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Pepperdine University

Brooke O'Donnell

Executive Director, International Admission and Student Services

Hometown: Frankenmuth, Michigan
BA, International Studies, Michigan State University
MA, Leadership in Higher Education with an emphasis in International Education, Michigan State University
Email: Admission-OISS@Pepperdine.edu
Phone: 310.506.4246
Video Location: Beaman Patio behind the Waves Cafe

Tips for Applying

Top 3 recommendations for an international student applying to Pepperdine

  1. Pepperdine is a unique university, where mentorship of students by faculty and staff are of utmost importance. Take advantage of this in the admissions process by inquiring if you have questions. If your contact doesn't know the answer...they will find someone who does!
  2. Follow directions closely, adhere to deadlines, and reach out if you have any concern about your application being considered complete.
  3. Given that Pepperdine is among the most selective universities in the nation, in review of your application, be sure that you have articulated how YOU embody Pepperdine. Think of it like a job interview and your goal is to ensure they see you as the ideal candidate for that unique place/position.

Advice and tips for writing the essay questions and submitting the Common App

I highly recommend giving equal respect to the supplementary essays as much as the general essay. There is no "right" answer. Be authentic, it will be your biggest advantage if you approach essays that way. These questions are designed to help you and the university with "fit."

General advice and tips for international students who are interested in studying in the United States

  1. List and rank your needs and wants early in your college search. Filter first on the needs and then on the wants. You have a unique DNA and this is a great chance to honor that within a bounty of great choices.
  2. Listen to your friends, family, and counselors, but always be authentic to yourself and the vision you have for your future. Honor that inner voice.
  3. Take advantage of admissions counselors that come to your area or make themselves available to you online. We are ambassadors for education first and foremost and will connect you with our peers if we realize a better fit elsewhere. Blessings to you in your bright future!

My Travel Log

My favorite of travel season

Meeting students that truly embody Pepperdine is such an adrenaline rush! I can't wait to expose them to all that Pepperdine affords and get to nurture them throughout their Pepperdine journey. With our tight community, I am so proud knowing that my campus partners appreciate them as much as I do.

Most memorable meal I have had while traveling

Without a doubt the answer is: Chapulines (grasshopper tacos) in beloved Oaxaca, Mexico. Eating them with my host family was a symbol of my investment in returning to them. Actually, when you close your eyes and just taste...the tacos were smoky and garlicky...I was like Anthony Bourdain!

I have traveled to more than 80 countries

I have to admit that I have a burden in my heart for world and campus-changers, many times these are students with amazing stories that come from the deepest corners of the earth. Consistent with our collective beliefs, we will go far and wide using our expertise and networks in world markets, to ensure that we have global voices that will enhance what is being taught. Our students can, as Paul Harvey always said, share "the rest of the story" and really help develop us into a community of globally-minded citizens.

Pepperdine's Global Reach

Pepperdine's global presence and reputation

Pepperdine University is a very well respected university, known for our premier academics and our commitment to enrolling and developing leaders who make a difference in their communities, workplaces, and within their families. Our unique DNA is to be celebrated and OISS is very strategic in helping get the word out about this incredibly nurturing environment for future global leaders.

What inspires me to share the Pepperdine story with students around the world

With literally thousands of universities competing for top students around the world, I am so proud of who we are as Pepperdine University. We are truly a shining light as an institution, and it is an honor to find students who will do the same on our campus.

Working in the Office of International Student Services

Why I chose to work at Pepperdine University

When I was an undergraduate, I took a year off to engage in community service in 8 countries and inspire young people. My story was forever changed. I didn't know there was a university that shared my values so closely, but I discovered Pepperdine as a seasoned professional. Now, as a Pepperdine ambassador, I get to share that opportunity with students with the same life vision of making a difference in the world today. Until now, I have never had the opportunity to work in a place that so closely shares my values...it is really powerful and exciting! My boys see me thriving and living my values. As a parent, that is why we made the sacrifice to move from coast to coast.

My favorite aspect of working in the Office of International Student Services

As the Pepperdine Community gets more acquainted with me, they will see and hopefully join my passion for mentorship, entrepreneurship, and internationalization! I love helping young people, my staff included, find God's vision for them personally, as well as what a community can achieve when our hearts and our vision is connected. What a privilege to help Pepperdine University continue to grow into the kind of environment where ALL students find that vision and a community that celebrates them.