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2.1 - Two Ways to Answer the Four Personal Insight Questions

This lesson covers... the two types of responses you’ll be writing for the UC personal insight questions and recommends a structure for each prompt..
By the end you should... have a basic framework for thinking about your four UC topics.
Time 2 minutes

When it comes to the personal insight questions, you are either writing about overcoming a challenge or you are not.

  • If you are writing about a challenge, I recommend the Narrative Structure.

  • If you are not writing about a challenge, I recommend the Montage Structure.

I’ll say more about these two structures in a moment. First, here’s my recommendation for which prompt might work with each structure:

Narrative Structure

1. Leadership



4. Educational opportunity or educational barrier overcome

5. Significant challenge overcome


7. Improving community example

Montage Structure

1. Leadership

2. Creativity

3. A talent or skill



6. Favorite academic subject

7. Improving community example

8. What sets you apart?


  • If the prompt is listed in both columns I think either structure can work well.

  • This is not a “have to” list; it’s a recommendation based on what I’ve seen work.

Now ask yourself: for each of my topics, did I overcome a challenge or not?