UC Personal Statement Tips

The UC Personal Statement

What is the Personal Statement? The content of the Personal Statement should add clarity, depth, richness and meaning to the information you present in other parts of your UC application, enabling the reader to better understand who you are as an applicant. This is your opportunity to tell us about yourself-your hopes, ambitions, life experiences, and inspirations.

Why is the personal statement so important?

  • Enriches and completes your application;
  • Helps provide context to the rest of your application;
  • Provides supplemental information that allows admissions staff to discover and evaluate distinctions among applicants whose academic records are often very similar;
  • May be used by the Scholarships Office in consideration for an award.

Technical Information:

  • You have 1,000 words to answer both prompts.
  • Your shortest response should be at least 250 words.
  • Avoid the use of special characters.
  • Feedback and suggestions from others are useful, but you are responsible for writing the Personal Statement.

Personal Statement Prompts:

Prompt #1: What is your intended major? Discuss how your interest in the subject developed and describe any experiences you have in the field – such as volunteer work, internships, and employment, participation in student organizations and activities- and what you have gained from your involvement.


Prompt #2: 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.


Suggestions for Writing the Personal Statement:

  • Answer the question. Take time and think about each prompt before you start writing. Use details and examples to make your point. Use your words strategically; is there a reason behind your example? Write to add context and depth, not to fill space.
  • Give yourself time to edit. Start writing to answer each prompt, then go back and review the word count, content, and overall message. You may not have space to tell them everything so make your words count.
  • Choose a topic for both essays. Look critically at the information in your application: your grades, awards, activities and work experience, family and income. Anticipate questions an admissions evaluator will have after reading your application. The personal statement is your opportunity to answer those questions.
  • Write persuasively. Present your information and ideas in a focused, deliberate and meaningful manner. Provide specific, concrete examples to support your point. A personal statement that is simply a list of qualities or accomplishments usually is not persuasive.
  • Solicit feedback. Your personal statement 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.
  • Compose your personal statement in a word-processing program. Don't type it directly into the application. This way, you will have the opportunity to print copies for review.
  • Proofread. In addition to checking your spelling, be sure your grammar is correct and your essays flow smoothly.
  • Copy and paste. Once you are satisfied with your essays, save them in plain text 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 the UC considers in reviewing your application. An admission decision will not be based on your personal statement alone.

Additional instructions for active-duty or veterans of the U.S. Military

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

Describe how your military service has been instrumental in developing your educational plans.

Indicate if you are entitled to educational benefits as a result of your own military service or the service-connected death or disability of a parent or spouse.

Indicate if you are 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.

Coursework offered by a branch of the U.S. military should be reported in the "Additional Comments" box underneath – not in the "Colleges and Courses" section.

Regular college and university coursework taken during military service should be reported in the "Academic History" section of the application. Do not submit any transcripts at this time.

If you are admitted and accept an offer of admission, you can then submit official military transcripts (e.g., ACE, SMAART) to the UC campus.

UC may award transfer credit for some of your military courses if the content is equivalent to a course taught by the University of California. See more tips. 

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The Personal Statement

Personal Statement Writing Tips
How to mine your experience to give application readers what they're looking for. 


Katie Stemper

Katie Stemper
Dental Assisting

"I chose to attend Allan Hancock College's dental assisting program for a few reasons: the knowledgeable and caring staff, the high standards of the program, and the career opportunities that exist for me after graduating."
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Last Modified Feb 8, 2017