UC Personal Insight Questions

Counselors Carrie Bershee and Julie Provansal held a UC Personal Insight Questions Workshop for seniors. For those who missed the workshop, following are some tips from our counselors:

Video: Introduction to the UC Personal Insight Questions

Brainstorming Activity – “Writing About Myself”

The 3 Levels of Writing
Level 1 – “WHAT” (Just the facts)
Level 2 – “HOW” (Your interpretation of the facts)
Level 3 – “WHY” (Why the facts matter. Why are they significant?)

Quick Write

Group A – PIQ Drafts

1. Go back and review one of your responses. Is it written at a Level 3? If not, how can you make it better? Be sure to write in your own voice.

2. Tell us why you think what you wrote matters. Can the admissions officers really get to know you through your response? If not, write with more depth.

Group B – No PIQ Drafts

1. Pick one question that really interests you and see if you can get to a Level 3 with your response.

2. Write with depth. Get personal!

3. Tell us why it matters.


When drafting your final PIQ responses, be sure to type your essays in Word, and then paste it into your application. You will only have 30 minutes to paste it into the application, so it’s important you write your essays ahead of time.

The Questions

Students are asked to answer any 4 of the following 8 questions. Each response may be a maximum or 350 words.

1. Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes, or contributed to group efforts over time.

2. 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.

3. What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?

4. Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.

5. 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?

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

7. What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?

8. Beyond what has already been shared in your application, what do you believe makes you stand out as a strong candidate for admissions to the University of California?

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2020 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.
  • Victor Valley Adult School