UC Freshman Admission Results Debrief

I see the exact same problem in the applications of the students who come to me for waitlist and appeal help year after year: their Personal Insight Questions lacked the information the UCs need to effectively evaluate them (although the UCs are not always super clear on exactly what information they actually need). The information that I have explained on my website, blog, newsletter, and through my services for years for students to include:

  • Why does the student want to go to college? I am flabbergasted, every year, by how many students fail to address this in their UC Application.
  • How has the student demonstrated ability to succeed in college, beyond coursework and grades? Everyone has excellent grades; students are not going to be able to distinguish themselves with the quantitative factors alone.
  • How does the student plan to leverage a UC education to achieve future goals? Students need to have a plan about their future (even if the plan involves exploring and figuring out their major in college) and explain the steps they will take (and the role UCs will play in their plan) to achieve that future.
  • What experiences, skills, and/or abilities does the student bring that will have a positive impact on the campus/student community? This has to be a mutually beneficial relationship; students need to bring something to the table.

For the parents, think of applying to the UCs like applying for a job (student = job applicant; major = position; company = UCs; UC Application = resume; Personal Insight Questions = interview). The Personal Insight Questions essentially serve as behavioral interview questions, where students need to describe examples of how they have achieved academic success in the past and project how they intend to achieve academic success in the future.

To give you an example, if I were to apply to NASA to become a rocket scientist, it wouldn’t make sense for me to talk about my experience as a UC admissions expert, because that is not relevant. Instead, I would talk about why I want to be a rocket scientist at NASA, what qualifications I have that will make me successful in that role, my goals as a rocket scientist and with NASA, and what I can bring to the role and the organization. If I don’t have the qualifications to become a rocket scientist (i.e., an engineering role), then I probably should not apply for the rocket scientist position (and find something else at NASA that is more appropriate for my skillset and aspirations).

Still confused? Search “personal insight questions” on my website to pull up all of the relevant information you need.

Applying this November? Sign up for my UC Application Service now (service start date is flexible between June and July).

Not yet applying but want some help orienting the student’s efforts? Consider signing up for my UC Admission Preparation Service.

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