University of California Personal Insight Question 6:
Brainiacs, Nerds, Geeks and Former Slackers—This Essay is For You!
UC Essay Prompt 6: Describe your favorite academic subject and explain how it has influenced you.
Well, this is probably the most straightforward of the eight Personal Insight Questions (which I call essay prompts) that the University of California admissions has to offer wannabe freshmen for 2016-17.
It’s also your best chance, similar to UC essay prompt 4, to showcase your passion for learning.
When you read UC essay prompt 6, did an answer pop into your head immediately?
If so, this could be a no-brainer essay for you to write.
You love math. You love history. You love econ. You love art. You love physics. You love English. You love biology.
Now you need to think some more about why you love the one subject so much, and what first got you hooked and why you believe that subject matters in the world.
Then, you need to also “explain how it has influenced you.”
The UC essay prompt 6 could work perfectly for the student who practically lives in the library studying, gets all the top grades and knows they will major this field in college: This is your chance to tell what inspired you and why you are so driven.
It could also work perfectly the student who wasn’t engaged in school but then had that special teacher who turned her or him onto a subject: This is your chance to tell what hooked you and how you have changed.
Warning: Even though this prompt seems simple and straightforward, make sure not to fall into the trap of writing too simple of an essay about your favorite subject.
If you start your essay with something like, “My favorite subject is math. I have always been good at it and it comes naturally. I like math because I like to work with numbers….”
…your essay will not help convince UC admissions that you are a stellar, insightful student who is perfect for their university.
Instead of starting with a general statement declaring your love of a subject, try to think of a specific example that can show or demonstrate WHY it’s your favorite subject.
That will give your essay a more interesting start and set you up to say something more meaningful about it.
Look for experiences you had with that subject that either got you hooked on it, or you found difficult at first but then you loved the challenge.
These experiences did not have to occur inside the classroom, although that’s fine, too. Brainstorm other activities that were related to your favorite subject, and start with one of those.
Then, look for ways your related experience “influenced” or changed how you think about the subject and other parts of your life or world, or what you learned.
Here’s a Sample Outline for UC Essay Prompt 6
- Start with a real-life example that shows your love of your favorite subject. It’s best if something happened during that example to make it interesting to read about. Then explain what first hooked you, and why you believe you love it so much. (A paragraph or two.)
- Explain how this favorite subject has changed how you think about yourself, and what you hope to do or study in the future. Share how it has changed you in any way, and why that matters. End by stating what you envision yourself doing with favorite subject in college and beyond. (A paragraph or two)
Here are some additional ideas that the UC admissions provided to help you brainstorm for UC Essay Prompt 6:
Discuss how your interest in the subject developed and describe any experience you have had inside and outside the classroom — such as volunteer work, summer programs, participation in student organizations and/or activities — and what you have gained from your involvement.
Has your interest in the subject influenced you in choosing a major and/or career? Have you been able to pursue coursework at a higher level in this subject (honors, AP, IB, college or university work)?
The UC also provided this idea to help you brainstorm UC Essay Prompt 6 in the Personal Insight Questions: Freshman Guide:
Think about all of your classes. Now fill in the blank: I would go to [class name] even if I didn’t have to. It doesn’t have to be a class in which you’ve earned good grades – the important thing is you enjoyed the subject and it impacted you in some way.
This short presentation can help you learn How to Write a Short Essay, such as these short UC essays that need to be fewer than 350 words each.