Writing tips

Here are some tips and techniques to help you get started.

Start early.

Give yourself plenty of time for preparation, careful composition and revisions.

Write persuasively.

Making a list of accomplishments, activities, awards or work will lessen the impact of your words. Expand on a topic by using specific, concrete examples to support the points you want to make.

Use “I” statements.

Talk about yourself so that we can get to know your personality, talents, accomplishments and potential for success on a UC campus. Use “I” and “my” statements in your responses.

Proofread and edit.

Although you will not be evaluated on grammar, spelling or sentence structure, you should proofread your work and make sure your writing is clear. Grammatical and spelling errors can be distracting to the reader and get in the way of what you’re trying to communicate.

Solicit feedback.

Your answers should reflect your own ideas and be written by you alone, but others — family, teachers and friends — can offer valuable suggestions. Ask advice of whomever you like, but do not plagiarize from sources in print or online and do not use anyone's published words but your own.

Copy and paste.

Once you are satisfied with your answers, save them in plain text (ASCII) and paste them into the space provided in the application. Proofread once more to make sure no odd characters or line breaks have appeared.

Relax.

This is one of many pieces of information we consider in reviewing your application. Your responses can only add value to the application. An admission decision will not be based on this section alone.

Additional instructions for active military, veterans and dependents

Because UC is interested in knowing about your or a family member's military service, you may wish to use this section to communicate the following:

  • Describe how your military service has been instrumental in developing your educational plans.
  • Indicate if you're affiliated with the military, such as the spouse or dependent of someone who is on active duty or a current participant in an ROTC-type program.

What about the “Additional comments” section?

After you complete the personal insight questions, you will see another section called “Additional Comments.” This is an optional section and should not be used as a continuation of your responses to the personal questions. Instead, you should use this section to:

  • Provide additional clarification on important details in your application, such as honors, awards, activities.
  • Share information regarding a nontraditional school environment or unusual circumstances.
  • Describe anything else that you HAVE NOT had the opportunity to include elsewhere in your application.

There is a 550 word limit to this section.

Avoid common mistakes:

  • Talking about one campus: You’re talking to all UC campuses you apply to in your responses
  • Inappropriate use of humor
  • Creative writing (poems, clichés)
  • Quotations: We want to know your thoughts & words, not someone else’s
  • Generalities: Stick to facts and personal examples
  • Repetition: Give us new info. we can’t find in other sections of the application
  • Asking philosophical questions: Get to the point and tell us what you mean
  • Acronyms: Spell it out for us!