UC applications get personal

State schools are making changes to the application process for the class of 2017.

Brian Chang, News Editor

As more and more students jostle to find a way into top colleges and the number of coveted acceptance letters dwindles with each passing year, the college application process becomes increasingly focused on achievements and extracurriculars. In order to place more emphasis on each student’s personality, the University of California’s system is revamping a large portion of its application.

The current application consists of two essays with a word count of 1,000 words shared between the two essays. These questions have been replaced by eight new ones, four of which aspiring seniors will need to respond to, with a word count of 350 each. Transfer students will need to explain how they prepared for their desired major.

“Anything that can be done by institutions to give them more information about the students applying to their school, to help them select the students that they feel best fit their campus, I think is positive. I believe the UC’s feel that the change in the essay prompts is going to help them make better, more accurate decisions, on students that apply to their schools,” said Kevin Patterson, one of two GLC’s for the class of 2017.

The changes will be implemented in the fall for the class of 2017 and are aimed toward allowing college admissions officers “to know [the applicant’s] personality, background, interests and achievements in [the applicant’s] own unique voice,” according to the official UC website. The school system states that the questions will allow for a greater expression and reduce the possibility of students reusing essays they have written for other schools. The website states that the change, the first since 2008, is due to the increased applicant pool.

“With record-high numbers of applications and increased selectivity throughout the system, we felt it critical to ensure that the written responses received from our applicants truly provided the type of reflective and personal insights we value so greatly,” the website reads.

All of the new questions will be given equal consideration by UC admissions officers and students are encouraged to choose those that they can most relate to and best describe themselves.

“The prompts will allow students to share more with the UC’s about what makes each individual student tick. I’ve always told students that the personal statement is their opportunity to express to the admissions counselors who they are,” Patterson said. “The prompts will allow them to do that.”