do schools require essays? Sure, they want to know you can write, but
what they really want to know is who you are, beyond all the grades,
scores and activities. Schools want insight into your preferences,
values, thought processes, creativity, sense of humor and depth of
knowledge. Essays can make an average application shine, so start the
process early. Have more than one person read your personal statement.
colleges and most CSUs do not require an essay, but the UCs and
selective private schools require several. You can usually get an idea
of previous year's prompts on the individual school's website. In
general, the questions don't change much from year to year and you can
get a jump start before applications are even available.