The Greatest Tips when Applying to University in California

The Greatest Tips when Applying to University in California

Applying to a college or university in the United States for the first time might be a bit challenging, especially when you’re in another country or don’t speak the language as well. While we recommend doing research and talking with academic advisors on which schools are right for you and the application process itself, this is advice from one international student who attended University of California, Los Angeles. 

Patricia attended UCLA as an English Major and graduated in 2020, she is originally from Spain and currently lives in Los Angeles, California. 

How was your experience when applying to universities in California? 

“The application process wasn’t that bad but it was nice that everyone around you is also stressed about the same thing.” 

“I like the UC application because instead of one long essay, it’s four shorter ones which I thought gave you a better opportunity to share different parts of yourself” 

Advisors often say that the UC essay questions are like ‘snap shots’ of who you are, so it’s best to give well-rounded answers and to show different parts of who you are as an applicant. 

What was your process of working on the application questions like?

“I started the summer before senior year in high school, around 4-5 months before they closed. I thought in a couple of bullet points, what would I say to answer this question and then went with the ones I thought I was personally connected and drawn to. Once I did those I then went after the one’s I thought I could do a good job at answering.” 

When peer reviewing… I had my friends look over my essays since the counselors didn’t have that much time to read through mine. 

Tip: Don’t have too many people edit and change your essays in the peer-reviewing process— at the end of the day you want to keep originality in your answers. 

What were some concerns you had when applying? 

“Not getting in of course but one thing I’ve realized is even if you don’t get in your top choice and only get into your safety school, you should still be excited and genuinely want to go there” 

“I was also worried about only being waitlisted because then you have to do a bunch of follow-up essays and was not excited about that at all” 

Getting into a college is an achievement and you should be excited to further your education and genuinely want to attend where you applied!  

What were you looking forward to most about going to university in the US?

“So much more freedom in what classes you can take… there’s so many options and a variety of classes to take compared to university in Spain.” 

Fun fact: When you attend university in Spain, you only take your major classes. 

One thing I recommend is to ask more questions— ask people on campus aside from academic counselors about non-academic things too like campus life, degrees and programs, and other information that might help you get a better idea of what it would be like to go there. 

For more information and guidance on applying to University in California see here.

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