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Tips and Guide on Writing UC PIQ Prompt #7

UC Prompt #7: Beyond what has already been shared in your application, what do you believe makes you stand out as a strong candidate for admissions to the University of California?

This is your opportunity to tell the admissions committee anything you feel is significant that you were not able to discuss within the context of the other prompts.

The most important part of this essay is how you explain why that unique part of you is important, and how it will help you thrive at a UC and tie into your personal and academic goals.Because it is so open-ended, many students feel a pressure to fit as many examples as they can to convey everything about their character all at once. But the reality is, you only have 350 words, and that’s really only 2-3 paragraphs max. There’s no way to cram all of what makes you stand out in this essay; the key to writing UC Prompt 8 is picking one specific example that demonstrates a vital part of who you are. Moreover, make sure that you’re revealing something about yourself that wasn’t already revealed in a different prompt you chose to write.

The important part of writing about these unique traits is that you must discuss how you’ve become a better person or grown because of it. Ask yourself, what is it that you’ve learned from watching these superheroes all these years?

Start with an example of one unique quality, characteristic or value you want to showcase that helps you stand out (Look for “a time” or moment or incident that involved it)

Describe how you think about that specific quality, characteristic or value

Explain what you learned about yourself from that “time” that involved it

Include what you learned through it

Detail why that mattered–to yourself, to others and to the world

Share how you believe that quality, characteristic or value will serve you in college and the future (involving your personal and professional goals)

Things to keep in mind:

Saying that you are "hardworking" or a "good student" will not set you apart from others. These are important and admirable traits, but they will be demonstrated by other parts of your application. Such statements do not create the unique portrait that the admissions folks are requesting.

This can be construed as a wildcard prompt. One where you can tell almost any story. This is powerful but also dangerous. You need to be able to communicate the story with an arc that highlights the positive experiences you have. You should use this prompt if you believe there is a character attribute that is extremely important to you. Just because others may be the same doesn’t mean they hold that attribute as importantly as you do.


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