Tell us your story: UC’s personal insight questions

Tell us your story: UC’s personal insight questions

August 15, 2019 2 By Stanley Isaacs


UC’s new personal insight questions hold
lots of opportunities for applicants. The admissions staff can really get to know
you – your achievements, how hard you’ve worked, and how you’ve used your talents
to improve your life and the lives of those around you. But before addressing the personal insight
questions, you’ll need a good grasp of what they’re all about. Start by reading up about the new questions
on the UC Admissions website. Now, let’s dive a little deeper. Writing about yourself is hard, especially
when it seems like there’s a lot on the line. This video will help all applicants approach,
think about, draft, and complete their responses. and it’ll be especially useful to students
who are the first college applicants in their families, those whose first language isn’t
English, and those who don’t have regular access to a college advisor. Your unique experiences and cultural backgrounds
are valuable assets when taking on these questions. Before you begin, make sure you complete and
review the rest of your application. Admissions readers form questions about you
from your application. So put yourself in their shoes. Are there gaps to explain? Achievements to expand upon? Let’s get to the questions. Step one: look them over. No judging or choosing. Take a deep breath. Now read them again. This time, jot down your casual impressions. Do any questions present a better opportunity
to tell your story? Do any seem difficult, easy, or similar to
each other? Ok, time to brainstorm. Some things to keep in mind: No question is more important than another,
but some might align better with your experiences. Thinking about yourself can be tough, so try
talking to a friend or family member. Also, your responses should be backed up by
information in another part of your application. For example, if you’re a volunteer or the
captain of your soccer team, the reader shouldn’t only hear about it in these responses. Next, you can choose any questions, but focus
on ones that help you tell a meaningful and complete story. The new questions address a few general themes:
barriers; leadership; and unique gifts. Think about highlights from your application
that you can expand on: Are you a long-time participant in a UC college prep program? Do you tutor younger students? Have you gotten a job to help support your
family? Use the new questions to help explain.. Finally, don’t eliminate any questions because
they might require more thought. Your story is worth telling, so take time
to think things through. When you’re ready to begin writing, just
write! Remember, this is only a draft. Some suggestions for getting started: First, write out all the ideas you brainstormed. Make a list. Set a timer and do a “free-write.” Draw a mind map. It’s easier to process ideas once they’re
written. Also, write out ALL your ideas. In fact, you might want to answer all the
questions and then choose your best responses. Last, keep writing. Drafting has a funny way of making you feel
more prepared and confident about the writing process. Should you spend time writing everyday? Absolutely. Successful writing results from solid planning
and revision, so give yourself time to bring it all together. As you write, a few recommendations: Use simple, concise language. If you get stuck, imagine yourself writing
to a friend. Nothing special, just speaking your mind using
your own voice. You can polish the language later. Also, it is a good idea to vary sentence length. You can do this. Everybody has a story to tell, and these questions
give you a great opportunity to tell yours. Just remember: there are steps to this process. Know which parts of your application you need
to explain or highlight. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes. Review the information on the UC Student Affairs
site and then the questions. Which questions apply best to you? Think about which questions align best with your experiences and allow you to tell a meaningful story. Put all your ideas to paper. Make time to practice everyday. Finally, bring your ideas together, and always ask a
few people to read your work and provide feedback. You can do this, but don’t procrastinate! Take enough time to give the personal insight
questions your best shot. Start the process early and do a little bit
of work every day. Your story is worth it.