Planning to apply to UC Colleges but have no idea how? Here are 5 quick steps to applying NOW!

Step 1: Creating an Account

The first step to your application should be creating an account on the UC application website ( At this very preliminary stage, you are required to provide your personal information, immigration status, citizenship, email address, and etc. If you are planning to get additional financial support and waiver, you are adviser to also prepare all the financial documents ready to demonstrate your income. If you are still a dependent, the documents should be about your parents’ income instead.

Step 2: Substantive Parts of the Application

Campuses and Majors

The next step would be filling out the substantive sections of the application. The University of California has nine different campuses and provide a variety of courses that may vary depending on the location. As such, you need to fill out the page that shows the majors that you intend to study and the campuses that you wish to study at. The following nine schools are part of the UC network:

UC Berkley
UC Davis
UC Irvine
UC Los Angeles
UC Merced
UC Riverside
UC Santa Barbara
UC Santa Cruz
UC San Diego

You are allowed to apply to multiple UC schools, including all of them if you wish. However, since each school provides slightly different majors, you will need to fill out the sections for your intended major for each school.

Your Academic History

The academic history section is where you need to enter in information about the school you attended, all the classes you took, and whether you took any AP courses. You will also need to provide all the grades that you got from these classes you took. Essentially, this section simply asks you to provide all the information on your transcript. However, at this stage, you need not submit your official transcript yet. This will need to be done once you have been accepted.

Your Test Scores

The next substantive section is about your standardized test scores. Even though at this stage all you’re doing is self-reporting your scores in the application, you will still need to submit official exam scores to each UC schools you’re applying to at a later stage or your application won’t be considered complete. The UC schools accept both SAT and ACT scores. You will need to take the optional essay section for both tests as well.

Additionally, you will also need to provide your SAT Subject Test, AP, and IB scores in this section as well. If you are an international student, you will also need to report your TOEFL or IELTS scores here as well.

Your Activities and Awards

In this section you will be asked to provide and discuss all the activities that you participated in outside of the classroom. There are six categories:

  • Coursework outside the core curriculum;

  • Educational preparation programs;

  • Awards and honors;

  • Extracurricular activities;

  • Volunteer and community service; and

  • Work experience.

It is not expected that you provide activities for all six categories. In fact, to demonstrate your dedication, you should not be superficially participating in activities without long-term commitment. To maximize the effectiveness of this section, you should also be able to demonstrate leadership positions and qualities in the activities that you participated in.

Scholarships and Programs

This section gives you the opportunity to select all of the different scholarship categories that you are eligible for, such as ethnicity, career plans, and work experience specific programs.

Personal Statement

The ‘Personal Insight’ section is where you will provide answers to several personal statement questions. There are 8 personal statement questions and you need to provide answers to four of them. Each response needs to be 350 words or less.

The UC personal statement questions have remained unchanged for many years. The 8 questions are listed below:

  1. Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes or contributed to group efforts over time.  

  2. Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side.  

  3. What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?  

  4. Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.

  5. Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?

  6. Think about an academic subject that inspires you. Describe how you have furthered this interest inside and/or outside of the classroom. 

  7. What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?  

  8. Beyond what has already been shared in your application, what do you believe makes you stand out as a strong candidate for admissions to the University of California?

Step 3: Application Fee and Submission

Once the substantive sections have been filled out, the next step will be to submit the application. As long as the application is completed before November 30, you will be in the clear. To be safe, you are advised to submit it several days before the deadline. Once everything is set, you will then proceed to the fee payment page. UC applications are $80 per school that you apply to if you are an international student. If you are US citizen, the application fee is $70 per school.

Step 4: Submitting Your Standardized Test Scores

After completing the online application, you will then need to send the official scores of your ACT, SAT, SAT Subject Tests, and AP scores to each of the schools that you applied to.

Step 5: Providing Additional Materials (Optional)

Generally, you are not required to submit additional materials, but some students that are applying to programs that require them submit a portfolio are the exceptions. However, even if you do not need to submit additional information, you might still benefit from submitting additional test scores that you received from AP and SAT Subject Tests to demonstrate your knowledge and abilities in these areas that are relevant to your intended major.

Once these five steps are complete, your UC application will be complete!

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