Personal Statements

You all know that colleges look at high school GPAs and SAT scores to determine college entrance. Many schools also require an essay or personal statement. Some colleges require that you write on a particular topic such as: "Describe an incident which changed your life" or "State why you would like to attend this college and what you can offer to this college." Other colleges will leave it entirely up to you and only prescribe the length.  Here's one hot off the web page from Tutf's University:  “What does #YOLO mean to you?”

Here is a personal statement "tool kit" recommended by Ms. Burns: 

The following two essays are required by the UCs.

  • Respond to both prompts, using a maximum of 1,000 words total.
  • You may allocate the word count as you wish. If you choose to respond to one prompt at greater length, we suggest your shorter answer be no less than 250 words.
  • Stay within the word limit as closely as you can. A little over — 1,012 words, for example — is fine.

Prompt #1 (freshman applicants)

Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

Prompt #2 (all applicants)

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?

see UC web page


Common Application Personal Essays

Personal Statement Videos

See previously written personal essays as examples.


Peer Response