Why is the personal statement so important?
As a vital part of your application, the personal statement—consisting of responses to two prompts—is reviewed by both the Admissions andtheScholarshipOffices.AtBerkeleyweuse thePersonalStatementto: • discoverandevaluatedistinctionsamong applicants whose academic records are often very similar; • gaininsightintoyourlevelofacademic, personal and extracurricular achievement; • provideuswithinformationthatmaynotbe evident in other parts of the application. PROMPT #1
The Personal Statement
TOPICS FOR FRESHMEN APPLICANTS
Please read the complete information about the Personal Statement provided in the application. These are the prompts you will be asked to answer:
Describetheworldyoucomefrom—forexample,yourfamily,communityorschool—andtellus how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations. PROMPT #2 Tellusaboutapersonalquality,talent,accomplishment,contributionorexperiencethatisimportant toyou.Whataboutthisqualityoraccomplishmentmakesyouproudandhowdoesitrelatetothe person you are?
u n i v e r s i t y
What does Berkeley look for in my personal statement?
Weconsider: • youracademicaccomplishments, beyond your transcript; • yourinitiative,motivation,leadership,persistence, service to others, special potential and substantial experience with other cultures; • anyunusualcircumstancesorhardshipsyou have faced and the ways in which you have overcome or responded to them; and • allachievementinlightoftheopportunities available to you.
Do I have a better chance of being admitted if I write about unusual circumstances or hardship? Not necessarily; having a hardship is no guarantee of admission. If you choose to write about difficulties you have experienced, you should describe: • howyouconfrontedandovercameyourchallenges, rather than describing a hardship just for the sake of including it in your application; • whatyoulearnedorachievedinspiteofthese circumstances.
What should I write about if I am applying to the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)—a support program for students from low-income families in which neither parent is a college graduate? • Discusshowtheprogrammightbenefityou. • Tellusaboutyourdeterminationtosucceed even though you may have lacked academic or financial support.
HELPFUL TIPS BEFORE YOU BEGIN WRITING
You are asked to provide response to two prompts, both of which you must answer, using a maximum of 1,000 words total. • Youmayallocatethewordcountasyou wish. If you choose to respond to one prompt at greater length, we suggest your shorter answer be no less than 250 words. • Staywithinthewordlimitascloselyas you can. A little over—1,012 words, for example—is fine.
What if I am applying to a professional school or college (such as the College of Engineering or Chemistry)? If you are applying to a professional school or college, it is important that you discuss: • yourintendedfieldofstudyinyourpersonal statement; • yourinterestinyourspecificmajor; • anyschoolorwork-relatedexperience.
How can I write an effective personal statement?
• Thoughtfullydescribenotonlywhatyou’ve done, but also the choices you have made and what you have gained as a result. • Allowsufficienttimefor: – – – – reflection; thoughtful preparation; several revisions; and careful composition. Your personal statement is not graded on correct grammar, spelling and sentence structure, but these qualities will enhance overall presentation and readability.
What if I am applying for a scholarship?
• Werecommendthatyouelaborateontheacademic and extracurricular information in the application that demonstrates your motivation, achievement, leadership and commitment.
Read all instructions carefully.