Just in the past couple of weeks, University of California has announced new prompts for the Personal Insight or Personal Statement section of their college application. Incoming freshmen had been limited to answering the same two prompts but now you will answer a total of four prompts and have eight to choose from.
For most of your high school careers, your teachers have focused on academic writing that breaks down the deeper meanings of literature or examines a scientific hypothesis. For years you’ve been taught NOT to write using the personal “I”. But then when you are faced with writing what may arguably be the most important essay to date of your academic career, every college wants to hear your voice.
This may seem daunting, but the personal statement for any college (be it a UC, a college that accepts the common application, or a college with its own prompt) is your chance to really stand out from the thousands of other applicants. You have unique attributes that will enrich any college campus and instead of feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of having to write a personal statement, the instructors at THE College Prep Camp will show you just how exciting it can be to get to write all about YOU.
These eight new prompts are more nuanced and specific. They ask questions about your talents, aspirations, and experiences as a young adult. They turn your static and flat digital application of official high school transcripts into a multifaceted dynamic insight into who you are as an individual and what you will bring to a college campus. They help the college admissions officer to picture who you really are and how you will add to the culture of their campus.
Arguably, the personal statement is the most important part of your college application because it is exactly that: personal. You are an individual. Embrace this chance to tell the college all that you have to offer. And don’t worry, while most students are apprehensive about writing about themselves, THE College Prep Camp has instructors who are actual college admissions officers, award winning AP Language teachers, and highly trained consultants who have helped guide hundreds of students through this process from first drafts to polished final essays over the course of a single five day camp.
I worked with one young man this year who went from staring at a blank screen back in August, intimidated and panicked by the prospect of writing about himself but in the end he submitted some of the most powerful personal statements I’ve ever read. Together we worked through the prompts for both public and private schools and as of this BLOG post he has been accepted to Vanderbilt, Clemson, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, and the University of Chicago. We have yet to receive a single rejection letter.
Come join us at THE College Prep Camp and you too will leave with powerful, personal, and polished statements.
Bryan Starchman teaches personal statement writing for THE College Prep Camp. He is also an English and Drama teacher at Mariposa County High School and a published playwright.