A little about UC Berkeley
University of California Berkeley is ranked number 20 among colleges in the United States for 2015. Founded in 1868, it has an undergraduate population of almost 26,000 students. UC Berkeley is made up of 14 schools and colleges including graduate and professional schools. UC Berkeley’s distinguished alumni include former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, Olympic gold medalist John Moseley and actor John Cho. Doctor J. Robert Oppenheimer, scientific director of the Manhattan Project during World War II to develop the atomic bomb was a physicist and professor at Berkeley.
UC essay prompts for applicants
There are 2 University of California essay prompts:
- Describe the world you come from – for example, your family, community or school – and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations
- Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?
The two essays together shouldn’t total more than 1000 words. You can allocate the number of words how you like as long as the total doesn’t exceed 1000 words. It is suggested that the shorter of the two essays be kept to a minimum of 250 words
Tips for responding to UC essay prompts
The following tips are for writing a response to UC essay prompt 1.
- Analyze what the question is really asking. In this case the questions they want answered are what some of the things that influenced you are. Family, community and school were suggested but consider other influences. What else make up your world? Church, a sports team, a club? There is nothing wrong with using family and school but be aware many others will also.
- The question includes how you were influenced. Don’t forget to include in what way you were influenced. Make a connection between your environment and who you are.
- Use your voice and make sure the essay is about you. Don’t let it become an essay about your family or school. You are the focus.
- Avoid generalities, quotes, clichés, repeating what is in other documents, or posing philosophical questions.
- Before starting consider all information that is on your application and other documents. Consider what questions admissions might still have and how you can use the essay to supply answers
The following is an example of an essay responding to the first of the UC essay prompts:
Some children get their parents looks or talent, but what was passed on to me was the curiosity gene. My father, essentially a handyman, taught me to explore the world with inquisitive eyes, constantly seeking to learn more, to understand more. I watched him for hours as he tinkered with various gadgets he was repairing. I was fascinated by technology and wanted to know how and why things worked the way they did.
“How does this DVD work?” “What’s inside this TV?” I was seldom satisfied with the basic answers I got to my questions. So I looked for answers on my own by exploring and experimenting. I spent hours dismantling and tinkering with the cast off technology my father kept for parts.
My mother noticed my intellectual curiosity and encouraged my explorations. She gave me shelves of books, which I happily read. Books allowed me to discover the thrill of discovering answers to my questions. By the time I was 11, my father would get me to help him with fixing things he said he couldn’t repair. I found out later it was to allow me to come up with solutions on my own. My parents taught me to be independent and self-motivated by providing me opportunities to learn by trial and error.
My intellectual curiosity is the result of a unique combination of early influences and childhood experiences which has generated my passion for learning inside and outside of the classroom, gaining knowledge from everything I do. I plan to continue applying this curiosity to all aspects of my life, exploring the world with the same enthusiasm I had as a child. Great American innovators like my role model Thomas Edison created new knowledge, new technologies, and new innovations because they didn’t accept that some things couldn’t be done, and refused to accept there was no other way. I strive to do the same. It makes me who I am, and what pushes me to continue learning, and it makes me happy.