As a college applicant, you will inevitably get a LOT of advice about a college essay/writing response/PIQ from many self-reported “experts.” The reality is that whether an applicant is admitted or denied, neither the applicant NOR the “experts” who coached/assisted/helped/edited the essay/writing response/PIQs will receive a “report card” that indicates whether or not the writing that was submitted played any role in the applicant getting accepted (or denied). So…rather than rely on people who are not in a position to guide you as effectively as the REAL experts, please review the tips provided by the people who will be reading whatever it is you decide to send when you apply to a particular campus/system (the admissions reps themselves):
The UC System requires applicants to choose 4 out of 8 “Personal Insight Questions” (and to respond to them in under 350 words each). Watch THIS to get some super helpful advice from a UC Admissions Rep.
Whoo hoo! No writing assignments for the CSU system.
Depending on the campus, you may have to write one main essay (such as in the Common Application), one main essay AND one or more short responses (also in the Common Application for certain school), or respond to a mix of prompts that vary greatly in length. Here are several examples of both essays that various college reps have liked and general advice for what they seek:
Tufts – Essays that Worked
Brown/Georgetown/Yale/University of Virginia – Writing a Strong College Essay