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Help for the New UC Essay Personal Insight Questions

Danielle Bianchi Golod helps students answer the new UC application essay questions.

For many years, the University of California used the same 2 essay prompts for its admissions application.  However, this year it has mixed things up a bit with its 8 new “personal insight” essay questions.  Students applying to any school in the UC system are required to answer any four of these personal insight questions with no more than 350 words for each essay.  While the best practices for responding to the new application essay questions have not changed, students’ stress levels have.  Continue reading Help for the New UC Essay Personal Insight Questions

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More Than UC Personal Statement Prompt Examples

UC Essay Prompt Examples

UPDATE Oct. 2016: The UC essay questions have changed!

Please read this article for more information.

How to Respond to the UC Essay Prompts

Many students are quite interested in applying to one or many of the campuses within the University of California system (or the “UC system” for short).  That’s not too surprising as 6 of the 9 campuses (UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis, & UC Irvine) are ranked in the top 40 of the US News & World Report’s “Best National Universities.”  The UC system has always had one main application that all the campuses share.  Incoming freshmen must respond to two essay prompts on the UC application in order to apply for undergraduate admission.  Each applicant must respond to both essay questions within a maximum of 1000 words total.  These words may be allocated as the student wishes as long as the shorter one is greater than 250 words. Continue reading More Than UC Personal Statement Prompt Examples

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Personal Statement and Application Essay Mistakes 2013

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I wanted to make a quick post detailing some common mistakes that my students are making this year in their personal statements and application essays for schools like the University of California (UC) and the University of Texas (UT).

Writing your essay about sports:

  • Many of you are still writing about sports…I urge you not to do this.
  • Your activity resume will show all the time you spend on sports and the sports essay is entirely overused.
  • Be careful writing about dance or cheerleading as well for the same reasons.

Continue reading Personal Statement and Application Essay Mistakes 2013

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How to Answer the Supplemental Questions to the Common Application

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Also known as the College Specific Supplement, the Supplemental Questions to the Common Application give students an opportunity to tell admissions officers exactly why they want to attend their school.

They also give schools the ability to differentiate themselves from other colleges and universities also using the Common Application (which is designed to be…”common”).

Here is a video tutorial Continue reading How to Answer the Supplemental Questions to the Common Application

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Personal Statement FAQ

Frequently asked questions about the personal statement essay.

When I first meet with families and students, they always ask about the college essay, aka “the personal statement.”  Fears and questions run the gamut.  Some students elude topic altogether and are in denial that they will need to write one.  Others just have no idea how to start writing.  Here are some examples of common questions I may receive and my usual responses.  Perhaps these questions and fears may sound familiar to you?

“How important is the personal statement?”

Well, for some schools, it’s the most important part of the application.  Particularly if the college(s) you like don’t offer interviews or a chance for teachers to write recommendation letters, then the personal statement becomes the school’s one way to get to know you apart from your grades and scores.  Continue reading Personal Statement FAQ

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Formatting Your Personal Statement Part II

Danielle Bianchi Golod helps you learn how to format your personal statement essay.

This is part II in a three-part series on how to format a personal statement or application essay.

Personal Statement Essay Structure

Many students fail to understand that there really should not be a structure or format to their personal statement essays.  Students feel they should write an essay using the standard 5 paragraph format they use for their English papers or their SAT/ACT essays.  Continue reading Formatting Your Personal Statement Part II

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Personal Statement Sample

A sample personal statement from Danielle Bianchi Golod - college counselor.

Following up on examples of how to begin and end your personal statement, I wanted to post another great beginning and ending from one of my private counseling students.


I am not scared of heights, crowds, closed spaces, spiders, or snakes.  My pulse hardly quickens when I get up on stage in front of hundreds of people and speak, sing, or act.  But for a year every Saturday my palms would start sweating in anticipation of Sunday afternoon at 2:30.

At the time I had played the bassoon for four years.  I practiced occasionally and managed to put up with all the harassment one gets for playing the bassoon (Is that a baboon, bazooka, or buffoon?  Continue reading Personal Statement Sample

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Personal Statement Example

An example personal statement from college advisor Danielle Bianchi Golod.

How to Begin & End Your Essay

Sometimes it’s easier to understand how to write a personal statement by reading through some good examples.  I am not giving these 3 examples so that anyone can use them for themselves.  This is just a good way to see how the lessons you’ve learned can be put to use.


All I could do was cry.  I couldn’t move.  I couldn’t think.  My hands gently glided over the letters etched into the granite stone.  I traced the distinctive letters and spelled out the names. The water was chilling and was beginning to numb my fingers.  Tears rolled down my face as the water streamed over the fountain.  I was sobbing uncontrollably as I cried like no one was watching me.

I had never been interested in the Civil Rights Movement during my first two years in high school.  Continue reading Personal Statement Example