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❶The prompt very specifically wants you to talk about an interaction with a group of people.

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What Are the UC Personal Insight Questions?
Freshman: Personal insight questions
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For example, if your chosen topic is the field of literature, you could discuss your experiences with different genres or with foreign writers. You could also write about a course or area of study that has significantly challenged you, and where you have not been as stellar a student as you want. The second part of this prompt, like the first, can also be taken in a literal and direct way. On the other hand, you could focus on the more abstract, values-driven goals we just talked about.

Then, the way you explain how your academics will help you can be rooted not in the content of what you studied, but in the life lessons you drew from it. In other words, for example, your theater class may not have created a desire to be an actor, but working on plays with your peers may have shown you how highly you value collaboration.

And the experience of designing sets was an exercise in problem-solving and ingenuity. These lessons would be useful in any field you pursue and could easily be said to help you achieve your lifetime goals. If you are on a direct path to a specific field of study or career pursuit, admissions officers definitely want to know that.

Having driven, goal oriented, and passionate students is a huge plus for a university. But of course, more traditionally, college is the place to find yourself and the things that you become passionate about. Instead, you have to realize that in this essay, like in all the other essays, the how matters much more than the what.

No matter where your eventual academic, career, or other pursuits may lie, every class that you have taken up to now has taught you something.

You learned about things like work ethic, mastering a skill, practice, learning from a teacher, interacting with peers, dealing with setbacks, understanding your own learning style, and perseverance. In other words, the admissions office wants to make sure that no matter what you study you will draw meaningful conclusions from your experiences, whether those conclusions are about the content of what you learn or about a deeper understanding of yourself and others. Focus on a telling detail.

Because personal statements are short, you simply won't have time to explain everything you have loved about a particular subject in enough detail to make it count. Instead, pick one event that crystallized your passion for a subject, or one telling moment that revealed what your working style will be, and go deep into a discussion of what it meant to you in the past and how it will affect your future. At the same time, make sure that you have actual accomplishments to describe in whatever subject you pick to write about.

If your favorite class turned out to be the one you mostly skipped to hang out in the gym instead, this may not be the place to share that lifetime goal. After all, you always have to remember your audience.

In this case, it's college admissions officers who want to find students who are eager to learn and be exposed to new thoughts and ideas. Think of community as a term that can encompass a group, team or a place — like your high school, hometown, or home. You can define community as you see fit, just make sure you talk about your role in that community.

Was there a problem that you wanted to fix in your community? Why were you inspired to act? What did you learn from your effort? How did your actions benefit others, the wider community or both? Did you work alone or with others to initiate change in your community?

This topic is trying to get at how you engage with your environment. What or who constitutes your community? Is your connection to a place, to a group of people, or to an organization? What makes you identify as part of this community - cultural background, a sense of shared purpose, or some other quality?

Before you can solve a problem, you have to realize that the problem exists. Before you can make your community a better place, you have to find the things that can be ameliorated. No matter what your contribution ended up being, you first have to show how you saw where your skills, talent, intelligence, or hard work could do the most good. Did you put yourself in the shoes of the other people in your community? Understand some fundamental inner working of a system you could fix?

Knowingly put yourself in the right place at the right time? How did you make the difference in your community? If you resolved a tangible issue, how did you come up with your solution?

Did you examine several options or act from the gut? If you made your community better in a less direct way, how did you know where to apply yourself and how to have the most impact possible? Community is a very important thing to colleges. You'll be involved with and encounter lots of different communities in college, from the broader student body, to your extracurriculars and classes, to the community outside the University around you.

UC wants to make sure that you can engage with the communities around you in a positive and meaningful way. Before you can explain what you did in your community, you have to define and describe this community itself - and you can necessarily only do that by focusing on what it means to you.

Feel all the feelings. This is a chance to move your readers. As you delve deep into what makes your community one of your emotional centers, and then as you describe how you were able to improve it in a meaningful and lasting way, you should keep the roller coaster of feelings front and center. Own how you felt at each step of the process: Did you feel unprepared for the task you undertook? Nervous to potentially let down those around? Thrilled to get a chance to display a hidden or underused talent?

What have you not shared with us that will highlight a skill, talent, challenge or opportunity that you think will help us know you better? From your point of view, what do you feel makes you an excellent choice for UC? But, honestly, I think you should only choose this topic if you have an exceptional experience to share, and that any everyday challenges or successes of regular life could easily fit one of the other insight questions instead.

What this means is that evaluating whether your experiences qualify for this essay is a matter of degrees. For example, did you manage to thrive academically despite being raised by a hard-working single parent? Did you manage to earn a 3. On the flip side, did you win a state-wide robotics competition? Well done, and feel free to tell your story under Question 4.

Were you the youngest person to single-handedly win a season of BattleBots? Then feel free to write about it for Question 8. This is pretty straightforward. They are trying to identify students that have unique and amazing stories to tell about who they are and where they come from. Let's run through a few tricks for making sure your essay makes the most of your particular exceptionalism. There are many experiences in all of our lives that make us feel elated, accomplished, and extremely competent, that are also near-universal.

Wondering whether what you went through counts? This might be a good time to run your idea by a parent, school counselor, or trusted teacher. Do they think your experience is widespread? Or do they agree that you truly lived a life less ordinary? The vast majority of your answer to the prompt should be telling your story and its impact on you and your life.

But the essay should also point toward how your particular experiences set you apart from your peers. One of the reasons that the admissions office wants to find out which of the applicants has been through something unlike most other people is that they are hoping to increase the number of points of view in the student body.

Think about, and include in your essay, how you will impact campus life. This can be very literal—if you are a jazz singer who has released several acclaimed albums, then maybe you will perform on campus. Or it can be much more oblique—if you are disabled, then you will be able to offer a perspective that differs from the able-bodied majority. Nothing will make your voice sound more appealing than writing without embellishment or verbal flourishes.

So the best strategy is to be as straightforward in your writing as possible. You can do this by picking a specific moment during your accomplishment to narrate as a small short story, and not shying away from explaining your emotions throughout the experience. Your goal is to make the extraordinary into something at least somewhat relatable — and the way you do that is by making your writing down to earth.

No matter what personal insight questions you end up choosing to write about, here are two tips for making your writing sparkle:. If you stick to giving examples that paint a picture, your focus will also become narrower and more specific. Which of these do you think gives the reader a better sense of place? My family bought an old house that was kind of rundown. My dad likes fixing it up on the weekends and I like helping him.

Now the house is much nicer than when we bought it and I can see all our hard work when I look at it. My dad grinned when he saw my shocked face. I was still staring at the spider web crack in one broken window when my dad handed me a pair of brand new work gloves and a paint scraper. Both versions of this story focus on the fact that the house was dilapidated and that Adnan enjoyed helping his dad do repairs. But the second does this by:. Painting a picture of what the house actually looked like by adding visual details "peeling paint," "rust-covered railings," "broken window" , and through comparisons "shutters like a jack-o-lantern," "spider web window crack".

Showing emotions by describing facial expressions "my dad grinned," "my shocked face," "I smiled". The essay would probably go on to describe one day of working with his dad, or a time when a repair went horribly awry.

Adnan would make sure to keep adding sensory details what things looked, sounded, smelled, tasted like , using active verbs, and illustrating feelings with spoken speech and facial expressions. If you're having trouble checking whether your description is detailed enough, read your work to someone else. Then, ask that person to describe the scene back to you.

Are they able to conjure up a picture from your words? If not, you need to beef up your details. It's a bit of a fixer-upper, but it'll make a great college essay! All good personal essays deal with emotions. As you write your UC application essays, keep asking yourself questions and probing your memory. How did you feel before it happened?

How did you expect to feel after, and then how did you actually feel after? How did the world that you are describing feel about what happened? How do you know how your world felt? There's "it was exciting. This should give you a great starting point to attack the UC essay prompts and consider how you'll write your own effective UC personal statements.

The hard part starts here - work hard, brainstorm broadly, and use all my suggestions above to craft a great UC application essay. Making your way through college applications? We have advice on how to find the right college for you , how to write about your extracurricular activities , and how to ask teachers for recommendations. Interested in taking the SAT one more time? Check out our highly detailed explainer on studying for the SAT to learn how to prepare best.

Worried about how to pay for college after you get in? Read our description of how much college really costs , our comparison of subsidized and unsubsidized loans , and our lists of the top scholarships for high school seniors and juniors.

We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:. Anna scored in the 99th percentile on her SATs in high school, and went on to major in English at Princeton and to get her doctorate in English Literature at Columbia. She is passionate about improving student access to higher education. You should definitely follow us on social media.

You'll get updates on our latest articles right on your feed. Follow us on all 3 of our social networks:. How to Get a Perfect , by a Perfect Scorer. Score on SAT Math. Score on SAT Reading. Score on SAT Writing. For those of you just starting the UC application for , incoming freshman pick four essays—each under words—out of eight all-new prompts, known as Personal Insight Questions.

If this prompt jumped out when you first read through the eight essay prompts for the University of California application, good chance you have a creative side.

Of the eight Personal Insight Questions , you only need to answer four. If you consider leadership one of your defining qualities, or have had an interesting experience as a leader in some capacity, you might want to consider this essay. To start, read through all eight of the Personal Insight Questions you have to choose from. Find specific ideas and strategies for each of the 8 new Personal Insight Questions at the bottom of this post! The goal is to write four short essays that as a whole will provide the UC admissions deciders with a picture of what makes you unique and special—and help set you apart from the competition.

It is also the most open-ended of the bunch. In the past, incoming freshman wrote two core essays answering two prompts. Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations. If you are applying to the University of California schools, you have until the end of this month this Sunday, Nov. As busy seniors, some of you might have waited to write your two college application essays over Thanksgiving, when you have some days off and can catch up.

The key, however, is to not let this last minute deadline dash ruin your Thanksgiving. So yes, you are really cutting it close.

To not let these essays ruin one of the best times of the year—when you are supposed to be feasting with your family, watching football games and focusing on all you have to be grateful for—take a few minutes to map out a plan.

This post is now outdated. The information is no longer relevant!! Brainstorm the World You Come From read more…. Read about how to answer them HERE. A high school English teacher contacted me this week asking if I had any sample essays for the University of California college application Prompt 1. She was using my guides and Essay Hell blog posts to help teach her students how to write their college application essays.

One is the same prompt that all students are required to write—which basically asks for a personal statement style essay. Now I want to offer some ideas on how to answer the second prompt required for transfer students:. Transfer Student Prompt 1: What is your intended major?

Discuss how your interest in the subject developed and describe any experience you have had in the field — such as volunteer work, internships and employment, participation in student organizations and activities — and what you have gained from your involvement. If you are applying to the University of California schools, you have until the end of this month.

As busy seniors, some of you might have waited to write your essays over Thanksgiving, when you have some days off and can catch up. Yes, it would be better if you already had them in, but there is still time. The holiday comes late this year—Nov. As a professional writing coach, I help students, parents, counselors, teachers and others from around the world on these dreaded essays! Talent or special skill What would you say is your greatest talent or skill?

Overcoming educational barrier Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced. Overcoming significant challenge Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. Academic inspiration Think about an academic subject that inspires you.

Want to go to the UCs? Unlock this package to read more! Bettering the community What have you done to make your school or your community a better place? What makes you special? Browse Successful Application Files. Berkeley Electrical Engineering and Computer Science major, with a hobby in firearms and the shooting sports and a strong passion for creative writing. I'm a Jewish, volunteering, music writing and playing, MMA fighting, Berkeley bound student who puts my all into everything I do.

I am a gay Vietnamese guy attending UC Berkeley this fall with a major in Economics and minor in film. New Posts Freshman Year: Want free admissions essay tips and insights? Want to learn more? See how it works. Already have an account?

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Applying to University of California? We explain how to attack the UC personal statements, with strategies on writing great essays for all 8 prompts. Want to write the perfect college application essay? Get professional help from PrepScholar. Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will craft your perfect college essay, from the.

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UC University of California. The personal insight questions are about getting to know you better — your life experience, interests, ambitions and inspirations. Uc application essay to write in is write my essay safe fsu application essay help apa thesis proposal cover page. Largely based on the clients and school development, reports from essay uc application a linguistic background other than the critical r-value of this unit you will be .

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UC Application Essay Prompts March 15, uc school system; essay topic; what do you believe makes you stand out as a strong candidate for admissions to the University of California? Applying to college? View the app files and essays of accepted students. LEARN MORE. Which means you should use our guidance for each question just as a suggestion in case you need help. The important thing is expressing who you are, what matters to you and what you want to share with UC.