It's midway through November, which means, if you're like me, you've only recently given thought to starting your CSU/UC applications. This the third year in a row I've applied, so much of it is familiar to me, but for someone who's never done it before, it can certainly be confusing.
Mainly, you'll need your transcripts and tax information (yours, if you're considered independent, or your parents if they claim you as a dependent), plus two personal statements if you're applying to UCs. Though I wouldn't call the applications straight-forward, there are readily accessible help screens that deal with common questions that arise while filling out all your information. Still, there are areas of confusion that aren't addressed, but what I've gathered from doing this so many times is that you can either do your best and trust that the advisors will figure it out, or you're completely entitled in most cases to call either a counselor at FC or an admissions counselor at the school in question to get your question addressed properly.
As for the personal statement, FC actually frequently offers workshops to aid in the process. For those who are unable to attend them, here are the highlights:
- The personal statement IS NOT a dealbreaker/deal-maker in terms of your admissions decisions-- the other aspects of your application are given much heavier consideration, to which the personal statements are like a supplement, as they provide insight into who you are as a person. So of course, do put effort into them, but don’t feel too pressured.
- Make sure you address all parts of the prompt! Generally, this is a good idea regardless of what the purpose of the essay is. The minimum expectation of a passable essay is that it addresses the prompt, and showing the college admissions advisors that you’re capable of doing so is likely in your favor.
- Tragic personal statements aren’t necessarily better. If you do choose to write a personal essay centering around a negative event, the admissions advisors will want to see that you’ve overcome difficult circumstances, not that you’ve experienced hardship.
- Make sure the two personal statements deal with different subjects. This demonstrates well-roundedness and gives admissions advisors a broader sense of your personality and interests.
- Have somebody else-- or several somebody elses-- read your essays. Ideally, they will edit them and make sure that they’re coherent and understandable.
It seems hard now, but finishing up applications provides major relief once it’s done with. Good luck to all who are hoping to transfer!