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College Series Article: The Activities Section

Updated: Aug 30, 2022

Written by Kimberly Girola-Guzman

Our previous article discussed two essential aspects of leveling up your college application process: the Brag Sheet and College Interviews. In this following article, we will be discussing the activities section of the college application process, particularly the Common App and UC app activities.

At last, all of your involvement, passions, and interests you cultivated throughout high school are coming to an end. That doesn’t mean you will stop them entirely, surely you will continue some in college (in fact, colleges want you to!), but now it is time to consolidate. Our first section will focus on the everyday application activities section.

Common Application:

*Remember, the Common App only gives you space for ten activities.

It is important to note that the everyday application activities section differs from the UC one. You can choose to start with the Common Application. Then, all you would have to do in the UC application is copy and expand. However, if you have more than ten activities, start with your UC application, so you can choose your top 10 and paste them into your Common App. For each activity, you need to make sure to include: Hours per week/Weeks per Year, Position/Leadership description, and the Activity Description. Make sure you remember that you are limited to characters for your respective activities. You have to condense everything into characters and remember that you include spaces. It is okay to use incomplete sentences, semicolons, and abbreviations; your explanations do not have to be formal. The last aspect of your activities is ranking them 1-10 in order of your involvement and the ones that represent you the best or enjoyed the most. Next, for the Honors and Awards section of the common app, you are limited to inserting five honors max. Some examples of Honors and Awards include: NHS, CSF, National Merit Award, Honor Roll.

Now the UC application is very similar; however, it has few distinguishing features. With the everyday app activities, you are limited to 10 slots for your activities; however, you are given 20 blanks for inputting your activities/awards (with 350 characters of space for describing each activity) for the UC application. Because you are given 20 slots, it is up to you however you would like to distribute your activities among the six categories of Award/Honors, Educational Preparation Programs, Extracurricular activities, Other Coursework (courses that do not fit “a-g” criteria), Volunteering/Community Service, and work experience. For this section of your college application, it’s essential to let your passions shine and brag about your most significant accomplishments!

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