US College Application Programs: The University of California Application

~2 Minutes / ~457 Words
Last Updated Dec 12, 2020

The process of applying to American universities is fairly streamlined. Many university applications are similar, which makes life easier for families and for students. The college admissions process, however, still can be a lot to manage, which is why Occam Education created VitaeMe (download here for iOS and Android), the app that will keep your applications organized and on track. This last article in the blog series will discuss The University of California Application, which is used to apply to nine University of California schools: UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz.

University of California application system

The UC system uses one application for all of California’s esteemed public universities. Unlike the Common Application, where a student might answer different essay questions for each school, the UC application requires more in-depth information about a student’s intended major or school they wish to join. For example, the UC San Diego application asks students to list their top three choices for the undergraduate college they would like to be a part of. This will influence what kind of classes a student will take to complete their degree.

What To Expect

After the student has completed the basic information section, they will move on to the "Campuses and Majors" section, where they will choose which universities they will apply to (such as UCLA, UCSD, UC Davis, or UC Berkeley), and their intended major at each. Once this is complete, the student will need to fill out the following sections:

  • Scholarships/Financial Aid
  • "About You"
  • Academic History
  • Activities and Awards
  • Test Scores. An important distinction to note here is that the UC schools are all "test-optional" so students are not required nor penalized for not reporting ACT or SAT scores.
  • Personal Insight: This is the essay section of the UC application, but it differs than most other university applications. The student will choose 4 out of a series of 7 or 8 questions to answer about themselves and their plans. These responses need to be around 200 words each, rather than completing a single larger essay.

The UC Application must be used if applying to any of the 9 University of California public schools. The application has a single submission period (usually November 1 through November 30) with no early deadlines. Like with the Common and Coalition applications, Occam helps students manage their UC system application to ease the student’s workload and ensure that nothing gets left out. This is also why we created VitaeMe (download here for iOS and Android), an app that will help you organize and stay on top of your UC application, right from your phone!