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UC insight question quick guide 4 (volunteer & free-response)

ow do you elevate yourself from a follower to a leader? Prompt 7 might slip away from you before you figure out the main point and the hidden message. The last prompt is your last chance to help them getting to know you. It’s like the UC asking you “anything else?” during an interview.

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

If you first reaction after reading the prompt is to start showing off your vast volunteering experience, that would be a major mistake. You want to start with a sensitive eye. By that I mean, how you identity a need in your community. If you don’t know what can be improved, how can you make your community a better place? You also need to write about how your community is a “better” place because of you.

If you simply don’t have much “meaningful” volunteering experience, if the extend of your volunteering experience is just twice a year going to somewhere with a school club, you might not have enough “stories” to write.  After you’ve identified a need, what did you do to address the need? Were you a follower who just follow what others do? Or maybe, you are an initiator who becomes a leader to help the community

When describing your volunteering experience, make sure you don’t spend too much time. Remember you only have 350 words, and let’s make sure you use those words tell one good story. Even with 100s of hours, the best story might just be a conversation with someone you helped.

Lastly, don’t forget to shine the spotlight back on yourself. What have you learned from this experience?

College female student is learning in the classroom

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

This prompt is like a wild car because it’s so “free”. It feels like you can write about anything (which you can), but not everything makes a good essay. This also feels a lot like the “Describe the world you come from” prompt from UC’s previous personal statement prompt. You can think of this one as a conclusion to your personal statement. Whatever you didn’t get to cover from the first three prompts, here’s your chance. Honestly, if you don’t have anything else you want to cover, just skip this one. If you want to write about anything, please remember your essay should be forward-driven, and that means you need to mention how what you’ve learned shape your future. This last prompt is truly a free-respond, and it just might be the hardest one of them all.




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