tips for the college application process?

tips for the college application process?
im applying to:

Harvey Mudd
UC Berkeley
Cal Tech
NYU (maybe)

UC Davis
Cal Poly SLO
UofA (maybe)
and some schools in colorado

the second set of schools are my backups
i have a 4.3 athelete good ex currics
idk how my scores are for tests cuz im rre taking them(studying this time)
i got a 1770 on my SAT which was really bad….aiming for at least a 2100
29 on ACT aiming for a 33

ok sooo idk how the whole process works.
and im really confused on the teacher recs and how that works

and my essays
how do i make them really amazing without boring the essay readers?
im a poor writer and im the first child in my fam so this is all new to me
please help 🙂

UCs do not require recommendations or interviews. You will simply fill out the online application in November to apply. You need two SAT Subject Tests in two different subjects to be eligible for UC admission, so make sure you take those by December.

Below is advice I give my students on the UC Personal Statement:

I strongly encourage you to follow some kind of writing process. While a personal statement is not your regular English paper, it should, at the very least, have a central idea, evidence to support the idea, and transition from paragraph to paragraph. Please do NOT use essays that you wrote in your English class as your personal statement. English teachers tend to dissuade students from using first-person perspective, narrating, or getting into descriptive details, and these are precisely the type of tools that help make a personal statement successful.

Prompt 1 for Freshman Applicants

The way Prompt 1 is worded can be a bit misleading. According to what I heard from Berkeley admissions, application evaluators (or at the very least, Berkeley and Irvine – confirmed by a student who attended a workshop given by UCI) want you to discuss your dreams and aspirations, and what you have done so far to achieve those dreams and aspirations. While it is important for you to define your world, you should NOT use your personal statement to describe your family, school or community.

I recommend approaching the first prompt by figuring out what your world is, what your dreams/aspirations are, and what you have done in the context of your world to achieve those dreams/aspirations.

Your world can have physical boundaries (for example, your bedroom, the church prayer room, or the community center) or mental boundaries (for example, your upbringing or cultural tradition). Another way to think about your world is by imagining yourself as a fish; are you in a fishbowl, a stream, a pond, or an ocean?

Your dreams and aspirations can be broad or specific; perhaps you aspire to help people (broad) or maybe your dream is to be a TB specialist serving with Doctor Without Borders in Somalia (specific). Either way, you should discuss how your achievements (academic and/or extracurricular, within the context of your world) have helped you move toward achieving that dream/aspiration. You also want to consider talking about how you plan to continue these achievements in college.

Whatever you choose to discuss in this prompt, remember the main focus should be on YOU; what you have accomplished, what your goals are for the future, and why you will succeed (in life and/or in college).

Prompt 2 for All Applicants

Prompt 2 is a way for you to showcase something about yourself that makes you stand out from your peers. You can do that by discussing a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience (pq/t/a/c/e for short). Make sure you cover 1) why this pq/t/a/c/e is important to you, 2) why you are proud of this pq/t/a/c/e, and 3) what the pq/t/a/c/e says about you as an individual. You may also consider discussing how this pq/t/a/c/e will help you succeed in college. Again, the main focus of your essay should be on YOU; what makes you different from other applicants, who you are as a person (beyond your grades and test scores), and what interests you have. You can also think of Prompt 2 as a commercial spot for yourself. What would be the theme of the commercial? What clips from your life would be featured in the commercial?