university of california applications

On the latest episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation Ian Fisher is back in the host seat and is celebrating making it past the November 1st early deadlines. Ian and his guests cover all things about applying to and paying for schools in California, and unpack the essay prompts for Carnegie Mellon and Syracuse University.

University of California Applications

In the first segment, Ian welcomes back Steve Brennan to run through all of the quirks and attributes of the special application platform used for the University of California schools. They explain how the UC system is quite different from other platforms and processes and how to make sure you’re using that to your advantage.  As someone who is regularly confused by this, they thankfully walk us through how to list your A-G requirements, and the self-reporting nature of the platform in general. Brennan shares some great insight on why (and more importantly, how) you might want to use the Additional Information section of the application in a way that’s quite different from other applications. Listeners will also learn why you should not draft your personal insight questions in the actual application.

Supplemental Essays: Carnegie Mellon and Syracuse

Next up, Kyra Tyler takes a break from reading essays to talk about writing essays. Kyra and Ian run through the supplemental prompts for Carnegie Mellon University and Syracuse University. Not applying to either of those schools? You might want to listen anyway as the tips they give will work for schools with similar prompts. Also, be sure to check out the archives for other specific prompts we’ve covered on past episodes. Kyra defends her dislike of essays about LEGOs, and, together, she and Ian review strategy on how to break down the different components of these essays, where to begin, how literal to be, and what approaches will serve you best.

California Financial Aid

Not wanting to stray too far from California today, Ian welcomes Michelle Richardson back to the show to talk about all sorts of funding available for California residents attending California schools. She showcases her incredible research on opportunities through the California Student Aid Commission and covers details on The Cal Grant Program, The Middle Class Scholarship, The Blue and Gold opportunity plan, College Fee Wavier for Dependents of Veterans and more. Ian asks about the various residency and enrollment requirements as well as general eligibility, qualifications, asset and income ceilings, and limits. Michelle explains how to apply, what’s needed beyond the FAFSA, and what to do if you don’t have a Social Security Number. This segment covers a lot of detail but rest assured, websites with more information are provided.

On our next episode, we are back to answer your questions. Submit them on our website. After that, we’ll share some tips on welcoming your first-year college student back home for Thanksgiving.


Written by Tova Tolman
Tova Tolman is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions consultants. Prior to joining College Coach, Tova worked in admissions at Fordham University, Montclair State University, and Barnard College. Visit our website to learn more about Tova Tolman.