3 Great University of California Essay Examples

The University of California includes nine undergraduate universities, and is one of the most prestigious public school systems in the U.S.


The UC schools have their own application system, and students must respond to four of eight personal insight questions in 350 words each. All the essays go to each UC school you apply to, so it’s important that these responses accurately represent your personality and writing abilities. 


In this post, we’ll go over Prompt 6 of the UC essays, and what admissions officers are looking for. Then, we’ll share an essay from a real applicant, analyzing what they did well, and what they could’ve improved. You’ll also have the opportunity to download more UC sample essays.


University of California Essay Prompt 6

Think about an academic subject that inspires you. Describe how you have furthered this interest inside and/or outside of the classroom. (350 words)

As with any prompt, before choosing a subject or writing, you want to consider what the admissions officers hope to gain from your answer to this question. Colleges are looking to attract students who have a natural love of learning and are motivated to pursue higher education out of genuine passion. This is key in ensuring that students won’t experience severe burnout and will make the most of their time at the university. 


Furthermore, some colleges have selective majors and are often looking for students who demonstrate experience in, or heightened interest in, these subjects. Therefore, this particular prompt offers an opportunity to strategically illustrate your interest in an academic subject. As just discussed, you can underscore your love of your prospective major or display your interest in it by exploring one of its niches. Alternately, if you have pursued an uncommon subject or interest outside of the classroom, this can be a good place to showcase that and underscore your genuine love of learning.


Note that the prompt specifically asks what you did to further your interest; this is because colleges want to enroll students who take initiative and seek out resources to achieve their goals. If there’s a subject that you went above and beyond to dive into, this would be a great place to mention it.


University of Califonia Essay Example


Let’s take a look at an example response to this prompt:

I distinctly remember the smile on Perela’s face when she found out her mother would be nursed back to health. I first met Perela and her mother at the Lestonnac Free Clinic in San Bernardino where I volunteered as a Spanish translator. I was in awe of the deep understanding of biology that the medical team employed to discover solutions. Despite having no medical qualifications of my own, I realized that by exercising my abilities to communicate and empathize, I could serve as a source of comfort and encouragement for Perela and her mother. The opportunity to combine my scientific curiosity and passion for caring for people cultivated my interest in a career as a physician.  


To further explore this interest, I attended a summer medical program at Georgetown University. I participated in lectures on circulation through the heart, practiced stitches on a chicken leg, and assisted in giving CPR to a dummy in the patient simulation laboratory. Every fact about the human body I learned brought with it ten new questions for me to research. I consistently stayed after each lecture to gain insight about how cells, tissues, and organs all work together to carry out immensely complicated functions. The next year, in my AP Biology class, I was further amazed with the interconnected biological systems as I learned about the relationships between the human body and ecosystems. I discussed with my teacher how environmental changes will impact human health and how we must broaden our perspectives to use medicine to tackle these issues.


By integrating environmental and medical science, we can develop effective solutions to reduce the adverse effects of environmental degradation that Perela’s mother may have faced unintentionally. I want to go into the medical field so I can employ a long-term approach to combat biology’s hidden anomalies with a holistic viewpoint. I look forward to utilizing my undergraduate classes and extracurriculars to prepare for medical school so I can fight for both health care and environmental protection.

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