Let me start by saying, high school students, that I don't envy you. In fact, in my line of work, I find myself saying, "Wow! I'm so glad I went to high school when I did, and not today"... probably at least once per day.
Dear Frustrated Applicant,
As you probably know, the UC application got two times harder this year than it was in previous years. Instead of asking for two essays, they're asking for four. Yes, they're shorter -- but, really, that makes it even harder to craft a beautiful essay.
The good news is, whether you're applying to Berkeley, UCLA, Santa Barbara, UCSD, Davis, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, UC Riverside, UC Merced, or any combination thereof, you only need to fill out one application.
To help you get started, I'm sharing an excerpt from my upcoming book about college admissions about how I would answer the third essay prompt. If you need additional advice or feedback, contact me or check out my Services and Prices page.
The University of California system is one of the best in the country. As such, admission to any of the nine UC schools (Berkeley, UCLA, Santa Barbara, UCSD, Davis, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, UC Riverside, and UC Merced) is competitive.
This year, the UCs launched a new application -- instead of asking students to answer two, 500-ish word essays, they're asking for four 350-word ones. Which is at least twice as much work! Twice as many hook sentences. Twice as many conclusions. Twice as many carefully-crafted stories.
To help you get started on this application, I have included a free chapter of my upcoming book on college admissions -- it should help you get started on your application. If you need additional advice or feedback, contact me or check out my Services and Prices page.
A student recently asked me, "How do volunteer work and service-related clubs look on applications? Do they, too, strike admissions officers as a sign of a complacent student whose main goal is to look good? What kind of specialized service opportunities TRULY give kids an edge in college and beyond?"
I'm about to give you some free advice. I'd normally charge a lot of money to tell you this. But since it's my sister's birthday, I'm feeling generous.
As a Palo Alto resident who has worked with countless Paly and Gunn students, I have followed the mental health situation with rapt concern and attention. In accordance with my 80-20 rule (research/learn/consume 80% of the time, create 20% of the time), I have published multiple blog posts on this topic, including:
UPDATE: THE PROMPTS HAVE CHANGED!! For the Complete Guide to the Stanford 2017-2018 Short Answer and Supplemental Essays, click here.
For many students, Stanford is the dream -- but Stanford's application is a nightmare! After filling out eight short-answer questions, you've still got three more 250-word essays to go!
Take these essays seriously. It may feel ridiculous to write a letter to your future roommate... but the admissions officers will read (and evaluate you on) every word.
And going to a state school doesn't mean you won't get a Stanford education.
I recently published How to Write Your USC Short Answers, and have received great feedback and follow-up questions. And, because the University of North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!) has a similar section on their application, I thought I'd walk prospective applicants through my brainstorming process.
The UNC-Chapel Hill application asks for both a 400-500 word supplemental essay:
"In addition to the essay you provided with your Common Application, please choose one of the prompts below and respond in an essay of 400-500 words.
And your 10-word (or less) answer to the following questions:
1. Biggest little worry:
The University of Southern California is a fantastic, private institution in Los Angeles, CA. Known for its great film, business, journalism and sports programs (and, obviously, their marching band :P), it is a great choice for students who dig a large, urban campus.
As a college essay coach, I have helped several students successfully apply to USC. And one section of the writing supplement that never fails to stump, stress and confuse students... is the super short answer.
Basically, in addition to two 250-word supplements:
USC students are known to be involved. Briefly describe a non-academic pursuit (such as service to community or family, a club or sport, or work, etc.,) that best illustrates who you are, and why it is important to you (250 word limit).
Describe your academic interests and how you plan to pursue them at USC. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections (250 word limit).
USC wants you to tell them, in about 15 words or less:
Describe yourself in three words:
Eva Glasrud completed her B.A. and M.A. at Stanford. She is now a college counselor and life coach for gifted youth.