College Essays Demystified

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 University of California Essays

UC Essays

The UC Personal Insight Questions are their own unique challenge, and not just because of what they’re asking. These essays offer a wide array of choices—eight total. An applicant will write four, at 350 words each. Of all the essays we work on, we feel that the UC essays give admissions officers the most comprehensive view of an applicant.

Our Process:

  • Via telephone or video chat, we will discuss the UC prompts, identifying which four the applicant is most excited about. Once we choose the four, we will tackle them two at a time. We’ll talk through the first prompt, then teach them how to create a structure for the first two essays, which the applicant will then use to write a first draft of both.
  • When we receive the first drafts, we will discuss what works and what doesn’t. The applicant then uses our notes and suggestions to write another draft. On the same call, we will discuss the next two prompts, teaching them how to create an outline for them.
  • Next up is one more review of their drafts. This is where we point out mistakes or errors in the text.

The UC admissions officers place as much importance on the essays as they do on grades and test scores. Think of it this way; UC schools do not offer in-person interviews. These essays are as close to a personal interview as it gets. We encourage applicants to take their time, dig deep, be original, and enjoy the process of writing these essays.

Choose 4 of 8:

  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. Think about an academic subject that inspires you. Describe how you have furthered this interest inside and/or outside of the classroom.
  7. What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?
  8. Beyond what has already been shared in your application, what do you believe makes you stand out as a strong candidate for admissions to the University of California?

of our students were accepted to their first-choice school!

Cara D.
University of Chicago
Class of 2024

William R.
Class of 2024

Clair K.
Class of 2024

Emily S.
Class of 2024

Grace T.
University of Chicago
Class of 2024

Andrew M.
University of Pennsylvania
Class of 2024

Conor N.
Class of 2024

Emma J.
Class of 2024

Emily Y.
John Hopkins
Class of 2024

Alex D.
Class of 2024

Danielle R.
University of Chicago
Class of 2024

Nikita W.
Georgia Tech
Class of 2024

Claudia C.
Columbia University
Class of 2024

Arielle L.
Class of 2024

Chris R.
Carnegie Mellon
Class of 2024

Gina B.
Rice University
Class of 2024

Anson F.
Class of 2024

Olivia P.
Harvey Mudd
Class of 2024

Nicole F.
Class of 2024

Maggie K.
Class of 2024

Contact Us
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“The entire process went so smoothly. You’ll definitely be hearing from us next year with our younger daughter.”

—Susan H, Dallas, Texas