Ask An Expert: How to Write Effective Essays for UC Prompts 5-8

May 23, 2017

This week we are back with our admissions expert, Robert Schwartz from YourBestCollegeEssay, to give you in his insights on how to effectively tackle the UC essay prompts 5-8. 

The University of California admissions officers place more importance on their essays than any other school in America. Knowing which prompts to pick, how to attempt them, and tricks to making sure they have a powerful impact on your application, can make all the difference to getting accepted. Here are some tips for essay prompts 4-8.

5. Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?

I try and make the challenge exist outside of the classroom which show another side to the applicant. It can be based in your family, or community. What they’re looking for is how this challenge made you a better student or person – real life issues with show growth. This will help admissions officer see what kind of student you will be on their campus should they accept you.

6. Think about an academic subject that inspires you. Describe how you have furthered this interest inside and/or outside of the classroom.

This is another go-to prompt. It seems like every applicant I have worked with has a class unlike any other class. It’s okay to use a required class like: math, science, or english. But when an applicant chooses a class I never expected and I learn something from this class – awesome! Maybe it’s a class they were forced to take, or one which was out of their wheelhouse. These are where real growth happens and admissions officers want to read about these kind of experiences.

7. What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?  

This is another prompt admissions officers like. Whatever you write about, they envision you doing things like that on their campus. Perhaps it’s a club you started, or an extracurricular which you were instrumental in making a success. You can’t lose on this one!

8. Beyond what has already been shared in your application, what do you believe makes you stand out as a strong candidate for admissions to the University of California?

Another “road less traveled” essay. Hardly anyone ever chooses it. This is a big risk, which I always endorse. This is the essay where you can gamble big, show them a unique or unusual side of you, and leave a very positive and lasting impression.

Applying to college?
View the app files and essays of accepted students.

Did you find that helpful? Let us know and comment below! If you have any additional questions for our experts, please leave them below.

About The Author

Robert Schwartz
Robert Schwartz

​Robert Schwartz is the expert behind YourBestCollegeEssay. With his 20+ experience as a writer, journalist and educator, Robert is now helping students get into their dream college. Memorable and effective college application essays demonstrate an applicant’s ability to communicate their personality and passion to differentiate them from the thousands of other applicants vying for a select few spots. Our highly personalized, one-on-one, proven process guides an applicant from brainstorm to final draft, showing admissions officers that they are much more than simply grades and test scores. We encourage the authentic, original written voice of every applicant. Dig deep! Be original! 

Browse Successful Application Files

UC Berkeley ‘19

Accepted to UC Berkeley, UCLA, Northwestern, UMich

I'm a Jewish, volunteering, music writing and playing, MMA fighting, Berkeley bound student who puts my all into everything I do.
UC Berkeley ‘19

Accepted to CSULB, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UCSB

I am a gay Vietnamese guy attending UC Berkeley this fall with a major in Economics and minor in film.
UC Berkeley ‘19

Accepted to UC Berkeley, Penn State, Colorado, UCLA, NYU

Passionate about Education. Lover of all things science!
UC Berkeley ‘19

Accepted to UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Davis, UCSD, Cal Poly, SDSU, UCSB

UC Berkeley Class of 2019

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