University Of California Application – Activities & Awards Section

The University of California (UC) Application for Fall 2020 admissions includes many opportunities for applicants to explain the significance of their hours spent on the field, on the court, in a lab, on a stage, serving others, working in the mall…etc in the redesigned “Activities and Awards” section of the UC Application.

In text boxes, which can include up to 500 characters or approximately five sentences (AKA a paragraph), applicants can both describe WHAT they did, AND what they learned from each of their activities and awards.

In other words, every applicant gets more than just their college essays, or what the UC calls, “Personal Insight Questions”, to contextualize their experiences and character.

To strategically take advantage of the “Activities and Awards” descriptions, I’d recommend creating a separate document to list and craft the descriptions of each extracurricular activities, volunteer or community service, award or honor, work experience, educational preparation program or other (non-academic) course not listed on a student’s transcript.

Then, together with an editor, applicants can determine the most accurate and insightful description possible.

For more advice on college essays, college admissions and other education questions, please contact us at (916) 457-4090 or

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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