UC Personal Insight Questions

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Summer school students need to write two essays answering the UC Personal Inquiry Questions. Each essay is limited to 350 words each. These can be used later when applying to college. Students may also choose to use the Common App Questions instead (650 word max).

Here are some helpful resources for writing your college Personal Statement:

Don’t procrastinate! The key is to revise, revise, revise…

Dystopian Worlds Essay

dystopia

“Escaping the Dome.” Image courtesy of yumikrum (Flickr)

Writing Prompt: The short stories, “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut and “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” by Ursula Le Guin, and “the Lottery” by Shirley Jackson present seemingly perfect worlds that hide injustice under the surface. Societies sacrifice the joy of the individual for the benefit of all. What can we as readers learn from these stories about our own world? In at least a five-paragraph essay, describe a central theme (lesson, moral) in at least one of the stories. Include textual evidence to support your ideas. What lessons can we apply to our world today?

Writing Criteria:

  • Well-organized multiple-paragraph essay.
  • A clear thesis statement (main argument).
  • Textual evidence with analysis (quotes must be cited with page numbers in MLA Format).
  • Creativity and sentence variety.
  • Checked for spelling/grammar/mechanics.

Texts and Online Resources:

Handouts and Writing Resources:

Editing/Revision Resources:

Always Running Essay

Always Running

Writing Prompts:

  1. Code of the Streets: How is Elijah Anderson’s “The Code of the Streets” connected to Luis Rodriguez’s Always Running? How is “The Code” a guide to the Rodriguez’s choices in East Los Angeles? What are the causes/effects and possible solutions for gang-affiliated youth in Los Angeles? Write a synthesis essay including evidence from both texts.
  2. The Chicano Movement: What does Luis Rodriguez’s memoir Always Running reveal about the transformative nature of the Chicano Movement on young Latinos in the 1960s and 1970s? Discuss his memoir, the film Walkout, and Rodolfo Corky Gonzales’s poem “I am Joaquin,” as you explore the impact of the Chicano Movement.
  3. Poetry Connections: Rodriguez explores the impact the streets have had on his life through his non-fiction, novels, poetry and journalism. Explore the recurring themes of Always Running with his poems “Race Politics,” “Watts Bleeds,” and “Mean Streets.” You may choose to include “The Price of Family” and Tupac Shakur’s poetry as well.

Writing Criteria:

  • Well-organized multiple-paragraph essay.
  • A clear thesis statement (main argument).
  • Textual evidence with analysis (quotes must be cited with page numbers in MLA Format).
  • Creativity and sentence variety.
  • Checked for spelling/grammar/mechanics.

You may also choose to use the following texts below in your essay:

Handouts and Writing Resources:

Editing/Revision Resources: