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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.

“My family has had an excellent experience at this school so far. Beyond the beautiful new facility, I have been impressed with the teachers and the administration! They challenge the girls both academically and spiritually, they know them by name, and appear to have a genuine concern for each individual student. The school really feels like a family. As a parent, it is a blessing to me to know that my daughter is in such good hands when I drop her off everyday.”

SCA Parent

“This school has a very strong faith atmosphere! The school is fairly new, but is starting to build a name for itself both spiritually and academically. The faculty and staff rock!”

Student, Class of '19

“SCA proves you can educate young women to both get into Heaven and Harvard!”

SCA Parent

“Beautiful school!”

Rachel

“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

“This school is not only college prep, it is life prep. I know that my daughter is being educated to go out and make a positive difference in the world. She will graduate with the confidence and courage to lead wherever she goes in life. I love the principal, the teachers, and the families. It is such a blessing to be a part of the SCA Family. I know the friends my daughter has made will be her sisters for life.”

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

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

Chrissy

“I have been very impressed with the teachers at this school. They both challenge the girls academically and show true concern for them on a personal level as well.”

SCA Parent

“As a graduate of this school, I can attest to not only the strong education I received from SCA but also the strong foundation I was given in which I could build my own faith upon. I felt fully prepared for the ‘real world’ both academically and spiritually.” 

MaryKatherine