UC Personal Statement

UC Davis – The Personal Statement

  • Write it yourself.
  • Write it about yourself.
  • Provide any relevant information about yourself that you don’t think is captured elsewhere in the application.
  • Write about experiences, accomplishments, etc. that occurred during or after high school.
  • Provide specific examples of your accomplishments or activities in which you’ve participated.
  • Keep your statement focused.
  • Have your statement checked by a teacher, counselor or other adviser for spelling, grammar and clarity.

Writing and Reading UC’s Personal Statement (PowerPoint presentation)

What characteristics is UC looking for?

  • Thoughtful, incisive reflection — some sense of who the student is.
  • Personal qualities including, but not limited to, leadership, creativity, initiative, persistence, maturation, commitment to others.
  • Students who have done more to enrich their education.
  • Students who have had meaningful participation, not just a listing of activities.  Quality over quantity should be the general guideline.
  • Students who demonstrate tenacity, self-discipline and motivation for academic success.
  • Students who have demonstrated a sensitivity to and respect for differences, e.g., through sustained community service.
  • Students who are informal leaders — the type of student who makes things happen — a catalyst who motivates others, who initiates or takes responsibility for something that meets a perceived need.

What the personal statement is not:

  • A visionary statement of what you plan for your future, without concrete examples of what initiatives you have already taken that will lead you to your goals.
  • An elaboration on someone you admire, without a specific description of what you, yourself, have done or not done as a result of your inspiration.
  • An exaggeration of problems but an acceptance of responsibility for choices, academic performance,  and/or behaviors.
  • An exhaustive listing of activities, honors, awards but rather a judicious selection of important indicators.
  • Solely a sample of  writing skills although appropriate grammar, level of  usage and spelling are expected.
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