university of california essay prompts

In the latest episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation, Ian Fisher stepped in for Beth Heaton as host. Ian spent the hour covering two big topics with the help of guest experts. The show kicked off with the weekly “School’s In! Application Workshop” session, focusing on the new University of California essay prompts, helping students understand and successfully navigate the changes. The show wrapped with an important discussion of whether or not to apply for financial aid when applying for admission.

School’s In! Application Workshop: New University of California Essay Prompts

The University of California system has changed its essay prompts this year in a significant way. With a choice of four out of eight shorter “personal insight” questions to respond to, many students are wondering how to tackle this writing challenge. Colleagues Becky Leichtling and Steve Brennan  joined Ian to flesh out the UC questions, one by one. Why the change? What does this mean for the student’s application review? Is the quality of writing the most important consideration for the UCs … or are they looking for something else? Can a student reuse their Common App essay for the UCs, and if so, how? Find out the answers to these questions (and many more!) by tuning in to the full recorded show well before the November 30th UC application deadline!

The Pros and Cons of Not Applying for Financial Aid When Applying to College

Former college financial aid officer, Shannon Vasconcelos, helped Ian and listeners unravel the important decision of whether to apply for financial aid when applying for acceptance. This is a particularly timely issue as the FAFSA and CSS Profile opened earlier than ever this year on October 1st. But should you apply if you are pretty sure your family won’t qualify for need-based aid? First, Shannon offers advice and tools to help families figure out if they will or won’t qualify for aid, and explains why there may still be reasons to fill out the FAFSA regardless of income. There are many factors to consider here that may seem confusing, but tuning in to this segment should help address your financial aid concerns!

The next episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation will look ahead to regular decision application deadlines, helping students plan now so they can enjoy their winter break!


Written by Lauren Randle
Lauren Randle is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions consultants. Prior to joining College Coach, Lauren worked as a senior admissions officer at Georgetown University and previously held positions in college counseling at Malvern Preparatory School and the Canadian International School of Hong Kong. Visit our website to learn more about Lauren Randle.