What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Need guidance on UC application essays

I started working on my UC application essays, but I'm stressed about how to make the best impression. Does anyone have suggestions or successful topics to share? I would really appreciate it!

6 months ago

Writing the UC application essays can be stressful, but you've got this! The key is to share your authentic self with the admissions officers and reveal what truly makes you unique and memorable. Here are a few suggestions and topics to consider as you work on your essays:

1. Make sure to answer the prompts: While it's essential to be creative in your writing, don't lose sight of the actual prompts. Address them directly and make sure you're providing the relevant information they're seeking. If you're having trouble brainstorming for or writing one of the ones you've selected, consider pivoting to a different one - take advantage of the fact that the UCs give you some flexibility!

2. Focus on your personal growth: Colleges want to understand how your personal development and growth led to you becoming the person you are today. Sharing a specific experience or event that led to significant growth or change in you demonstrates maturity and self-awareness, which are desirable qualities for college applicants.

3. Embrace your individuality: Select a topic that's personal and specific to you. It could be an unusual hobby, a unique perspective on a common experience, a specific challenge you've had to overcome, or an accomplishment that might not be immediately apparent in the rest of your application.

4. Make it engaging: When writing your essays, aim to engage the admissions officer reading it. Use descriptive language, anecdotes, and a clear narrative structure to draw them in. Make them want to continue reading and learn more about you!

5. Show, don't tell: Instead of simply listing qualities about yourself or accomplishments, use examples and stories to illustrate these points. This method allows the reader to draw conclusions about who you are rather than just telling them outright.

6. Revise and edit: Writing a great essay takes time. Be prepared to write multiple drafts, revise, and ask for feedback from trusted sources such as teachers, family members, or friends. Make sure your final essay is polished and error-free.

Example topics:

- A moment where you challenged a commonly held belief or opinion and the impact it had on you or others.

- How your involvement in an academic or extracurricular project led to a significant accomplishment or personal growth.

- The influence of a role model or mentor who helped you develop a passion for a specific field or activity.

- A challenge you faced or obstacle you overcame (e.g., personal, academic, or financial) that has made you a stronger, more resilient person.

- An experience where you were exposed to diverse perspectives or ideas that broadened your understanding of the world.

Remember, these are just starting points. Choose a topic that feels authentic and compelling to you and will give the admissions officers a genuine insight into who you are as a person.

Finally, if you want further guidance, consider checking out CollegeVine's blog post breaking down all eight UC Personal Insight Questions: https://blog.collegevine.com/how-to-write-the-university-of-california-essays. You should also consider either utilizing CollegeVine's Free Peer Essay Review Tool or submitting your essay for a paid review by an expert college admissions advisor through CollegeVine's marketplace. Sometimes, having someone who doesn't already know you take a look at your essay can give you the best sense of how it'll come across to admissions officers, and so help you find the areas that still need improvement.

Good luck!

6 months ago

About CollegeVine’s Expert FAQ

CollegeVine’s Q&A seeks to offer informed perspectives on commonly asked admissions questions. Every answer is refined and validated by our team of admissions experts to ensure it resonates with trusted knowledge in the field.