Writing UC Prompt 8: How Do You Stand Out?


[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 #7.


Prompt #8: Beyond what has already been shared in your application, what do you believe makes you stand out as a strong candidate for admission to the University of California?

This prompt is the closest you’ll get to being handed a freebie by the UCs, and every student should strongly consider choosing this prompt as one of the 4 that they must write. Prompt 8 is the most open-ended one that allows you to complete the picture of yourself that you want to paint with these 4 essays.


However, there is one problem that many students run into with this prompt. Because it is so open-ended, many students feel a pressure to fit as many examples as they can to convey everything about their character all at once. But the reality is, you only have 350 words, and that’s really only 2-3 paragraphs max. There’s no way to cram all of what makes you stand out in this essay; the key to writing UC Prompt 8 is picking one specific example that demonstrates a vital part of who you are.


Moreover, make sure that you’re revealing something about yourself that wasn’t already revealed in a different prompt you chose to write. But what exactly counts as something that makes you stand out? The options here are endless, so here are just a few of the many ideas you could talk about:

  1. You are the biggest fan of Marvel movies

  2. You’ve been journaling every day of your life since 5th grade

  3. You’re a twin, and that’s brought some extraordinary experiences

  4. You run a food Instagram

  5. You read a book every single day

The important part of writing about these unique traits is that you must discuss how you’ve become a better person or grown because of it. It’s not enough to just talk about how much you love Iron Man or that you can recite every line of the first Avengers movie. Instead, ask yourself, what is it that you’ve learned from watching these superheroes all these years? Why are you so intrigued by them? Do you admire certain traits in Steve Rogers that you’ve then made your own?


Here’s how you might structure this essay:

  1. Share an anecdote of you doing whatever it is that makes you stand out

  2. Explain how you came to develop this characteristic or passion

  3. What did you learn through your journey to discovering this characteristics?

  4. Why does this trait matter to you, others, or the world?

  5. How does this aspect of you make you a valuable person on campus?

This is the last blog in our UC Prompt series. We hope you found it helpful, and feel free to click here to reread any of the posts in this series. If you have any questions, please feel free to email info@7edu.org!


Meanwhile, feel free to check out the rest of our UC Prompt Series while you're here :)

UC Prompt #1 Leadership Experience

UC Prompt #2 Your Creative Side

UC Prompt #3 Greatest Talent

UC Prompt #4 Educational Experiences

UC Prompt #5 Significant Challenge

UC Prompt #6 Favorite Subject

UC Prompt #7 Improving your Community

UC Prompt #8 How do you Stand Out?





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