Personal Statement

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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
for Freshmen

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?

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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.

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.
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