The good news about UC schools is that with one application, you can apply to all of the University of California campuses. The bad news is that it is not in the Common App, so unfortunately, you will need to fill out a completely new application system to apply. But luckily, we have some tricks to help this process.
Another major difference in the UC application is that students share four short essays instead of having one major Personal Statement. When filling out the application, you’ll have to answer four personal insight questions (350 words) out of eight total options. With four essays to craft, we urge students not to wait until the last minute to complete the UC application! Students should share impressive extracurricular experiences and create strong essays that will make up a substantial component of the UCLA application.
Depending on your application strategy, you might develop a Personal Statement and other essays for other US schools. A great tip for planning your essays is to see which school will have the earliest deadline considering most schools have an Early Decision (ED) and/or Early Action (EA) around November 1. In many cases, students will need to finish their Personal Statement and other additional essays for their ED and EA options, and thus, since the UC deadline will fall after the early deadline, students can end up using parts of those essays to develop the UC essays. Sometimes, Personal Statements and additional ED and EA essays can easily transition into the four UC essays. In other cases, students must compose several original essays to match the prompts. For students who chose not to apply ED or EA, the UC deadline may be their earliest deadline. In that case, students start by striving to compose four great essays and evaluate how that content can be used for other applications in Regular Decision.
Another major difference we see between the UC system and the Common App system is the activity sheet. While the UC system allows up to 20 activities and 350 characters to describe them, the Common App only allows ten activities with 150 characters. Thus, if you plan to apply to UC and other USA schools, even though the UC deadline might be after your ED or EA deadlines, start with the UC activity sheet format when creating your activity list. Then make a copy, cut down the list to the 10 top activities, and cut the descriptions to 150 characters for the Common App. When choosing extracurricular activities, note that UCLA emphasizes leadership, research, and innovation. Leadership can be demonstrated through various extracurricular activities, and what matters is your demonstrated commitment to the organization rather than the number of leadership positions you hold. UCLA is looking for someone who is heavily invested in and contributes to the success of their club, team, or organization.
Finally, students from countries requiring entry into military service upon completing secondary education should not apply until the obligation has been met. UCLA generally does not allow students to defer admission to a later term.