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Tips and Guide on Writing UC PIQ Prompt #6

Prompt #6: What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?

This topic is trying to get at how you engage with your environment. It's looking for several things:

1. Your Sense of Place and Connection

Because the term "community" is so broad and ambiguous, this is a good essay for explaining where you feel a sense of belonging and rootedness. What or who constitutes your community? Is your connection to a place, to a group of people, or to an organization? What makes you identify as part of this community—cultural background, a sense of shared purpose, or some other quality?

Think of community as a term that can encompass a group, team or a place — like your high school, hometown or home. You can define community as you see fit, just make sure you talk about your role in that community. Was there a problem that you wanted to fix in your community?

2. Your Empathy and Ability to Look at the Big Picture

Before you can solve a problem, you have to realize that the problem exists. Before you can make your community a better place, you have to find the things that can be ameliorated. No matter what your contribution ended up being, you first have to show how you saw where your skills, talent, intelligence, or hard work could do the most good. Did you put yourself in the shoes of the other people in your community? Understand some fundamental inner working of a system you could fix? Knowingly put yourself in the right place at the right time?

Why were you inspired to act? What did you learn from your effort? How did your actions benefit others, the wider community or both? Did you work alone or with others to initiate change in your community?

3. Your Problem Solving Skills

How did you make the difference in your community? If you resolved a tangible issue, how did you come up with your solution? Did you examine several options or act from the gut? If you made your community better in a less direct way, how did you know where to apply yourself and how to have the most impact possible?

You may want to start by defining what community means to you.

  1. What is your community and why?

  2. What role do you play in this community? Use specific details to convey how meaningful this community is to your life.

  3. Next, think of a problem you’ve solved within this community or an aspect of the community that you’ve improved upon. Provide some context on what the community was like before you affected some sort of change.

  4. Then, describe the steps you took. How did you notice that something needed to be done? What was your thought process as you decided exactly how to act? What did you do, and what were the results?

This essay should convey the love you have for your “community” and what actions you’ve taken to improve it in a specific, meaningful way.


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