When the calendar turns to November, students in California and around the globe concentrate their energies on their applications to the University of California system. With campuses around the state, a singular application that is completed by the student alone (no recommendations, or even an official transcript required at this point in the process), and a vast array of academic programs to meet many needs, it is no wonder thousands and thousands of students submit their applications each year. The UCs accept applications for fall freshman admission during a one month filing period– from November 1 until November 30th.
There are some challenges to this application. For instance, as an out-of-state student, completing each of the transcript requirements can be confusing and daunting. Does this class count? Does that one? In the end, the Universities want to give the student the benefit of the doubt. Students do often struggle with the world history and art requirements. The University of California requires one full year of art. If your high school doesn’t offer such courses, your transcript should show two sequential semester (or three trimester) courses in the same discipline to fulfill this requirement. If you are struggling to locate the correct courses in your high school, look to a local community college; a single semester course in a community college counts for a full year high school course.
With so many students applying to the system, the personal statements, with a maximum length of 1000 words combined, are important to providing context for your academic achievement.
Prompt #1: Describe the world you come from – for example, your family, community or school – and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.
Prompt #2:Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?
It helps to think about these two prompts in concert with one another. Allow them to highlight and clarify different aspects of your life and your application. In both cases, use specific examples and spend a portion of your essay reflecting on how these environments or experiences have impacted you. A clear concise example will make the strongest impression on the admissions reader.
As an out of state or international applicant, gaining acceptance to the some of the California campuses can be quite difficult. Consider the strengths of each campus and apply broadly.