UC Application How-To Guide, Part III: Personal Insight Questions Tricks

This is the third installment of a four-part series. See Part I: Pick Your Major for how your choice of major may affect your application and chance of admission, Part II: Additional Comments for examples of information that should be included in the Additional Comments sections of your UC Application, and Part IV: Application Fee Payment for a detailed explanation of the fee payment options and fee waiver.

Having trouble staying under the 350-word limit? Remember that you CANNOT submit the UC Application until each response is trimmed to 350 words or under (the “Start Submission Process” button won’t light up until that happens). As you edit, use these tricks to help you keep your responses concise and improve their readability:

Contraction is your friend!

Use contraction to combine words and shorten your responses. The tone and language you use in responding to the Personal Insight Questions need NOT be extremely formal. To determine the appropriate level formality, imagine yourself talking to a teacher you don’t know too well or one of your mom’s/dad’s friends from work. You wouldn’t be super casual like you would with your own friends, but you wouldn’t necessarily be extremely formal like you would at an interview. Use contraction wherever you can, this can be helpful in shortening your responses.

Formatted text is your enemy!

The text boxes in the UC Application accept plain text only and text formatting will not show up. So get rid of your bold (use all caps instead, SPARINGLY!), italics (use “quotation marks” instead), indentation, and double spacing. Set up your response in block paragraph format (single space, no indentation, double space between paragraphs) for best readability.

Do NOT manually indent (by putting five spaces at the start of the paragraph) or double space your response because

this will really mess up how your
responses are

displayed to the readers (and they
don’t like that).

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