How To Write The 2020-21 University of California Essays

Recorded Tuesday, December 1 at 12:00 AM

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About this livestream

School information

University of California, Berkeley | UC Berkeley

Berkeley, CA

Learn how to write an awesome University of California essay for every single prompt.

Vinay Bhaskara will provide an in-depth breakdown of each of the UC essay prompts, discussing how to write a great essay in response to each one. He'll also share his take on the essays and topics you shouldn't write about for each prompt.

Finally, he'll open up the floor for a Q&A session, where he'll answer any and all questions about the UC essays and talk about how to set yourself apart with your essay.

School information

University of California, Berkeley | UC Berkeley

Berkeley, CA
Your host

Undergrad College: University of Chicago

Major: Economics

Work Experience: As a Co-Founder of CollegeVine, I lead the data science and admissions curriculum teams. I have worked with thousands of students and families over the course of 8 years. I have also spent time as a senior analyst in aviation operations, strategy, and marketing.

Audience questions

These are questions from the audience that we had time to answer during the live session. If you have any other questions, you can request an answer from Vinay and other CollegeVine experts in an upcoming livestream or on the Q&A Forum anytime.
39:18@anonymous:So the essay that asks about how you impacted the community, would that be when you talk about service-learning experiences?
39:23@anonymous:Should we keep our prompts short and sweet or long and spicy? Would a long essay even stand out?
39:24@anonymous:I am stuck on the question on the community question. Does lifeguarding and teaching others how to swim help the community?
39:27@anonymous:Will a recording be posted later? I joined late
39:27@anonymous:for prompt #6 i'm doing an essay on my passion for languages, french specifically, i talk about my experience on a French exchange and how i keep it outside the classroom. how do i make this stronger
39:30@samueljasperdavid:Can we write about something that negatively impacted us 7-8 years ago?
39:41@anonymous:Is it advantageous to communicate a sense of humor in the essays?
39:46@pab:For prompt 6, can we mention a bunch of different activities that we did to further our interest, or should we only focus on 1 or 2?
40:14@anonymous:I know that COVID should be avoided, but I had to move out by myself to a room rental because I live with my parents to continue going to school-would that be okay?
41:00@asiah17:Having a parent in prison made me extremely interested in psychology, specifically criminal psychology. I have taken AP Psych at school, but I did not any opportunities to do research or do any internships due to COVID. For prompt 6, would it be acceptable to talk about how I read and watch documentaries about criminal psych?
41:03@raincloud:Hi! Thank you for the information. For the second prompt, can I discuss my passion for art, photography, and writing? I discussed my involvement in several activities that allowed me to explore my creativity and therefore helped me to become a more detail-oriented student, but I'm not sure if this is enough to respond to the prompt. I want to major in Chemistry/Chemical Engineering, so how would I go about Prompt #2?
41:53@anonymous:for french prompt #6: i already speak spanish at home, it's another romance language so that was my original reason to learn it because i thought it would be easy and so that i could learn another language. but as i learned it, i realized i really liked it and i also love the culture, i am also passionate about learning different cultures and i want to learn other languages as well (i'm teaching myself portuguese and Italian too) so that when i travel i can communicate with people, i want to be able to speak with locals so i am not limited to touristy places
42:39@anonymous:For the most significant challenge question, could I write about learning English growing up since my first language in Mandarin? I live in America but my parents were immigrants. It is before high school though
43:07@anonymous:i cook I explain my passion for cooking in my essay in order to make it better?
43:41@pab:Would talking about how my listening skills and how they helped me in debate be too cliche or not unique?
44:54@anonymous:I want to talk about origami in the second PIQ (the creativity one), but I’m not really sure how to start it. Do you have any ideas?
45:44@anonymous:Would starting a business be an interesting prompt to write about, I forgot the prompt number that I thought It was good for, but would that stand out?
46:27@raincloud:For Prompt #7, I discussed how community went from just being my hometown to encompassing an extent of the whole nation. I explained that I did my best to make as big of a positive impact as I could within my "community" by starting fundraisers, joining initiatives, and volunteering in school clubs. Is this sufficient?
47:34@pab:When answering prompt 2, can we show how learning a language is both a creative thing and requires creative solutions to learn, or should we just focus on one?
48:10@pab:Is it better to list out examples of how we have learned something, or explain how it is meaningful to us?
48:42@anonymous:I personally do have a tendency to ramble when writing essays, do you have any tips on how to . . . you know not do that?
49:08@sidney:I will be writing about how builiding electric cars with students and professors from university has changed my view of the world. How can I make it stronger
50:35@asiah17:For prompt 3 I want to write about my love for playing the guitar. It has helped me connect with my grandfather and meet new people. Would this be a good topic?
51:00@anonymous:For prompt 8 can I talk about my experience with discrimination and then transition it to almost a why UC essay?


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