University of California Schools Application Overview￼
Want to learn more about the University of California Application? Join CollegeAdvisor.com Admissions Expert, Zoë Edington, as she presents “University of California Schools Application Overview.” Zoë will share insider knowledge on the different parts of the University of California Application for the first 30-minutes, followed by a 30-minute live Q&A. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2022-08-16- University of California Schools Application Overview
Hey everyone. My name is Juliana Furigay and I’m your moderator today. Welcome to the University of California School’s Application Overview. So to orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’re going to start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q&A on the slide bar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting questions in the Q&A tab.
Now let’s meet our panelist. So hi everyone. Uh, as I’m sure as you can tell, I am not Kaitlin Liston. Uh, unfortunately, uh, the scheduled host, Kaitlin came down with a cold earlier today, so I’m gonna be filling in for her. My name is Zoë Edington. I went to UC Berkeley class of 2018. I got a bachelor’s in Anthropology and, um, I actually do know Kaitlin Liston, we were roommates freshman year.
Super cool. Um, so right now we’re going to start off with the poll. So just wondering what grade are you guys all in? Um, and while we wait for those results to come in, I would love to ask you Zoë, um, you know, what’s your favorite spot on campus? You know, I go to school on the east coast and I’m not too familiar with California and the UC schools.
So. Yeah. Um, it’s been a while, but I would say my favorite spot to be on campus was probably SPR Plaza. Um, that’s kind of like, I guess like the main spot, it’s kind of just, you know, this like long kind of like walkway where most people enter on campus and it was always fun to go there at the beginning of the semesters.
That’s when all the clubs would be recruiting that’s when there would be sometimes performances, um, or you know, other people on campus. I mean, you know, there was a guy that used to come and let people pet lamas that he just had around. So it was always an interesting place to be. Yeah, no, that sounds super cool.
I wish we had a spot like that on my campus. um, the results are now back and it looks like 9% of you guys are in 10th grade. 27% are in 11th grade, 62% earned 12th grade. So we have a lot of seniors here tonight. Nice. Okay. Cool. So, yeah, just to start off, um, for the UC, uh, school system, there are nine undergraduate campuses.
Um, the 10th one, the University of California San Francisco is just for graduate students. Um, so yeah, there are nine schools all throughout the state of California. They all have relatively, I would say different reputations in terms of like what the most popular majors are and, you know, Um, people like tend to do, um, you know, like wanting to do once they graduate from college, but they’re all really great in terms of academics.
And of course, you know, I’m biased, but best public university in the world.
And if you want to apply to the UCs, the good news is that it’s only one application. So, you know, there’s not that much that you have to do. Um, it is holistic, so they are looking for things. In addition to just your academics, they wanna know about your extracurriculars, like, you know, any jobs that you’ve had clubs or sports they wanna know about you, you know what you’re looking forward to doing in college and beyond, and your background information and you know, just who you are as a person.
Um, and, uh, the good news is that now they’re no longer requiring test scores. Uh, so you don’t have to take the ACT or the SAT, although I personally would still recommend that applicants do so, just in case you’re applying to some other schools that may still, uh, require them. And if you are applying for the FAFSA for, um, financial aid, then that is an entirely separate application.
Um, the components that you will need for the UC application, it isn’t officially transcripts because they don’t require you to send those when you are first applying. However, you should have those handy because you will be self-reporting your scores. So that means that you will, uh, enter in your classes, your subject area and whatever.
Grades that you have for those scores. Uh, you, like I said earlier, you will not need to submit any test scores. Um, you will need to enter your annual family income and then other personal information such as citizenship status, social security number, payment information, et cetera.
Yeah. So here are all of the, uh, components that you will need when you’re applying to UC. And we will go into more detail a little bit later, but as you can see, it’s really important that they get a good sense of who you are. Um, as a whole, as a person, they’re not really emphasizing one particular area over.
Yeah. So a question that I get a lot, like from, uh, some of the clients that I’ve worked with here at CollegeAdvisor are, you know, how do I stand out in my application? And I would say it is very important to be yourself, um, because you are going to be, self-reporting a lot of the information like your grades and, um, you know, you’re gonna be giving, uh, you’re gonna be responding to, uh, essay prompts, et cetera.
The UC, application really emphasizes honesty. They really wanna know who you are, uh, as a person and you. By this point, you know, you’re gonna probably gonna be applying your last year of, of high school as a senior. You’re sort of already done more or less like with your classes. So now is the time for you to really emphasize, like, you know, who you are through essays, who you are through, um, your extracurriculars, you know, how you present yourself in those and, uh, why you’re so passionate about what you’ve done, sort of, you know, pre-college and how that’s going to get you to where you wanna go for college and beyond.
And a good trait that Caitlin and I have sort of like discussed with our clients is choosing which charact. Which, sorry, which characteristics you wanna emphasize in your application? So it’s always a good idea. If you can maybe make a list of like five things that, uh, you want to, uh, show in your application, you can even ask the family member or friend, like, Hey, like, you know, what, what parts of my personality do you think really stand out to you?
Um, when you think about me and like, what do you think would make good content? You know, if you want like an outsider’s. and, um, yeah, very important to add details in your essays, in sort of the, um, the explanation section for the extracurriculars details that it, you’re not really gonna find anywhere else in your application, you know, like admissions committee, they’re not gonna, they might see like, oh, okay.
This person was a captain of the 10, the captain of the tennis team, but we don’t really know why they’re so passionate about it. Is it the sportsmanship? Is it, um, you know, mentoring other. People on the team, et cetera, that’s all your job to present them with that information.
Uh, yeah. So again, the UCs are not, uh, requiring any SAT or, uh, ACT scores. Now that’s something that I really wish that was a thing back when I was applying. Um, you can still submit those if you want to. Uh, I believe that for certain requirements that you would have to fulfill during your first year of college, such as like the entry level writing requirement, if you have a particular score, like on the essay section, then you might be able to test out of that and not have to take another class.
If you send those. um, and if you do all the UCs will, uh, receive your test scores, they receive everything that you send to the others. So it’s just one big application that you’re sending out to all the campuses you want to apply.
Great. Thank you, Zoë. Lots of helpful information there. Um, so I would love to release a poll to our audience over here. Where are you in the application process? Um, so while we wait for those results to come in, I would love to ask you Zoë, uh, how did you decide on UC Berkeley and what other schools were you considering in the college application process?
Yeah. So, uh, I’m from California. And I think, you know, if any of you are from California, you’ll probably know that applying to UCs, it’s just kind of something that you do. It goes with the territory. Um, I applied to 26 schools, uh, in total. Uh, don’t really recommend doing that. It is a, a very long and hectic process, but, um, I was really looking for a school that was gonna challenge me.
Um, I’d only really ever gone. Schools that were really small, um, during elementary school and high school. And so I really thought like, oh, I’m not entirely certain what I wanna study or what I wanna do as a career, but I wanna be on a really big campus that has a lot of opportunity. Um, there’s a lot of.
You know, opportunities for research, different clubs, connections for internships, et cetera. And, um, when I got my, uh, results back, I thought like, okay, well I could go to sort of like, you know, the smaller colleges that might be in an area that I wanna be in, or I could go to like a really big school with a big reputation.
And that’s ultimately what led me to Cal. Great. That makes a lot of sense. Um, so the poll results are in, looks like 10% haven’t started yet 36% are in the process of researching schools. 38% are working on their essays and 16% are getting their application materials together. Um, and going back to the presentation.
Cool. Yeah. So, you know, when you’re thinking. You when it comes to these applications, this is, um, it might be a bit difficult because you know, you’re probably about like 17, 18, but, um, this is a, probably the first time in your life that you’re going to be. Really presenting yourself to a room full of strangers.
You know, they don’t know anything about you. They, everything that they know is just sort of like the real basics of what high school you wanna go to. Maybe what major you’re hoping to, uh, declare in college, but they don’t know anything personal. They don’t know your passions. They don’t know challenges that you’ve overcome.
They, you know, you’re really just a blank slate. So this is like a time for you to really craft a, a personal narrative. Gather all of the, um, the, I would say, I guess like, you know, components and, um, extracurriculars, everything that like you like to do almost like as a resume and then taking that and crafting almost like a story from that.
Yeah. And here for the classes and grade section of the UC application, like I said, this is all going to be self-reported. So please, please be honest when you’re doing, uh, this section, um, because. If you send in your, uh, application and then it is, um, you get, ultimately get accepted to the school. They will ask for your transcript, you know, your official transcript.
So they will wanna verify all of that information. So, you know, honesty is the best policy for that. Um, and here you can include any information that is high. School level and above. And that includes if you took high school level courses in, uh, middle school, that is, uh, something you should add. And, uh, also like community college courses, anything like that, that fits into the, a through G requirements and a, a through G is, um, subject areas such as math, English, world language, et cetera. So not really things like PE.
Yeah. And when you’re applying to the, uh, campuses, you can, uh, you pretty much have free reign over which ones you want to apply to. You can just apply to one. If that, if you know, if you’re really failing, um, UCLA, for example, you can only, you only have to apply to UCLA, but if you wanna apply to all nine undergraduate.
Schools, you can do that as well. Um, they don’t collaborate on their admissions decisions. They do all of that independently. And, um, yes, for each school you must, uh, select a major, um, for me, because I was undecided on what I wanted to do. I selected undeclared for every. School. And there was a little bit of a difference.
Um, for example, some schools would say like undeclared, but in the social sciences areas, some would be undeclared like, you know, overall. Um, so there is a little bit of a difference, but for the most part, there’s gonna be a pretty similar, uh, major option to choose from.
Uh, yes. And then impacted versus competitive majors. Uh, when I was at Berkeley, they, we had what we called kind of like capped majors. And those were majors that were very, very competitive. A lot of students were applying to them. These were majors such as. Uh, I think it was public health things like business, et cetera.
And so sometimes there would be almost like another, uh, hoop to jump through for students who wanted to do that. And I think that they were, they, um, were different depending on the major, but they might be things like, okay, you know, you can apply as a business major, but when you start your first year, you’re gonna have to take these, uh, prerequisite courses before you’re sort of like an official business major.
Um, so sometimes some schools might have, uh, another sort of. Application process for that.
The award section and, and also the activity section, this is basically kind of like your resume section. This is where you’re gonna put things like, um, what, uh, sports teams you were, uh, a part of which clubs you were a part of jobs, et cetera. And then. Uh, specifically was your position, uh, for each extracurricular activity.
And you can also add any awards that you got. Um, you will typically put like the name of the award. That’s what I would, uh, suggest. Some students are kind of, I think like, you know, if you go to like a smaller school, you might be used to having like a acronym for, um, an award, but because you know, you’re applying to a university.
You know, presumably none of the people who are gonna be looking at your application are aware of what that means. It’s best to explicitly state what the award is and give it the full name. And, uh, you can also add information like, uh, maybe like why you participated in the extracurricular activity, um, what the award was for and why specifically you won it and, uh, how long you, uh, participated in the activities or when you got the award.
Um, For choosing what to add to this section. Again, it, it depends on you, you know, if there are certain, um, awards or activities that you feel like really are important to you, they really shaped who you were, um, in high school then, you know, add them because, you know, that’s probably the best, um, thing to do just to show the, university’s kind of like the type of student that you are.
Um, I would also say, you know, sometimes like students might think like, oh, well, you know, I was a part of. Club and, um, I won an award for it, but I was only like a part of it for a year. I would still say to, you know, add it. There’s no harm in doing so. Um, like personally, like when I was in high school, I went to a really small school and unfortunately a lot of the participation in sports would go down, uh, so much so that we would just have to cancel full clubs or teams.
A month or two into the school year. And, uh, that was really kind of disheartening for me when I was applying to schools because I thought like, oh man, like, you know, I started all these things, but a lot of them just got canceled and it wasn’t my fault, but I don’t know if that makes me seem kind of like, you know, not serious about them on my applications, but, you know, I would just say to, to add them and to just sort of give as much context as you can in that section.
For the personal insight questions. These are probably, I think the most time consuming part of your application, uh, how it works is that you’re given, uh, eight options to choose from for the essays. And then you get to pick four of them. Um, the topics. Range, but they’re usually something along the lines of, um, subject areas that are really important to you.
Uh, challenges that you’ve overcame leadership roles, um, things like that. And you can pick like which four would be the most, um, stand out like, you know, to you apply the most to you and where you think you can really stand out. Um, there for the eighth one. It’s sort of like a choose your own prompt. Um, I would say, you know, if you feel like you’ve looked over the, um, the other questions, maybe you’ve read a few samples from other people and you think like, well, there’s this one area of my life that I really wanna emphasize in my application, but it doesn’t really answer any of the other questions.
You can go ahead and choose that, um, prompt, prompt, number eight, to respond to, but just make sure that it is. I guess specific enough, uh, sometimes I’ve read over, uh, previous client’s essays and they might be a little, uh, a little vague in what exactly they’re trying to say, which can make it difficult because you know, you only have about 350 words to, uh, respond to these essays and you really wanna get to sort of like, you know, the meat of it, of what exactly it is that you, um, are trying to convey in it.
So, uh, if you do choose that prompt, I would say, make sure. Speak with someone, um, you know, an advisor, um, a college counselor at your school, maybe someone who’s applied to UCs before just to get their opinion. Um, another recommendation that I would have is to choose a, um, choose like questions that, you know, you’re gonna have sort of like different responses for them so that there’s not too much of an overlap.
uh, if you’re going to be applying for scholarships, there is a section it’s mainly, I guess, sort of like a checkoff section. It will have, um, different areas like academic interests, um, family background, career plans, um, religious affiliation, et cetera. And you can sort of check if any of those will, um, are applicable to you.
And, um, to the best of my knowledge, the schools that you apply to will. Screen you based off of that, like, you know, they might look at, okay, this person says that they are, um, of this religion and here are their, uh, here’s their GPA, here’s their grades. Here’s what they wanna major in. And then they might see if you, um, qualify for any of the scholarships at their schools.
um, and another great support program that you can opt into via the UC application is the educational opportunity program. This is a program for first generation students. It’s not offered at every single UC, but I think the majority of them have something like it and it sort of provides first gens.
Students a, um, an extra, uh, support group when they go, uh, to college during their first year, you know, it might, it might come in the form of, okay, you have an advisor they’re gonna help you with things like, uh, tutoring, uh, scholarship opportunities. You might meet other first gen people to have more of a community, et cetera.
And, um, yeah, I believe that you would find out in the spring, if you were, um, accepted to that program. Thank you so much, Zoë. Uh, so that’s actually the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope all of you guys found this information to be helpful. And also remember that you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab.
Um, so we’re gonna move on to the live Q&A section here. I’m just gonna read through the questions that you submitted in the Q&A tab. Um, so feel free to submit those. Um, and if your Q&A tab, isn’t letting. Submit questions. Just double check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page.
Uh, so some of you guys already submitted questions while registering for this webinar. Um, so the first one here that I’d love to start off with is, you know, what differentiates the different UC schools, um, because a lot of the students here aren’t from California and haven’t gone a chance to really visit the campuses or, um, explore what differentiates.
Yeah. Uh, great question. Um, I’m gonna try to keep it relatively short because I mean, I could go on for an hour just talking about the different UCs alone. Um, I would say each school, because they were, um, founded during different years, they sort of have different reputations about, uh, based off of resources and then what students study.
So for example, I think UC Berkeley is like the oldest one. That’s why. Sometimes you’ll see sort of like old buildings or, you know, stamps, uh, paper stuff that will just say like university of California, like period. Like it doesn’t say which campus it is. And if that’s the case, usually it’s UC Berkeley.
Cause that was the first university of California. And, um, versus like, you know, the, the youngest school, which is UC Merced. And I believe that one was founded in 2005. Yeah, well, like, um, Berkeley’s founded like in the 18 hundreds. So, you know, obviously it’s just based off of that alone. Berkeley’s older, it’s more recognizable, um, in different, uh, countries, like when I was studying abroad in Australia, people knew what UC Berkeley was over there.
Um, and it’s just kind of like bigger. Um, so they might have certain schools might have, uh, different like majors just based off of like the size of the university. Um, and then they might also have different. Concentrations or like, uh, sort of like a, an notoriety based off of where they’re located. So I think that, and this is partly just like, you know, my opinion, Berkeley has more of a reputation, um, for entrepreneurship because it’s, you know, really close it’s right there, Silicon valley.
So it’s not uncommon to go to class. And then you’re sitting next to someone who’s founding like a company or two, you know, versus like UCLA, which is near, you know, Hollywood and pretty common for people there, excuse me, like people who are like actors to be going to that school. And then they might be studying things like film, uh, film studies, um, you know, screenwriting, et cetera.
Um, other schools like Santa Cruz, they might be more like research based in terms of like natural science or, you know, the ones that are closest to the water have more like a, like a, I don’t know exactly what the word is, but you know, like a ocean science sort of, um, resources and labs, etc. Great. Thank you so much for sharing that.
Um, kind of a follow up question to that. What other UC schools were you considering? I know we kind of touched upon this earlier. And why did you decide on UC Berkeley over some of those other UC schools? Yeah. Yeah. Great question. Um, so I’m trying to remember exactly which UC schools I applied to. I applied to five UCs and out of the five I accepted, uh, to three, um, the main, like the two UCs that I was deciding between were UC Berkeley and UC Santa Barbara.
Um, that was because I grew up in, um, a city that. In more central California. And so when I was thinking of, and I like only like, you know, I, I was raised there and I would travel to other countries, but I never really like lived anywhere else. And so when I was thinking about college, I was like, okay, I’ve gotta get outta here.
Like I wanna have something different. I wanna challenge myself. You know, I want the whole like. Uh, Shang. And so, um, I was thinking of, uh, Santa Barbara, cause I thought like, well, that’s further away than like Berkeley. Like I have some family members in the bay area. And so I thought like, eh, that’s a little too close.
Um, but, um, yeah, and I, I liked, uh, the, the beach I liked sort of, you know, the overall environment when I went to tour, um, the school, but I ultimately decided Berkeley because of, um, just kind of like the reputation. Um, when I was there, it had. Sort of, you know, kind of like what I talked about a little bit before going to other countries, everybody kind of recognized that.
And I mean, it’s, it’s a little snobby, but there’s sort of like a, um, I don’t know exactly what the right word is, but there, it’s kind of like when you apply to certain, uh, jobs or, you know, you’re applying for internships and stuff and you put that, you go to like a certain school, some places like they will sort.
they might be more inclined to, uh, meet with you or interview you. If they see that, you know, you have a certain, you, you attend a certain university and they’re like, oh, that’s pretty high ranking. You know, I wanna talk to that person. Um, that being said, that’s not like the only thing, uh, you know, they also are gonna wanna know like, okay, well, what are you studying?
What are you involved in, et cetera. But that is a, um, factor. Um, and I ultimately decided the, you. Overall just because I actually finished community college and high school at the same time. And so when I was, um, applying to colleges, I thought like, well, it would be great if I could, you know, use all of the units that I accumulated so far and put that towards my general ed so that I don’t have to repeat a lot of these classes.
that definitely makes sense. Mm-hmm um, so some students are wondering about like instate versus out of state admissions. Mm-hmm whether it’s easier to get into UC as like a California native student. I know you applied coming from California. Um, and as a follow up to that, uh, financial aid and scholarship eligibility, whether that defers, uh, for in-state and out-of-state students.
Yeah. Yeah. So, um, I would say overall, it is easier to go, uh, to be accepted to a UC if you are a California resident. Um, I believe that the GPA requirement, um, is I think at the. Or I think that, you know, the, the, the typical, like, um, GPA of a California resident who’s going to, to a UC is like a 3.0, versus like out-of-state like 3.4.
The, the requirements are a little bit higher for out-of-state applicants. Um, I’m not entirely certain about financial aid just because I didn’t, um, Need financial aid when I was going to, uh, college. So I didn’t go through the FAFSA process. And I don’t recall, um, asking too many friends who were out of state, um, applicants, like about that experience.
I think. That they’re. I know that there’s like a lot of like scholarships and, uh, resources, but I, I’m not too certain if there are some that are reserved or, you know, more likely to go towards, out of state, um, applicants versus California. Hmm. That makes sense. And I think you can definitely just do a quick Google search and see what the difference there might be for financial scholarships.
Um, so we have some students here wondering about essays. So if you feel comfortable sharing, what did you write your essays about? Whether it was the supplemental essays or that, you know, personal statement, common app essay mm-hmm . And if not any general advice you have for writing essays. . Yeah. Yeah. Um, so when I was applying to college, this was, I’m gonna show how old I am.
I was applying in, uh, 2013 and that was before the UC app did this kind of like, um, update. So now they require four shorter, uh, essays, but when I was applying, it was two essays. Like you didn’t get to choose which, which prompts. It was the same for everyone. And they were longer. I wanna say that they were about 500 words.
Um, and for, I think both prompts, one was sort of like, you know, describing like a place or a time that you really feel like in your element and what that feels like to you. And then the other was, uh, I think describing more of like the environment that you grew up in like your back. And so for the one that I, um, that for the essay that I wrote that was describing kind of like, you know, like your element, like a place that you feel happy, et cetera.
I was describing, uh, swimming because I started swimming when I was, um, about eight. And then. I did that for club all year round club for a couple years. And then I did it, um, again in high school for a high school team. And, um, I, I described my experience doing that and, um, being, particularly being like a summer who’s female and who’s black and Mexican, you know, not the typically like Michael Phelps, like tall white guy, you know, type of swimmer trope.
And, um, I described kind of like what that was like, what it was like to, um, you know, Motivate and help one on one, like the, my, like fellow teammates who months before, like were terrified of water, like had an absolute phobia that what it was like to come in last place overall, pretty much like when we were going against other high school teams, but to see.
Like the joy on people’s faces and they realize like, oh, I can swim from one end to the pool, to the other, like, you know, all of that. And why I really liked, um, being like, you know, with my teammates and getting sort of like the satisfaction out of that rather than just awards. Um, and then I think for the other essay I wrote about, um, being from like my hometown, that was like really small didn’t particularly have a good reputation.
But sort of still finding, you know, my way to the best that I could help the, uh, community and then how going to college was going to, you know, be able to help me make something out of my life and, and, uh, hopefully help other people, uh, do the same. Um, I would say. , you know, for, I guess, like for advice with essays, like I said earlier, make sure that all of your essays, like aren’t exactly the same.
Um, I think a good rule of thumb is to sort of have a general idea of what you wanna talk about for each essay. And maybe like, you know, have maybe like, Four five topics. Um, because that way, like, you’ll definitely get the four for the UC application, but then also for the common app and for the common app, it’s just one big essay that you’re gonna be sending to all the schools.
And then each school has, for the most part, each school has little supplemental essays. That might be 200 words. They might be like, 20 words. And, um, you, uh, you know, you get a little bit more specific, um, but they’ll usually ask you pretty much the same prompt, uh, just worded slightly differently. So it’s always good just to have like, uh, kind of like, you know, A different, uh, kind of like four main, um, essays that you have at your disposal.
And then you can just kind of workshop them and send them out. Um, I would say if you are just starting out with your essays, maybe just, you know, Almost do like a free writing thing where you’re not really paying attention to the word count, but you’re just writing until you think that you’ve answered the prompt completely.
And you’ve, you know, written as true to yourself as you can be. Um, in that, uh, in that essay. Um, sometimes it can be difficult for some students to. Kind of get everything that they want down on paper. Um, so I kind of think ignoring the word count for the first like draft is good. And then when you go back, you can kind of cut out like, okay, well, I’m I repeat myself a little bit here or this part’s not super relevant.
You know, it’s pretty, it’s I think easier to go through and cut back rather than to add new information. And I would also say, uh, make sure somebody else reads your essay. Um, it could be good to have someone who maybe knows you, um, relatively well, and then someone who doesn’t know you as well. Um, that’s why I think CollegeAdvisor works because this is, you know, Like when I’m working with clients, it’s like, I’ve never met them before.
So they really do have to go through the process of telling me exactly who they are and you know, what they want to write in their applications. And then I kind of give feedback and I’m like, oh, well, you know, I, I never actually knew that this is why you were interested in biology. You wanted to be, pre-med like, you know, tell me a bit more about that.
Because again, the admissions committee, there are people who don’t know you at all. So you’re gonna wanna tell them as much as you can to get your story. great. Thank you so much. That was really insightful. Um, and that kind of leads me to the next section here. So kind of a little plug for CollegeAdvisor.
Um, so for those of you in the room who aren’t already working with us, uh, we know how overwhelming the college admissions process can be, uh, both for parents and for students alike. So over here at CollegeAdvisor, we have a team of over 300 former admissions officers and admissions experts who are ready to help you and your family navigate it all through one-on-one video sessions.
Um, and through that, we can review your current extracurricular list, uh, application strategy, discuss your college list and kind of outline the tools that you would need to. Stand out in this competitive admissions world. Um, so you can take charge of your family’s college admissions journey by signing up for a free 15 minute strategy session with an admissions expert using the instructions on the screen.
and shifting back to the Q&A, um, so I know earlier you spoke about which schools have like good programs for what? And like UC Berkeley is good for entrepreneurship. And you said that UCLA is good for like entertainment and Hollywood. Um, so some students here are interested in like computer science.
We also have another student who’s interested in pre-med would you know which UC schools are best for those programs? Yeah. I mean, I would say. If the UCs have those major, the major that you’re interested in, then they’re good for that program. You know, they wouldn’t offer it if it wasn’t, if you weren’t going to learn everything that you can.
And if it wasn’t going to get you, you know, where you wanna be. Um, so. I would say, you know, not to stress out too much about like, oh, I only really wanted to go to UC Berkeley to study computer science, but, you know, I was, I was only accepted to UC San Diego to study it. Like I wouldn’t stress too much about that.
Uh, a huge part of college and beyond it’s not just the majors, it is what you do with it. And then how you network on campus, like. , you know, I’ve met like some students who, um, went to Berkeley and they were more of like the stereotypical, stereotypical, like bookworm, just kind of like focusing on their majors and then going to the library and studying.
And that was kind of it. But, you know, if you’re not going out there joining other clubs, um, trying to intern, um, You know, create doing new, like side projects with, uh, roommates or friends, like making founding nonprofits or companies or, you know, volunteering or something, then you’re probably not gonna get as far as you would otherwise.
So I think it’s still very important that you have kind of like a holistic approach, uh, to going into college. Um, that said, I think, uh, let’s see off the top of my head, I would say like, You know, UC Berkeley’s really good for computer science, just cuz like I said earlier, it’s like pretty much every like major company is right there.
Um, I think, uh, yeah, like UCLA is. And, um, I think, like, I think sort of like the bigger schools that have like, that have been around for a long time and they have, um, a lot of like the resources, like with labs or, um, uh, competitions or hackathons, things like that. Those are, you know, pretty good places to check out if you’re looking for something that’s like business or CS or pre-med.
Um, and you know, pre-med also isn’t exactly. It’s not a major, it’s like a whole like career route that you’re gonna be doing. So you could really study anything that you want and still be pre-med. I mean, you could study English and then apply to med school. It just matters that you have taken classes in areas like biology and chemistry and math, et cetera.
And then you’ve shown that you’re still interested in that career outside of the classroom by volunteering by, um, maybe working. Like, um, like profess or joining professional fraternities, um, you know, joining clubs, et cetera. Definitely agree with you there. Um, and kind of on that note as well. I’m wondering what are the career services like at UC Berkeley?
Um, and how did your experiences in college prepare you for like your future career? mm-hmm yeah. Yeah. That’s a great question. I haven’t heard too many people ask about, uh, career services. I think that some, um, students, or, you know, particularly once are gonna be first years might not know that they’re there, but, uh, yeah, I would, uh, recommend reaching out to your career services, um, like center or office as soon as you can.
Um, they will usually provide you with information like, um, you know, internships or, um, sometimes. Competitions, you know, ways to sort of gain experience and meet with people sometimes, like who are. Off campus, you know, that’s kind of like a good way to know what, um, to know what’s happening because sometimes, you know, usually I think like when you get to college, it can be kind of overwhelming.
You’re thinking like, okay, well I gotta get into the best, like, you know, courses, the ones that I need for my major, or I have to, you know, I’m still getting used to like my living situation and where everything is. And joining these clubs, you might not always be thinking about what the place around your college has to offer.
Um, I think like for me, Like I said, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to study, so I didn’t always, I didn’t utilize like the career services as, uh, center as much as I probably should have. Um, but I did, I was a part of different clubs. Um, like, you know, I think I mentioned I studied anthropology, um, but I was a part of this club at Berkeley called Fentech and it was, um, I was wondering, I was one of like the first members and it was a club that was aiming to.
Ha increase like the gender diversity in the tech center sector. And, um, not just. Other like students who were majoring in things like, uh, electrical engineering or computer science, you know, people who were majoring in like English or media studies, et cetera, um, were, could also join and see like how they, your knowledge, their areas of expertise could apply to the tech field.
And, you know, at the time I was thinking like, oh, okay, like, that’s cool. Like I wanna, I wanna like join that, but I don’t really know what I wanna do. Like I’m not really too good at coding and I’m not really. Did in like, you know, being a developer. Um, but you know, through meeting lots of people, both on campus who were, you know, in charge of like, You know, data science centers and, you know, running different, uh, competitions with students and also people who were off campus that worked at like Facebook.
I got a good sense of like, oh, okay, there’s a wide range of jobs and stuff out there that I could be doing. Like I don’t have to just be doing one thing. And, um, you know, I didn’t know it at the time, but that really did shape. Kind of what I wanna do. So now, um, you know, because of like the people that I met both at like, um, who are club members, and then also like, who were sort of like guest speakers, I found out about the field, um, user experience design, and I realized like, oh, I really like that because it it’s, you know, really, um, integrated with the, um, tech field, but it’s also.
It kind of like requires some background in social sciences and how humans think and what they want and you know, how they interact with the world around them. And that’s kind of what I was learning in anthropology. So that’s how I got to where I am now with being, um, in a training program to become a UX designer.
That’s so cool. I think UX is really cool. So thank you. um, so definitely would love to hear, how would you describe student life at UC Berkeley? So everything from the dining hall. So the dorms general campus vibes would love to hear it. Wow. Okay. What a big question. All right. Um, I would say. Berkeley is such a big campus.
That it’s pretty much any college experience you could think of it. It exists. Like it could be pretty much anything. Like I, I was, um, there’s a, I think at least like five, like college, um, like dorm. Units. And, um, I was in the one that was like furthest from campus because of course that’s what I wanted to, to choose, you know?
And, um, but it was, it was really nice. Like first year, I think every unit they will try to have kind of like. These organized events to get students used to not only like each other, like, you know, you get to hang out with like your roommates, your floor mates, your actual building mates, and then everyone else who’s lives like in the unit, cuz some units are, um, have multiple buildings.
Um, and then you also get used to going to places off of campus. So like we would go to San Francisco, we’d hang out there. Um, I remember I had one roommate who was from Korea and so it was really good for. To, I think it helped her kind of see like, oh, like this is kind of like all that California has, you know, because it can be kind of overwhelming to just be figuring it out by yourself all the time.
Each dorm, uh, will have its own. Um, what do you call it? Like dining common. So you get to go there. I don’t remember. I remember like, I think for the first week, that was mainly like where I ate for, for breakfast and, and, um, dinner, but, uh, yeah, after a while I was kinda like, oh, okay, well I’ll just kind of go somewhere else.
Like, uh, you get meal points and you can still use those at the kind of cafeterias on campus. Like some of them will accept. Some of them just want real money. So, you know, you kind of, you kind of get used to like, oh, okay. This is like, what I can do like with this. Um, and, uh, I’m trying to think what else was happening like off, outside of like living experience?
Um, I would say like during like the first. During the, um, first, uh, like month, I would say like of the semester, that’s when we would have what we call, uh, KoSA. And that was when every club was trying to recruit. So on. Uh, as I mentioned, uh, sprout Plaza, there would just be like, just rows of tables, like right next to each other, just.
Going all the way down for what felt like miles. And it would be like, all like 1000 plus clubs would be out there recruiting you, you know, you’d probably get like free swag, but then you, you also get to learn about like, oh, okay. Like, you know, these are, um, uh, you know, more like research clubs that I can join.
These are sort of like fun clubs that I can join. These are like, you know, the ones that are going. Be more community oriented and giving back to people, et cetera. And it can be kind of overwhelming, I think, but I would say to just, you know, sign up for anything, if it, if you have any remote interest in it, just sign up for clubs because you know, that doesn’t mean that you’re officially gonna join.
It’s usually just, they have your, um, email information, maybe a phone number, and then they’ll reach out to you when they’re having like a general info session. So you can go learn about the club for like an hour and a presentation. Questions and then maybe apply for like an officer position or, you know, get more involved with them.
So I’d recommend that. Um, what else did I do? I did this thing. I don’t, I’ve talked to people from other UCs and I don’t think it’SAThing anywhere else, but at Berkeley we had, uh, what we called decal classes and these were really cool. This was something that my, um, My advisor recommended to me, like I would not have known, uh, about it at all without her, but they’re basically classes that are taught by students to other students.
And they, you get, uh, actual units for them, not for a grade, but just on a past Nopa basis. And they can range in like, whatever topic you can think of. Like the first decal I took was a archery decal. So on the weekends, I just we’d go and shoot arrows and I got credit for that. And then like another one I took was a magic one.
So we learned about like different, like magic tricks with, with a deck of cards. Um, I took another one that. Um, for like sign language, another was Photoshop and illustrator. I tried to take at least one every single semester just because I was like, this is so cool. And I can learn all this like random stuff.
And it kind of like, uh, breaks up more of the, um, kind of like stereotypical rigorous classes that I’m taking. It’s sort of like a fun thing to do. Um, yeah, some students took them and they were a bit more. Uh, academic oriented, you know, things like stem cell research or medical journal, but, you know, they can be whatever.
And, you know, if you have like a topic and you think like, oh, this would be really interesting. Like, you know, I have this sort of like fun skill that I’d love to teach people. You can apply to do it, and you can get credit for being an instructor. So that’s, you know, that’s something that’s fun. Um, I also studied abroad a couple of times.
I spent a summer in Spain and a year in Sydney, Australia. Um, and I did internships at both, uh, or during both programs. Yeah. In Spain, I was living with a host family, um, practicing Spanish, and then I was working for this, um, O pair agency. And then when I was in Australia during my second semester there, I worked, um, at a company that luckily was on campus.
So I didn’t really have to commute. And it was at like an eLearning company that taught, um, students, um, to code. And so, yeah, that was really fun. And I knew right away. I think from the time I was like 16, I knew I was gonna wanna study abroad in college. So I just kind of always had like my eyes open when I was like searching for the UC education abroad program.
And, um, it really paid off. I would, if you can, and you are even a little bit interested, I’d recommend looking into studying abroad because there’s a wide range of programs. You can do it for a year. You could do it for just a summer, you know, whatever works for you. They have it. And they have it sometimes more general where you’re taking classes.
Like at a university in another country, or it can be like, you know, you are, um, taking classes that are almost like still like, by like a UC, but just, you know, you’re in another country. Like it could be more on food science or, um, community, public health, you know, anything really. That’s so cool. Thanks for sharing.
Um, so yeah, if any of you guys are interested in study abroad programs, I would definitely recommend checking them out on like every college website to see what programs are available and see if there are any. Special partnerships that your potential college has. Um, and we do have a couple of students wondering here about the process, um, transferring from a community college to a UC school.
So do you have any friends that underwent that process? Um, could you provide any insight on that? Yeah. Yeah. So, um, like I said, I was at, uh, I finished community college in high school at the same time, but because I was taking community college through my high school, I was technically still like a high school student.
So when I applied to UC, I applied as a freshman applicant, not as a, uh, community college transfer. Um, I did have some friends who were transfer students. And I mean, because this was like, you know, many years ago and, um, this was when the UCs were still requiring, uh, test scores. A lot of people, like, you know, chose to do community college because you know, well, one, two years in a community college is cheaper than two years at a UC.
And then two, you didn’t have to send in your test scores. Um, you just sent in like your, uh, your transcripts, if you were applying, like from community college, I am not entirely certain what the application is. Like, I. Assume that they would still ask you essay questions? Um, maybe not the same ones that they ask freshman applicants.
Um, but I would, I would assume that that is still, uh, the same process. Um, the UCs do not have interviews for freshman applicants, and I would guess that they don’t for, uh, community college transfer applicants either just because there’s still like a lot of applicants and, you know, they probably don’t have time to, to interview people.
Um, I. Yeah, I think, I think that the process is probably the same in terms of the application, but maybe just the, the components that you’re gonna be sending are a bit different, um, for people, if you are interested in going to community college and then transferring, I would say to just sort of, um, Be a bit proactive.
Um, it might be different at other community colleges, but at least the one that I went to, um, because my last year of high school, I actually was at the community college taking courses there rather than, as I had been for the previous three years at my high school. Um, because some community colleges are just very.
Like overwhelmed in terms, in terms of student population and maybe underfunded. So they might not have as many resources there, like, um, counselors who can tell you like, okay, well, this is the, these are the classes you need to take. And this is how it’s going to transfer to, you know, you see. San Diego, for example, you know, they might not have someone to go with you.
It might take a lot to get someone to, um, to meet with people. Like I remember for me, at least it was, it took so much to, um, so much time just to get an appointment with people. And so I really had to do a lot of the homework like myself, and then basically just like show up. Just go for confirmation.
Like, you know, I, I basically did a lot of the stuff on my own. Um, so I would make sure to do that. Uh, if you’re interested in like, seeing like, okay, well, which courses can I take to community college? And then have those, like, you know, equate to certain colleges like UC schools, then I would go to www.do assess.org.
Um, that’s what I used when I was thinking like, okay, well, you know, I’ve taken like this psychology class. Uh, you know, my local community college, I wanna make sure it counts for a psychology class at UC Berkeley. And that was sort of like an easy way for me, myself, to go through and check like which colleges, which college courses equaled, which other college courses at Berkeley.
Great. Thank you. That was super helpful. Um, so some students are wondering here about, you know, you in high school, what were your main extracurriculars or awards? What do you think helped you stand out in the application process? Yeah. Yeah. So, uh, like I said, I went to, um, A pretty small high school, um, for reference, like there were maybe, maybe 35 of us in our graduating class.
It was really small. Um, and I was also the second graduating class, like ever. So we didn’t really have like established sports teams or, um, clubs or anything like that. Like they had changed every year, depending on if there was enough interest in, you know, signups. Um, I think that for me, uh, probably.
Finishing two associate degrees at the same time of high school was sort of like my main, you know, distinguishing factor. Um, but in addition to that, I think swimming was, um, a big one. Um, I was like, you know, I was not a, a fast swimmer mainly because I sometimes like, just didn’t care enough to like really try like all of that much.
Um, but I think the, the way that I communicated, like my passion for the sport and sort of my relationship with it, like, you know, growing up and then also watching someone like my peers get better at it. I think that that kind of came. More in my essays rather than any awards that I got from it. Um, like I remember this wasn’t a UC, but this was a different school that I applied to a small liberal arts school on the east coast that, um, was in my top three of like, which ones I was gonna go to.
Um, based off of my acceptances, like I applied in, I think I applied to all of the schools in, um, August, apart from the UCs and then. A couple months later, I wanna say in like November the swim and dive coach, like directly emailed me and was like, Hey, like, you know, we we’d like to talk to you if you’d like end up going to Vasser and et cetera.
And I was just kinda thinking like, oh, I didn’t know, coaches actually like, you know, talk to students like that’s cool. Um, so, you know, I think that that was another big thing. Um, other extracurriculars that I was a part of, I didn’t have a. A job in, uh, high school, but I was a part of different clubs, mainly things like yearbook committee, um, prom committee, um, academic decathlon.
I won a few awards in that and, um, I wasn’t really a part of them for that long because you know, eventually they’d inevitably be like canceled. But I think when I was describing it in the. Activities and award section of the UC app. I made sure to really emphasize how, like I would always show up on time and I would keep trying to like, even if it was just me and sort of, I don’t know exactly what you call ’em, but you know, like the faculty member, like mainly doing things like I would make sure to show like, yeah, I’m still gonna show up and do this.
Even if people, um, are kind of dropping out of it. And, um, yeah, I think those were sort of like my main activities that I. great. Thank you for sharing that. Um, so we have a student here wondering about diversity on campus. So would you say that UC Berkeley was diverse? How did the schools commit itself to diversity initiatives and mm-hmm or was it easy to find, uh, your community on campus?
Mm-hmm yeah. Good question. Um, I would say you, it depends. You would have to, you know, if you ask everyone on Berkeley’s campus, like how diverse it is, you’re gonna get a different answer every single time. Um, I think, I don’t know exactly what the demographics are right now, but I remember it was, um, majority, I think I wanna say it was like maybe.
I was like majority, um, Asian and white students. And then, um, I think it was then like Hispanic and then black and, you know, the smallest was, um, in indigenous students. Um, to be honest, I didn’t feel too much kind of like, uh, an outsider, but that’s mainly just because growing up, like, I was raised like in neighborhoods where, you know, pretty much every neighbor that I had, every household was of a different ethnic or racial, um, background.
So it wasn’t super, it wa it wasn’t really like, it didn’t occur to me to like, register, like, oh yeah, we all look different just because that was pretty normal for me. Um, I think that Berkeley does do what I think is like a cool thing is that if you’re gonna live on campus, they have different, um, Housing.
So they had some buildings that were, I don’t know if it was the full building or just a couple of floors, but it would be like, this is the African American student housing. This is the Chicano student housing. This is Native American. This is, um, you know, there were some that were sort of like, I think like, I wanna call ’em like dry house where, you know, it was like no alcohol or drugs, et cetera, you know, women in science.
And I think that those were, um, there to sort of like help, you know, students kind of feel more like connected with their communities. Um, I think clubs are probably a, a good place to go to. Um, if you’re looking for, you know, somewhere that there’s like a group of like-minded people who are gonna celebrate your culture or your, uh, community, cuz they have.
Like it, it kind of seemed, I remember what I really liked was that every, it seemed like a lot of like the most popular majors had like a, um, a sort of like cultural component, like, you know, club to it. So there’d be like Latinos in business or black students in medicine, or, you know, things like that where you’re kind of like, oh, okay.
Like, you know, that’s cool that they’ve, they’ve sort of combined, um, sort of like a subject area with a particular. Race or ethnic, um, population. Um, I think that that kind of helped. And, um, yeah, I mean, I would say that there’s definitely sometimes that at least to me, it seemed like Berkeley, like, could be definitely doing better.
But what I always liked is, you know, it’s got a very vocal student population. So, you know, if students thought that like, oh yeah, we need more. Uh, we need the faculty to be doing more, to help students feel like more welcome or to address diversity or inclusivity, they would just kind of like tell them, like there would be marches.
There would be rallies that was very normal. And, um, yeah, that was one of the things I liked best about Berkeley. great. Thank you. Mm-hmm and I do see that it is 8:56 now. So I would just love to ask the last question of the night. So what’s the last piece of advice that you would like to leave our audience with in terms of college applications?
Wow. Okay. Um, I would say. That, you know, of course, you know, the, the typical ones like apply early, um, you know, make sure that you talk to, you know, enough people like friends, family, advisors, but I would also say to like, it’s important to remember that, yes, this is an important process, but this is not like the end all be all like, you know, regardless of what college you’re gonna go to.
You’re gonna be fine. You’re gonna find a major that works for you. You’re gonna find opportunities to get involved in clubs and in sports, in internships, and it’s gonna get you where you need to be. Um, you know, I, it might feel kind of like, or it might feel like really disappointing and like a letdown.
If you didn’t get into the college that you were hoping to, when you get your decision letters, but it’s gonna work out for the. That’s definitely great advice. Thank you. Mm-hmm um, so that is the end of our presentation. Thank you so much, everyone for coming out tonight and obviously a big thank you to Zoë.
Um, so that is the end of everything. Um, we had a really great time telling you about the UCs and here is our August series. So up next tomorrow, we have AO Advice: Making Your Essay Shine. On the 18th, we have CollegeAdvisor Masterclass: Brainstorming Your Common App Personal Statement Topic. We have an NYU panel, a John’s Hopkins panel, Engineering majors panel, and to round out the month that we have Crafting Your Personal Brand for College Applications.
Um, so thank you so much again, everyone. And I hope everyone has a good night. Okay. Thanks everyone. Bye.