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UC Essay Prompt 6: Your Favorite Academic Subject

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❶It can mean being a mentor to others, acting as the person in charge of a specific task, or taking a lead role in organizing an event or project. Basically, do you best to answer the question s and support your ideas and points with specific examples.

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Personal insight questions

For example, do you help out or take care of your family? The prompt wants you to describe how you handled a specific kind of relationship with a group of people - a time when you took the reigns and the initiative. Your answer to this prompt will consist of two parts: Before you can tell your story of leading, brokering peace, or having a lasting impact on other people, you have to give your reader a frame of reference and a context for your actions.

First, describe the group of people you interacted with. Who were and what was their relationship to you? Second, explain the issue you eventually solved. What was going on before you stepped in? What was the immediate problem? Were there potential long-term repercussions? Discuss what thought process led you to your course of action. Was it a last-ditch effort or a long-planned strategy?

Did you have to choose between several courses of action? Explain how you took the bull by the horns. Did you step into the lead role willingly or were you pushed despite some doubts? Did you replace or supercede a more obvious leader? Describe your solution to the problem, or your contribution to resolving the ongoing issue.

What did you do? How did you do it? Did your plan succeed immediately or did it take some time? Consider how this experience has shaped the person you have now become. Do you think back on this time fondly as being the origin of some personal quality or skill? Did it make you more likely to lead in other situations? Sure, you will have a framework for your curriculum, and you will have advisers available to help—but for the most part, you will be on your own to deal with the situations that will inevitably arise when you mix with your diverse peers.

UC wants to make sure:. The prompt very specifically wants you to talk about an interaction with a group of people. Think of the way movies ratchet up the tension of the impending catastrophe before the hero swoops in and saves the day.

Keeping an audience on tenterhooks is important—and makes the hero look awesome for the inevitable job well done. Similarly, in your essay the reader has to fundamentally understand exactly what you and the group you ended up leading were facing. Why was this an important problem to solve? Personal statements need to showcase you above all things. Because this essay will necessarily have to spend some time on other people, you need to find a good proportion of them-time and me-time.

In general, the first, setup, section of the essay should be shorter, since it will not be focused on what you were doing.

The second section should take the rest of the space. So, in a word essay, maybe words go to setup, while words to your leadership and solution. Not only do you need to show how your leadership met the challenge you faced, but you also have to show how the experience changed you. In other words, the outcome was double-sided: What does creativity mean to you?

Do you have a creative skill that is important to you? What have you been able to do with that skill? If you used creativity to solve a problem, what was your solution? What are the steps you took to solve the problem? How does your creativity influence your decisions inside or outside the classroom? Does your creativity relate to your major or a future career? This question is trying to probe the way you express yourself.

What this essay question is really asking you to do is to examine the role your brand of creativity plays in your sense of yourself. The essay will have three parts. What exactly do you produce, make, craft, create, or generate? Of course, the most obvious answer would be a visual art, a performance art, or music. But in reality, there is creativity in all fields.

So, your job is to explain what you spend time creating. Why do you do what you do? Are you doing it for external reasons - to perform for others, to demonstrate your skill, to fulfill some need in the world? Or is your creativity private and for your own use - to unwind, to distract yourself from other parts of your life, to have personal satisfaction in learning a skill? Are you good at your creative thing or do you struggle with it?

If you struggle with it, why is it important to you to keep doing it? The most basic way to do this is if you envision yourself actually doing your creative pursuit professionally. How has it changed how you interact with other objects or with people?

Does it change your appreciation for the work of others or motivate you to improve upon it? Nothing characterizes higher education like the need for creative thinking, unorthodox ideas to old topics, and the ability to synthesize something new. That is what you are going to college to learn how to do better. This essay wants to know whether this mindset of out-of-the-box-ness is something you are already comfortable with. They want to see:.

Instead, give a detailed and lively description of a specific thing or idea that you have created. The question wants a little narrative of your relationship to your creative outlet. How long have you been doing it? Did someone teach you or mentor you? Have you taught it to others?

Where and when do you create? Anything worth doing is worth doing despite setbacks, this question argues - and it wants you to narrate one such setback. So first, figure out something that interfered with your creative expression. A lack of skill, time, or resources? Too much or not enough ambition in a project? Then, make sure this story has a happy ending that shows you off as the solver of your own problems. What did you do to fix the situation? Your essay should include some thoughtful consideration of how this creative pursuit has shaped you, your thoughts, your opinions, your relationships with others, your understanding of creativity in general, or your dreams about your future.

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Why is this talent or skill meaningful to you? Does the talent come naturally or have you worked hard to develop this skill or talent? Does your talent or skill allow you opportunities in or outside the classroom?

If so, what are they and how do they fit into your schedule? Whatever you write about, picture yourself talking about it with a glowing smile on your face. The first part of the question really comes down to this: Have you done an outstanding thing?

Do you have a mindblowing ability? Describe a place, a time, or a situation in which you were a star. A contribution could be anything from physically helping put something together, to providing moral or emotional support at a critical moment.

The second part of the last essay asked you to look to the future. The second part of this essay wants you to look at the present instead. The general task is similar, however. Once again you're being asked to make connections— how do you fit this quality you have or this achievement you accomplished into the story of who you are? In other words, this is probably not the time to write about getting arrested for vandalism, unless you can spin that experience into a story about how you been on the straight and narrow path ever since.

Even if your vandalism was really, really, cool, don't write about it. Admissions officers have a very straightforward interest in learning about your accomplishments. They want to know what makes you proud of yourself. It is something that relates to performance, to overcoming a difficult obstacle, to keeping a cool head in a crisis, to your ability to help others in need? At the same time, they are looking for a sense of maturity. 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.

Unless you were hired to paint the overpasses. Then definitely brag about it. The trick with this prompt is how to show a lot about yourself without listing accomplishments or devolving into cliche platitudes. Let's take it step by step.

Make sure that somewhere in your narrative preferably closer to the beginning you let the reader know what makes your achievement an achievement. Keep in mind that for some things the explanation might be obvious. For example, do you really need to explain why finishing a marathon is a hard task? The first question asked for a description, but this one wants a story — a narrative of how you do your special talent, or how you accomplished the thing you were so great at.

The main thing about stories is that they have to have:. An educational opportunity can be anything that has added value to your educational experience and better prepared you for college. What personal characteristics or skills did you call on to overcome this challenge? How did overcoming this barrier help shape who are you today?

Cue the swelling music, because this essay is going to be all about your inspirational journey. You will either tell your story of overcoming adversity against all or some odds, or of pursuing the chance of a lifetime. A description of the setback that befell you: The prompt wants to know what you consider a challenge in your school life - and definitely note that this challenge should have in some significant way impacted your academics rather than your life overall.

The challenge can be a wide-reaching problem in your educational environment or something that happened specifically to you. An explanation of your success: How are you defined by this thing that happened? You could discuss the emotional fallout of having dramatically succeeded, or how your maturity level, concrete skills, or understanding of the situation has increased, now that you have dealt with it personally.

Or, you could talk about any beliefs or personal philosophy that you have had to reevaluate as a result of either the challenge itself, or of the way that you had to go about solving it. A short, clear description of exactly what you got the chance to do: Also explain why you specifically got the chance to do it. Was it the culmination of years of study? An academic contest prize? An unexpected encounter that led to you seizing an unlooked-for opportunity?

How you made the best of it: Were you very challenged by this opportunity? Did your skills develop? How does this impact your future academic ambitions or interests? Will you study this area further? Does this help you find your academic focus?

Of course, whatever you write about in this essay is probably already reflected on your resume or in your transcript in some small way. Instead, you will be responsible for seizing whatever chances will further your studies, interests, or skills. Conversely, college will necessarily be more challenging, harder, and potentially much more full of academic obstacles than your academic experiences so far.

UC wants to see that you are up to handling whatever setbacks may come your way with aplomb rather than panic.

Not every challenge is automatically obvious. Sure, everyone can understand the drawbacks of having to miss a significant amount of school due to illness, but what if the obstacle you tackled is something a little more obscure? Likewise, winning the chance travel to Italy to paint landscapes with a master is clearly rare and amazing, but some opportunities are more specialized and less obviously impressive.

Make sure your essay explains everything the reader will need to know to understand what you were facing. An essay describing problems can easily slip into finger-pointing and self-pity. Make sure to avoid this by speaking positively or at least neutrally about what was wrong and what you faced.

This goes double if you decide to explain who or what was at fault for creating this problem. Likewise, an essay describing amazing opportunities can quickly become an exercise in unpleasant bragging and self-centeredness.

Make sure you stay grounded - rather than dwelling at length on your accomplishments, describe the specifics of what you learned and how. A challenge could be personal, or something you have faced in your community or school. Why was the challenge significant to you? Did you have support from someone else or did you handle it alone?

The first part of this essay is about problem-solving. The prompt asks you to point at something that could have derailed you, if not for your strength and skill. The second part of Topic B asks you to consider how this challenge has echoed through your life - and more specifically, how your education has been affected by what happened to you. And colleges want to make sure that you can handle these upsetting events without losing your overall sense of self, without being totally demoralized, and without getting completely overwhelmed.

In other words, they are looking for someone who is mature enough to do well on a college campus, where disappointing results and hard challenges will be par for the course.

They are also looking for your creativity and problem-solving skills. Are you good at tackling something that needs to be fixed? Can you keep a cool head in a crisis? Do you look for solutions outside the box? Even more than knowing that you were able to fix the problem, colleges want to see how you approached the situation. This is why your essay needs to explain your problem-solving methodology. Basically, we need to see you in action.

What did you think would work? What did you think would not work? Did you compare this to other problems you have faced and pass? Did you do research? This essay is supposed to demonstrate your resourcefulness and creativity. The last thing you want is for you to not actually be the person responsible for overcoming the obstacle. Make sure that your story is clear that without you and your special brand of XYZ, people would still be lamenting the issue today. Don't worry if the resource you used to affect a good fix was the knowledge and know-how that somebody else brought to the table.

Just focus on explaining what made you think of this person as the one to go to, how you convinced them to participate, and how you explained to them how they would be helpful.

This will shift the attention of the story back to you and your doings. The most exciting part of this essay should be watching you struggle to find a solution just in the nick of time.

You want to do the same thing here. Bring excitement and a feeling of uncertainty to your description of your process to really pull the reader in and make them root for you to succeed. If that applies to you, what have you done to further that interest? Have you been able to pursue coursework at a higher level in this subject honors, AP, IB, college or university work?

Are you inspired to pursue this subject further at UC, and how might you do that? For some students, this will be an extremely straightforward question.

You can just pick a few of the most gripping moments from these experiences and discuss the overall trajectory of your interests, and your essay will be a winner. But what if you have many academic interests?

Or what if you only discovered your academic passion at the very end of high school? At first glance, it sounds as if what you should write about is the class where you have gotten the best grades, or the class that easily fits into what you see as your future college major or maybe even your eventual career goal.

There is nothing wrong with this kind of pick—especially if you really are someone who tends to excel in those classes that are right up your interest alley.

But if we look closer, we see that there is nothing in the prompt that specifically demands that you write either about a particular class or an area of study where you perform well. 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.

Every student works differently when it comes to thinking and writing. Some might like to pick the four that appeal to them and crank out four, rough short essays, and then go back and see how they fit together, and edit and change them to produce a strong mix. Others might want to start with the one they feel the strongest about, polish it up and then go onto the second and do the same.

No matter what your style, at some point, read your four essays to look for overlap and make sure you have diversity and balance. Remember that the UC is weighing all four essays equally. Make sure they can each stand alone as interesting and complete essays about one main point.

I would make sure to write at least for each essay, and best to shoot for to take advantage of the space. Why waste a single word? The total word count is 1, I would write your essays on a Word doc or by hand, and then transfer the final essays to the UC application only when you are finished. Consider how to order your Personal Insight Questions essays.

You could go in the order of the numbers of the ones you wrote about. My opinion, however, would be to put your strongest most engaging and interesting essay at the top, and work down by variety and strength from there. Write these short essays as you would a longer personal essay.

Do not simply list accomplishments, achievements, awards and work. Avoid overdone or cliche topics. Seek feedback from a trusted person.

Proofread closely before submitting. This might be the best for last: One way to approach these essays strategically would be to first write down the activities, accomplishments, personal qualities, core values, meaningful experiences and other aspects of yourself that you want to showcase to the UCs.

Then scroll through the 8 Personal Insight Questions and match up which prompts would best showcase these features in your essays. That way, you are in command of shaping the picture of yourself that you want to show the UCs, instead of randomly writing essays to answer the prompts.

If you actually read all these 21 tips, then you are obviously a serious student and someone who does their homework. Now, take a deep breath and do your best not to over-stress on these. Give them your best shot. Keep everything in perspective. You are already ahead of the pack and will land in an amazing school! If you need more help with these, I offer tutoring and editing services.

Many good suggestions here, Janine. And, I would add, it would be optimal to choose topics which will give admissions the broadest sense of who you are. Always a fan of Janine, so naturally looking to the insights and posts on anything about essay writing.

Nice to know it works in practice, too. Why waste a great idea or story? Hi Sunny, Thanks for thinking of me. Please send me private message at my email: Your email address will not be published. As a professional writing coach, I help students, parents, counselors, teachers and others from around the world on these dreaded essays!

Learn about my in-person and online tutoring, editing, workshops, books, and online courses, My on-demand, fast-and-easy online e-course: The best ones are engaging especially at the start , meaningful and memorable. Here are some strategies, tips and ideas on how to pull this off and ace your Personal Insight Questions: ONE Read all eight questions first.

Then read them again. TWO Note which ones you like the best right off the top, and take notes of any ideas that pop out on your first read. THREE For each prompt, figure out what it wants you to write about, and then brainstorm specific examples from real-life to illustrate your topic.

FOUR Pick your favorite prompt and write it out. FIVE As you get ideas for the different prompts, start to think about how your topics will work together.

SIX Look for topics that showcase parts of you or your experiences and accomplishments that admissions officers would not learn about in other parts of your application. EIGHT Even though these are shorter essays, you still need to make them interesting to read, especially at the start.

NINE Since there are four separate essays, consider taking more of a risk with at least one of the essays. TEN Even short essays can be dull. Avoid common mistakes in Your Personal Insight Essays: Talking about one campus: Stick to facts and personal examples Repetition: Give us new info.

Get to the point and tell us what you mean Acronyms: Spell it out for us! These Personal Insight Questions essays are just one piece of your application. These are all about a subject you know better than anything else: Now just spend some time to figure out what parts you want to spotlight, and get cranking.

If it helps, here are the 8 questions without the additional advice if you want to compare them:

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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.

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UC Essay Prompts & Examples. This doesn’t mean you can’t still learn from previous UC application essay examples. In fact, we’ve put together all the UC prompts that are available and examples from our database to help with your essay writing: UC Prompt #1. 1. Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you. UC Personal Statement #1: Tips for writing an essay on prompt #1, describe the world you come from and how your world has shaped your dreams. UC Personal Statement Prompt #1 Tips for Writing Your Response to the University of California Essay Prompt #1. Note: The article below is for the pre University of California application.