University of California Example Essay Freshman Prompt 1

Prompt:

Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes, or contributed to group efforts over time


Example:

For the past four years, I have been the volunteer coordinator for a local food bank. Through my experience there, I learned that leadership is essential in volunteer operations, whether providing food for the hungry on a small scale or coordinating emergency responses on a large scale. My role at the food bank revolved around my ability to attract and retain quality volunteers. I was also responsible for delegating essential tasks to the volunteers in a fair, efficient manner. As the key point of contact, I was also in a highly visible role that required juggling multiple priorities. It was a challenging position with no blueprint. I had to start from scratch.


As volunteer coordinator, one of my initiatives was to allow volunteers to choose which tasks they felt most comfortable with. I created intake surveys for volunteers so I could receive insight into their talents and their preferences. For example, one volunteer had listed that she was naturally a great organizer and enjoyed tasks such as arranging shelves and adding visual appeal. I learned that she had been a merchandiser at a gift shop. This allowed me to assign her to tasks that involved her natural talent. She appreciated that I had taken the time to learn more about her, and she enjoyed the work I delegated. My intake survey had tangible results in volunteers' job satisfaction and retention.


My leadership style evolved as a result of my experience at the food bank. I experienced first-hand the power of prioritizing people over anything else. By making extra effort to interview my volunteers, ask them about their lives and their skills, I was able to match them to more fulfilling tasks within our organization. It also opened up lines of communication, which over time made volunteers more likely to share their concerns and criticisms with me. I learned that good leadership is rooted in allowing each individual on a team to shine.


As volunteer coordinator, one of my initiatives was to allow volunteers to choose which tasks they felt most comfortable with. I created intake surveys for volunteers so I could receive insight into their talents and their preferences. For example, one volunteer had listed that she was naturally a great organizer and enjoyed tasks such as arranging shelves and adding visual appeal. I learned that she had been a merchandiser at a gift shop. This allowed me to assign her to tasks that involved her natural talent. She appreciated that I had taken the time to learn more about her, and she enjoyed the work I delegated. My intake survey had tangible results in volunteers' job satisfaction and retention. My leadership style evolved as a result of my experience at the food bank. I experienced first-hand the power of prioritizing people over anything else. By making extra effort to interview my volunteers, ask them about their lives and their skills, I was able to match them to more fulfilling tasks within our organization. It also opened up lines of communication, which over time made volunteers more likely to share their concerns and criticisms with me. I learned that good leadership is rooted in allowing each individual on a team to shine.


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