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College Essays

Common App 2020-2021 Essay Prompts

  • Share your Story: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, please share your story.
  • Learning from Obstacles: 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?
  • Challenging a Belief: Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  • Solving a Problem: Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma — anything of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
  • Personal Growth: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  • What Captivates You?: Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging 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?
  • Topic of Your Choice: Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you have already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

“The community service, the focus on virtuous living, and the sisterhood really instills compassion and respect for all of humanity.”

SCA Parent

“SCA is authentically and unapologetically Catholic. It’s excellence in academics and athletics is rooted in its mission to pass on the beauty of the Catholic faith in a way that is relevant to the modern world. The result is a constant focus on the character and virtue of its students, challenging them to be the best version of themselves not just academically, but spiritually as well.”

SCA Parent

“I loved every minute at St. Catherine! The friends I made there will always be a part of my family. This school taught me how to be a strong, intelligent, independent woman who is strong in her faith. I am blessed to say I got to experience SCA.”

Alumna, Class of '18

“[SCA] builds upon your faith and strengthen you academically throughout the four years in high school so that you are more than ready when you move on to college.”

Zina

“An excellent school that brings the girls together more like sisters rather than friends.”

Zina

“This high school experience is like none other you can get anywhere. There is joy and comradery and the girls are happy and excel. They are being supported and encouraged by staff. You can watch a girl come in who had a bad experience elsewhere, bloom here and become a different girl in a short time. Can’t say enough good about it. Thank God the founders had this vision and followed through with it. Well needed and we are very thankful!”

SCA Parent

“Recently attended an event at this school – very beautiful!”

Kenneth

“I was among one of the very first classes SCA ever had. As a pioneer and a student to be a part of the foundation of clubs and classes that continue today, I am beyond proud of how far the school has come. There were many ups and downs during my four years but an amazing experience overall. Today at college I still look back on and cherish my times at SCA, thankful for the connections, education and sisterhood I acquired. I am looking forward to seeing many more young women carry on the traditions my class and recent classes have set for the future.”

Alumna, Class of '14

“This high school builds the whole young woman intellectually, spiritually, and teaches the feminine genius approach to life. Amen!”

Chrissy

“An excellent community for families that want to stay involved!”

Leighanne