September 22, 2016 by hibiscuswallflower
By Paris Primm
Earlier this year the University of California system made a big change to their application.
Instead of the traditional two prompt essay format there are now 8 Personal Insight Questions. You are required to answer 4 of the 8 questions. Each response has a maximum of 350 words. No question is favored over another, you should only be concerned with which questions tailor to your story.
After conducting a small student survey six out of seven students said they prefer the new personal insight questions over the old prompts. Students felt that they have a better chance of getting accepted because they can express themselves better. It is easier to focus on the responses because there are more options and the directions are clearer. A senior getting ready to apply commented that she prefers the new prompts but feels a bit uneasy because of the shorter word limit.
These student responses correspond with why the University of California changed their personal statement. They thought it would give students a better chance to explain and express who they are as an individual. Bottom-line according to students and UCs themselves students have a greater chance of telling their story with ease.
Applying to a UC in November or just want to practice your responses to the Personal Insight Questions? Here’s a link to the official worksheet.