with those of the school. However, you shouldn't assume that being Christian is enough! Make sure you research specific ways that you could join "conversations of faith" at Pepperdine.

  • First, think about how you engage in conversations of faith already. Do you participate in works-based ministries? Do you write poems or songs exploring your faith? Perhaps you have thought deeply about balancing your scientific research interests with religion.
  • Then, think about ways you might want to engage in these conversations going forward. As you brainstorm, try exploring Pepperdine’s website. Look for opportunities that interest you, and take notes! For example, you might be interested in exploring faith in the classroom through the unique Faith and Vocation minor, participating in faith-based extracurriculars like the Campus Ministry, or attending the Convocation Series.


But what if you’re not religious, or not Christian? What’s the best way to tackle the Pepperdine supplement essay?

Your goal here should be to show why a Christian university would be a beneficial environment for you, while demonstrating that you can treat the religious beliefs of others with respect.

  • First, think about an experience where you reflected on faith or learned about it. For example, maybe you had a friendly debate with a religious friend that gave you a new perspective. Or maybe you love history and you’re fascinated by the role of faith in historical conflicts.
  • Then, research how you might engage in conversations of faith at Pepperdine as a non-Christian. For example, maybe you’re looking forward to joining the Interfaith Student Council to foster an inclusive community.


Choosing a Structure

The Pepperdine supplement essay has a flexible word count, so a variety of different structures will work. If you have a particularly powerful story to tell about a "conversation of faith," you might want to take the full 500 words and utilize the Journey structure.

However, for most students, a more straightforward structure will be appropriate.

  • Start by summarizing your answer to the prompt. For example: "As a _____ who ____, I know that Pepperdine's faith-based environment will allow me to _____."
  • Move on to describing how you are already engaging in "conversations of faith."
  • Then, take advantage of your research to talk about the specific ways you will participate in "conversations of faith" on campus.
  • If you have room, finish by imagining your future self, at Pepperdine and beyond, enriched and empowered by "conversations of faith."

Click here for our guide to writing the Common App Essay


Prompt’s Essay Specialists reviewed 13,000 admissions essays in 2018, helping thousands of students submit their applications with confidence.

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