University of California colleges change application prompts

Well, it is that time of year again: college application season! For many seniors, the University of California (UC) school system is a popular choice. This year, they must deal with changes that were made to the UC application process in March.

What used to be two essay prompts that applicants must respond to in 1000 words or less, was revised to eight short answer questions, or “personal insight questions ,” that students must answer in fewer than 350 words. The questions request insight on favorite academic subjects, leadership history and other subjects regarding students’ education.

Counselor Richard Napora believes the UC School System changed the prompts to these new insightful questions because “…there were a lot of complaints from both applicants and from readers that the former applications weren’t capturing the information the colleges were looking for. They wanted the questions to be more reflective of the student’s genuine voice, and they thought that, by changing them to insight questions, they would be able to get more information that was relevant to the students applying to the campuses.”

Many believe that the new insight questions benefit the students and give colleges a variety of ways to get to know the applicants.

Ben Yang, senior, has applied to many UC schools, and believes the changes made were “not necessary, but decently good.”

Yang stated that the new questions “help you self reflect in a much easier way than it was with the original essays. It helps you think about what you want to write about, and it guides you to exactly what you’re answering.”

Shiv Sompura, senior, agrees that the changes are beneficial, but challenging for students to express themselves concisely and effectively.

“I like it because it’s short and you can get through it fairly easily. What I don’t like is that you have to put a lot of information into a small amount of words, and that’s a bit harder to do in my opinion,” Sompura said.

While their opinions may differ slightly, Napora, Yang and Sompura all feel that, at the end of the day, the new UC Prompts may have been unnecessary, but will benefit applicants and colleges alike.

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