Admit Achievers


University of California Supplement Essays Direction:
  • You will have 8 questions to choose from. You must respond to only 4 of the 8 questions.
  • Each response is limited to a maximum of 350 words.
  • Which questions you choose to answer is entirely up to you: But you should select questions that are most relevant to your experience and that best reflect your individual circumstances.
1. Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes or contributed to group efforts over time

Sample Essay:

During my summer break in grade…, I volunteered in one of the events organized by BAPS , the organization  involved in the development of the first traditional Hindu Temple in Middle East. 50 saints had come from India to this event and were put up at a devotee’s mansion.

Hindu saints wear two long saffron robes, one for above the waist and one for below. With the team of 4 young boys, our work involved getting the robes from a saint’s quarters, then washing, drying and packing, followed by delivering them back to the rooms of the saints. I was assigned the task of laundering.

Our ignorance of Gujarati language, made our work harder as the names of the saints were written in Gujarati on their respective robes. After drying, we had to match both the parts of robes before delivering them. With only one lad among us knowing the language, it leads to a mind-boggling affair of to-and-fro talks among us all, to successfully match the pairs. Due to the language barrier, we finished our work at 10 pm on the first day.

Deeply shocked by that late-night labour, I came up with an idea of using a robe-management system through Microsoft Excel along with some sticky notes to make our work easier. The sticky notes would be used by the Gujarati-literate youth to write down the names of the saints in English along with a code and to stick them on the robes. The management system would keep track of the stage which each robe was passing through. These changes helped us to follow each robe effectively, therefore making our process much faster. The next day, we finished our work at an enviable 12 in the afternoon.

The system was implemented for over a week while the saints stayed, during which my team members started regarding me as their natural leader. Although this idea didn’t make the whole world simpler, I was satisfied that I had been able to serve my team and the saints by leading my boys from the front using a simple yet efficient system.

2. Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem-solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistic, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side.
3. What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?

Sample Essay:

The girl behind the keyboard!

My school principal was the first to come up with the epithet, and it stuck ever since. Why wouldn’t it; after all, everybody is so used to seeing the top half of me behind the keyboard.

My keyboard and I have been inseparable from when I was five. I still cherish my first performance in kindergarten. Back then, the keyboard was as small as I was. Dressed like a musician and trying to balance the keyboard delicately, I had the audience captivated. Amidst all the infinite changes in my life thereafter, the one element that has remained constant is the keyboard.

As I grew, my keyboard became bigger and complex. Naturally, I was compelled to take formal training in music to master my increasingly complex keyboard. 

I went from strength to strength in music, from being band leader and orchestrating all our performances, to representing my school in nationwide interschool competitions and winning first prize. In fact, recognizing my talent, the school created a Special Category Music Award for me. This boosted my image as the girl behind the keyboard. Presently, I stand as ‘President — Cultural Society’ of my school.

Occasionally, I played more than one keyboard simultaneously and switched to the drums or guitar in a performance, which lent me yet another title: the Octopus behind the keyboard.

I believe music is in my genes. My family is a band in itself, and we sit together quite often playing our own renditions of classics, with my father at the harmonica, my mother as the vocalist, and my sister playing the drums. I love playing such complex compositions as Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven and the Goldberg Variations by Bach. 

Whether I’m backing my friend’s vocals, or working towards a cause, my keyboard has been my companion. I believe music is the connecting link and eases the stressful environment even while handling complex issues.

I hope that one day I will be staging a concert and expand my vista globally as the girl behind the keyboard.

4. Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.

5. Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?

6.  Think about an academic subject that inspires you. Describe how you have furthered this interest inside and/or outside of the classroom.

Sample Essay:

Subjects that are based on logical reasoning have always fascinated me. Subjects such as science and mathematics fall in that category and always win the bigger share of my time spent on studies. It is difficult to identify which subject I enjoy more. But if I had to choose, I would pick Mathematics. 

My parents recognized my interest in mathematics and enrolled me in Abacus classes when I was just in Grade 2. This is when my understanding of numbers improved. I started participating in mathematics Olympiads and with each passing year, my grasp of the subject improved, as did my interest. I even took classes in Vedic Math, which is the art of doing quick mental mathematics, and I frequently use Vedic techniques to speed up calculations.

To keep on evaluating where I stood globally and not just limit myself to class ranking, I took math examinations conducted by ASSET, India and the University of Wollongong, Australia, on a regular basis, and consistently scored a Distinction on both. While studying other subjects like physics and chemistry or even computers, I realized that there was no escaping math. My overall performance in all the three improved as I improved my math, which ultimately resulted in a perfect 10 CGPA in high school. 

To handle the ever-growing complexity of mathematics in higher classes, I took part in engineering summer camps at Emirates Aviation University, Dubai and the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation wherein I learnt the application of mathematics. This was evident when I scored a perfect 800 in SAT Subject in my first attempt.

I know that mathematics is the underlying platform on which my aim of becoming an engineer rests.

7. What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?

Sample Essay:

We moved to Dubai from Delhi when I was six. Since I was small and my mother was expecting, we took our housemaid Meena along with us. Meena was from a village in Nainital, Kumaon, a popular tourist spot up in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Once my sister got older, Meena used to have spare time to share stories about her life in Nainital. I found them entertaining, because her life there was so different from mine. But I found one particular account very appalling.

Turns out, up in the hills, access to water was a problem, because various water channels flowing into a catchment were far away. Meena and her siblings used to make daily early-morning trips to get water, and they would be tired even before reaching school.

When I was fourteen, we decided to go to Nainital on vacation. As we were moving through the narrow and winding roads, we passed a small school nestled on a cliff among the trees. I noticed that many children dressed in school uniform were carrying pots full of water on their heads. I felt a sense of déjà vu, because I had already seen it through Meena’s eyes. I felt like doing something for them.

I knew that direct communication with the locals would not be feasible. Therefore, I joined hands with “the Energy and Resources Institute” (tERI), New Delhi, an organization which works for water conservation.  Together with tERI experts, we educated the society on various ways of rain water harvesting that were easy to implement. The discussion proved useful to them, and extended to include ways to make water potable. tERI put me on air on the local radio to reach the wider mass. If they had any more questions, tERI was just one call away.

I felt immensely content doing what little I could to help the local community. I learnt that education is important for the betterment of society.

Now, Meena is long gone, but I have continued to work towards water conservation. In fact, I have broadened my horizon to include the education of the girl child.

8. Beyond what has already been shared in your application, what do you believe makes you stand out as a strong candidate for admissions to the University of California?

Sample Essay:

My hard work, sincerity, and discipline have always kept me ahead of the mass, whether it is academics, sports or music.

I was awarded the esteemed Sheikh Hamdan Award for Distinguished Student, which is a prestigious award among Gulf countries given to a select few who are not only doing exceedingly well in academics, but are equally well rounded in their extracurricular and social pursuits.

My record in academics is exemplary; I was one of few in the entire grade to score a perfect 10 CGPA in the All India Secondary School Examination. My performance in Olympiads is also praiseworthy with distinctions in English and Science. The Ministry of Education, Sharjah Zone, UAE, recognized my talent and awarded me a Certificate of Excellence. I am determined to continue this streak all through college.

I believe my reading habits cultivated from childhood have helped me achieve these accomplishments. I am an avid reader, and as such, I have qualified for spelling bee nationals many times. I even maintain a small library of my own, and it is home to a variety of genres. It has thrillers by Dan Brown, humorous sci-fi by Douglas Adams, and classics by Agatha Christie, PG Wodehouse, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, plus many academic books. I am eagerly looking forward to spending a lot of time at UC libraries. 

I am a longtime member of Toastmasters International club, and it has greatly improved my oratory skills. This allows me to confidently compere in events, give presentations, or go on air to speak for a cause. 

Articles I’ve written are often published in the school magazine. Inspired by this, I have recently started a blog, and I’m looking forward to touching upon some of my favorite topics. 

Apart from this, sports and music form a major part of my life. I enjoy swimming, basketball, table tennis, and above all, karate. I am a certified member of the Japan Karate Association and I have won numerous trophies in several international championships. Music is my forte, and as the Girl Behind the Keyboard, I’m keen to play in one of UC’s famous orchestras.
With the above all-round qualities, I believe I pose a strong candidature for UC.

November 30Begins from March 1

University of California Undergraduate Application Requirements

  • Online application through: UC Application
  • Application Fees: $80
  • School Report: Not required but make sure you fill the grades in the application accurately
  • Mid-Year School Report: Not Required
  • Teachers Evaluation: Not required
  • Final School Report and Transcripts: Not Required
  • Standardized Test Scores: SAT scores are not required for 2021 applicant but you may report your scores if you want
  • SAT, ACT and SAT Subject Test Scores should be reported through the testing agency by selecting University of California. Reporting to one campus will reach all the campuses.
  • University of California do not consider super scoring
  • University of Washington TOEFL score reporting code: 4854
  • Reporting TOEFL scoresto one campus will automatically reach all the campuses.
    Send TOEFL Score at the following address.
    University of California Office of Undergraduate Admissions
    9500 Gilman Dr.# 0021 La Jolla, CA 92093
    0021, USA
  • University of California Test Optional Policy

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