8 Mistakes to Avoid when Writing UC Personal Insight Questions

8 Mistakes to Avoid when Writing UC Personal Insight Questions

The UC’s are some of the most competitive schools in the nation to get accepted into.  Just last year, they received a record number of applicants.  How can you ensure that your child will stand out?  Today, I’m going to be sharing with you (and your child) 8 mistakes to avoid when writing UC Personal Insight Questions.

Mistake #1: Repeating your accomplishments over and over again

Sure, it’s great to show colleges your best achievements. But to mention these accolades in four different essays is a bit overkill. Think– if you were an admissions officer reading someone’s essays, would you enjoy reading about the same accomplishments four different times? Or would you rather see someone who is able to accurately incorporate their accomplishments in each essay uniquely?

Mistake #2: Complaining about your circumstances, setbacks and/or hardships

I get it… Life is hard. And it’s definitely important to talk about your hardships in your UC essays. However, avoid complaining too much about what you’ve been through. Instead, show that your mindset has shifted and that you’ve grown and learned from your life experiences.

Mistake #3: Storytelling

The UC Personal Insight questions have a word count maximum of 350 words. That’s not even a full page of text. While you should definitely be telling a cohesive story of who you are throughout your entire application, avoid getting too lost in the details of a story for these essays.

Mistake #4: Not addressing your future

While you are certainly required to share about your past, don’t forget to include your future. What about your past inspires your future? What can you share about your future plans that shows colleges that you have potential?

Mistake #5: Choosing a prompt because it’s easier to answer

While we’re taught to pick the easier choices for our academic essays, this may work against you for college essays. Don’t just pick the easiest prompts… pick the prompts that you know your best qualities will shine through.

Mistake #6: Too much emphasis in kindness and empathy

Listen, I understand that kindness and empathy are important– and I encourage all of my students to incorporate that into their essays. But, try not to focus on those as your only traits. The UC schools want to see rigor, and your kind actions alone won’t display that image entirely. Show how you demonstrated your unique qualities through kindness and/or empathy to others.

Mistake #7: Trying too hard to be creative and unique

I understand you want to stand out. But trying too hard to make your application unique or creative runs the risk of hurting your application. Instead, display how unique you are by showing your potential for growth and your plans for the future.

Mistake #8: Not repurposing Common App and/or Supplemental Essays

Believe it or not, you can absolutely repurpose your Common App and/or Supplemental Essays on your UC essays. If a question or your responses sound similar, don’t be afraid to re-use your other essays. Common App and UC have no overlap in terms of schools, so don’t be afraid to use what you already have.

And there you have it– eight mistakes to avoid on your UC Personal Insight Questions. These applications are unique and the essays you write for them have a drastic impact on whether or not you get accepted. Think about it… the UC’s get thousands upon thousands of applications every year. This last year, a record number of applicants applied to the UC schools.

Make sure you stand out.