Writing UC Prompt 7: Improving Your Community


[This article is part of a new series where we will be dissecting each of the UC essay prompts in depth, providing examples and tips on how you can make your application stand out.]


Click here to read yesterday’s post about UC Prompt #6.


Prompt #7: What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?

This prompt gives you an opportunity to show UCs the type of role you have in your current communities, and how you plan on carrying that to their campus communities.


But what exactly defines a community? This prompt is actually a lot broader than many might think, because the word “community” encompasses so many different groups. Every single student belongs in some sort of community, including but not limited to your:

  1. Family

  2. Neighborhood

  3. City

  4. Church

  5. Online

The list goes on! This would be the essay to talk about all those hours you spent volunteering at the library or that time you motivated your school to donate to a cause you care deeply about. An important thing to remember is that the experience or community doesn’t necessarily have to be a super unique and impressive opportunity. What matters is the individual contribution and impact you were able to make on this group.


For example, UC admissions officers would rather see that you helped implement a summer reading program for kids at your local library than read about how you just filed papers at your senator’s office. In the same vein, focus on specificity rather than being broad about your contributions.


Moreover, I think it’s important to also explain how your impact on this community affected you. What did you learn from the experience, and how will you apply that to the future? Admissions officers are trying to figure out how your past experiences will translate into future contributions to their campus community.


Here’s how you might structure this essay:

  1. Describe your community and how it was like before you stepped into it

  2. Explain your thought process in determining the necessary impact that you wanted to make

  3. Detail the steps you took to implement the specific impact you made

  4. Reflect on how the experience affected or changed you

  5. Think about how you might bring the lessons you learned from this experience to college or the future

If you found this article helpful, stay tuned tomorrow for a discussion of UC Prompt #8!

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