1) Double check all your spelling. Do not misspell your parent's occupation as one of my students did.
2) Match your classes with your transcript. Exactly. If you don't see your class in the drop down menu, ask your school counselor where to put the class.
3) The Essay is a tell essay. "I saved my grandmother from drowning." The Common App is a show essay, "My heart was pounding as I dove into the frigid surf."
4) The essay is graded on your ability to illustrate that you have the following attributes: Initiative, motivation, leadership, persistence, service to others, special potential and substantial experience with other cultures. Make sure you include as many of the points as you can, even if it makes for a choppy essay. The UC essay is not graded on writing style.
5) Students who need help on their application can call the UC Application Center at (800) 207-1710
Nov. 1-23: Monday-Friday 8am-10pm PST
Nov. 24-26: 8am-11pm PST
Nov. 27 (Thanksgiving Day): Closed
Nov. 28-30: 8am-Midnight PST
6) UC FAQ's UC FAQ's
7) The UC application does not indicate which answers are mandatory. If you don't want to answer a question leave it blank. If the application lets you move to the next page it is not mandatory. If it says there is an error on the page, then it is mandatory.
8) For UCSD colleges check the General Education requirements closely. They are all a little different. Also check the location of each dorm. Some are near the center of campus, some are farther from the center. Do not list them randomly!
9) Check out the SAT subject test recommendations for each school. There is still time to take the December test and get it to the UC's on time.
UC Subject Tests
10) For a look at what happens to your application at Berkeley, check out this article, Confessions of an Applications Reader. It is a bit disheartening, but shows that there is a very random factor in deciding who gets in and who doesn't. Confessions of an Applications Reader