Getting ready to apply for college and you don’t even know where to start, right? There are millions of forms and hundreds of essays to be written. Getting organized now will help you so much in the mad dash between now and the impending due date.
Start with a plan—this isn’t something you want to wing like an APUSH project. Deadlines are coming up soon. Many, including the UC app, close at 11:59 p.m. PST on November 30, so set up your own deadline a few days before just in case you run into any problems and need that extra time. When I applied I set three Sundays aside to specifically work on my application. The first time I opened it I thought I would be able to get through all of the questions in one day. Jokes on me, right? That was when I knew I had to dedicate multiple hours to applying and broke it down. That first Sunday was putting in all the information into the application like my address, grades, extracurriculars, etc. With this schedule I was actually able to review all my essays multiple times and turn in my application three days early, which was the biggest relief.
Give yourself lots of time to brainstorm for your essays. Out of the eight questions on the UC app you get to choose the four that speak to you the most. So from there give yourself about two or three days to think of what stories you want to tell. You’ve likely experienced and accomplished so much through your life, so it is difficult to condense everything about yourself into four short essays. Organize your ideas before going to write and find what part of yourself you want to show the world. For me, I talked to my family and friends about what I was writing about and let them read my essays to see if it actually reflected my true character. Writing these essays was not an easy feat. I had to set aside time to brainstorm what was important for me to talk about and what I wanted admissions to know about me. From there it was a lot of rewrites, trying to condense important life experiences into a tiny 350 words! I recommend writing everything out that you want to without the word count in mind then go back and pick out the most important elements and condense.
Besides the PIQs, the application itself has a lot of important elements, one of those being choosing which UCs you want to apply to. Luckily there is only one application for all nine schools, so you fill everything out and send it where you want it to go. Picking what schools you want to send your application to are important as well. Try and imagine yourself at each school that you're considering. Each UC is really unique in its courses, and location, and you only have so much time to apply.
This point in your senior year can be so overwhelming, thinking about all the deadlines you have and the pressure of getting into your dream school. It is so easy to feel weighed down by everything. That's where it’s important to remember to take care of your mental health. Take time to sprinkle in fun activities with your application prep. If you know you’re going to spend all of Sunday writing your PIQs, make sure to go hang out with your friends for a few hours on Saturday and have a good time.
In the end it’s important to remember that this journey is long and may be difficult but your accomplishments are impressive and you will end up where you belong!
Julliet Hill is a third year communication major from Fairfield, CA. Julliet is part of the UC Davis Cheer team and has been to every home football game since her first year!