The UC Application Essays
Starting in 2016, applicants to the UCs are required to answer four questions when they submit their application. These Personal Insight questions are replacing the two Personal Statement essays that were standard protocol the previous ten years.
Both systems are geared toward the same result: The UCs want to know more about you and what makes you tick. There are no wrong answers. Whereas in the past one of the Personal Statements asked you to pick a talent, skill, personal quality, or event that helps define you, the short answers now give you a selection of those qualities, but you choose the ones to answer. (The second Personal Statement concerned your major, and that, in fact, remains as a required short answer.)
The only change now is that the answers are shorter and can cover a lot more territory.
Personal Insights Overview:
- Transfer applicants will answer one required question, in addition to three out of seven additional questions.
- Each response is limited to a maximum of 350 words.
- All questions will have equal value in the admissions selection process. For applicants, there is no advantage or disadvantage to choosing certain questions over others.
- You will never not get admitted because of these answers. They can only help, and are most vital to the borderline applicant.
- Currently, only five campuses read the personal statements for admission purposes: Berkeley, UCLA, Merced, Irvine and San Diego.