从加州大学录取中学到的经验

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虽然加州大学有9个校区(UCSF不招收本科生),但每个校区都是不同的。从排名上看,学生和家长可能更希望加州大学伯克利分校(UC Berkeley)和加州大学洛杉矶分校(UCLA)。看看校园规模,那些想要更小的校园,让学生有更多机会接触教师的人,可能会选择加州大学默塞德分校,该校拥有一个大约8000名学生的小校园。看到这些令人印象深刻的校园,学生们可能会选择加州大学圣克鲁斯分校。虽然各校区不同,但本科学生的申请仍然集中在以下这13个因素上。让我们讨论一下这些因素是什么以及如何处理。

入学的13个因素

  1. 成绩:这是预料之中的,任何大学都是如此;你的GPA越高,你进入竞争更激烈的大学的机会就越大。
  2. 高中学生在基础课程以外的课程表现(和课程数量)。例如,加州大学的申请者需要学习两年的高中课程(世界历史和美国历史),如果学生选修了第三门历史课程,就会被认为“超过”了最低要求。
  3. 在AP,IB,荣誉或大学水平课程中的表现。和其他大学一样,加州大学也在寻找敢于挑战自己的学生。
  4. 在你大三结束的时候排名。他们要找的是你高中排名前9%的学生。
  5. 你大四课程的质量。这与招生官员查看你的课程以及诸如你是否选择了具有挑战性的课程,或者只是选择了“容易”的课程来提高你的GPA有关。
  6. 表现的质量与你学校的机会有关。在这种情况下,他们是在学生的环境中寻找。如果学校为学生提供成千上万的活动,但一个学生只参加一个俱乐部,这是否意味着学生充分利用了学校的机会?值得注意的是,招生是看学生如何利用他们学校的所有机会。
  7. 在一个或多个学科领域表现突出。
  8. 在一个或多个学科领域有杰出的工作或项目。除了课堂作业,学生们需要展示更多的东西。
  9. 学习成绩的提高。尽管随着年龄的增长,课程变得越来越有挑战性,但学生的成绩需要呈现出“上升趋势”。
  10. 特殊人才/利益。这部分需要比一个学期更长的时间来培养——是什么让一个学生脱颖而出?随着时间的推移,他们是如何培养的?
  11. 学校课程内的特别项目。再问一次,学生们在课堂外应用他们的作品时采取了什么主动?
  12. 尽管面临挑战,但仍取得了学术成就。像难民身份,第一代学生,残疾都是这个问题的因素。一个克服重重困难,取得优异成绩的学生,由于他们的韧性,会被人们以不同的方式看待。
  13. 中学及居住地点。加州大学学院必须接受绝大多数加州居民进入他们的新生班级。
请注意,每个学校在录取时对因素的衡量是不同的,学生应该仔细考虑每个学校是如何评估其申请人的,并权衡他们其他申请条件的组合。

如何处理重要的PIQs(Personal insight questions)

参加了加州大学招生官为期一周的会议,很明显,他们工作过度,但热爱自己的工作。与接受“通用申请”的机构不同,UC系统的招生工作人员希望通过简短的“声音字节”快速了解学生。他们要求学生完成的问题只有350个单词,具体的指导是“把文章写得像我们在和你说话一样”,我听到过很多次。他们不是要你写一篇英语课上的论文,也不是要你写任何课上的论文。相反,学生们被要求想象自己正坐在招生官面前,简单地回答问题,就像他们在一起交谈一样。他们不把这些题目称为论文,而是明确地重申这些是“个人见解问题”,以了解学生。因此,我们在创造性写作时使用的华丽语言不应该成为UC PIQs回答的一部分,因为17-18岁的人通常不会这样说话。

加州大学招生工作人员提供的基本建议

  • 把PIQs当成“纸上面试”——你想告诉招生部门什么?
  • 不要复制/粘贴通用应用程序的问题-这些回答应该与通用应用程序的文章不同
  • 把这当成面试,关注内容而不是风格
  • 用“我”语句
  • 写有说服力
  • 不要使用引号,歌词….PIQs是关于你自己的语言
  • 不要使用文学或描述性的语言,因为这不是一个创造性的写作任务
最重要的是,当你写这篇文章的时候,真的要想:“我该如何大声地回答这个问题?”
祝你好运!

英文原文:

Applying to the University of California: Lessons Learned from UC Admissions

This article will expand the understanding of the UC’s 13 factors for admission while also highlighting the important aspects to writing and responding to the UC personal insight questions.

Although there are nine University of California campuses (UCSF does not take undergraduate students), each one is distinct from others.  Looking at ranking, students and parents likely hope for UC Berkeley and UCLA.  Looking at campus size, those who want a smaller campus where students have more access to faculty, the choice may likely be UC Merced, which boasts a small campus of about 8000 students.  And looking at physically impressive campuses, students may choose UC Santa Cruz.  Though the campuses are different, the application for undergraduate students remains focused on the 13 factors.  Let’s discuss what they are and how to address each.

The 13 Factors for Admission

  1.  Grades: this is expected as it would be for any college; the better your GPA, the higher your chances are of getting into the more competitive UCs.

  2. Performance in classes (and number of classes) beyond the basic courses high schoolers are expected to take.  For example, UC applicants are expected to take two years of high school (World History and US History) and if a student takes a third History course, this would be looked at as ‘beyond’ the minimum requirement.

  3. Performance in AP, IB, Honors or College Level courses.  Like all other colleges, the UCs are looking for students who choose to challenge themselves.

  4. Rank at the end of your junior year.  They are looking for the top 9% ranking within your high school.

  5. Quality of your senior year program.  This has to do with an admissions officer looking at your courses and things such as whether or not you are taking challenging courses, or just taking the ‘easier’ courses to inflate your GPA.

  6. Quality of performance relative to opportunities at your school. In this case, they are looking within a student’s context.  If the school offers thousands of activities for students to engage in but a student only does one club, does that mean they have taken advantage of the school’s opportunities? It is important to note that admissions are looking at how students take advantage of all the opportunities at their school.

  7. Outstanding performance in one or more subject areas.

  8. Outstanding work or projects in one or more subject areas.  Students need to demonstrate more beyond just classwork.

  9. Improvement in academic performance.  Students need to show an ‘upward trend’ in the grades they receive, despite courses getting more challenging as they get older.

  10. Special talents/interests.  This is the part that requires longer to develop than one semester–what makes a student stand out and how have they developed this over time?

  11. Special projects within the school curriculum. Again, what initiative has the student taken to apply their work outside the classroom?

  12. Academic accomplishments despite challenges faced.  Things like refugee status, first generation students, disabilities all factor into the equation.  A student who has, against all odds, done well for themselves will be viewed differently given their resiliency

  13. Location of secondary school and residence. The UCs are mandated to accept the large majority of California residents into their incoming class.

Note that each campus weighs the factors differently when it comes to admission and students should look carefully at how each school reviews its applicant and weighs their application components

How to Approach the Important PIQs

Attending a weeklong conference with UC admissions officers, it is clear that they are overworked but love their jobs. Unlike institutions that accept the Common Application, the UCs admissions staff are looking, very quickly, to get to know the student via shorter ‘soundbytes’.  The questions they ask students to complete are only 350 words long and the specific guidance, which I heard over and over, was “write the essays as if we are talking to you”.  They are not looking for an essay you would submit for your English class, nor an essay that you would submit for any class. Instead, students are asked to imagine they are sitting in front of the admissions officer and simply answer the question as if they were in conversation together.  They do not call them essays and clearly reiterate these are “Personal Insight Questions” to get to know the student.  Florid language which we use when we write creatively, therefore, should not be a part of the UC PIQ responses because 17-18 year olds typically do not speak in this way.

Basic Tips from UC Admissions Staff

-Treat the PIQs as “interview on paper”–what do you want to tell admissions?

-Do NOT copy/paste the Common App question – these responses are supposed to be answered differently from the Common App essay

-Think of this as interview, focusing on CONTENT not style

-Use “I” statements

-Write persuasively

-Do not use quotes, song lyrics….the PIQs are about your words

-Do not use literary or descriptive language because this is not a creative writing assignment

And most importantly when you write this, really think: “how would I just answer this question aloud?”

Good luck!


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厚仁教育常春藤规划与公司培训总监,美国康涅狄格州出生,哈佛大学教育学硕士,加州大学戴维斯分校社会心理学博士。曾在宾夕法尼亚大学、达特茅斯学院等常青藤大学担任院长级别职位长达12年。在厚仁教育集团担任升学规划总监,主要负责学生规划导师招募选拔以及学生教学指导的质量提升,为当地以及国际学生申请进行能力评判,提升以及总体规划。
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