University of California Personal Insight Question Tips

2020-2021 University of California Personal Insight Questions Tips

At Opus College Prep, we know that strong supplemental essays are the key to a competitive application. In this post, we will be sharing our best tips for student’s applying to any University of California school for the class of 2025. If you are interested in working with a college admissions expert on your responses to these prompts, schedule a free consultation with us here. We can’t wait to help you get started!

Before we dig into tips for a few of the University of California Personal Insight Questions, many students want to know how to select the right prompts. Typically, we look at a student’s full profile and help strategize which responses will make the most compelling story. If you are about to dive into your UC application, you should select the prompts that will help you tell a complete story. Which prompts will allow you to elaborate on your greatest strengths? Which prompts will help you address questions that admissions officers may have with your candidacy? In the end, you don’t want any part of your application to be redundant. Do your best to tell a cohesive story across your responses to the personal insight questions.

If you have questions about how to select the right prompts for you, please reach out to!

Personal Insight Question Prompt 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.

There are a few factors to consider with this prompt. First, remember that not all leadership experience comes with a title. But, leadership experience is very important to admissions committees. So, if you don’t have “traditional” leadership experience outlined in the activities section of your application, you should consider responding to this prompt. By responding, you’ll answer an admissions readers questions about your leadership experiences and abilities. Consider using a STAR response to a question like this.

There are a few things to avoid with this prompt. If you are Student Body President, for example, admissions committee members already know what that is. Using this space to describe expected responsibilities of a Student Body President would be a waste of space. If as President you experienced something no one in your position had experienced before, or if you faced an unusual challenge, this could be a place to explore those stories. If not, we would caution you to explore another prompt or think critically about what new and interesting information you would reveal in a response to this prompt.

Prompt 6:

Think about an academic subject that inspires you. Describe how you have furthered this interest inside and/or outside the classroom.

Admissions committees love learning about students who love learning for the sake of learning. They look for students who pursue academic interests both inside and outside the classroom. Remember though, this is not a place to list all of the courses you have taken. They will see that in your transcript, so don’t waste precious space here. Focus on academic passions that inspire you. Was there a project you can paint a picture of for your admissions reader that ignited a new interest? Were you admitted to a selective summer program that gave you the opportunity to learn from a college professor? If you choose to respond to this prompt, try to tie it into your academic interests at the University of California. Your pursuit of academics inside and outside the classroom in high school will give admissions officers the confidence that you will pursue similar opportunities on their college campuses, too!

Prompt 7:

What have you done to make your school or community a better place?

This is a pretty important question, in our opinion. There is a heavy emphasis in college admissions on admitting students who are committed to improving the world around them. This question looks to get to the heart of what you have done for your local or global community.

Many students find that their high schools require a certain number of community service hours. This is not the place to list number of hours, as the question is looking for a more qualitative response. Describe the direct impact you have made through your efforts. When you go off to college, what legacy will you be leaving behind? What change/improvement can be attributed to your efforts? And, what did you learn from these experiences?

Something to note: while trips abroad offer great life experiences, they’re not always the best response to this question. Admissions officers have read hundreds (okay, probably thousands) of essays about trips abroad or mission trips. The trouble is, they’re most often a small part of your high school career. They’re also fairly redundant stories. If you have significant experience improving the world while abroad, you could consider that as you respond to this prompt. But, in most cases we would caution you to explore another topic in this response.

This is just a taste of our guidance for the University of California Personal Insight questions. If you’d like our insight on the remaining questions, please reach out! We’re excited to learn more about you and assist you in the college application process!

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