Many students are quite interested in applying to one or many of the campuses within the University of California system (or the “UC system” for short). That’s not too surprising as 6 of the 9 campuses (UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis, & UC Irvine) are ranked in the top 40 of the US News & World Report’s “Best National Universities.” The UC system has always had one main application that all the campuses share. Incoming freshmen must respond to two essay prompts on the UC application in order to apply for undergraduate admission. Each applicant must respond to both essay questions within a maximum of 1000 words total. These words may be allocated as the student wishes as long as the shorter one is greater than 250 words.
A few weeks ago, the University of California announced the retirement of its venerable set of application prompts, to be replaced by eight new "personal insight questions." Before I get to those questions, let's take a moment to mourn their predecessors. A Brief Lament Between the uneven and ponderous Common Application prompts and the hodgepodge of supplemental school-specific prompts ranging from great (Stanford's intellectual prompt) to cloyingly atrocious (Barnard's "major in unafraid"), the UC prompts struck a rare balance between guidance and freedom. UC's "your world" prompt, , was provocative enough to inspire thought and narration, dynamic enough to elicit both personal anecdotes and analytical observation, and broad enough to enable students to write about everything from their front yards to the global village. The "accomplishment/experience" prompt, while conventional, enabled students present their own definitions of success and discuss conventional topics with a reasonable degree of freedom. UC's old word limit didn't toy with applicants by ascribing vague page limits (um, what font?
The new “Personal Insight Questions” (gone are the days of “personal statements” when we have “personal insights” to explore) have a few caveats. And we're here to walk you through the changes, and help you get started on writing your UC personal statements with this “Unofficial Guide to the New 2017 UC Personal Statements.” This guide will help you: I’m GLAD you asked! For Incoming Freshmen of Fall of 2017, the UC Personal Statements have changed their format and questions. They now are asking EIGHT “personal insight questions” instead of two broad questions. Before, students wrote abstract ruminations about how the world they come from somehow shaped their aspirations. You need to choose FOUR of those questions to answer. Compared to the 650 max on common app, you’re really just writing four blurbs about yourself. Students often sacrificed examples and details trying to cover the entire scope of the prompt.
If you're applying to any University of California campus as an incoming freshman, then you have a special challenge ahead of you. In this article, I'll dissect the 8 UC essay prompts in detail. I'll also give you examples of how to make sure your essay fully answers the question. Applicants need to answer four UC personal insight questions, chosen from a pool of eight unique prompts different from those on the Common App. Finally, I'll offer step-by-step instructions on how to come up with the best ideas for your UC personal statements. I'll break all of these important questions for each prompt and discuss how to pick the four prompts that are perfect for you. How do you avoid boring or repulsing them with your essay? If you think about it, your college application is mostly made up of numbers: your GPA, your SAT scores, the number of AP classes you took, how many years you spent playing volleyball. The job of admissions officers is to put together a class of interesting, compelling individuals – but a cut and dried achievement list makes it very hard to assess whether someone is interesting or compelling.
I know it is the type of advice that is easier said than done, but there is a lot of truth to it. These are all questions that students ask themselves in the admissions process and they are important questions. When I think about it, I have used that same line many times. For high school students, the admissions process is a stressful and pivotal time of their life. Ideally the admissions process is an opportunity for exploration and reflection (and not simply a year of stress and anxiety about “getting into” college). It can be one of the first times when students make a major decision about what is important to them. Students can learn a little more about themselves, how they learn, and what they are passionate about. As a college counselor, I try talk through some of these questions with students so that they are actively considering the deeper questions about who they are and what they want.
For this freshman prompt 3 essay for University of California question, you’ll need to write at least two or three paragraphs. University of California essays require a short, well-written response to the prompt and the UC prompt 3 given in this example is all about your talents. Start out your response to the University of California freshman prompt 3 essay question with a quick paragraph explaining your stance. In this case, you can point out what you feel your greatest skill or talent is and explain a little about why you think it’s your best trait. UC college prompts should be answered with plenty of details and an anecdote or two in order to show the reader your writing skills.
If you’re submitting an undergraduate application to one of California’s 23 world-class state university campuses, you’ll be tasked with selecting and completing 4 of 8 distinct essay prompts with a word limit of 350 words for each essay. The University of California Admissions online portal emphasizes that you “should select questions that are most relevant to your experience and that best reflect your individual circumstances.” While admissions committee members are often felt left wanting to know more about candidates’ backgrounds and experiences than 1-2 short essay prompts provide, UC schools give you plenty of chances to highlight yourself from a variety of angles. This post highlights strategies to employ for each of the 8 possible prompts to create the most dynamic written record of your candidacy possible. Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes or contributed to group efforts over time. This question is often passed up by high school students who think not being Student Body President means they haven’t actively been a pre-college “leader.” This assumption is untrue, however. I regularly encourage clients to emphasize leadership experience that also speaks to a unique extracurricular passion they have and remember that no passion is automatically more interesting than another.
Write your own awesome personal statement with our COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAY LAB, which will guide you through the process, providing tips and even more examples along the way. Before you start, check out our own sample essays—or scroll down for the Best of the Web. Whether you're an athlete, a minority, or no one special (or, uh, probably some combination), we've got you covered. No One Special Some are surprising and some are clever, but they're all good examples of a "hook," not the kind with the pointy mustache but something that writers use to grab their reader's attention and make them want to keep reading. Grab Them with the First Line Stanford Magazine compiled the following list of great opening lines written by hopeful Stanford applicants.
There’s a shocking development at the world’s best system of higher education, The University of California. No, it’s not quite as shocking as the logo change from a few years back: That was too shocking, actually. Here’s the rundown: Astute readers will notice that this increases the amount of words they’re looking for from applicants. Before, the UC required two essays of 500 words or less each, for 1000 total words. But don’t panic; this is simply more space for you to show off that shiny plumage of yours. Let everyone else worry about the higher degree of difficulty. You’re a Statement Guru reader—together, we got this!