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Personal Statement Prompts

2017-2018 Common Application Essay Prompts (answer 1)

  1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. 
  2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure.How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? 
  4. Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. 
  5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? 
  1. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. 

University of California Personal Insight Questions (answer 4)

  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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?

 

  1. Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.

 

  1. 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?

 

  1. Describe your favorite academic subject and explain how it has influenced you

 

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

 

  1. What is the one thing that you think sets you apart from other candidates applying to the University of California?