College Application Review

What Goes Inside of a College Application?

A complete breakdown of the different sections within college applications, along with tips for standing out

Personal Insight Questions - Share Compelling Stories

About You

Basic information about you and your family. Just make sure to dot your i's, and cross your t's. There's a lot of information that is required, but the good news is, you (most likely) only need to do it once

Academic History

By the time you're filling out the application, there is little you can do to "change" any data required for this section.

The easiest way to make the inputting process go by quickly, and seamlessly, is to organize your transcripts before hand. It usually takes a couple hours, but the exercise pays off when it's time to input, review, and share your application. 

Campuses and Majors

Select all of the campuses that you are interested in applying to, along with your intended major.

  • It's almost always better to apply to more colleges than less, so make sure you check more boxes than just the one for your dream school
  • While you can select "Undeclared", it is more beneficial to your story, if you can narrow down on an initial major

If you need help narrowing down which campuses to apply to and/or which majors to declare, we're here to help. 

Scholarship opportunities

Strategy Tip: Leverage Your Passion Projects

If you have specific passion projects, or unique extracurriculuars, that can help demonstrate why you would be an excellent fit for a specific college, this would be a great "secondary" opportunity to communicate that story in your college application.

For example, if you've ever caught the entrepreneurial bug, share your side venture/hustles, the output, and how the School of Business would be a great stepping stone.

UC Berkeley Application - Test Scores

All Test Scores

Similar to your academic history, you cannot change these scores. Focus on being as thorough as possible, and including the scores to best position yourself: 

  • ACT and SAT Scores - If you have a score that puts you in the 80th percentile or greater, we think it's worth including. 
  • SAT Subject Tests
  • AP Exams 
  • IB Exams (IB extended essay may be useful for personal insight questions)
  • TOEFL or IELTS and International exams


ACT/SAT scores are no longer necessary for the some college applications (source).

Scholarships and Programs

There is no downside to applying for all of the scholarship categories, for which you qualify. These vary in size, with one of the most common awards being the the $1,000 alumni leadership award.

There are also numerous scholarships outside of the traditional college application system that are worth applying to, and taking advantage of available grants. 

Campus opportunities-min
Volleyball Extracurricular - UC Berkeley Application

Activities and Awards

After your personal insight questions, this section is the one you should spend the most time working on.

It's your chance to give a special twist to your hobbies, extracurriculars, and explain how you spend your time when not in school. Don't be afraid to list things that are "outside of the norm."

There are 6 categories that each activity will need to fit under:

  • Extracurricular activity
  • Volunteering and customer service
  • Work experience
  • Award or honor
  • Educational preparation programs
  • Other coursework 

Personal Insight Questions

This is, arguably, the most important section of your entire college application, and the one you have most control over. 

You will be given 8 total questions, from which you must answer 4. These questions are your opportunity to communicate the most important aspects about you, and "wow" the admissions counselor on the other side.

We will occassionally provide 1-v-1 assistance to students (case-by-case basis, determined by our availability).

Writing UC Berkeley Essay

Have any questions?

Student Reading for UC Application

Key Admission Deadlines

Make sure to follow along and note the key admission deadlines for all the campuses you are looking to apply to.  Note them down in a calendar, and have all of your application prerequisites ready by the deadline.