Uc Application Essay Prompts Explained

Prompt:

Describe your favorite academic subject and explain how it has influenced you.

Tips to write the University of California Freshman Prompt 6 Essay:

In the UC essay prompt 6 example, you will see how to respond to a simple question about your favorite academic subject in a manner that is expected for UC essay prompts. Once you understand how you’re expected to answer this type of prompt for University of California essays, you should have no problems on the actual essay.

Basically, you need to start off with a brief description of what your favorite subject is and why. Give a simple explanation, with an anecdote that shows, rather than tells, the reader what drew you to that subject and then how it grew throughout your educational years.

The next section of your short essay will cover how your interest expanded beyond academics. What did you do outside of school? UC college essay prompts are designed to make you write a bit more about yourself, so give them a great reason to accept you by explaining just how important this whole subject is to you.

Finally, as you wrap up the short response the UC essay prompts, make sure you tie your answer into why you want to study at the University of California. It’s the ending that will help convince admissions to accept you.

Example Essay:

I've been drawn to science since I was in Kindergarten. I remember when our class did a science experiment in which baking soda and vinegar are combined to make a "volcano." The reaction of the two substances was like magic. I absolutely had to know why and how this happened. I had so many questions, and so few answers. Over time, I learned that science is all about asking questions. Everything in the natural world became mysterious when I started asking questions. Science was the subject that seemed to have the answers. I became obsessed with science, and specifically Biology-the science of all living things.

Outside of school, my love for biology showed up in my habit of hiking in nature. Throughout high school, I led hikes and excursions as part of my Boy Scouts group. I also joined the local Audubon society. I took advantage of any opportunity to spend time in nature. I volunteered for local events to clean up rivers and lakes and even participated in taking water samples for quality control. I also became a camp counselor during my senior year and led groups of elementary school students on nature hikes. I was able to share facts about biology and share my passion for nature.

I plan to pursue advanced studies in Biology and answer many of the questions I have about the world. My hope is that the answers to my questions will serve the greater good. The more we learn about the world, the more likely it is we can solve the most pressing problems. Cures for diseases, medical advances and environmental protection procedures all come through the science of Biology. I plan to join research projects throughout my college career, allowing me to contribute my skills as well as be mentored by senior researchers. Most of all, Biology has inspired me to never stop asking questions.

This 2016-17 UC application year, you must write 4 short essays totaling 1400 words (350 word limit each). To give you some context, in previous years, students had to write 2 essays totaling 1000 words… So, you’ll have to come up with 2 more extra topics this year AND write more.

I hate to break it to you, but I believe these shorter essays are harder than the old ones. But, don’t worry — I got you. Let’s break down how exactly we should answer the new UC Personal Insight Questions.

How to Answer The UC Personal Insight Question #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.

Before we dig into each step, here’s a UC Essay Example for this Personal Insight Question. This student got into UC Berkeley’s prestigious EECS programming in the Engineering school… but he’ll be attending Stanford instead 🙂

First off, keep this in mind: Whatever UC prompt you pick, the essay responses (for the most part) will still need to have an underlying story. This is a must. Moreover, you only need ONE REALLY AWESOME ANECDOTE instead of 2-3 MEDIOCRE mini anecdotes. Quality of quantity, right?

So, let’s get down to answering this essay prompt:

Step #1: Brainstorm one anecdote in the scope of leadership

When you’re brainstorming about activities involving leadership, think outside the box . The notion of “leadership” doesn’t mean that you have to be the captain of the volleyball team or have a leadership title… you can be a leader and demonstrate leadership abilities in so many other ways.

Actually, here’s something interesting: Currently, I’m working with students who have drafted up their UC essays to this first prompt, and I’ve noticed that their interpretation of “leadership” is very generic. In other words, many students are already writing about being a club president, first chair flute, etc. This means that other students across the world (like YOU) who are applying to the UC system may also have the same generic interpretation of “leadership.”

So, be careful… you don’t want your essay to sound like everyone else’s.

Step #2: Pinpoint the conflict in the anecdote

Like we already talked about, this short essay should have an underlying foundation of a story. Because stories have a conflict and resolution, we similarly need these two components in your essay. A conflict in this case can be a mistake, a challenge, an obstacle… it’s literally any roadblock that got in your way that you had to resolve. So, make sure that you include this conflict in your essay

Step #3: Include a resolution from your anecdote

Anyone can, (in theory) tell a decent anecdote. The storytelling part of writing is not going to be the most challenging part for you.

Your biggest challenge for these UC essays is to explain succinctly what you learned from this story. Your analysis of this particular experience must therefore be insightful. I mean, these essay questions are called personal insight questions, right?

This ability to be insightful and introspective is one of the key components these questions are measuring. Actually, the ability to be self aware and insightful is one of the many factors for “success in college” as noted by Warren Willingham.

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