The University of California is opening the application for undergraduate admissions on Aug. 1 for the 2015-2016 academic year. This is two months earlier than previous years. However, students will not be able to submit the application until the official submission period of Nov. 1-30. While some students may think this change is insignificant, students should use the extra time to perfect their application.
Senior year for most students is going to be busy. In addition to academics, seniors will be continuing extra-curricular activities, volunteer and community service work and part-time jobs. There will also be the fun senior year activities that no one should miss. Lastly, students will be working on and submitting college and scholarship applications and essays. As college admissions becomes more competitive at all colleges, including all of the University of California campuses, students should use any extra time they are given to make their applications stand out from the crowd.
As students are filling out the University of California admissions applications, students should take into account the items the UC admissions offices will use to make an admissions decision. According to the University of California website, there are fourteen points that will come into play during the admissions process.
- Grade-point average
- Test scores
- Performance in and number of courses beyond minimum a-g requirements
- UC-approved honors courses and advanced courses
- Eligibility in Local Context (ELC) – California residents only
- Quality of senior-year program of study
- Academic opportunities in California high schools
- Outstanding performance in one or more academic subject areas
- Achievement in special projects
- Improvement in academic performance
- Special talents, achievements and awards
- Participate in educational preparation programs
- Academic accomplishments in light of life experiences
- Geographic location
Some of the factors UC admissions offices use will be explained through the high school transcript and test scores. However, others items, such as awards, must be explained by the student through the application. Students will have the opportunity to share with the admissions committees about their coursework other than a-g requirements, educational preparation programs, volunteer and community service, work experience, awards and honors and extracurricular activities. The UC application allows students to share five entries in each category using only 160 characters for each entry. Explaining each activity in only 160 characters will be difficult and the extra time provided should be used to determine how to effectively explain activities.
The University of California application also requires two personal statements totaling 1,000 words. In addition to making sure the essay prompts are fully answered, students should highlight items that need more than 160 characters to explain. A common myth in college admissions is that the essays do not play a significant role in the decision process. However, if written well, the essay can add depth and clarity to application files and help the chances of being admitted to a university.
The college application should not be something that is rushed. Therefore, students should use the extra time that the University of California is giving students to work on their applications. Most importantly, students should not forget to submit the application during the submission period of Nov. 1-30.