University Of California Essay Prompts 2016

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About this blog: We are writing this blog to give practical advice to students and parents, to reflect on issues affecting college admissions, and to provide a platform for a robust community discussion on post-secondary choices. We occasionally f...  (More)

About this blog: We are writing this blog to give practical advice to students and parents, to reflect on issues affecting college admissions, and to provide a platform for a robust community discussion on post-secondary choices. We occasionally feature "guest? bloggers and invite other college counselors to join the blog team. We are members of the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) and the Western Association for College Admissions Counseling (WACAC). Lori McCormick: I began my college advising career in 2006 at Notre Dame de Namur in Transfer Admissions. Since then, I have worked at San Jose State in the Career Center, for a local independent college advising firm, and for BUILD a college access program for underrepresented youth. I graduated with a BA in Sociology from UCSB and a MA in Psychology with a concentration in Career Counseling from Antioch University. I am an active volunteer with The Parent?s Club of the Peninsula (PAMP), the Palo Alto Community Child Care (PACCC) and I am a seasonal application reader for the Maisin Scholar Award. I reside in Palo Alto with my husband and two sons. John Raftrey: I have been advising students for the last three admission cycles. I regularly attend conferences, tour colleges, and keep up with the changing landscape of college admissions. I'll share what I learn and throw in a few opinions along the way. I moved to Palo Alto in 1991. My three sons are all veterans of PAUSD and graduated from Paly. I graduated from the University of Michigan, earned an MBA at Columbia University and hold a certificate in College Counseling from UC San Diego. In my past life I worked in TV news and high tech marketing.  (Hide)

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UC’s Change Application Essay Prompts

Uploaded: Mar 26, 2016
(written by John Raftrey)

The University of California announced this week it is eliminating the two essay prompts in their current application and replacing them with eight short answer questions of which undergraduate will have to pick four and transfer students will have to pick three. Transfer students also have to answer a specific question on how they are prepared for their major.

The change will affect students who are applying to the UC’s this fall. The previous prompts had a maximum word count of 1,000 total words between them. The new prompts allow for a 350-word limit on each of the four prompts.

My thoughts:
• I’m glad they got rid of the poorly worded prompts they had been using.
• Students will now feel compelled to write 1400 words compared to the 1000 words maximum of the old prompts
• Student should not try to figure out which are the four “best” prompts.
• In an era when colleges are looking to make it easier to apply to college, the UC’s just made it harder. It’s not because of the word count, it is because instead of having to brainstorm two essays, students will now have to brainstorm four essays. Picking a theme and figuring out what to say is the hard part, not the actual writing.
• This will lead to some wild admission decisions, making it even harder for students to figure out if they have a shot at a particular UC.

Here are the eight new prompts:

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.  
2. 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.  
3. What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?  
4. Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.
5. 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?
6.  Describe your favorite academic subject and explain how it has influenced you.
7. What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?  
8. What is the one thing that you think sets you apart from other candidates applying to the

More information can be found at the UC website
Freshmen Prompts

Transfer Prompts

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Prompt:

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

Tips to write the University of California Freshman Prompt 6 Essay:

In the UC essay prompt 6 example, you will see how to respond to a simple question about your favorite academic subject in a manner that is expected for UC essay prompts. Once you understand how you’re expected to answer this type of prompt for University of California essays, you should have no problems on the actual essay.

Basically, you need to start off with a brief description of what your favorite subject is and why. Give a simple explanation, with an anecdote that shows, rather than tells, the reader what drew you to that subject and then how it grew throughout your educational years.

The next section of your short essay will cover how your interest expanded beyond academics. What did you do outside of school? UC college essay prompts are designed to make you write a bit more about yourself, so give them a great reason to accept you by explaining just how important this whole subject is to you.

Finally, as you wrap up the short response the UC essay prompts, make sure you tie your answer into why you want to study at the University of California. It’s the ending that will help convince admissions to accept you.

Example Essay:

I've been drawn to science since I was in Kindergarten. I remember when our class did a science experiment in which baking soda and vinegar are combined to make a "volcano." The reaction of the two substances was like magic. I absolutely had to know why and how this happened. I had so many questions, and so few answers. Over time, I learned that science is all about asking questions. Everything in the natural world became mysterious when I started asking questions. Science was the subject that seemed to have the answers. I became obsessed with science, and specifically Biology-the science of all living things.

Outside of school, my love for biology showed up in my habit of hiking in nature. Throughout high school, I led hikes and excursions as part of my Boy Scouts group. I also joined the local Audubon society. I took advantage of any opportunity to spend time in nature. I volunteered for local events to clean up rivers and lakes and even participated in taking water samples for quality control. I also became a camp counselor during my senior year and led groups of elementary school students on nature hikes. I was able to share facts about biology and share my passion for nature.

I plan to pursue advanced studies in Biology and answer many of the questions I have about the world. My hope is that the answers to my questions will serve the greater good. The more we learn about the world, the more likely it is we can solve the most pressing problems. Cures for diseases, medical advances and environmental protection procedures all come through the science of Biology. I plan to join research projects throughout my college career, allowing me to contribute my skills as well as be mentored by senior researchers. Most of all, Biology has inspired me to never stop asking questions.

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