UC Prompts

<p>I'm a little confused at what the University of California prompts are asking for. </p>

<ol>
<li> How have you taken advantage of your educational opportunites you have had to prepare for college?</li>
</ol>

<p>I don't want to just say the typical thing like 'I always do my best, etc, etc' What types of things should be said that interest an admissions officer? My High School is run on a Quarter system that allows students to finish a full course in a semester's time. I chose the school because I knew I could explore all types of electives and find out my educational strengths and interests. Would something like that work?</p>

<ol>
<li> Is there anything you would like us to know about you or your academic record that you have not had the opportunity to describe elsewhere in the application?</li>
</ol>

<p>This is the most troubling prompt for me. My grades have been about the same for all 4 years of high school. I have only taken one AP course and have below average SAT scores. The thing that concerns me is that it could sound like I'm making up excuses for low test scores. Saying "I always test poorly" seems like a weak excuse. Should I even bring up my test scores in this question? If no, what should I put here instead? My father actually had to convince the college he attended to accept him to the MBA Finance program because of his low test scores. He went on the graduate school and now makes over 100,000 a year. I'm really iffy about bringing that up, but I can't think of any other ideas for this question.</p>

<p>Thanks for all your help.</p>

<p>(1) what they want to know is have you challenged yourself, taken the most difficult courses available at your school. Explaining how you explored different areas at your school is also a good thing to point out.</p>

<p>(2) you aren't going to convince the UC adcoms to let you in because your dad talked his way into school and now makes the big bucks!!! With few AP courses, below avg. SAT scoures, and not a great GPA, most UC schools are going to be a reach for you. </p>

<p>What they're looking for here is an explanation if possible of why you haven't done well, especially (to be honest) if it has something to do with being an oppressed minority. The voters in CA may have gotten rid of affirmative action a few years ago, but taking "life circumstances" into account lets the adcoms slip around that minor detail. If you can write that you've grown up in a town with underfunded schools and faced discrimination from those white people that own/run everything, how you have to work at a minimum-wage job to help out your family because their just is no decent work for your parent/guardian in your minority-dominated part of town, you get the sympathy card. And for those of you who are offended or think this isn't what's happening, take a look at pages on the web like <a href="http://tinyurl.com/54wa7%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://tinyurl.com/54wa7&lt;/a> titled "Colleges devise affirmative action Alternatives" which goes on to point out "*The University of California schools were cited as a specific example of the implementation of alternative procedures. *"</p>

<p>On the other hand if your answer here is that daddy is rich even if he tests low, ain't gonna help. </p>

<p>For you, your best shot on this 2nd question is to acknowledge the low scores without blaming them on "testing poorly" explicitly but instead try to convey thru example how grades and scores don't match your performance -- for example, how much you've learned of the material and have been able to apply it in your life, how taking a class in subject X sparked your interest in the subject and you went out and did some related EC or two because you were so fascinated, etc.</p>