University of California Essay Prompts for Fall 2017
(Ideas for Answering Personal Insight Question No. 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.
UC Essay Prompt 1 is the first of eight essay prompts for the University of California application that you can choose to answer if you are an incoming freshman.
Of the eight Personal Insight Questions, you only need to answer four.
If you consider leadership one of your defining qualities, or have had an interesting experience as a leader in some capacity, you might want to consider this essay. (more…)
First New University of California Essay Prompts
for their College Application in 10 Years!
The University of California just listed brand new college application essay prompts—for the first time in a decade!
In the past, incoming freshman wrote two core essays answering two prompts.
The two essays had to be a total of no more than 1,000 words.
The UC is now calling its new essay prompts, “Personal insight questions,” and students must choose four out of eight to answer.
And they are each supposed to be under 350 words. (So, total under 1,400 words.)
That’s a huge shift. (more…)
UPDATE: as of March 23, 2016
The University of California announced NEW essay prompts for 2016-17.
Read about how to answer them HERE.
It’s Not Too Late to Write Your College App Essays
Before the Nov. 30 Deadline
Yes, you have waited until the last minute. But don’t despair!
There’s still time to pound out two awesome essays!
If you’re working on your two college application essays for the University of California freshman application, I’ve put together a short list of my most helpful posts.
Read through them, watch the videos, and get crankin!!
Prompt 1: Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations. (more…)
Last week, a new student came to my home for help on his college application essays.
I asked this eager senior about his target schools. He told me Stanford was his top pick, but he was applying to most of the ivies, along with a couple UCs (Cal and UCLA).
Then he handed me a printout of his essay. It was one he had written for his English teacher at our local high school.
It was about a mission trip. To a South American country. And he wrote how he loved working with the kids, and how he realized how privileged he was, and how he hoped to make a difference in the world.
I tried not to let my reaction show. (more…)
How to Find the
in College Application Essays
I received an email from a student named Hannah who told me she was homeschooled, and that she had been advised to write about that for her college application essay.
Hannah said she was having “trouble thinking of anything unique or super meaningful” from her homeschooling experience.
I gave this some thought, and here’s what I would advise:
Homeschooling is something unique and special in itself.
And that’s a good thing.
But as an essay topic, it’s way too broad and most likely written about by a lot by other homeschooled students, so it risks being overdone already. (More than 3 percent of school age kids are home-schools; more than 1.5 million.) (more…)
This hilarious video is making the rounds on the Internet (my niece’s husband shared it with me on Facebook) just in time for many college application essay deadlines.
It’s funny because the outrageous statements made by students are painfully true.
A couple of my favorite lines: “I’m trying to hide the fact that I’m a privileged white person.” and “If this wasn’t a college essay, it would be considered way over-sharing.”
Another favorite was: “I’m using words I literally just learned a minute ago on Thesaurus.com.” (more…)
UPDATE: as of March 23, 2016 The University of California announced NEW essay prompts for 2016-17. Read about how to answer them HERE.
This post is now outdated. The information is no longer relevant!!
If you are working on your two college application essays for the University of California freshman application, I’ve put together a short list of my most helpful posts.
Prompt 1: Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.
How to Describe the World You Come From
Sample College App Essay for UC Prompt 1
Brainstorm the World You Come From (more…)
If you’ve been looking for help with your college application essay, I assume you have discovered the mountains of information (some helpful; a lot no so much) out there on the Web. One of my favorite resources for students is The Prospect, which is an organization centered on college admissions and high school/college life.
The main reason I love The Prospect so much is that it is all about helping students survive high school and get into the college of their dreams–but it’s also run by students like you! Their talented staff offered to share some of their best essay-writing tips here on Essay Hell. I think you will find their foodie-approach fun, inspiring and useful! (more…)
I was watching the most recent episode of Modern Family the other night, and thought it was funny and telling that Alex Dunphy, the token brainiac of the family, was obsessing about her college application essay.
The family was on a vacation in Australia, and Alex kept annoying everyone by trying to find life lessons and metaphors from the trip to use in her essay.
First off, what does that tell you about how these essays are becoming more and more of a national obsession? (My last post was about David Letterman’s Top 10 Ways to Make Your College App Essay Stand Out.)
To me, it says that these dreaded essays continue to rise above the other parts of the college admissions process in terms of what can either get you into a top college or keep you out. (more…)
If you are applying to the University of California schools, you have until the end of this month. As busy seniors, some of you might have waited to write your essays over Thanksgiving, when you have some days off and can catch up. Yes, it would be better if you already had them in, but there is still time.
The key, however, is to not let this last minute deadline dash ruin your Thanksgiving. The holiday comes late this year–Nov. 27–so it’s closer to the Nov. 30th deadline than ever. So yes, you are really cutting it close. If you don’t have a plan, it could hang over your head the entire holiday weekend. (more…)