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Answering Questions for Your UC Personal Statement
When applying to the Berkeley personal statement or UC, you’ll be asked to answer 4 personal insight questions. Below is the list of the questions you have to prepare :
- Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes or contributed to group efforts over time. It is important to let the committee know what you have achieved throughout the years. You can write about the project or event you organized or helped with. The most important tip here is – don’t lie. This can ruin the whole impression of you and not gonna do you any credit.
- 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. Explain your vision of creativity and what it means to you. How do you express it? Does it ever come in handy when facing challenges? In what way?
- What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time? Highlight all the skills you are proud of. Why are you proud of hem? Did they help you to achieve something? Tell about how you discovered this talent or skill of yours and what you’re going to develop it.
- Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced. Ever had difficulties with getting to the advanced course or educational program you were really interested? Write about this experience and how you overcame those difficulties. Who or what helped you?
- 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? Describe the challenge you faced. How you coped with it? Did this experience influence you in any way? If yes, then write about it.
- Describe your favorite academic subject and explain how it has influenced you. Talk about your interest in this subject and why you prefer this particular subject. Does this interest have anything to do with choosing your future career?
- What have you done to make your school or your community a better place? Discuss the problems you faced and how you helped to solve them? Did you cope with this on your own or someone helped you? How your actions changed the situation?
- What is the one thing that you think sets you apart from other candidates applying to the University of California? Here you are free to brag a little bit. But don’t go too far. Just tell about your distinctive qualities that make you the person you are.
- Please describe how you have prepared for your intended major, including your readiness to succeed in your upper-division courses once you enroll at the university. Describe how you organize your preparation process. Do you have any special techniques? Talk about your ambitions and how you are planning to achieve the set goal.
Tips to Answer Personal Insight Questions
UC personal insight questions examples will help you learn how to answer the essay prompts of the University of California. Now if you’re looking for tips on how to answer those questions, keep reading the following.
- You must start early. This is the most important tip to bear in mind. By starting early, you will have more opportunities to revise and make several copies of the answers. From such answers, you will determine which ones are best to use for the submission.
- You must write convincingly. In answering the UC application personal insight questions, you must use specific examples, which will support your points in the answers.
- You must use “I” statements. Remember that they want to know your accomplishments, talents, and personality. They want to know your potential for success. Thus, you should know how to use “my statements” when answering the questions given.
- You should edit and proofread. Check your writing for spelling and grammar mistakes, which can distract the readers. These errors will also get in the way of the message you’re trying to convey.
- You must get feedback. Get feedback from friends, teachers and family members in your answers to the UC personal insight questions. They can offer you with advice and suggestions. However, you should not plagiarize or use anyone’s work as your own.
- Save your work in plain text. Copy and paste the answers in the space provided in the application form. You must proofread and edit again to ensure there are no mistakes.
- Give yourself time to relax. When done submitting the answers to the questions, you should give yourself some time to rest and relax. Remember that the admissions will not base their decision in this part only.
5 Common Mistakes in Personal Insight Questions
- Not following instructions
- Not answering the questions sufficiently
- Not getting feedback
- Not proofreading and editing their essays
- Starting too late
Additional Comments Section
When done answering the personal insight questions UC, you need to complete this section, but optionally. It must not be a place to continue the responses you had in the personal questions.
- This is only a section where to write about additional clarification about your application, including activities, awards, and honors.
- Here is your chance to describe any relevant point but you did not include in the application.
- You may include about nontraditional or unusual school environment or circumstances.
- Write only up to 550 words in this section.
- Choose the right
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In preparation for a segment on NBC’s “Today” show this morning, I reached out to the admissions offices at the University of Virginia and Occidental College in California for examples of essays that they considered memorable — for good, or ill.
Before I share some of these samples, a caveat (one familiar to regular readers of this blog): while it can be instructive to read actual college admissions essays, trying to copy a particular approach — or in some cases avoid it — can be perilous. That’s because how one responds to an essay can be an intensely personal experience.
That said, I would argue that there are some basic lessons to be gleaned from the following examples. Here, for instance, is an excerpt from an essay that was not especially well received at the University of Virginia, in part because the writer misjudged the age and sensibility of his or her audience:
John Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’ was sung by Fox’s new show, ‘Glee.’ In one particular episode, a deaf glee club performed this song. I heard it before when John Lennon sang it: unfortunately I did not care much for it. When I watched this episode while the deaf adolescents were singing it, and soon joined by another glee club, it surprisingly affected me…
John Lennon sang it like a professional, but what he did not have was the emotion behind the words. He sang it more staccato than legato. He sang it like it was his job, and nothing more. These singers from Glee sang with powerful emotions. …
Another essay, also musical in focus, got a more appreciative read at U.V.A.:
I strode in front of 400 frenzied eighth graders with my arm slung over my Fender Stratocaster guitar — it actually belonged to my mother — and launched into the first few chords of Nirvana’s ‘Lithium.’ My hair dangled so low over my face that I couldn’t see the crowd in front of me as I shouted ‘yeah, yeah’ in my squeaky teenage voice. I had almost forgotten that less than a year ago I had been a kid whose excitement came from waiting for the next History Channel documentary.
It was during the awkward, hormonal summer between seventh and eighth grade when I first heard Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’ The song shocked my senses — until that point my musical cosmos consisted mainly of my father’s Beatles CDs.
I would argue that the admissions committee was able to relate a little more to this essay than the first. And it was certainly more evocative and detailed. It also conveyed more about the writer (and applicant) — a crucial quality in a college admissions essay.
I turn, now, to excerpts from a recent essay that struck a visceral chord within the admissions office at Occidental (where, as an aside, President Obama began his college career):
My head throbbed as I closed my eyes and tried to convince myself to give up.
‘Come on, Ashley. Put the pencil down. Just put the pencil down and go to bed,’ I told myself sternly. I had been hard at work for hours — brutal, mind-numbing hours. I groaned as I moved over to my bed, collapsing in a pile of blankets and closing my eyes.
I lay there for a moment or two, gathering strength, gaining courage. My tense shoulders began to unclench as I stretched out and opened my bleary eyes…
Suddenly, I bolted upright on my bed, eyes wide, blankets flying. Everything had fallen into place. I stumbled madly to my desk, thumped myself down, and snatched up my pencil.
‘I’ve got it! That’s it!’ I whooped, scribbling furiously, as my brother pounded on my wall for silence.
I had just won another skirmish in my ongoing battle with the crossword puzzle.
What worked here? I’m told the admissions officers appreciated how the writer conveyed her love of words — and in the process told them much about herself. As a writer, I admired the way she built a sense of mystery at the outset, one that served to draw the reader in.
I’ll close with an attempt at metaphor that fell a bit flat, at least in its reception at Occidental. The applicant writes:
I believe in jello; a silly greeting, tasty dessert, or the answer to life as we know it?
Factor #1: Have you ever tried to make jello? It takes patience. First you have to boil the water; then mix it with powder, stirring for two minutes; then finally adding the cold water and putting it in the fridge for forty-five minutes. Think about the creation of people…
To share your own thoughts on essay strategies — and, perhaps, some excerpts of your own — please use the comment box below.