I live in the SF Bay Area, and many of the students I work with are keenly focussed on admission to the University of California. There are nine Universities in the UC system (UC San Francisco offers only graduate/professional education). You can apply to as many UC (undergraduate) campuses as you like with just one application. The essay portion of the application consists of 8 personal insight questions, aka prompts. Please see below UC's guidelines regarding responses to their prompts.
From the UC admissions site:
"What do you want UC to know about you? Here’s your chance to tell us in your own words.
- You will have 8 questions to choose from. You must respond to only 4 of the 8 questions.
- Each response is limited to a maximum of 350 words.
- Which questions you choose to answer is entirely up to you: But you should select questions that are most relevant to your experience and that best reflect your individual circumstances.
Keep in mind
- All questions are equal: All are given equal consideration in the application review process, which means there is no advantage or disadvantage to choosing certain questions over others.
- There is no right or wrong way to answer these questions: It’s about getting to know your personality, background, interests and achievements in your own unique voice. "
Please see my services and rates page for more information about essays for the UC.