10 Practice Essay Prompts

  1. Discuss a significant personal archievement.
  2. Evaluate the pros and cons of a political issue, and discuss how that issue related to your community.
  3. Write an essay describing a person who has influenced you.
  4. Write about your favorite book, poem, or play.
  5. The admissionos committee has a copy of your autobiography opened to page 367. What does it say?
  6. discuss a challenge you overcame and how it changed you.
  7. What is the best advice you have received, and why?
  8. If you could time travel, what period in history would you visit, and why?
  9. You have been selected to meet with the president of the United States for one hour. What will you discuss?
  10. If you could switch bodies with someone for a day, who wouldyou choose, and why?

Source: College Planning Workbook, Spark Publishing, 2008, p. 138-167.

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.

UC Fall 2011 Preview Day

Each of the UC’s will most likely have an preview day this fall. These events are extremely informative for students and parents. All ages of students are welcome, but the events are targeted for Seniors who are thinking about applying for fall 2012 admission.

UC Davis – 10/15
http://admissions.ucdavis.edu/previewday/
UC Santa Cruz – 10/15
http://admissions.ucsc.edu/visit/preview-day/index.html
UC Merced – 10/15
http://admissions.ucmerced.edu/preview-day
UC Riverside – 10/15
http://my.ucr.edu/visit/Pages/default.aspx
UC Irvine – 10/28
http://www.campustours.uci.edu

http://transfers.ucmerced.edu/docs/ImportantdatesanddeadlinesfortransfersFinal%202012-2013.pdf

‘What’s It Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors’ (Georgetown Univ. Study)

When considering your choice of major, students might want to consider this study as one of their many resources regarding income potential.  This (first of its kind)  study concluded that college graduates overall make 84% more over a lifetime than those with only a high school diploma.  Further analysis of 171 majors discovered that various undergraduate majors can lead to significantly different median wages within certain fields.

Keep in mind that median salary level of particular majors/careers is only one piece of a very large and intricate puzzle when determining an appropriate (personal=right fit) college pathway.  Other considerations could include:  knowing what they would be doing everyday in that job, the job responsibilities, values of the occupation, the advancement potential, etc. Statistics show that an average worker changes careers 3-5 times in a lifetime.

To access a copy of the study, click here.

Impressive Candidate vs. Admitted Student | InLikeMe

Impressive Candidate vs. Admitted Student | InLikeMe
So, who gets in to the most selective colleges and universities? For the most part, admitted students fall into one or more of these three categories:

(1) students who can bring something “special” that the school desires;

(2) those with exceptional promise; and

(3) academically-qualified legacy applicants.

Focus on quality over quantity. We look for the opportunity to pursue (with gusto) one or two interesting projects, activities, and/or areas of research where the student can showcase some combination of leadership, character, determination, intellectual curiosity, talent, heartfelt interest, creativity, problem-solving and/or communication skills, maturity and ability. The “hook” should be genuine and be a good fit with the student’s interests and abilities. A hook can also be developed to either offset an area of perceived weakness or to create positive differentiation.

As an example, one of my clients was dismayed by the lack of intercultural harmony at her public high school. She endeavored to improve the situation by bringing together students to share her love for gardening. She founded a community garden project and encouraged diverse participation. She described her experiences (positive and negative) in various college application essays and was thrilled to gain admission to a number of the most selective colleges and universities.