You've worked hard for four years -- and now you've got a shot at a UC education!
Yet on top of your AP classes, SATs, ACTs, and other commitments, the UCs are asking for four essays this year! Many students have little experience writing about themselves, and have no idea how to start.
Want to apply to HLS, but not sure where to start?
How about with these free online info sessions, scheduled throughout October, November and December?
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:
Getting into college is about more than grades and SAT scores. It's about demonstrating your ability to find and create unique opportunities. After all, as I wrote in The Two Biggest Mistakes Students Make on Their College Applications, the advantage of attending a top school isn't the quality of the book learning. It's the abundance of resources and faculty that you wouldn't have access to anywhere else.
Moreover, colleges are looking for students with an interesting story -- students who have actively worked to fill their lives with passion, adventure and meaning.
Last week, Paved With Verbs published some valuable advice for aspiring doctors:
“Medical breakthroughs aren’t happening in the field of medicine anymore. If you want to disrupt medicine, you need to take an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach. You’ll need to work with chemists, psychologists, engineers, doctors, and computer scientists.”
Indeed, "interdisciplinary" and "collaboration" are hot words in education right now. But there's one group of scholars I (completely unintentionally) left off my list:
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.
Eva Glasrud completed her B.A. and M.A. at Stanford. She is now a college counselor and life coach for gifted youth.