As a person who keeps records of tasks and assignments on a daily basis, I’ve always been organizing every task I completed and things I accomplished – and this is a fantastic way to start the UC college application, no matter what year you currently are in high school (although if you’re reading this after app season I’m sorry but you’re welcome to read my college blogs in preparation for that! 😊)
First thing to note about the UC app is that it strictly accepts accomplishments, coursework, and activities completed from freshman to senior year only.
It also allows you to choose which of the nine undergraduate campuses you’re interested in applying to: Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz. All campuses except Berkeley and Merced go by the quarter system. Make sure you research and know what major/field of study you want for each campus before going into the app; it’ll save you a lot of trouble later on.
UCSD is the only campus that will prompt you to rank which of its colleges you prefer to study at, and this is dependent on your personal preferences and/or major. Each college requires a specific set of General Education (GE) courses and a writing core/curriculum. Here’s the breakdown:
1. Thurgood Marshall – best dining hall that opens latest and great apartments/residence halls; fewer and most flexible GEs than most of the other colleges; close to campus center and similar to John Muir
2. John Muir – has the least and very flexible GE courses; two-quarter writing core that is difficult but goes by quickly; center of campus and all events; ironically socially isolated but newer and has an ocean view; close to freshmen classes
3. Eleanor Roosevelt – best dorms but far from everything and also has many GE courses comparable to Revelle’s; wifi is lacking in many areas
4. Earl Warren – far from everything but GEs aren’t strict; very focused on engineering majors; mediocre dining halls and living
5. Sixth College – newest and most spirited college; very social community with log cabin-esque residence halls, but the second most GE courses comparable to Revelle’s
6. Revelle – oldest and toughest college with the most GE courses; bordered by all the performing arts departments; has a cool biomedical library
Other information you will need to prepare are your family’s gross income, academic history, and information about your parents/guardians, along with other very basic common app info (mailing address, full name, etc). As for the personal statement and the other short essays, the UC system will always be changing, and has already changed since my application year. However, as a huge essay tip, just take these questions into consideration:
1. What specific life-changing scenario happened to show that [reason/event/factor] made such a great impact on you as an individual?
2. How did you react to this situation and what did it make you realize about yourself?
3. How did you take this realization/reaction and implement it in your succeeding actions to make the world around you a better place?
This is the way in which I view the world around me and how I see the bright side of everything: almost any negative situation can be seen as a blessing in disguise, and can likewise build me up as a stronger person overall. By implementing my perspective and personality into my work as well as the essays I write, people are able to know me despite not having ever met me.
I wish you luck in your future endeavors – and if you ever decide to come to Cal, feel free to shoot me a message for any advice or just to chat/hang out! I love meeting people and would really enjoy getting to know my readers 😊