Prompt 8 of the new UC Personal Insight Questions is pretty open-ended and therefore it can be a bit difficult to come up with a topic. However, it’s actually a really solid UC essay prompt. Below is a UC essay example for prompt 8 as a source of inspiration. Enjoy!

If you need UC essay writing tips, check out this 2017 definitive guide for the new UC essays!

UC Essay Example – The Creative Yoga Essay

What is the one thing that you think sets you apart from other candidates applying to the University of California?  

At the sound of the singing bowl’s ring, marking the beginning of a yoga session, I hesitantly lift both legs overhead, forming the plow pose. Immediately, I feel discomfort seeping into my back.

I begin to ponder: what’s the purpose of this pain? There has to be a reason for the uneasiness of this pose that is deeper than its face value.

“Surrender to the discomfort,” soothes my instructor.  

Strange. I’ve been taught my whole life to fight pain. Why yield now?

Gradually, I give in. I fall in sync with the Ujjayi breathing. With a gentle whoosh, my breath escapes, allowing me to concentrate on the richness of the moment. As my attention turns away from my physical state, my body connects to the world and discomfort fades out of my mind.

Then, I realize the purpose: to find comfort amidst discomfort. As my thoughts are quenched by the moment, I discover that mindfulness is centered around acceptance of the present; I focus on every inhale and exhale, every mental sensation. As I yield to the present moment, with my mind concentrating on breathing, I surrendered to the pain.

I take these epiphanies from the yoga mat and carry them into the real world. I’ve discovered how to handle obstacles in life with tranquility and grace. Emotionally and physically, I am stronger.

Furthermore, I realize that this strength is uncovered in the moment. Sometimes in life, we set our sights only on our end goals, preventing us from enjoying the means of reaching it. Whether it’s learning a new calculus concept or playing an instrument, I now know that the most important skills are discovered amidst the process. Regardless of what lies ahead in college or beyond, I know that it’s the journey, not the destination, that matters.

I am unique in my ways of searching for an underlying significance in my journeys. With an unconditional love for exploration and analysis, I can better navigate the world around me.  From brewing tea to creating oil paintings, I have a natural tendency to seek deeper meanings in everything I do.

Source: One of my students that was admitted to Berkeley & UCLA.

Analysis of UC Essay Example Strengths:

1.Showcases an aspect of the student that’s not apparent in any other part of her application

This UC essay example is smart because of this: Many students out there will be writing about various clubs, sports, and volunteering opportunities…so, this student wrote about an aspect of herself an admissions officer would NEVER know based on her application! If you have a hobby or interest that isn’t apparent on any other part of your application that you think is an integral part of who you are, then definitely make sure you showcase that side of you in the UC essays!

2. Interestingly crafted sentences  

I’ve read maaaaaany UC essays this past year, and here’s a huuuuge tip for you: Change up the cadence of your writing in at least one of your essays. What I mean is, try to experiment with things like using dialogue and rhetorical questions in these short UC essays. Just think about it: You’re submitting 4 different UC essays during the application process…you don’t want all 4 to sound pretty similar to each other, even if the content is relatively different. Does that make sense? So, switch up your writing and take a slight risk. It’ll pay off in loads by keeping the attention of your UC admissions officer!