Prompt 1 for Freshman Applicants
The way Prompt 1 is worded is rather misleading. According to the Assistant Director of Admission at Berkeley, UCs (or at the very least, Berkeley and Irvine - confirmed by a student who attended a seminar at UCI) want to hear you talk about your dreams and aspirations, and what you have done so far to achieve those dreams and aspirations. My guess is the family/background thing got thrown in there to give students with hardships/special circumstances the chance to use that prompt to discuss them.
I imagine the best way to approach the first prompt is to figure out what your dreams and aspirations are, and what you have done so far to achieve them, only plug something in your background for support if appropriate. But whether you choose to describe your background (family, friends, school, community, etc.) or something else, the main focus of the essay should be YOU.
Prompt 2 for All Applicants
Prompt 2 is a way for your to showcase something about yourself that makes you stand out from your peers. You can do that by discussing a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience (pq/t/a/c/e for short). Why are you proud of this pq/t/a/c/e? What does the pq/t/a/c/e say about you as a person? Does the pq/t/a/c/e demonstrate that you are a hardworking individual who perseveres? Does that pq/t/a/c/e illustrate how you come thru for your team no matter what? And how will that pq/t/a/c/e help you succeed in college? Again, focus the essay on YOU.
You can also think of Prompt 2 as a commercial spot for yourself. What would be the theme of the commercial? What clips from your life would be featured in the commercial?
I am a college admissions consultant specializing in the admissions process of highly selective California public universities. Aside from advising students, I volunteer with Berkeley and UCLA on high school outreach for in-state freshman admissions (I receive training on admission requirements and attend college fairs to promote the schools). I also volunteer to score Alumni Scholarship applications and interview the applicants (for the Los Angeles area) for both campuses. I received my BA from Berkeley and I was in a PhD program at UCLA.
I offer free academic advising and college/scholarship application review to California high school and transfer students who are planning to apply to highly selective California public universities. You can contact me thru my web site if you need help planning your academic curriculum, choosing extracurricular activities, or writing your personal statement. Get the latest admissions information at my web site: http://www.AskMsSun.com/
· 1 decade ago