Writing Section instructions
These are the 2013 Freshman Writing Section instructions.
- What We Believe
- Quick Answers
- Key Dates & Deadlines
- Get Ready for College
- I'm Interested in the UW. Guide Me.
- I Applied. Now What?
- I Was Admitted. Now What?
- We Are Admissions
1. Personal Statement (Required)
The Personal Statement is our best means of getting to know you and your best means of creating a context for your academic performance. When you write your personal statement, tell us about those aspects of your life that are not apparent from your academic record. Tell us about the experiences that don’t show up on your transcript:
- a character-defining moment,
- the cultural awareness you’ve developed,
- a challenge faced,
- a personal hardship or barrier overcome.
Choose either A or B. Recommended length: 500-650 words
A. Discuss how your family’s experience or cultural history enriched you or presented you with opportunities or challenges in pursuing your educational goals.
B. Tell us a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
- Some of the best statements are written as personal stories. We welcome your imaginative interpretation.
- You may define experience broadly. For example, in option B, experience could be a meeting with an influential person, a news story that spurred you to action, a family event, or something that might be insignificant to someone else that had particular meaning for you. If you don’t think that any one experience shaped your character, don’t worry. Simply choose an experience that tells us something about you.
2. Short Response (Required)
Choose one of the following two topics and write a short essay. Recommended length: 250-500 words.
- The University of Washington seeks to create a community of students richly diverse in cultural backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints. How would you contribute to this community?
- Describe an experience of cultural difference or insensitivity you have had or observed. What did you learn from it?
- You may define culture broadly in Topic #2. For example, it may include ethnicity, customs, values, and ideas, all of which contribute to experiences that students can share with others in college. As you reply to this question, reflect on what you have learned — about yourself and society — from an experience of cultural difference.
3. Journal of Activities & Achievements
Using the grid provided on the application, identify and describe up to five of your most significant activities and achievements during grades 9-12. Write about why this activity or achievement had meaning for you. Tell us about your highest level of achievement or honor you attained; any responsibilities you had; and the contribution you believe you made to your school, community, or organization. Don’t just describe the activity or achievement: tell us what it says about you.
Recommended length: 100-200 words for each activity.
Your journal should include activities, skills, achievements, or qualities from any of the following categories:
- Leadership in or outside of school-e.g., athletics, student government, cultural clubs, band, scouting, community service, employment
- Activities in which you have worked to better your school or community
- Exceptional achievement in an academic field or artistic pursuit
- Personal endeavors that enrich the mind-e.g., independent research or reading, private dance or music lessons, weekend language/culture school
4. Additional Comments (optional)
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
Use this section for anything you wish to express that doesn’t seem to fit in any of the required writing areas. For example, if you have experienced personal hardships in attaining your education, if your activities have been limited because of work or family obligations, or if you want us to know how important something really is to you, tell us here.
- Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are considered.
- If you’re applying online, do your writing in a word processing program such as Word, then copy and paste into the window provided. Double-spacing, italics, and other formatting will be lost, but this will not affect the evaluation of your application.
- Proffreed, proofreed, PROOFREAD!