The Personal Statement – This essay prompt might entail a number of different questions, all with the intention
of asking you to select an experience or moment that has been central to your life.
Ideally, the experience selected will offer the admittance committee a plethora of
information and insight into your character, values, ethics, hopes, and dreams. The
intention of the personal statement is to reveal pieces of your life story and character
that cannot be easily defined by GPA, test scores, and letters of recommendation.
A sample question for the personal statement might be: Tell us about an experience that defines who you are.
Your Favorite Activity – This essay prompt asks you to not only select and share the rich details of a
favorite activity, but to do so in a way that is structured, grammatically correct,
and reveals character. Ideally, the activity detailed will demonstrate your passion,
dedication, and attention to detail. These are all skills that are necessary for
success in an academic environment. Based on the uniqueness of the activity selected,
this essay prompt also enables you to differentiate yourself from the large pool
of applicants. Be selective when choosing which activity on which to focus as you
want it to strengthen your application. When in doubt, double-check with significant
others, instructors, or academic advisors for appropriate topics.
Why this school? – This essay prompt is common and asks for an explanation of why you are interested
in this particular school. It is important to brainstorm and then research the aspects
of the school in which you are most interested. It could be specific academic departments
that are well-publicized, athletic departments, study abroad programs, or other specific
aspects of the school. When selecting this prompt, it is most crucial to do research;
know what the school offers and be truthful about the ways in which the offerings
match your criteria. For example, if you are planning on becoming a high school English
teacher, research the various education programs offered at local schools, such as
CSU and UNC. Then, be able to communicate how this particular school can assist you
in meeting your academic/professional goals.
Intellectual Curiosity – This essay prompt is less common than the others and more often seen in academically
prestigious schools and programs. In addressing this prompt, consider the types of
classes or academic experiences that you have most enjoyed. For example, if your
favorite subject is literature, explore what aspects of literature peek your interest.
Is it the eloquent language often used by authors? Is it the theories of literary
criticism and classic novels? Are you fascinated with character development and story
plot? Choose courses and academic classes that naturally intrigue you; then, explain
how these experiences or ideas have inspired your intellectual curiosity or understanding.
It is important to select subjects or experiences that demonstrate your natural affinity
for academic success; doing this allows the paper to flow more naturally.
Here is a sample question for this prompt:Berkley fosters an environment of academic and social inquiry. Many of the students
exhibit intellectual curiosity. Tell us about an experience where you demonstrated