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College Applications

UC Personal Insight Questions

The University of California (UC) system utilizes personal insight questions (PIQ) on the undergraduate admissions applications to get to know you better!  UCs want to know about your life experience, interests, ambitions and inspirations.


Click here for the UC PIQ Worksheet for Freshman Applicants (PDF).


Click here for a modified and editable PIQ Worksheet (Word Doc).


Click here for the UC writing tips and techniques.


For more info, visit the UC website.

CSU & EOP Application

Click here to apply for the California State Universities (CSU's).


Click here to apply for CSU'S Educational Opportunity Program (EOP).


For more information on the EOP application, click here to review the EOP Application Booklet.

Common Application Essay Prompts

Below are the new 2019-2020 Common Application essay prompts.  These prompts were revised to help provide students with more opportunities for expressing themselves and share their character, community, identity, and aspirations. To learn more, visit the Common Application website.

2019-2020 Common Application Essay Prompts

1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

4. Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.

5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.