Personal Insight Questions
The personal insight questions are about getting to know you better — your life experience, interests, ambitions and inspirations.
Think of it as your interview with the Admissions office. Be open. Be reflective. Find your individual voice and express it.
Learn more about Personal Insight questions in the video below:
- Each response is limited to a maximum of 350 words.
- Which questions you choose to answer is entirely up to you, but you should select questions that are most relevant to your experience and that best reflect your individual circumstances.
Freshman Personal Insight Questions (link is external)
- You will have 8 questions to choose from. You must respond to only 4 of the 8 questions.
Transfer Personal Insight Questions (link is external)
- There is one required question you must answer.
- You must also answer 3 out of 7 additional questions.
As a vital part of your application, the personal insight questions—short-answer questions you will choose from—are reviewed by both the Admissions and Scholarship offices.
At Berkeley we use personal insight questions to:
- Discover and evaluate distinctions among applicants whose academic records are often very similar
- Gain insight into your level of academic, personal and extracurricular achievement
- Provide us with information that may not be evident in other parts of the application
What we look for:
- Initiative, motivation, leadership, persistence, service to others, special potential and substantial experience with other cultures
- All achievement in light of the opportunities available to you
- Any unusual circumstances or hardships you have faced and the ways in which you have overcome or responded to them. Having a hardship is no guarantee of admission. If you choose to write about difficulties you have experienced, you should describe:
- How you confronted and overcame your challenges, rather than describing a hardship just for the sake of including it in your application
- What you learned from or achieved in spite of these circumstances
For freshman applicants:
- Academic accomplishments, beyond those shown in your transcript
For transfer students:
- Include interest in your intended major, explain the way in which your academic interests developed, and describe any related work or volunteer experience.
- Explain your reason for transferring if you are applying from a four-year institution or a community college outside of California. For example, you may substantiate your choice of a particular major or your interest in studying with certain faculty on our campus.
How to answer your personal insight questions
- Thoughtfully describe not only what you’ve done, but also the choices you have made and what you have gained as a result.
- Allow sufficient time for preparation, revisions, and careful composition. Your answers are not evaluated on correct grammar, spelling, or sentence structure, but these qualities will enhance overall presentation and readability.
If you are applying...
- to a professional college (such as the College of Engineering or Chemistry), it is important that you discuss:
- Your intended field of study
- Your interest in your specific major
- Any school or work-related experience
- for a scholarship, we recommend that you elaborate on the academic and extracurricular information in the application that demonstrates your motivation, achievement, leadership, and commitmen (link is external)t.
- to the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)—the support program for students from low-income families in which neither parent is a college graduate:
- Discuss how the program might benefit you
- Tell us about your determination to succeed even though you may have lacked academic or financial support
Keep in mind
You can use the Additional Comments box to convey any information that will help us understand the context of your achievement; to list any additional honors awards, activities, leadership elements, volunteer activities, etc.; to share information regarding a nontraditional school environment or unusual circumstances that has not been included in any other area of the application. And, finally, after we read your personal insight questions, we will ask the question, “What do we know about this individual?” If we have learned very little about you, your answers were not successful.
We are sure that you’ll get the best from UC personal statements samples. So, don’t hesitate reading .
Answering Questions for Your UC Personal Statement
When applying to the Berkeley personal statement or UC, you’ll be asked to answer 4 personal insight questions. Below is the list of the questions you have to prepare :
- Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes or contributed to group efforts over time. It is important to let the committee know what you have achieved throughout the years. You can write about the project or event you organized or helped with. The most important tip here is – don’t lie. This can ruin the whole impression of you and not gonna do you any credit.
- Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem-solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side. Explain your vision of creativity and what it means to you. How do you express it? Does it ever come in handy when facing challenges? In what way?
- What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time? Highlight all the skills you are proud of. Why are you proud of hem? Did they help you to achieve something? Tell about how you discovered this talent or skill of yours and what you’re going to develop it.
- Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced. Ever had difficulties with getting to the advanced course or educational program you were really interested? Write about this experience and how you overcame those difficulties. Who or what helped you?
- 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? Describe the challenge you faced. How you coped with it? Did this experience influence you in any way? If yes, then write about it.
- Describe your favorite academic subject and explain how it has influenced you. Talk about your interest in this subject and why you prefer this particular subject. Does this interest have anything to do with choosing your future career?
- What have you done to make your school or your community a better place? Discuss the problems you faced and how you helped to solve them? Did you cope with this on your own or someone helped you? How your actions changed the situation?
- What is the one thing that you think sets you apart from other candidates applying to the University of California? Here you are free to brag a little bit. But don’t go too far. Just tell about your distinctive qualities that make you the person you are.
- Please describe how you have prepared for your intended major, including your readiness to succeed in your upper-division courses once you enroll at the university. Describe how you organize your preparation process. Do you have any special techniques? Talk about your ambitions and how you are planning to achieve the set goal.
Tips to Answer Personal Insight Questions
UC personal insight questions examples will help you learn how to answer the essay prompts of the University of California. Now if you’re looking for tips on how to answer those questions, keep reading the following.
- You must start early. This is the most important tip to bear in mind. By starting early, you will have more opportunities to revise and make several copies of the answers. From such answers, you will determine which ones are best to use for the submission.
- You must write convincingly. In answering the UC application personal insight questions, you must use specific examples, which will support your points in the answers.
- You must use “I” statements. Remember that they want to know your accomplishments, talents, and personality. They want to know your potential for success. Thus, you should know how to use “my statements” when answering the questions given.
- You should edit and proofread. Check your writing for spelling and grammar mistakes, which can distract the readers. These errors will also get in the way of the message you’re trying to convey.
- You must get feedback. Get feedback from friends, teachers and family members in your answers to the UC personal insight questions. They can offer you with advice and suggestions. However, you should not plagiarize or use anyone’s work as your own.
- Save your work in plain text. Copy and paste the answers in the space provided in the application form. You must proofread and edit again to ensure there are no mistakes.
- Give yourself time to relax. When done submitting the answers to the questions, you should give yourself some time to rest and relax. Remember that the admissions will not base their decision in this part only.
5 Common Mistakes in Personal Insight Questions
- Not following instructions
- Not answering the questions sufficiently
- Not getting feedback
- Not proofreading and editing their essays
- Starting too late
Additional Comments Section
When done answering the personal insight questions UC, you need to complete this section, but optionally. It must not be a place to continue the responses you had in the personal questions.
- This is only a section where to write about additional clarification about your application, including activities, awards, and honors.
- Here is your chance to describe any relevant point but you did not include in the application.
- You may include about nontraditional or unusual school environment or circumstances.
- Write only up to 550 words in this section.
- Choose the right