The UC Personal Insight Questions is your only opportunity to literally “speak” to the admissions committee about attributes that aren’t immediately clear in your overall application.

It's looking for several things: Because the term "community" is so broad and ambiguous, this is a good essay for explaining where you feel a sense of belonging and rootedness.


In order to delve deeply into a subject, you only have space for one anecdote — one experience — as the main star of your UC Personal Insight essay.

Paragraphs 2 and 3: Both of these serve as the body paragraphs that give two different examples of Maria’s artistic inclinations empowering her to do better work on sustainability. 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.

I'll break down all of these important questions for each prompt and discuss how to pick the four prompts that are perfect for you. It’s very concrete, telling us everything Denise did to get herself an education in technology. Are you doing it for external reasons—to perform for others, to demonstrate your skill, to fulfill some need in the world?

You have to.

This can be very literal—if you are a jazz singer who has released several acclaimed albums, then maybe you will perform on campus.

What’s not on her resumé? 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.

What was the immediate problem?

"No.". I have also used resources like General Assembly to self-teach.

Who were and what was their relationship to you? Arman also avoids getting bogged down in abstract concepts, another pitfall of questions that ask about ‘leadership’ and ‘community.’ In fact, Arman doesn’t even use the word “leader” until the final paragraph—that’s a major show of strength. Children are glad to retry any drill—but I know it’s in part because I’ve imagined, first, how scary it is to try something new, and I’ve acknowledged that first. Does your creativity relate to your major or a future career? 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.

This is a good opportunity to talk about any obstacles you've faced and what you've learned from the experience. She’s never pursued it in a formal extracurricular fashion, but Maria loves art, and does pottery and ceramic work here and there on weekends.

Clearly, UC wants you to write four different essays, and they're asking you eight different questions. This is pretty straightforward. We can help. Denise tackles this question in three neat paragraphs: Paragraph 1: She ties together her two interests, in computer science and business, and also states that she’s worked on them in and out of the classroom.

The thesis statement is especially strong because she’s not talking about art applying to non-artistic problems in the abstract—she specifically tells us she’s going to discuss her environmentalism work. Applicants need to answer four UC personal insight questions, chosen from a pool of eight unique prompts different from those on the Common App.

Many students write in such vague ways that it can be ridiculously frustrating for a reader. That way, you’ll have 4 full UC essays focused on showing exactly who you are to the admissions officers! When I later talked to Serj, I learned about the fears that had kept him from self-motivation—he had never been athletic, and he found it hard to believe that putting himself through a physical ordeal would be useful. Do you have a creative skill that is important to you? Due to the constant geographic instability and the need to always chase the next visa, he’s never felt quite at home in any of those environments. Paragraph 2: She devotes this paragraph to talking about technology.

He gives just enough information—three names and one phrase used by the professor—to show that he was mentally present and, more importantly, intellectually moved by the course. Challenge.

Wondering how to successfully write UC essays? 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. Getting this question right requires a sense of scope and scale—students should be able to talk about a major issue they care about, and then explain how they’ve addressed it in their own communities, without pretending that they’ve solved the root cause of that entire issue. Karan, an international applicant, is interested in the arts. This is your chance to show that you truly get the qualities and experiences that make you into a responsible and grown-up person, someone who will thrive in the independence of college life. Cue the swelling music, because this essay is going to be all about your inspirational journey.

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The UC application also divides things into categories, including Coursework other than A-G, Educational Prep Programs, Volunteer & Community Service, Work Experience, Awards & Honors, and Extracurricular Activities. my brother asked. Some students treat their UC essays as short-answer questions, which might imply that you don’t need an outline.

There’s no reason you can’t answer both. He simply said, “Make the most of every moment and focus on yourself. For example, do you help out or take care of your family? If you’re already filling out the Common Application, that means you’ll write a personal statement, complete the Activities section, and assemble supplemental essays for several schools. You’re in luck!

Then I'll dig deep into each UC personal statement question individually, exploring what it's really trying to find out and how you can give the admissions officers what they're looking for. He not only says “I want to go to the University of California to pursue xyz,” but demonstrates that he has fully imagined how his life can change intellectually and personally from attending a UC school.

Describe how you express your creative side. If I had to characterize the kind of clothes that your UC Personal Insight Question should be wearing, I’d say this: JCrew, not Brooks Brothers.