University of California Schools Panel
Interested in applying to one or more of the University of California (UC) schools? Learn more about UCLA, UC Berkley, and UC Irvine in a panel conversation featuring current students and alumni.
In this 60-minute webinar and Q&A, you’ll have all your questions answered, including:
- What is UC Apply?
- What are the differences between the UC schools?
- How do I increase my chances of getting into a UC school?
Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2022-10-11 – University of California Schools Panel
Hello everyone. My name is Lonnie Webb, and I will be your moderator for this evening. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s Webinar, the University of California Schools Panel. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation, then answer your questions in a live Q&A on the sidebar.
You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q&A tab. Now, let’s meet our panel.
Hello everyone. My name is Alana Herbert. I graduated from the University of California Irvine Anteater Nation, and I’m doubled majored in Urban studies and business management while I was there.
Hi everyone, uh, my name is Jackson Smith. I am currently a final year student at UC, Berkeley, um, where I am doing a double major in political economy and business.
Hi everyone. My name is Zoë Eddington. I went to UC Berkeley, class of 2018 and I majored in anthropology. Hi everyone. My name’s Diana Morales and I went to UCLA and I graduated in 2018 with a psychology major. So go Bruins. Okay. Well we have a really great, um, list of panelists tonight that are eager and ready to talk to you all about their UC experience.
So before we get started, we wanna get a sense of what grade you are in. So let us know eighth grade, ninth grade, 10th grade, 11, 12 or other. Let us know. Jackson, you are, you’re finishing college. That’s exciting. Can you believe it? No, it’s, it’s crazy. And it’s been a long time coming. Cause I’m excited. That is, that is a great, great milestone.
Um, and I’ll also add, I am a also proud UC Irvine alum alongside Alana. Okay, so the results are coming in. We have about, actually we have an even split. 37% of our attendees are in the 12th grade and 11th grade, followed by that. We have 15% in the 10th grade, 5% ninth grade, 2% eighth grade, and 5% other.
So I will turn it over to Alana to share more about your college experience.
Thanks Lonnie. Um, I just wanted to first kick off just, um, to the high school seniors. Congratulations on getting started on your college application or thinking about the UC system. One, it is literally one of the best systems in the world, to my opinion, but of course, I am biased going to, uh, graduate from UCI.
When I was a 12th grader, um, I wanted to apply to a lot of schools broadly, so I applied to about 13 colleges and they were all throughout the United States. So I am from Los Angeles, so I’m in Southern California. So I did apply to, to like UC, Riverside, UC, Irvine. I applied to, um, Berkeley as well, some private schools and some HBCUs outta state.
And ultimately, as I like, got into schools, reviewed financial aid, it really brought, brought down to my decision to go to UCI was a lot to do with just, um, the closeness of the community that it offered and that the support that I was still close to my family. Um, I realized that family and my grandmother, um, was really sick at the time.
So I knew that being close was a, something that I valued even more as I made the decision more than I had thought about in my ninth or 10th or even 11th grade year. So, That was my decision to go to UCI and it was truly one of the best decisions because UCI really provided a lot of opportunity and allowed me to grow not only in my studies, in my academics, but as a leader on campus.
UCI definitely values, um, getting involved. There’s a lot of different opportunities at UCI in terms of research, study abroad, um, clubs and organizations like sororities and fraternities, and I got to do a little bit of it all when I was there on campus. I remember I started off studying doing student government, which is A S U C, and that’s building like.
Um, that’s collaborating and also starting different programs at the campus, so putting on concerts and et cetera, like fun activities for the student body. Um, working at the cross-cultural center and being able to work with different student organizations and support them with resources and funding that the school provided.
Like the school provided money for students to do clubs and organizations, and that’s just how much like UCI values, like connections. Um, I even, I had to work for, I worked throughout my whole four years at UCI, so I worked at parking and transportation. So it was a great job because it allowed me to study, study while I was at the job, allowed me to be right on campus.
Um, and I really enjoyed being able to join my sorority and become a resident advisor, which was something I did my senior year. Um, being able to support freshmen as they just entering, um, college for the first time, and kind of be that mentor to them. Um, like I mentioned before, there’s a lot of great opportunities at UCI.
UCI, but what I love about attend UC system is you get to connect with other UC schools and other UC resources. So for example, for me, I did a study abroad program in South Africa, which was actually held and ran through UC, Davis. Um, and I was able to be able to take my classes, take my financial aid, um, be able to.
Um, use talk to their professors. So it literally was just felt like I was also like a Davis student, even though I was still a UCI student. So those are just like cool little things that the UC schools just provide. And I remember this one time I needed this book, this library book, and I actually ordered it from UC Berkeley, and it came to, it was at my UCI, um, library in two days.
So just simple things like that. The community is just in your university, but also the larger UC system at um, Hall makes it a great campus. And that’s a little bit of my time about at UCI and I’ll pass it on to, Oh, or Jackson, sorry,
Sorry, I was muted. Um, but thank you Alana. Uh, so yeah, um, just a little bit about my own college experience. Um, I was actually born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area and I had originally intended to go out of state for college. Um, so naturally I chose the university that was literally the closest to my house.
Um, I actually applied to 18 different colleges across the country. I focused primarily on large universities because I was coming from a pretty small Catholic high school, so I wanted, uh, just a larger environment. Um, and along those lines, I ended up choosing Berkeley, um, for its size, it’s affordability, um, and just the quality of academic programs that they offered in social sciences and humanities, which is, uh, really where my interests slide.
I entered Berkeley as a global studies major. Um, but you know, like most people, I changed my majors and minors several times. Um, I was going to do anything from cognitive science to political science to applied math, um, until I finally decided to apply to the business major and then later added a major in political economy.
Um, and I’ve completed coursework in a lot of different areas. Um, Berkeley has so many course offerings, so I’ve taken classes in economics, business, um, mathematics, statistics, um, and then I’ve also taken some courses, uh, in languages like Portuguese and Hindi, um, which was a really interesting experience.
Something else as well that’s kind of notable about my own college experience is that I, while I started in fall of 2018, I did withdraw during the pandemic. Um, so I am gonna be graduating this upcoming spring. Um, so once we get to the Q&A, if anyone has questions about taking a gap year or gap semester, I’d be happy to address that.
Um, just some things that I was involved in on campus. Um, I was actually part of a club, uh, that provided volunteer college advising to, uh, low income high school students, which is kind of what led me to then join CollegeAdvisor cause I had such a great experience there. Um, I was also part of a professional fraternity that was focused on, um, foreign affairs.
I was also part of an organization that aided small businesses in the area, um, in applying for small business loans. Um, and in addition, I was also involved in some undergraduate research projects, um, and was also worked pretty consistently on campus throughout my four years. And so I’ll pass it on to Zoë.
Great, thank you. Um, so when I was a senior in high school, I had pretty much no idea where I wanted to go to college. Um, I thought that I wanted to go, it seems to be a theme. I thought I wanted to go to school, uh, out of state. Um, so I applied to schools mostly like in. Um, in addition to California, like New York and New Jersey and really like far as far away as you can probably get from California, um, in total I applied to 26 schools.
Um, and I think apart from the UCs, cuz it’s a separate application, um, I applied to all the other schools via the common app in one weekend. Um, I don’t recommend that by the way. I just wanted to get it all over with. Um, ultimately in the spring I decided on Cal because when I looked at the other schools that I had been accepted to, a lot of them were smaller and they were uh, they were like small liberal arts schools, which I mean, I did still have an interest in, but I had come from a really small high school and I’d only ever gone to small elementary schools and middle schools.
And so I thought like, okay, well this is my chance to go somewhere. Really big. Um, pretty much everyone, you know, across around the world knows like the name and, you know, I can do something new every year and, and not get, you know, I was gonna say not get tired of it. I don’t think you ever really do, but you know, I can interact with people and professors that I hadn’t met before.
So I found that really enticing. Um, when I applied, I applied undeclared, uh, had no idea of what I wanted to study. And then, um, because I had, uh, dual I, throughout high school I participated in dual enrollment. So when I finished high school, I had, uh, graduated with two associates degrees from community college.
Those transferred over. And so I had junior standing during my first year at Cal. And uh, that led me to have like a lot of freedom in what kind of classes I wanted to take. Um, sorry if you can hear any noise. It’s just my roommate’s cat is just going crazy, so I apologize for that. But, um, yeah, I, I took a lot of random classes, just anything that I was interested in.
It was a lot of like, um, social science classes and language courses. And then eventually, I think it was in the spring semester of my first year, I took a biological anthropology course and it just totally made me rethink everything I thought I knew about how the world worked and history of earth and I just thought, Wow, I really need to study this cuz you know who else, like, who, who knows what else I’m gonna like learn throughout my four years here.
Um, so that’s what I declared. I, uh, studied abroad twice. I did. Summer in Spain, and that was actually not through, um, the UC education abroad system. I think I had just because I had taken so many courses, uh, so many Spanish courses, I knew that I really wanted to test myself and to do like an internship in a, um, in like a Spanish speaking country and just see how far like, you know, I could take that.
So I just googled different, uh, study abroad programs and I found like a separate one in Australia at the University of Sydney. Um, throughout my time in college, I also had leadership roles and I, like, I was a part of different student orgs, but I was mainly a part of like two. One was about increasing, um, like diversity in, uh, the tech industry.
And I didn’t know it at the time, but through my time. Hearing from different women and people of color who had different jobs in tech. That was really inspiring me to do what I’m eventually now doing, which is user experience design. So, you know, it’s finally all coming together. Um, and I also did undergraduate research for a semester within the anthropology department.
Um, I think the most fun that I had at Cal was doing decal classes. These are classes that are taught by students and you can still get credit for it. You won’t get like a letter grade, it’s on a past no pass basis. But you can take classes and, you know, things ranging from stem cell research to archery card magic, Photoshop, and Illustrator.
So those were amazing. I try to do those every semester. Okay. So I will pass it along. To Diana. Hi everyone. So, um, like I said earlier, my name’s Diana. Um, so when I, when it was time to apply for college, I knew I grew up, um, in Southern California. So I kind of knew I wanted to stay locally just, um, for the financial aid aspect in it, of it, I knew, you know, financially being away from home or moving outta state was gonna put a financial burden on my parents and myself.
So I only applied to, um, local schools. So I applied to UCLA, UC, Riverside, USC. Um, and ultimately I decided to go to attend UCLA. I think from the very first moment I stepped on campus, I just knew that was a school for me. And ever since, you know, since I started attending there, or since I attended there, I fell in love with everything about it.
Um, they definitely have a lot of different opportunities for students. Um, anything from research to extracurriculars and stuff like that. So when I first, um, applied, I was going in as a psychology major, and the reason why I chose psychology was because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Um, so I, I tried to generally choose a very broad major.
I knew I wanted to go into education. I initially thought I wanted to be a teacher, so I was like, Okay, perfect. Let me go ahead and be a psych major. Um, and then I realized I didn’t love it. I had the opportunity through UCLA to have, um, like a residency program over the summer where I actually was one of the primary teachers, um, in a, in a, in a classroom.
And I realized I love kids, but teaching is just not for me. So then it kind of transitioned me to. Declaring a minor. I chose to do a disability studies minor and just because of timing, I didn’t officially, I was one class short of completing the minor. And the reason why I originally wanted to go into that minor was because I was actually interested in doing occupational therapy and physical therapy.
Um, so I had, I had the chance to take some of those classes. I actually had an internship at a private clinic, and guess what I also realized, you know, I didn’t love occupational therapy. So that’s not to say like college is your, is definitely the time for you to explore different careers and have the opportunity to do different internships just because you might come in thinking you love one thing and then you get, you get into the field and realize it’s not so.
That you ultimately see yourself doing, but, um, I’m thankful that I was able to take a lot of disability study classes. I actually, one of my favorite classes I took while UCLA were all within the minor. So I definitely recommend, um, to declare minors if you have the chance and if you have the time in your schedule.
Especially because at a lot of UC, schools, classroom sizes tend to be a lot bigger and normally your minor classes are gonna be a lot smaller. So it gives you that opportunity to really talk and build those relationships with your professors and with your, um, with other, with other students. Um, while I was at UCLA, I was involved in different clubs.
Um, I was part of cultural club, so a club called In Man Sunita, which was, um, predominantly for Hispanic women. And then I was also, um, part of admission, so I was one of the people giving tours to pro prospective students and families. And I was also part of, uh, physical and occupational therapy. Um, but overall I definitely think take advantage of all the internships that are available at the school.
Thank you, Diana. We are gonna take a short pause so we can know. Speaking of applications, we wanna know where you are in the college application process. So perhaps you haven’t started, cuz it’s not your season yet to begin the college applications. Maybe you’re doing research, which tonight is a part of re your research process.
Or maybe you’re working on your essays and so hopefully you can get some tips on how you can improve your essays, um, getting your application material or you are almost done. So the results are actually coming in now. So we have 26%, or actually 30% are researching schools. 26% are working on their essays.
19% haven’t started. 17% is getting your application material together. And the mighty 7%, it’s almost done. So congrats to those who are almost done and stay with it. To those who are getting their application material together and working on their essays, we all know how it can feel writing those college essays.
Um, so I will turn it back over to Alana to share a little bit about advice to applying to u c.
Yes, definitely. So, I kind of mentioned this in my intro, but UCI is very, very big on community. So if you are thinking about UCI are interested in, you know, any UC readily, they’re wanting to know your leadership experience and your impact on your community, meaning your school, your home life, um, relationships.
It’s really meant for you to kind of shape what that means like and share that with your audience. And a tip, I would say is definitely right. You know, your essay and be as descriptive as you can. I know. A challenge cuz the P IQs are limited words. But, um, definitely have someone review your essay. You’re interested in working with a CollegeAdvisor.
You will have the support with your advisor and your team to kind of assist through that process. Grades are very, very, very, very important for the UC system in general. It is a rigorous application, it’s a rigorous school. So do all you can to make yourself stand out. So my ninth graders, my sophomores Jo, take honor classes, take um, AP courses and like you heard from Zoë, shared like guess dual enrollments or if you are in California, definitely take um, as many col community college classes you can because it definitely will transfer over and that will just allow you to maybe graduate early, double major, you know, take different opportunities like study abroad.
Um, so that’s really great. If you are, uh, a ninth, 10th grader right now, even 11th grader, um, think about taking a, a transfer level class at a local community college, um, and visit the campus. I think a lot of the times, knowing what feels right, every UC is very shaped different, looks different, has a different feel.
Um, and I remember I got to u got into UC, San Diego, and I just thought like, Oh, I’m gonna go to that school. I know they have really great rankings, but when I visited I was like, Oh, this is not for me. Like, just, it was really, really huge. Like it was too big , like, um, and I just remember like UCI felt was large, but it was cozier and it was more.
It was more established in terms of like the buildings were closer, like people interacted, people were on, We have this thing called Ring Road and people were club, were promoting their clubs and talking. So I remember, I felt like at home I felt like I could share my personality and like, Meet people and it’ll be, it’s like easy to do that, like that’s part of the culture.
So visiting campuses allows you to know and see like, and have that experience of what it feels like. Um, and definitely, um, first. You know, for seniors, I know, um, it could feel very overwhelming about like majors and org, like different orgs and programs because all the UCs have so many to offer. But I would just say just definitely reach out.
Like you have a advisors on campus, you might have a lead contact, um, admissions person, a professor, um, to support you. So definitely don’t feel shy if you are thinking about attending a UC campus, um, because the, it’s a lot of great opportunities. So you just got to find which one is meant for you. And I think Diana said it best, um, just even being able to have those experiences and knowing even if you don’t like ’em, those are still valuable.
Um, as APP helped you prepare for what your life after college will look like.
Yeah. So the first tip that I have, um, is in regard to your courses and your grades, because I, and this is more, I think, applicable to all of the UCs, but, um, I think something that not a lot of people are aware of is the fact that, uh, the UC system does recalculate your GPA when you’re applying to come up with this, what they call UC gpa.
And what that means is pluses and minuses don’t count, um, when they’re factored in. So any type of a will count as a four. Any type of B will count as a three. Um, and then you get one extra point added to that if you take an an honors or an AP course. Um, and so I guess along those lines too, um, the UC GPA is calculated using this set of courses called the A through G courses, which are basically a set of courses that your school offers.
Um, That the UC, uh, basically deems, um, necessary or relevant for you to prepare to enter UC. Um, so I guess when I was taking some of my courses, um, I realized that, you know, what might have been counted as like an honors course at my school wasn’t actually counted as an honors course under the UC through G courses.
So if you’re really trying to prioritize having like a higher UC gpa, especially if you’re a sophomore and a junior, um, I would recommend just crosschecking, um, the data that they do have on their website. Um, in regard to the specific courses that your school offers. Um, you should also try to get a’s in the most rigorous classes, but again, don’t stress if you get a few B’s or you don’t take every honors course that your school offers.
Um, you know, I did not personally get straight A’s in high school. Um, but still I was able to, uh, End up being at Cal. Um, in regard to the essays too, and I think this also really applies to all of the UCs, um, you really, you wanna be creative in your essays, but you should keep them more sUCcinct into the point than maybe your common app essays.
Um, the most popular UCs are reviewing upwards of like a hundred thousand applications, um, at this point per cycle. So, you know, you really want to get your point across easily in your essays, um, because they don’t have a ton of time when they’re reading through these applications. Um, in addition, you should not make your essay school specific either.
Um, I would say my final point too, I totally echo, um, the fact that you should really do a lot of research about, uh, the school and kind of know what you, what you need out of a college. Um, because, you know, I’ve had personally a great experience at Berkeley. There are so many resources that they have available, whether it’s academic career oriented clubs, um, But I would say as a school, it’s best suited for those who can really seek out and utilize those resources independently.
Um, because it is just a larger university. It’s in a busier urban environment. So, um, you know, if you want maybe a smaller school or something a little bit more close knit, uh, you know, just consider that as you’re applying.
Yeah. So I don’t have too much, um, advice for students who are wanting to apply, like specifically to Cal as opposed to the other UCs. Um, just because, you know, it is the same application, so any materials that you send into Cal, all the other UCs are gonna be, uh, reviewing it as well. Um, I would say that for anyone who is not already a senior, You know, throughout your high school, uh, experience, you should be finding some extracurriculars that you are passionate about.
Um, that’s because, you know, in general colleges, but I think, you know, particularly like the UCs, they care about what you are going to bring to the campus and how you’re going to, you know, sort of change how you being a student there is going to affect the campus, um, in the long term. So, you know, It is important obviously, that like you are really diligent with your studies, that you pay attention in class and, you know, you’re, um, in top shape for that.
But they also wanna know that you’re not just gonna be in the library or in your dorm just studying all the time. That you’re gonna go out there and join clubs. You’re gonna start some endeavors. You know, you’re going to be doing research, you know, something that’s gonna affect like the campus, um, in a, in a larger way.
Um, so, you know, when you’re like a freshman or a sophomore, that is really the time just to, you know, start asking yourself what you like doing outside of the classroom. Like, do you like sports? Are you more into, uh, different committees, uh, different like clubs that focus on like culture and bringing people together, Ones that are trying to make a difference, like in your, uh, Or even like in the city overall, You know, if you wanna think beyond like your current high school campus, that’s really the time just to try to start something.
And then hopefully if you find something that you do really like, you can start leveling up every year. Um, and by that I mean maybe taking on more like of a leadership role or, you know, changing something so you can show how you contributed, uh, over a longer period of time. Um, that being said, I would strongly advise against joining.
Um, different clubs and sports and, you know, extracurriculars in general, like solely to add something to your resume. Um, I think, you know, I’ve worked with a few clients who might be, uh, a little hesitant and a little nervous to, um, start the applications because they might think like, Oh, you know, I was only a part of these two clubs and you know, I know people who joined like every single sports team or they’ve done, they have leadership positions and all this stuff like at my school.
But honestly, colleges, they don’t really care so much about like, the quantity. It’s more the quality. Like, do you truly care about what you’re doing? Would you be able to have a conversation? Um, Like the UCs don’t, um, do interviews, but like, if you were applying to a, a college that offers you an alumni interview, could you talk to that alum about your extracurricular and would they be able to tell like, Oh, this person’s really passionate about it.
They wanna continue, um, working in that sort of field beyond high school, you know, you wanna have something that it’s, there’s a, there’s a realness to it. Um, and yeah, I. Uh, kind of echoing what Jackson just said, I would advise, uh, students to try to take honors, AP, IB or college classes, but to take that with a grain of salt because you do want to make sure that, you know, you’re not taking so much but you’re overextending yourself.
Because these classes, even though UCs do recalculate your gpa, you know, they tend to be weigh, the more advanced classes tend to be weighed more than kind of, I guess, your general, um, regular classes. So if you don’t, um, get as high of a grade in them, that will, uh, more negatively affect your gpa. Um, then it would, if it were just a regular.
Um, and then for seniors, Yeah, when you’re starting the UC application, um, you know, honesty is the best policy. Uh, the UC applications are different from the common app in that you will only be sending that application you in, um, unless you’re, uh, admitted, you won’t be sending things like your transcript.
You won’t be sending letters of rec, nothing like that. They’re only gonna see your application that has your essays and your self-reported grades. So you really wanna make sure that you’re being honest in what grades you’ve received, um, what clubs you joined, jobs you had, et cetera. Um, and then I think it’s definitely best to start early with your essays.
Uh, when I was applying to UC, this. In 2013, um, they, this was like before the UCs had sort of like revamped their application. So it was just two essays that, two longer essays that each student was, um, having to write. And it was the same prompt, um, for all students. You didn’t, you didn’t get to choose which questions to answer.
Um, But, um, now it’s, you know, it’s four essays that you get to choose out of eight, uh, options. And it might, because they’re a bit shorter, some students might think like, Oh, it’s, you know, it’s a bit like easier. I don’t have to write as mUCh, but I actually think that it can be harder because then, you know, you’re having to condense a huge, you know, part of yourself into like 350 words, which is, I, in some ways, personally, I think it’s harder than, you know, the longer essays, like the, the higher word count that you’re allowed for the, uh, common app.
So make sure that you’re starting early, you’re able to, um, take notes on what you wanna say, and then you’re able to, you’ve given yourself enough time to do some, um, re revisions to your draft and have someone who maybe doesn’t know you very well, read over your application because you know you’re gonna be applying, uh, to these schools.
Most likely no one knows you. It’s gonna be a room full of strangers reading over you on paper. So, you know, you wanna give yourself, um, the, uh, opportunity to have someone read over it in real life and think like, Okay, do I have a good sense of who this person is and what they want out of a college experience?
Yep. Sorry. Okay. Um, I think kind of everyone touched bases on what I would add, but I think always as a CollegeAdvisor, the biggest question we always get, we always get asked is how do I get into this college? And I think for UC specifically, and not just for UCLA, oftentimes, you know, we use, they use something called a holistic review.
So they look at these, all these different components to kind of determine whether you’ll be a, a good fit for the school or not. So they’re not just, I know a lot of the. The big focus is always your grades and previously, you know, your SAT and ACT scores. But just be aware that they’re also looking at other things.
So like, um, they, uh, the other CollegeAdvisors mentioned, they’re also looking at things like your extracurricular activities and your leadership positions and you know what sports you’re involved in. So they wanna make sure that you’re not kind of like, I think it’s always said, they, they wanna see that once you get to the school, once you get to that specific college, you’re gonna be successful academically, but you’re also gonna, you know, make the school a better place in itself.
And the best way to do that is to be involved in different clubs once you get to the college. So I think my biggest, I think advice would just, same thing, Quality. Quality over quantity, I think often. You know, we wanna make sure that you are involved. If you’re involved in two, three clubs, but you’ve been consistently involved in that club and you’ve evolved from being just un uh, you know, acting member and then you became like the treasurer and then you became the president.
I think that gives, that gives, uh, the person reading your application a better idea of who you are as an applicant versus, you know, being involved in drama your ninth grade year and then being involved in Swim just your 10th. So they wanna be able to see consistency and be, and see that you really are passionate about that club organization.
And with that being said, I think, you know, although academics are really important, I think it’s, it’s good to find that balance between, you know, your clubs, your sports, your grades, and your personal life. I think, you know, this is a, a early lesson you’re gonna learn in high school and it’s gonna, the stuff that you learn in high school, how to find that balance is going to gonna carry you on into college.
So I definitely think the, the sooner you can kind find that balance, the better. . And I think the, um, one of the other bigger things, I mean you some you see specifically don’t ask for letters of rec, but I think early on it’s important to start building those relationships with your teachers, mentors and coaches because they will, you know, for a common app and stuff like that, they may ask you to write a letter of rec, but it’s also important if you want some, um, additional eyes to look at your essays.
Normally, when you start building those relationships early on, those are the people you can go to to look at your essays and kind of review your application as a whole. And I think, you know, everyone kind of said, just be yourself. They genuinely wanna see who you are as a person. Just be who you are and you know, they, they love you.
You’ll be accepted to the school. And I think final thing, not specific to UC is just apply to as many scholarships as you can. I think old me, if I was be, if I was able to re redo my whole college application process, I think that would be like one of the very first things I would do. Apply to as many scholarships as you can, and once you apply, apply to some more.
No, you know, more money is always good money. So yes, I agree with you Diana. Thank you for that advice. Um, and thank you to our panelists for everything that you’ve been able to share at our audience. We are now gonna move into our questions and answers. So how this is gonna work, I am going to read the questions out loud that you have submitted in the Q&A tab.
I’ll paste them in the public chat so that you can see them, and then I’ll read them out loud before our panelist. Answer as a heads up, if your Q&A tab isn’t letting you submit questions, just double check that you joined the webinar through the custom linking your email and not the webinar landing page.
So I will read the question and I’ll ask one panelist. I, we have a, um, thank you to everyone who’s already started to submit their questions. So the first question that we have, and I’m gonna give this one to Jackson, Uh, what was the biggest challenge you had getting access to specific courses that wanted?
Yeah, that’s a really good question because I know that is, um, a big concern of a lot of people, um, that are applying especially to Berkeley. I know it was one of mine, but I personally can tell you I have not had much issue with getting into courses. Um, You know, I think there maybe there were a few times, from what I remember when I was a little bit younger, when I was a freshman or sophomore, when I didn’t have enrollment priority when I wasn’t able to get into a course one semester.
Um, but I was able to easily get into the course this subsequent semester. Um, you know, you, I like, there are wait lists. Um, that is a thing that you oftentimes will get put on if the course is full. Um, but if there was a class that I really, really needed in particular, I also did end up going and talking to the departments, uh, just to see if there was anything they could do to get me into the class.
Um, and you know, if you explain that it’s something you really need for your major, oftentimes they’ll be really helpful and they’ll get you into the class. Um, so I was ultimately able to get into all of the classes that I needed and, and that really was not a huge barrier for me. Great. Great, thank you.
Um, I’ll ask this question to Alana. Is holding a leadership position in a club necessary to show your passion for the club activities?
Ooh, that’s a really good question. Necessary leadership is not, doesn’t just mean just holding a title. So I think it’s about really in your essay explaining, going back to my point, like you have to show that you have made an impact. Um, and I think that’s more important than necessarily saying, Hey, I’m president of this, or I’m the treasurer, etc.
Etcetera of that, that club. So think of leadership, not necessarily just as a title. Think of it as what do you do to make the club better, your community better? Um, and then again, this is not only just. Leadership doesn’t just only mean school activities. Like right, Like are you volunteering in your community?
Are you have a big like impact or responsibility in your home life? That is considered leadership. Anything that’s not di directly like your school work can be considered an extracurricular activity. So, um, thinking how have you made impact in that, those activities is important. Thank you. Our next question, I will turn this one to Zoë.
Um, so when we write supplemental essays, what aspects of the school should we tap into, like core values? And maybe you can clarify a little bit about supplemental essays and what that means for the UCs. Yeah, great question. Um, so it’s different with the UCs than it is for private universities because if you’re applying through the common app and there are supplemental essays, that means that the school has set aside specific, um, questions that they want all applicants to answer, and they’re usually specific to that school.
So, for example, when I applied to Columbia University, there was like eight, I think, supplemental essays that I had to, uh, respond to in addition to the overall like big common app essay that got sent to all the schools that I was applying to via the common app. And those ones are usually questions such as, you know, why do you wanna apply to Columbia University?
What do you think about our motto, et cetera, et cetera. It’s different for UCs because, uh, like I mentioned, uh, before, all the UCs that you’re applying to are going to receive the exact same essays. So I would say that, you know, if. , Um, it’s kind of like walking a fine line because you do want to sort of like appeal to the, the school’s core values, but you also don’t wanna, you know, specifically say like, Oh, I’m really looking forward to doing this at UCLA when you know you’re also gonna be applying to UC, Santa Cruz.
Like I would, that’s why I would advise against mentioning specific cities, um, and campuses. Um, I would say that for the most, Overall in general, the UCs have pretty similar, uh, core values. You know, they really value, um, I would say like integrity, honesty, uh, community, and just overall being a very well rounded, um, applicant.
You know, they have, uh, I think they, they vary per campus, but in general, the campuses will have some general ed requirements. They want you to be, um, knowledgeable in a variety of academic areas regardless of what it is that you’re studying. So, you know, if you’re majoring in math or you’re majoring in English, you’re probably still gonna have to take some, uh, world language class and, you know, be able to do that to a certain degree.
So I would say that, you know, in your. If you talk about, you know, times in your life that you’ve really had to, um, maybe change the way that you’ve thought about a problem, to accomplish a goal, or you’ve really had to be there for your community, you know, a, a time when, like, it depends on the specific prompt, but in general, they all wanna know how have you had to sort of rethink things to, um, you know, accomplish what needed to be accomplished in a given situation?
And how have you grown as a person? Because, you know, through those, uh, through your previous, um, experiences of how you were challenged and how you grew from that challenge, they wanna show that you’re gonna carry that kind of energy and spirit on to college because college is gonna have a wide range of challenges for you.
So they wanna know that you’re, you’re gonna be ready. It’s not gonna come as a shock. . Great. Great. Um, Diana, how easy slash difficult is it to choose a major slash minor after you get into the school? Yeah, so I think it de, it depends on the school and it depends on the major specifically. So I know for bigger, for more competitive majors like psychology, anything in the nursing, anything really in the stem field to say the least, it’s really, it can be a little bit harder to, um, change majors once you’ve been accepted.
If you’ve been accepted into a pre, um, to a different major. It just depends. A lot of the times, depending on the major, they will ask you to do certain prerequisite classes. So for psychology, I had to take, um, some research methods class and I had to do another, like a, a specific amount of classes. And then based on those classes, they’ll kind of look at your overall gpa.
And then you’ll be able to have a chance to actually apply to the major so they can accept you into the major. They can deny you into the major. Like I said, it just depends what major it is specifically and how competitive it is for the most part. In terms of minors, I feel like it’s a little bit easier just because a lot of the times, um, the, there’s not as many classes that are needed and there’s normally a smaller amount of students that are looking to declare a minor.
Um, and I know for me, um, a lot when I first declared my minor, I was a little overwhelmed just because I was, I kind of declared my minor very late on, um, and I was, you know, I declared it my last year, so I didn’t have the biggest time to complete everything. And because I didn’t have the, the chance to complete one last class, I was able, I had to actually drop my minor.
So dropping a minor is also, or major in itself is also not super lengthy process. Um, if you ever feel, if you ever put in a situation where you feel like you’re overwhelmed having too many classes or taking too many, Of, um, or being involved in too many majors. So overall, it kind of depends on the major and how competitive it can be at that particular school.
But I would say I would not apply. I know a lot of the times I get asked this if I apply to a minor, you know, especially in the STEM field, you know, I’m looking to go into engineering. Should I, should I apply to like an English major? Maybe that’s less competitive. And my answer to students is always, if you know what major you wanna go into in college and you know what you wanna wanna pursue, go into that major.
Just because it can be so much harder to switch majors once you’re at the school. So if you know what you love, put your heart in it and apply what that major to that specific.Yes. Really great, great advice. Um, so I am gonna share with you all a little bit more about CollegeAdvisor. So for those who aren’t already working with us, we know how overwhelming the admission process can be, especially for competitive applicants like yourself.
Our team of over 300 former admission officers and admission experts are ready to help you and your family navigate it all in 101. Advising sessions. Take the next step in your college admission journey by signing up for a free consultation using the QR code on the screen. During the consultation, a member of our team will review your current extracurricular list, discuss how it lines up with your college goals, and help you find opportunities for growth and leader.
After scanning the QR code, you’ll be able to select a date in a time for a phone conversation with a member of our team. And we are, we definitely have a good number of advisors who have experience not only going to a UC, but also applying and getting students accepted into the UCs. So we are gonna continue with our questions and answers.
I will take it back to Jackson. Do the UC schools consider other advanced programs such as IB’s, um, as much as AP’s and dual enrollment? Yes. Good question. Um, IB IB courses are, are considered on the same level as honors and AP courses for the UCs, um, I would say one kind of. Very granular point when it comes to honors and AP courses is particularly if you are applying from out of state, um, they will not count honors courses that your school offers as honors courses.
They will only count AP and IB courses if you are applying out of state for honors points. Okay. Thank you. Um, and speaking of outta state, uh, Zoë, um, would you recommend, um, applying to a UC if you’re from the Midwest?
Yeah, that’s a good. Question. I know that, um, a lot of students who are out of state and considering the UCs can, you know, be questioning how their applications would be reviewed. Um, yeah, I mean, in short I would say, you know, if you’re from outside of California, but you’re interested in the UC public school system, then apply, you know, apply to any and all UCs that you’re curious about and think that you might want to attend.
Um, I will say I haven’t personally, uh, worked with clients who are from out of state and applying to UCs, but, um, I know that the application, um, Or the application process is the same, but the way that the admissions committees will review your application is a bit, uh, stricter. So, um, I think that the, the GPA that they look at, you know, the requirements are a bit higher if you’re, um, from out of state and, um, you know, like Jackson said, they review, uh, the rigor of your classes differently.
Um, so I would think it’s probably better. The, the earlier that, you know, that you wanna apply to the UCs the better because then you have the, the greatest chance of, you know, really, um, making sure that you’re in good academic shape and getting your extracurriculars there and, you know, hopefully knowing like your, your personal narrative, your hook that you really wanna emphasize in the essays.
Thank you. Great. Um, and you know, speaking of essays, um, Alana, when writing essays, what should we focus on that would make a stand out more?
That’s a great question. Um, I think really just being your authentic selves while you answer the prompt, answer the prompt, that’s like the biggest advice too. Um, I can give because sometimes if you notice, if you are, you’re looking at it. Some of the prompts have two, two questions in, I’m like, I know one of the prompts is, um, you know, basically talk about how you talk about a challenge you’ve came and how you overcame it.
And the third, the second question is like, how did it affect your academic achievement? So just making sure that like, , Um, you’re concise and to the point, but you are like actually hitting el every element of the question that’s being asked. So when you think through like what, um, it’s really big important to brainstorm before you write.
Cause you literally want to be able to lay out like, okay, this is the challenge. This is how I, this is the steps I took to overcome it. And then, okay, this is the element of the achievement that it, it, it positively or negatively affected my academics. Um, so just being able to like kind of like take that time to brainstorm is really, really key.
I think sometimes students wanna get right into the writing cuz they might have an idea, but because you, it’s so concise in a structured way, you definitely wanna give your, your time, yourself time to be able to, to elaborate on those points, um, in a way that makes sense and that’s also answering the problem.
Thank you, uh, Diana, how can I approve on extracurricular activities slash outta school activities to help my application process? Sorry, what was the first part? How do, can you approve? Mm-hmm. , how can I improve my extra curricular activities? Oh, okay. Um, yeah, definitely. Good question. I think, like I mentioned before, you know, that’s a big part of what’s being looked at, um, from the, from the UC kind of side.
Um, so I would just say, you know, a lot of the times I have heard students that say, you know, I don’t have access to a lot of extracurricular activities specifically at my school, and that might be the case for you or not. So I would say, even though, you know, there’s, if there you see that there isn’t a club that really interests you at your school, you can always do other things out that go beyond school.
You can do volunteer work through a specific nonprofit. You can do volunteer work through your church. So it’s just kind, you know what exactly. The actual extracurricular, the actual volunteer experience in itself, um, is gonna vary and you just have to find whatever makes it, whatever is of interest to you and what’s gonna kind of what is unique to yourself.
So I would just say be involved in as much as you can, but also if there isn’t a specific club that you are interested at your school, you can always go ahead, depending on your high school, you can start your own club. You can find resources outside that go beyond your school. So I definitely encourage you to look beyond what’s available at your school, and oftentimes you’ll find your real passions outside of your school.
Okay, next question, Jackson. How accessible are internship/research opportunities for each student?
I would say they’re very accessible. Um, you know, I think, uh, Berkeley actually has, in particular in regards to research, Berkeley has an entire program, um, called URAP, which is the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program. Um, and I’m actually participating in one of those projects, uh, this this year in, in, uh, on a project related to urban planning.
And, um, you know, so there are literally like, I think close to like a hundred projects that they offer every semester from what I understand. So there’s huge opportunity there. Um, in addition, the university also offers, um, a lot of different types of, like fellowships, for example, like that you can participate in internships through, Um, I actually participated in one, uh, through school.
That, um, was for students that were interested in working for the state government. So, um, you know, there are a ton of different opportunities, uh, that, that the university offers. Um, so you, yeah, there’s lots of opportunities that you can take advantage of in,
Okay. Alana, are UC schools test optional and if so, do you think that was, it will stay that way in the next few years? Yes. So, um, the UC’s have declared that they will be test blind, so that means that they will not consider your SAT or ACT at all. And this is an indefinite thing that’s going to continue to happen.
So even if you are a ninth grader right now, like this won’t change. Um, this policy won’t change by the time you’re ready to submit. So I definitely encourage students still to at least take, um, the SAT or ACT at least once. Um, and then as you’re kind of evaluating your schools, um, your list, you’re finalizing your list.
ideally sometime around the end of your junior year or early, early, late summer fall, early fall time in your senior year. Um, if, you know, it does make sense because you’re kind of applying to different schools or private schools or some schools, like I know that some schools are like STEM majors, like they are still encouraging or they’ll say like, highly recommend it.
And anytime you see highly recommended, that just means do it in the college world. So that might be, um, depending on your major, it might still make sense for you to take it. So that’s great. Um, if you’re working with a CollegeAdvisor to assess like where your application is, the schools you’re applying to and potentially your major, if it might make sense for you to still at least take that, that test at least once or twice.
Okay. Um, Diana, when is it best to apply for scholarships? Now , I would say, you know, there’s different scholarship websites that you can, um, that you can utilize and you can use and, you know, there are specific scholarships that allow you to apply as early as ninth grade, some as early as eighth grade. So I would say, you know, use all the different websites that are available to find scholarships, but also keep in mind that, um, there are some scholarships that are unique to your school or your district.
So I would definitely, um, also reach out to your school counselor and ask them about any scholarships that are specific to your, um, to your school. Cuz a lot of the times, you know, you have a higher chance of getting those scholarships just because it is a smaller pool of applicants. But like I said before, the sooner you start applying to scholarships, the better.
So I would say you can start as early as ninth and you know, you can even apply once you’re in college. So even if you’re currently a senior right now and you’re like, Oh, I’m actually behind. I haven’t applied to any scholarships, it’s not too late. You could still apply to scholarships now and you can apply to scholarships while you’re in college because there are scholarships that are specific for college students.
So don’t be by no means be discouraged if you haven’t applied to any right now. I would, I would say just put yourself out there and the worst they can say is no. Great advice. Great advice. Um, so Zoë, this question reads, as a junior, when should I start sending off applications? Some friends I know are sending, you know, early admissions.
Yeah, great question. Um, I applied to Princeton via, uh, early action. So yeah, love this question. Um, so yeah, if you’re a junior, you’re still going to be sending your applications in the fall of your senior year. Um, like for example, uh, Berkeley, or sorry, not Berkeley. UCs, the application doesn’t open until uh, August and then you’re not able to send it until the month of November anyway.
Um, but as a junior, you can still start on your application. So I know that some of my clients have created, um, like the account for like the UC, uh, portal or the common app portal, just so that they can gain access to what the, um, portal like looks like. They can familiarize themselves with it, cuz I know sometimes that can be a bit overwhelming.
Um, the first time you look it. Um, but, uh, yeah, you also could get like the chance to look over, um, the, the actual essay prompts and start, um, writing or at least like, you know, outlining how you’re going to respond to those. Um, and then during your senior year, I think just as soon as you can is probably, uh, the best answer.
Like I submitted, um, my applications. Not my UC ones because I had to wait until November. But the other ones that I was applying to through the Common app, I submitted those in August. I think it was about middle of August. And I think the huge benefit to that, in addition to just, you know, being able to chill for a couple of months and not worry as much, was that I got a lot of requests for alumni interviews and I didn’t have to like take any other step.
It was just that because I had submitted it so far in advance and the schools had my application, people would just email me and be like, Hey, you know, there’s an alumni from UPenn who wants to talk to you. Do you wanna talk to them? And I just kind of thought, okay. And that was sort of like an informal, uh, conversation in a good way for me to get to talk to them and ask questions that, you know, it can be hard to find answers to, um, online.
So I would say doing that is good because then, you know, you can have access to other opportunities like interviews. You can then focus on scholarships, you know, You can start doing, um, all of those kind of other things that some students don’t have time to when they apply too close a deadline. And then you also get to enjoy more of your senior year.
So thank you. Thank you. Okay, so this will be our final question for this evening. Thank you all for asking really great questions. Um, so this is a sports related, um, question. Um, so you know, so this is reading, um, you know, how playing sports, specifically competitive sports affects the application and mission process for UCs or how student athletes are looked at an application process.
And Alana, do you mind taking that? Yes, definitely I can take that. I actually have experience, um, being a reader for UCI. I love UCI so much that I also help read applications. And so, um, how your sports are, um, affected. It’s not necessarily affected, like you will have the same read and process, just like any student that’s not applying.
Um, To a competitive sport. So that means that you still have to meet minimum requirements. So as you know, like the UCs, like you have to have a minimum 3.0, you have to have your A through G classes approved. So that is still neat. You still have to meet the minimum eligibility, um, with that. But I, it’s also a great, um, way to, because you have that competitive sports like adding, adding to your activity list, you know, talking about, um, your leadership or your experience through those clubs, through the sports, um, that you’re in and your essay.
Um, you also have a great, uh, I think number eight is a great question that might stand out to talk more in depth about your experience in that competitive sport. Um, if you wanna say why you stand out as an applicant, um, to the UC system, but overall, like it’s still important to meet the minimum eligibility, um, regardless if you’re playing sports or not.
Thank you. Thank you, Thank you. So thank you to Alana Jackson, Zoë, and Diana I proud alums of the University of California School System. You all shared some great information with our attendees this evening. Just a reminder to those who are still in the room. Um, you will receive the recording afterwards.
So in case you wanna go back and maybe, you know, replay something that was shared, you will receive an email afterwards. And then lastly, I wanna let you all know that we do have more webinars that are coming up. So every month we have at least 10 or more webinars geared towards preparing you for the college application process so that you can feel confident and ready.
Um, and again, as this webinar is ending, there will be a screen prompting you if you are interested in meeting with a representative from our team to learn more about CollegeAdvisor and receiving that much needed one on one, um, advising to support you through the application process. So thank you again to our panelists and thank you attendees for joining us.
That now concludes our webinar. Goodnight. Thank you all. Goodnight.