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How to Complete the UC Application’s “Additional Comments” Section

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common app prompt typewriterThe UC Application offers students the opportunity to submit up to 550 words as “Additional Comments” within the Personal Insight section of the application. This space is reserved for additional information, and while it is tempting to use it to explore a subject of your choosing, students should use it sparingly.

The directions read:

If there’s anything else you want us to know about you, now’s your chance. But remember, you should use this space only if you want to describe anything that you have not had the opportunity to include elsewhere in the application. This shouldn’t be an essay, but rather a place to explain unusual personal or family circumstances, or anything that may be unclear in other parts of the application.

As the directions plainly state, this section is a place to explain unusual circumstances or address anything that might be unclear elsewhere in your application. Unless you have something crucial to add or explain—and there is absolutely NOWHERE else on the application for you to write about it—you should skip this section. 

Some life events you might consider addressing in this section of the UC application:

  • A prolonged absence from school
  • Taking a gap year
  • A drop in your grades or GPA
  • Being diagnosed with a learning difference
  • A lack of extracurricular activities
  • Instability at home
  • Graduating a semester or year early

Remember to focus on the actions you took to improve the situation over the things you couldn’t control. A successful Additional Comments submission will leave a lasting impression on admissions officers, one of resilience and/or adaptability. Know that your grades, test scores, and attendance records don’t define you, but they do paint a picture for admissions that you’ll want to address in your own words.

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