How to answer the personal insight questions
Your responses to the personal insight questions are an important component of your freshman or transfer application. Your responses allow us to get to know you through your experiences and accomplishments.
Freshman Personal Insight Questions
Freshman applicants must respond to four short-answer prompts chosen from eight options. There is no advantage or disadvantage to choosing certain prompts over others, and each response is limited to a maximum of 350 words.
Transfer Personal Insight Questions
Transfer applicants must respond to four short-answer prompts—one mandatory prompt and their choice of three from the other seven options. There is no advantage or disadvantage to choosing certain prompts over others, and each response is limited to a maximum of 350 words.
Writing a Successful Response
Your responses should elaborate upon any insights you gained or how your outlook, activities, commitment or goals have been influenced.
- Provide specific examples of experiences, accomplishments, etc. that occurred during or after high school that weren’t captured in your application.
- Keep your responses focused on conveying your strengths and positive qualities.
- Write a first draft, leave it for a day or two, and return to make revisions. Read each draft aloud to catch misspellings or awkward or inappropriate wording.
- Review your responses as if you were making the final decision. Is this the application of a future leader?
- Have your responses checked by a teacher, counselor or other advisor for clarity.
- Writing about events that are long past
- Reiterating information listed elsewhere in the application
- Listing accomplishments without explanation or detail
- Rambling, unfocused thoughts
- Being overly humorous, self-deprecating or glorifying
Instructions for Scholarship Applicants
Some scholarship committees review your responses to the personal insight questions while other scholarships, such as the Cal Aggie Alumni Association scholarships, may require separate applications and essays. Please visit our scholarships page to learn more about scholarships available at UC Davis.