PREPARING FOR THE UC PERSONAL STATEMENT
Purpose of the Personal Statement • Part of college’s comprehensive review process • Opportunity to provide information that supports and augments the review process • Helps readers know and understand applicants
Purpose of the Personal Statement • Adds clarity, depth and meaning to information collected in other parts of the application • Completes the application for admission • An admission decision will never be based on the content of a personal statement alone
GETTING STARTED Break down the prompts or questions into parts The prompt is to help you to brainstorm your ideas Be sure you understand the prompt or question You do not need to respond literally to the prompt or question
There is no one correct way to write a personal statement, but in general those who will read your essay are looking for two important things: HOW the essay provides evidence of your achievements that isn't reflected in other parts of your application HOW and WHY the events that you describe have shaped your attitude, focus, and, most of all, your intellectual vitality.
Characteristics of a Good Personal Statement Is thoughtful and honest Conforms to guidelines Answers the question! Transforms blemishes into positives Highlights your ability to think critically Exudes confidence Ability to translate
Getting Feedback on Your Personal Statement Getting feedback from others is a critical part of writing your essay. If your teachers, peers, or parents have suggestions, listen carefully. You don't have to take every suggestion, but try them out and find out which ones work. You'll want to be very specific in asking for feedback; if there are sections of your essay that you are particularly concerned about, ask your readers to pay special attention to those parts.
Style Tips • Word accuracy. Use a simpler word in place of a longer or more obscure word. • Make sure that every word you use means what you think it means. • Be yourself! • Avoid empty words and phrases like "basically,: "really," "goals and dreams.” • Use active verbs whenever possible. Substitute more active verbs. • For example: • 1. Instead of: My love of science was fostered by my second grade teacher • 2. Write: My second grade teacher fostered my love of science • Avoid predictable (and stereotypical college essay phrases) such as ”I • learned a lot," "I learned to work with others," "It was a fun and challenging • experience” • Avoid using clichés. They detract from the freshness of your essay.
Things to Consider Do not use words that demonstrate indecisiveness; e.g., should, could, have to, etc. Do not generalize, provide examples Do not use repetitive words or phrases Be concise Cut down, to bulk up Edit! Edit! Edit!
Step 7: The Personal Statement • Personal Statement Instructions and Prompts • Instructions: • Respond to both prompts, using a maximum of 1,000 words total. • Allocate the word count as desired. An applicant may wish to respond to one • prompt at greater length; we suggest the shorter answer be no less than 250 words. • Stay within the word limit as closely as possible. A little over — 1,012 words, • for example — is fine. • Prompt #1: Freshman • Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations. • Prompt #1: Transfer • What is your intended major? Discuss how your interest in the subject developed and describe any experience you have had in the field — such as volunteer work, internships and employment, participation in student organizations and activities — and what you have gained from your involvement. • Prompt #2: All Applicants • Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?
In reading your application, we want to get to know you as well as we can. There’s a limit to what grades and test scores can tell us so we ask you to write a personal statement. Your personal statement — consisting of responses to two prompts — is your chance to tell us who you are and what’s important to you. Think of it as your opportunity to introduce yourself to the people reading your application. Be open, be honest, be real. What you tell us in your personal statement gives readers the context to better understand the rest of the information you’ve provided in your application. A couple of tips: Read each prompt carefully and be sure to respond to all parts. Use, specific, concrete examples to support the points you want to make. Finally, relax. This is one of many pieces of information we consider in reviewing your application; an admission decision will not be based on your personal statement alone. • Compose essays in a word-processing program, then paste into application • Times out after 40 minutes of inactivity • Gives word count for each essay 255 Step 7: The Personal Statement (continued)
Use this box to clarify other information in application • Word-count limit has been increased to 500 words (previously 250 words) Step 7: The Personal Statement (continued)
“Never let setbacks or fear dictate the course of your life. Hold on to the possibility and push beyond the fear.” We believe in you!