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Essay & Personal Statement
Summary: Essays & Personal Statements
Essays & Personal Statements

Why 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.

Community 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.

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