PERSONAL INSIGHT QUESTIONS The personal insight questions are one of many pieces of information used in reviewing your application. While these questions are one important piece, an admission decision is not made on your responses alone. ALL APPLICANTS TO THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA MUST RESPOND TO FOUR QUESTIONS »» Freshmen must respond to 4 of 8 questions. »» Transfers must answer 1 required question and may choose any 3 additional questions. »» There is no minimum word count per response, but there is a maximum of 350 words per response. »» The questions you choose to answer are entirely up to you. KEEP IN MIND »» All questions are equal: All are given equal consideration in the application review process, which means there is no advantage or disadvantage to choosing certain questions over others. »» You should answer the questions that are most relevant to your experience and best reflect your individual circumstances. »» There is no right or wrong way to answer these questions. »» The important thing is expressing who you are — your life experience, interests, ambitions and inspirations. Think of it as your interview with the admissions office. Be open. Be reflective.
Questions 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. FRESHMEN ONLY 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?
Transfer Applicants Transfer applicants must answer the required question below and three of seven above. REQUIRED: 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.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS SECTION After you complete the Personal Insight questions, you will see another section called “Additional Comments.” This is an optional section and should not be used as a continuation of your responses to the personal questions. Instead, you should use this section to: »» Provide additional clarification on important details in your application, such as honors, awards, activities. »» Share information regarding a nontraditional school environment or unusual circumstances. »» Describe anything else that you HAVE NOT had the opportunity to include elsewhere in your application »» Active Military and Veterans: you can use the Personal Insight or Additional Comments to describe how your military service has been instrumental in developing your educational plans.
WRITING TIPS DO -- Start early. Give yourself plenty of time for preparation, careful composition and revisions. -- Use “I” statements. Talk about yourself so that we can get to know your personality, talents, accomplishments and potential for success. Use “I” and “my” statements in your responses. -- Write persuasively. Expand on a topic by using specific, concrete examples to support the points you want to make. Making a list of accomplishments, activities, awards or work will lessen the impact of your words. -- Proofread and edit. Although you will not be evaluated on grammar, spelling or sentence structure, you should proofread your work and make sure your writing is clear. Grammatical and spelling errors can be distracting to the reader and get in the way of what you’re trying to communicate. -- Get feedback. Your answers should reflect your own ideas and be written by you alone, but others — family, teachers and friends — may offer valuable suggestions. -- Copy and paste. Once you are satisfied with your answers, save them in plain text (ASCII) and paste them into the space provided in the application. Proofread once more to make sure no odd characters or line breaks have appeared.
DON'T 99 Plagiarize. Ask advice of whomever you like, but do not use ideas or content from print or online sources. Use your own ideas and words. 99 Use creative writing. Avoid clichés, poems, scene-setting, quotes or jokes. 99 Use quotations. We want to know your thoughts and words, not someone else’s. 99 Write about other people more than yourself. It’s great to have family support or a loving friend or role model, but your responses to the personal insight questions should be about you. 99 Repeat information. Give us new information we can’t find in other sections of your application. 99 Give a long list of accomplishments and activities. Place them in context with explanations or examples. Thoughtfully describe what you’ve done, the choices you’ve made and what you’ve gained as a result. 99 Pose philosophical questions. Get to the point and tell us what you mean. 99 Use acronyms. Spell it out for us. If we don’t know what the acronyms are, your meaning may be lost. 99 Use generalities. Stick to facts and personal examples.
-- Relax. This is one of many pieces of information we consider in reviewing your applications. Your responses can only add value to the application.
READY TO GET STARTED? admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/how-to-apply/personal-questions It’s a good idea to work on the questions before you enter them into the application. The University of California Admissions website has a video, helpful tips and things to consider when answering each question. Read through this information carefully, download the word document to write your answers and to get feedback before copying and pasting them into the UC Application.