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Writing a Great Gonzaga Writing Supplement

As an applicant to Gonzaga University, you’ll have to complete both the Common App personal statement and the Gonzaga writing supplement. This short essay gives you a chance to show admissions readers another side of yourself from what’s highlighted in the rest of your application.

At first (and perhaps second) glance, the two Gonzaga writing supplement prompts might appear mighty similar to each other—as well as to several of the Common App prompts. So how do you pick the best one for you to answer?

It’s largely a matter of creating a good balance with the rest of your application. With that in mind, let’s delve into the two options below.



Please choose one of the following questions to answer below. Please provide a short response (3-6 sentences).

300 words max

Please share an experience you have had outside of the classroom that has contributed to your personal growth.


Pick this prompt if: the rest of your application has a heavy academic or scholarly focus, and if you can think of some transformative non-academic moment that you haven’t explored elsewhere in your application. With this prompt, you can demonstrate how you engage with life beyond the world of school.

Make sure that the experience you choose to write about changed you in some significant way—perhaps it inspired you to action or led you to overhaul your thinking or worldview. Spend about half the essay describing the experience itself, and then the other half discussing its impact on your life (and perhaps how it will influence you in college and beyond).


Please share an experience that made you feel uncomfortable or challenged, and then explain how you grew from the situation.

Pick this prompt if: the rest of your application almost makes you sound “too perfect,” as if you have no vulnerabilities or weaknesses, or as if nothing difficult or troubling has ever happened to you.

“Wait,” you’re probably shouting right about now. “You want me to admit, right here on my college application, that my life is not perfect??? ARE YOU INSANE??” Well… hear me out.

If your application already shows how well-rounded you are, with great grades, extravagant extracurriculars, and a life full of meaningful experiences and noble pursuits, admissions readers may ask, “Is this kid even real?”

Here’s your chance to assure readers that you are in fact a real human being, living a real life! Again, devote about half of the essay to describing the experience itself; this time, when you describe the experience, be sure to focus on highlighting why you felt uncomfortable or challenged. Show what you were thinking in the midst of the situation. Spend the other half of your essay covering the impact: actions you took or plan to take, new goals you have, ways you think differently now.

Whichever prompt you choose for your Gonzaga writing supplement, make sure that your topic is different than that of your Common App personal statement. So if you wrote about struggling to adhere to your vegan ethics in your personal statement, don’t write much, if anything, about veganism/vegan ethics here.

No matter what you write about, try to approach it from a fresh, surprising angle—a unique angle that only you could come up with. This especially applies if you pick a topic such as an athletic achievement or a service trip; these are rather common topics that will make it all the more difficult for your response to stand out.

One final note: You don’t have to be Jesuit, Catholic, or even religious to attend Gonzaga. However, as a Jesuit institution, Gonzaga is outspoken about its core values of service, human dignity, social justice, diversity, and other ideals. Keep this in mind as you consider your essay topic and as you discuss your personal growth and future plans. Try to show your personal connection—religious or otherwise—to these Gonzaga ideals.


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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