The University of California decided to change its application essay prompts this year, from two 1000-word essays to four short answer questions with a maximum of 350 words per response.
Applicants are now given eight questions related to different areas of their lives, experiences, and qualities, from which they have to choose four. These questions cover a wide range of topics such as leadership, creativity, talents and skills, taking advantage of educational opportunities, overcoming challenges, favorite academic subjects, community involvement, and unique qualities.
Students and teachers have strong opinions about this change.
“I like it better, because shorter paragraphs make the essay more personal because you don’t have to add unnecessary details,” said Maggie DelGrande, a CVHS senior. But not everyone appreciates the short format.
“I think the new personal insight questions are excellent, I think they will give the admissions officers more insight into the students lives,” said Clare LePell, English teacher. “Unfortunately I’m not a big fan of such a short answer, because I’m not sure we can be as interested in the writing when we have so few words to develop our ideas. But I think the insight questions do a good job with giving information about individual students.”
This adjustment caused a lot of controversy in the school community. After the application season students will know if this change made their application process easier or harder.