Five tips to boost your UC application

PHOTO: The University of California application is open until Nov. 30.

By Hannah Cho, Editor-in-Chief–

A layer of tension coats the senior classrooms of Davis High as whispers of the upcoming UC application deadline find themselves between the hushed gossip and exciting plans for Thanksgiving break.  

With only about a week left before the dreaded deadline, it is crucial for seniors to spend their time wisely in making their application best reflect their hard work in the past three years. Here are five tips to keep in mind when working on your UC application.

1. Get feedback on personal insight questions from friends and family

Because the personal insight questions are the only way for you to shine among thousands of applicants with the same stats and extracurriculars, it is important to get many eyes on them to produce the best essays possible.

“It’s all about being honest and helping the readers understand who you are,” said Maddie Johnson, a DHS alumna who now attends UCLA. “Having multiple people […] give their ideas and opinions is super helpful, so allow time for that.”

2. Don’t be afraid to apply undeclared

If you aren’t completely sure about what you want to study in the next four years, consider applying undeclared and focus on other parts of your application rather than being bogged down by it.

“The College of Letters and Science [at UC Berkeley] has all of its freshmen come in as undeclared so you aren’t at a disadvantage,” said DHS alumnus and Cal student Arvind Ramakri. “Some majors are capped and applying to them are important, but for most majors, undeclared works well.”

3. Use the “Additional Comments” section

This is a section following the personal insight questions that you want to take advantage of. Don’t think of it as another essay but rather space where you can explain any parts of your application that will help admissions officers better understand who you are.

“This is a great section to talk about circumstances that don’t fit into your application,” said Daniel Maciel, the campus representative at the UC Irvine Undergraduate Admissions Office. “There’s going to be a lot of information and numbers, so you really want to take every opportunity to bring out personality.”

4. Choose wisely for the “Activities and Awards” section

There are 20 available slots for you to include any awards, educational preparatory programs, extracurriculars, other coursework, community service and work experience. Be strategic about what to include and make sure they make you stand out the most.

“I’m trying to order my activities in the order of importance,” senior Kimberly Liu said. “I don’t like to spread myself too thin, so I think it’s important to have a few [activities] you are really committed to.”

5. Take advantage of college websites

In addition to the general UC website, there are individual college websites for all nine UC schools, so take a look at the ones you are most interested in attending. Here, you can find requirements to apply, possible majors, tips and contact information if you have any questions.

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