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Episode Notes

Episode Title: Segment #3: Applying to University of California. 10-Steps to Submit.

Episode summary introduction: The last Segment in the 3-Segment Podcast Series to help students with their University of California (UC) Applications. This segment builds on the last 2 Segments, and walks the student through the UC Application in 10 Steps.

Shveta Bagade leads us through the discussion.

In particular, we discuss the following:

  • 4 Things to Keep in Mind
  • 10 Steps to filling out the Application

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Introduction to Segment #3 [0:32]
  • Four Things to Keep in Mind [1:17]
  • Step 1: Create an Online Account [4:16]
  • Step 2: About You [5:09]
  • Step 3: Campus and Major [5:40]
  • Step 4: Academic History [7:10]
  • Step 5: Test Scores [8:54]
  • Step 6: Activities & Awards [10:13]
  • Step 7: Scholarships and Programs [13:05]
  • Step 8: PIQs [14:10]
  • Step 9: Addl. Comments [15:02]
  • Step 10: Review the Entire Application [17:23]
  • One More Thing: Check Email Regularly [18:08]
  • Call 2 Action [19:23]

Our Guests: 

  • Shveta Bagade, College Counselor based in Silicon Valley, California.

Memorable Quote: “I tell the students to read it [PIQs] out loud. It sounds a little cheesy and hokey to do that. But it's a great way to catch grammatical errors, spelling errors, and then you also hear the flow of what you've written.” Shveta Bagade on PIQs.

Episode Transcript: Please visit Episode’s Transcript.

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Episode Transcript

Transcript of the episode’s audio.

Shveta  0:15

If your high school has an email address for you to use, do not use that email address use your personal one. Because once you graduate from the high school that email address is no longer good.

Venkat  0:32  [Introduction to  Applying to UCs Segment #3]

That was Shveta Bagade!

Hello, I am your host, Venkat Raman.

This is the last Segment of our 3-Segment Podcast series - Applying to the University of California.

In this Segment, we will guide you through the UC Application in the following manner:

  • 4 Things to Keep in Mind while Filling out the Application
  • 10 Steps to a Submit-Ready Application
  • Final Tip

To guide us today, we are joined by Shveta Bagade, College Counselor in the San Francisco Bay Area,

Let’s get started.

Venkat Raman  1:17  [Four Things to Keep in Mind]

We begin with 4 Things to Keep in mind, as you start filling out the UC Application

  • Multiple Sittings
  • Estimated Time to fill out the Application
  • Application fees
  • About Official Transcripts

Shveta  1:34  

Students remember you're not doing this in one sitting, this is filling out this application in multiple sittings. So give yourself little chunks of time 2030 minutes at a time, fill it out, so that you're not not everything starting to look the same and gets blurred and you start getting tired or whatever is happening.

Venkat Raman  1:59  

How long does it take? I mean multiple sittings. Generally, how long should it take for someone to complete [the application]?

Shveta  2:05  

If you've written your PIQ's, and your you've got your cheat sheet for your extracurricular activities, my guess it probably won't take more than a couple hours max. But unfortunately, most students are never that prepared. So it's important to give yourself a little bit of time.

Shveta  2:31  

The application is, you know, $70 per campus, okay, so remember that it's not one fee, it's one fee per campus. So it can add up very quickly. So it's important for you to really apply to schools. Don't please don't apply to UCLA. If you don't like Los Angeles. It's it's $70. This is not needed to be spent if you are applying to a place that you have no desire to be in. If you're applying to UCLA because you really are impressed with the program they have for your major. Then of course, yes, definitely applied there. When it comes to you know giving yourself options.

Shveta  3:17  

Remember, the UCs don't need official transcripts, they're basing it on your you know, it's done on good faith that you're inputting your information correctly. And remember, if you don't if you are fudging that C to an A to A B or an A, and you get an admissions offers, and they see that was not inputted correctly, they can rescind your offer. So be truthful. It's done on good faith that they are your self reporting your grades, so they don't have to deal with 1000s of transcripts to validate every application that they're getting.

Venkat Raman  4:01  

Let's walk through the 10 steps to get to the Submit-ready UC college application.

Venkat Raman  4:12  

Step 1. Create an online UC application Account.

Shveta  4:16  [Step 1: Create an Online Account]

First of all, you have to create your account so be sure to create your account. Once you have your students please save the password. Remember it write it down. And also a quick reminder, if your high school has an email address for you to use, do not use that email address use your personal one. Because once you graduate from the high school, that email address is no longer good. So you want to be sure to have an email address that is still good for them to reach you. And especially when it turns in terms of admission and maybe even financial aid scholarship information. They want to be able to contact you in an accurate email address. So use your own personal email address to open the account.

Venkat Raman  5:06  

Step 2. Information about you.

Shveta  5:09  [Step 2: About You]

And once you open the account, there's a section that says about you. So fill out that information the best you can, you may need mom and dad, or whoever your guardians are and talk to them to help fill out a few of the questions. But for the most part, you should be able to fill it out pretty straightforward.

Venkat Raman  5:30  

Step 3. Choosing campuses and Major. Refer to Segment #1, on Choosing the UCs to apply to.

Shveta  5:40  [Step 3: Campus and Major]

You're going into the campuses, so you're selecting your campuses that you're applying to. And one of the things you have to remember is, all the campuses have their own rules about majors and selecting an alternate major, so be ready for that, to fill that out. The one outlier in this situation is the San Diego campus. The San Diego campus has these. I don't know how to describe them, except like their own separate colleges that have their own graduation requirements. So you for UC San Diego, you need to rank those campuses. So be sure to go to their website and look at those different colleges. Usually it's not campuses, it's their colleges within San Diego's campus. And look at those colleges and rank them based on preference. And a lot of the differences are is how they lean so they lean humanities based stem and maybe a little bit blend of both a little bit of community service, whatever their focuses in that colleges will be part of your graduation requirements. And if you apply to San Diego, you have to rank those in the application.

Venkat Raman  7:01  

Step 4. Your academic history. Keep your reference list or cheat sheet that we discussed in segment two handy.

Shveta  7:10  [Step 4: Academic History]

The academic history. This is really important. There's a weird section of academic history for seventh and eighth grade. So be sure if you've taken courses that are considered high school courses, like maybe algebra one geometry, even though you didn't take them in high school, they're considered high school courses. So give yourself that credit. The more math you have, the better it is for you. And so be sure to fill that out correctly. If you don't, that's okay. You just answer the question no, and you continue on to the to your actual High School, academic history, so be sure to fill that out correctly. And remember what I said earlier, have those transcripts ready. So the input of your courses are accurate. And I would definitely mirror what you have on your applique on your transcript when you put it on your application. So if they use an abbreviation, put it in that way, so it matches exactly what's on your transcript. So that's why it's important to have that transcript handy. Making sure the distribution of your A through G requirements are all done correctly. So you want to make sure every section from the history your English classes, mathematics, lab sciences, the foreign language component, the visual and art component in the college electives are all meeting their minimum and all your courses that qualify for those sections are being represented.

Venkat Raman  8:51  

Step 5. Test Scores,

Shveta  8:54  [Step 5: Test Scores]

The scores which of course, they're not looking at the scores. But you know, they have a whole section for the APs and for IB exams and any international exams that you've taken if you happen to go to international school. So be sure to include those Oh levels, gcea levels, things like that. There's, I think the India standard exam, so be sure to list those in that. And if you're taking that if you've taken them put the test dates if you plan to take them later, put those test dates in as well, to show that you're going to be taking those tests, maybe it's later in the spring, or even in the winter, whatever the timing of his of those exams are, so be sure again, fill out as correctly as possible. And anybody who's not been in the US for three years or is not a native English speaker, you'll need TOEFL or the IELTS exam, so be sure to put those as well.

Venkat Raman  10:04  

Step 6. Activities & Awards. You will need your reference list or cheat sheet discussed in Segment II.

Shveta  10:13  [Step 6: Activities & Awards]

Favorite part of the application. And I don't mean that literally is the activities and awards, it's a tedious place to fill out, you have up to 20 opportunities, to 20 slots, I guess for this, but they don't give a lot of characters. So students get creative on abbreviations don't write, I participated in the drama club, just say, participate a member of club be straight forward, because I already know the name of the club from the title. If you had a leadership position, you can say was treasurer and maybe put in parentheses, the grade you were that year, maybe it was 10th grade, maybe it was 11th grade, those are just some quick little tips, you know, abbreviate as much as possible, because they don't give you a lot of characters. Again, remember, these readers are reading hundreds of these. So they're not looking for a lot of detail. They're just looking for a good overview of your participation in activities in school and outside of school. And that includes, if you worked it, maybe you don't have a lot of extracurricular activities because you are working at a job. That's great. They want to see that too. So be sure to put that in and do the best you can. This is not exactly the most straightforward application when it comes to filling out the activities. But I think the UCs do a good job of trying to simplify it as much as possible.

Venkat Raman  11:53  

Now, is this in chronological order? Or is it you know, how you determine value or, you know, importance.

Shveta  12:02  

Um, my general recommendation is put it in order of how valuable it is to you and how long you've been doing it. So any activities you've been doing for four years all through high school, obviously should go to the top, there's a couple activities you did as a freshman. Now, they should probably lean towards the bottom and include activities like there's always the students who they've been playing piano since they were six years old, you're going to include that and you're going to make a note of it that you started piano at the age of six. Just so they see it's not just a four year thing that this is something that you've been committed to for a very long time. And the way the site is it's easy for you just input them all in, and then you can rearrange the order in priority. Okay.

Venkat Raman  13:01  

Step 7.  Scholarships and Programs.

Shveta  13:05  [Step 7: Scholarships and Programs]

And then the next section is just that I mentioned earlier is the scholarship and different programs that are available. So you'll want to click all the ones that apply to you. There are like they have special programs for students who are maybe not necessarily the strongest students or need a little extra support. And then they of course, have scholarships around academic majors or interests outside of school, maybe you belong to a, you know, a Buddhist communities and they may be a scholarship program for that. And the schools that have those scholarships are most likely to reach out to you. I'm a fan of double checking, go to their websites and double check, they're usually listed there and they will tell you how to apply to those. If you need to do an additional application.

Venkat Raman  14:00  

Step 8. PIQ's. Hope you have the 4 PIQ is reviewed and ready to go as in segment 2.

Shveta  14:10  [Step 8: PIQs]

The least favorite spot for all the students is the personal insight questions. As I said earlier, there's 4 of them. This is your opportunity here. This is the last thing students can control. And so make sure it reads nicely. I tell the students to read it out loud. It sounds a little cheesy and hokey to do that. But it's a great way to catch grammatical errors, spelling errors, and then you also hear the flow of what you've written. And you're not stumbling over any words or sentences or things that sound a little weird. You're like, Oh, that's not what I was trying to say at all. So your opportunity to catch those little things before you submit.

Venkat Raman  14:56  

Step 9. Additional Comments. Fifth opportunity to present yourself.

Shveta  15:02  [Step 9: Addl. Comments]

And in this section, there's, there is a fifth opportunity. It's not a, it's not a personal insight question. It's called additional comments. And this is your opportunity to give the readers context. So for instance, you know, anything unusual that happened to you personally that not the everyday student is going through an extreme example is maybe you had a parent passing away. So now you're in while you're a sophomore in high school. So that would impact maybe the how your grades were maybe lack of extracurricular activities, things like that. And it gives them context, maybe you. You were sick with some kind of virus or something that kept you out of school, and doing the school, you know, from your home, getting your education from home was a little bit more challenging. We've all gone through COVID. So if your school went online, remind them that your school went online, everybody from different within the United States, everybody's circumstances different of how COVID was handled, and then you take it internationally, it was also all handled differently. So let them know it's brief, you don't want to give a long story, just highlight that, if you went on online schooling since spring of 2020. Right that till and it ended, you know, spring, you know, 2021. And let them know that it's just a good reminder, because, as I said earlier, everybody's situation is different. And they just don't know. So if you have, or any opportunities that you had cancelled because of COVID, that were kind of really important to you, maybe there was a research program, you're going to be a part of maybe a volunteering excursion that got cancelled because of COVID. Let them know, let them know, these are things you are all lined up to do. And especially in the year of 2020, were a lot of things, everything was really shut down for a lot. That's just a good reminder for students to do that.

Venkat Raman  17:17  

Step 10. Review the entire Application before submitting.

Shveta  17:23  [Step 10: Review the Entire Application]

And then of course, you've just got it when you're, once you finish all that. It's reviewing the application, triple check everything, make sure everything is looking good the way you want it to answer the question correctly, you put the right response for the PI cues under the right question. I've heard students will write it on a separate document and they paste it in the wrong place. That's heartbreaking to hear. But yeah, just be extra careful.

Venkat Raman  18:01  

Now, once you've submitted your UC application, Shveta has a very important message for you.

Shveta  18:08  [One More Thing: Check Email Regularly]

You know, be sure to check your emails regularly. Because each UC handles their admissions process differently, they may require you to set up a portal, they may send emails about questions about your application. So it's just a great habit at this time of year for seniors to check their email, I recommend checking twice a day. So that if you have anything that's forgotten, or you know, something you just miss, and they are looking for that additional information you can get to in a timely manner. Again, that's another thing that I've heard over and over again, I didn't check my email for a week, and I missed the deadline for submitting some information that they required. And it's heartbreaking because it's something they forgot, you know, to add on their application or something like that. So it's important to check your emails. So students be sure to do that I recommend, like I said twice a day, you don't have to be obsessive. It's not something you have to check all the time. Just go there, scan through your emails, and making sure you're checking all the emails that are relevant to your college applications.

Venkat Raman  19:23  [Call 2 Action]

Hi Again!

In this Segment we discussed the 10-Steps to Getting your UC Application Submit-Ready.

We wish you all the luck with the College Applications.

To reach us email podcast at almamatters.io [podcast@almamatters.io] with the Subject: UC Application.

This series is for high school students who plan to apply to UCs at the end of this year.

Transcripts for this podcast and previous podcasts are on almamatters.io forward slash podcasts [almamatters.io/podcasts].

To stay connected with us, Subscribe to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify or visit anchor.fm forward slash almamatters [anchor.fm/almamatters] to check us out.

Thank you again for listening to this podcast.

Till we meet again, take care and be safe.

Summary Keywords

University of California, UC, College Admissions, UC College Application, 10-Steps to Submit UC Application, Filling out the UC Application, How to fill out the UC Application, What do I need to apply to the UCs, International Student


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