Ten Tips for Writing a 1337* UC2 Essay

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As a reminder, here's the UC2 prompt:

"Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?"


A. Decide on a topic

TIP #1: Don’t simply write about some abstract quality you possess. Why? The essay will probably wander all over the place and it may turn out horrible.

TIP #2: Choose a specific experience that shows several awesome qualities you possess. Why? Because writing about a specific experience will help you focus the essay, plus it’ll be more interesting to the reader.

TIP #3: Consider writing about the extracurricular activity that you've spent the most time doing or that you care about most. Why? Like it or not, UC readers want to know what you've accomplished. 

TIP #4: If you have to choose between a few activities, pick the one that’s the most impressive. Why? Like it or not, UC readers want to know what you've accomplished. Oh wait, I said that already. That must mean it’s important.


Maybe you designed a robot horse, for example.

B. Make a bullet point list of your content

TIP #5: Jot down answers to these three questions:

1. What have you done? Literally, what were your actual tasks? How did you/have you spent your time?

2. What did you learn?

TIP #6: Save discussing this until almost the end of the essay.

3. How will you continue this work?

TIP #7: Discuss specifically who you’d like to help and how.

C. Decide on a structure.

TIP #8: Use the Narrative Structure (tell a story), OR

TIP #9: Use the Montage Structure (jump around to different moments).

TIP #10: Look at the other supplemental essays before you start to see if there is another prompt you can also use this topic for and write your essay so that it answers both prompts at the same time.

Example: The University of Texas supplemental essay is this: 

"Choose an issue of importance to you—the issue could be personal, school related, local, political, or international in scope—and write an essay in which you explain the significance of that issue to yourself, your family, your community, or your generation."

It’s possible to write an essay that answers both the UC2 prompt AND this prompt at the same time, and guess what? Both essays will be better for it.

ALSO: Keep the length of your UC1 essay in mind. Both essays should be a combined 1,000 words and not a word more!

D: Write a draft

(*1337 is old school hacker/internet slang for "Leet" or "Elite." The More You Know.)


Written by Ethan Sawyer – In addition to being the College Essay Guy, Ethan is a writer, teacher, speaker, and voice actor. He has worked at Elite since 2003 is also the coordinator for the Elite Community Scholars Program, a program very close to his heart. You can email him at ethan.sawyer@eliteprep.com. The views expressed in this blog post are Ethan's and don't necessarily reflect those of Elite Educational Institute.

Posted on November 20, 2013 and filed under College Admissions.