New changes are coming to the University of California personal statement requirement! For the past several years, students seeking admission to the University of California system were required to answer two personal statement prompts totaling 1,000 words or less.
Now, students will write 4 essays (dubbed “personal insight statements”) chosen from a selection of 8 prompts. Each essay must be 350 words or less and the entirety of all student responses cannot exceed 1400 words.
These new essays are required for students seeking admission to any of the 9 UC undergraduate campuses for the Fall of 2017. Other than the length of the statements, the biggest difference between the old and new prompts is the level of specificity expected. The older prompts asked general questions about student backgrounds and interests, whereas the new statements require students to provide a deeper level of personal reflection.
The new personal insight questions are:
1. Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes, or contributed to group efforts over time.
2. Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side.
3. What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?
4. Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.
5. Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?
6. Describe your favorite academic subject and explain how it has influenced you.
7. What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?
8. What is the one thing that you think sets you apart from other candidates applying to the University of California?
Full instructions and details can be found on the UC admissions homepage: