Providence College Essay Prompt

Apply to Providence College

The admission process at PC is highly selective. For the Class of 2022, over 11,400 students applied for approximately 1,000 spaces. It is important that you spend time carefully preparing your application and presenting the most complete portrait of yourself.

Providence College Application Guide(.pdf)

This guide contains application procedures, an explanation of the application review process, a look at financial aid, our student body profile, and additional information for students applying for first-year admission.

Transfer Application Guide(.pdf)

This file contains application procedures, an explanation of the application review process, a look at financial aid, our student body profile, and more for transfer applicants.

Download Adobe Acrobat to view the above .pdf files

What You Need to Apply:

    • The Common Application: We only use the Common Application.
    • Application fee of $65: Applicants who require an application fee waiver may request one through their college counselor or  advisor.

For students applying as first-year students:

    • Secondary School Report and high school transcript(s): We recommend that students complete a minimum of 4 years each of English and mathematics, 2 years of social studies, 3 years of one foreign language, and 3 years of science, with at least two laboratory courses. However, students in recent years who have been most competitive for admission have taken 4 years in all major subject areas, taking advantage of honors or advanced level courses available at their high schools.
    • Recommendations: We require one from your high school counselor or college advisor, and one from a teacher of your choice. Additional recommendations may be submitted if you feel they can add relevant, insightful information about you.
    • Personal essay: In the Common Application, you have several broad choices for the required essay. This is a chance to not only illustrate your writing skills, but also to share something personal about yourself with the Committee on Admission.
    • Standardized Test Scores (Optional): Submission of standardized test scores (SAT or ACT) is optional for all students applying for admission. The academic review for admission at Providence College has always been focused on each student’s high school performance rather than standardized test results. This test-optional policy allows each student to decide whether they wish to have their standardized test results considered as part of their application for admission.
      Additional details about the policy can be found here: Standardized Testing .

For students applying as Transfers

    • Official high school transcript(s): A final official high school transcript is required for all transfer students, regardless of how many college credits you wish to transfer.
    • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended: Please arrange to have your current transcript sent to the Office of Admission for review before the April 1 deadline. Students who enroll will be required to submit the final official transcript when it is available.
    • Transfer College Report: This form must be completed by a college or university official who has access to both your academic and disciplinary records. It may be necessary to submit the report to two separate officials to complete the form. It is college policy that we will not review an application if the student is not currently in good academic or disciplinary standing at his or her current institution.
    • Personal Essay: Please let us know why you wish to transfer. We will use this essay to evaluate your writing skills as well as to learn about your reasons for entering the transfer process.
    • Standardized Test Scores (Optional): See description above.
    • Class syllabi: Please submit for transfer credit evaluation. If you do not have the syllabi, you should contact the academic department at your institution where they will be on file. Syllabi should be sent to syllabi@providence.edu.
    • Instructor’s Evalution and Mid-Term Report are helpful, but not required.

The Review Process

Your completed application to Providence College is the best representation of who you are and what makes you a great candidate for admission. The admission review process at Providence College is holistic and includes:

Evaluation of the High School Transcript


The high school transcript is the most important piece of the application review process at Providence College. With each high school transcript, our admission counselors will take a close look at a student’s curriculum, context of high school environment, grades achieved, and class rank (if available).

Generally speaking, students who are most competitive for admission to Providence College have taken 4 years of the 5 core subject areas:

  • English
  • Math
  • Science
  • History/social science
  • Foreign language

Our most competitive candidates have also taken appropriately challenging Honors, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or other advanced-level courses offered to them in their high school environments.

The grades that a student has achieved during high school are considered hand-in-hand with that student’s curriculum. It is important to note that the Office of Admission completes a recalculation process of each student’s grade point average in order to consider applicants from different high schools fairly. Only the grades achieved in core academic subjects – plus Religion courses where applicable and electives taken at the Honors, AP, or IB level – will be included in the recalculated grade point average.

Context of a student’s high school environment is another important factor that the committee on admission considers during the evaluation of each candidate’s application. The initial review of all application files is conducted by geographic region, which helps each member of the counseling staff to understand the academic environment, opportunities for advanced coursework, and other special programs that may be available within a specific high school.

Class rank will be considered during the review process if it is provided by a student’s high school. However, many high schools do not report class rank during the college application process. Students will not be penalized in the admission review if their high school does not provide class rank information.

Activities, Involvement, and Leadership


The application review process at Providence College is holistic. One of the important factors our admission staff will consider is your list of co-curricular activities. We are proud of our active and vibrant campus community, and seek to invite new students who have demonstrated strong involvement beyond the classroom.

When the admission committee reviews your co-curricular activities, it is important to remember that we are much more interested in the quality and depth of your involvement rather than the quantity. Instead of looking for the student with the longest list of activities during high school, we are more interested in commitment and dedication to activities, and leadership roles that a student has held. Two or three activities to which a student has been committed to and perhaps held a leadership role will have a more significant impact on the Committee on Admission than a lengthy list of activities on which a student has only shown “surface-level” involvement.

Also remember that the activities you write about in your application need not be limited to your high school environment. Involvement with a community organization, church group, or part-time job represents a significant time commitment after school for many students, and we encourage you to share these experiences with us on your application as well. If you have held a part-time job, please share with us the amount of time you have worked each week, and whether you worked during the school year or the summer (or both!). Information about your involvement beyond your high school campus helps the Commitee on Admission develop a more complete picture of who you are on a personal level as we complete the review of your application.

The Personal Statement and Supplemental Essays

Common Application Essay

The Common Application requires all applicants to complete one essay. The essay is an important piece of your college application as it allows you to reveal something meaningful outside of the academic realm to the committee on admission. The Common Application provides seven broad essay prompts from which you can choose.

At Providence College, the admission staff uses the Common Application Personal Statement two ways: to learn more about you on a personal level and to get a sense of your writing ability. From your essay, we hope to gain an understanding of the things about which you are passionate and the issues you find important. The strongest essays we receive allow us to gain a sense of a student’s personality and provide a better understanding of the student’s personal fit to the Providence College community.

As a liberal arts institution, a student’s ability to express himself or herself in writing is important to the committee on admission. Remember that spelling and grammar “count,” and you should work to make sure that your essay is well-written and well-presented.

Optional Providence College Essay
Found under the “Additional Questions” section of the Providence College Member Page (within the Common Application), the Optional Providence College essay provides applicants with the opportunity to speak to their specific interest in PC. While completing this statement is optional, we encourage all students to take advantage of the opportunity to explain why they see Providence College as an appropriate match and fit.

The Optional Providence College Essay prompts for the Class of 2022 are:

“We must love them both, those whose opinions we share and those whose opinions we reject, for both have labored in the search for truth, and both have helped us in finding it.” -St. Thomas Aquinas, Dominican Philosopher

Providence College students have always engaged in lively intellectual debates through disputatio – the art of disputed questions. At Providence, there is often not one correct answer, but rather many answers that come together to form one truth. In a divided society filled with strong opinions, how do you work to ensure all viewpoints are considered and the ultimate truth is discovered?

——–

As Providence College educates future scholars and leaders, it continuously strives to form a community that reflects the rich diversity of the human family. Please highlight a specific example throughout your time in high school that has strengthened and promoted the flourishing of all.

——–

Over the past 100 years, Providence College has undergone extensive changes while remaining consistently true to our founding ideals. As we enter our second century, how will you help continue the College’s momentum and what impact will you have on the next chapter in our history?

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation play an important role in our holistic application review process at Providence College. For first-year applicants, we require 2 letters of recommendation from:

  • One from a school counselor or college advisor
  • One from a teacher in an academic discipline

The recommendation from the school counselor provides helpful context of the student’s four-year high school career, ideally bringing to light things about the student that may not be apparent from simply looking at the high school transcript. Counselors are often able to provide useful context for the student’s academic performance, and explain any special circumstances (i.e. schedule conflicts, personal situations, or medical issues) that may have arisen during the high school career. The counselor recommendation also helps us to understand where the student stands in relation to his or her high school classmates, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Students may select any academic teacher that they have had in the classroom during high school to submit their teacher recommendation. Generally, the committee on admission prefers a recommendation from an English teacher or from a teacher in a content area relevant to the applicant’s intended major.

Applicants may send an additional letter of recommendation from someone other than a teacher who knows the applicant well outside of the classroom. Each year, we receive helpful letters of recommendation from coaches, advisors, mentors, and managers at students’ places of employment. We welcome these recommendations as they help the committee on admission to learn more about who a student is beyond the classroom.

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