7 Common Mistakes to Avoid on your UCLA Application

Applying to UCLA is an exciting and significant step towards a bright academic future. However, navigating the college application process can be overwhelming, and even the smallest mistakes can have a significant impact on your chances of admission. To ensure a successful application, it is crucial to be aware of and avoid common pitfalls that many applicants encounter. This article will highlight seven common mistakes to steer clear of when submitting your UCLA application. By understanding these mistakes and taking proactive steps to avoid them, you can enhance your chances of standing out among the competition and securing a coveted spot at UCLA.

2. Mistake 1: Incomplete or inaccurate personal information

Now, I get it. Filling out those endless application forms can make your brain go into autopilot mode. But here’s the thing: skipping or forgetting to include important personal information could really hurt your chances of getting into UCLA. Make sure to double-check that you’ve provided all the necessary details about yourself, like your address, contact information, and, of course, your cat’s name (just kidding, that one is optional).

2.2 Providing incorrect contact information

Ah, yes, the infamous potential mix-up that could occur when you accidentally swap your phone number with that of your arch-nemesis. Trust me, you don’t want admissions officers trying to reach the wrong person when they have big news to share. So, take a moment to ensure that your contact information is accurate. And remember, it’s never a good idea to use your parents’ phone number as your own. UCLA wants to hear from you, not your mom’s opinions on the latest TikTok trends.

3. Mistake 2: Neglecting to showcase your extracurricular activities and achievements

Listen up, future Bruins! Part of what makes UCLA so special is its vibrant campus life, and the admissions committee wants to see that you’ll be an active participant in all the fun and meaningful experiences they offer. Make sure to shine a spotlight on your involvement in clubs, organizations, or any extracurricular activities that have been a big part of your high school journey. Trust me, they want to know that you’ll bring that same enthusiasm to campus, whether it’s joining the Quidditch team or starting a club dedicated to eating tacos on Tuesdays.

3.2 Showcasing leadership roles and responsibilities

Alright, future president of UCLA! Now’s your time to shine even brighter. Showcasing any leadership roles or responsibilities you’ve taken on during your high school years can really catch the admissions committee’s attention. So, whether you were the captain of the debate team or the head organizer of the annual bake sale extravaganza, be sure to highlight these experiences. But hey, if your leadership role was being in charge of getting your siblings out of bed every morning, maybe skip that one and focus on something a little more impressive.

4. Mistake 3: Poorly written or generic personal statements

Ah, the personal statement—a chance to let your true self shine. But let’s be real, it’s not always easy to write about yourself without sounding like a robot spewing out generic phrases. Take the time to craft a compelling and unique personal statement that lets the admissions committee see your personality. Embrace your quirks, share your passions, and let them know what makes you stand out from the crowd. And hey, if your dog has played a major role in shaping who you are, don’t be afraid to mention that too (who can resist a good dog story?).

4.2 Avoiding clichés and generic language

Here’s the deal: admissions officers have read a gazillion personal statements, and they can sniff out generic language and clichés from a mile away. Avoid falling into the trap of using phrases like “ever since I was a child” or “it’s always been my dream.” Instead, focus on showing, not telling, your experiences and aspirations. Be genuine, be authentic, and let your voice shine through. Remember, you want to stand out like a glittery unicorn in a field of plain ol’ horses.

Now that you know what not to do, go forth and conquer that UCLA application, my fellow go-getter. Good luck, and may the Bruin spirit be with you!

5. Mistake 4: Failing to provide strong letters of recommendation

When it comes to your UCLA application, don’t underestimate the power of a strong letter of recommendation. This mistake can really make or break your chances of getting in. So, let’s dive into two important aspects of this process.

5.1 Selecting the right recommenders

Choosing the right people to write your letters of recommendation is crucial. You want someone who knows you well, both academically and personally. Avoid going for big names just for the sake of it. Instead, prioritize individuals who can genuinely speak to your abilities, accomplishments, and potential to succeed at UCLA.

5.2 Communicating your accomplishments and goals to recommenders

Remember, your recommenders are not mind readers. Take the time to communicate your accomplishments and goals to them, so they can highlight your strengths effectively. Share with them your successes, challenges you’ve overcome, and any specific areas you’d like them to focus on. This will help them craft a letter that truly reflects your unique qualities and aspirations.

6. Mistake 5: Ignoring the importance of standardized test scores

Ah, standardized tests, the bane of many students’ existence. But whether we like it or not, they hold significant weight in the admissions process. Let’s delve into how to tackle this potential pitfall.

6.1 Preparing effectively for standardized tests

Don’t procrastinate on preparing for standardized tests like the SAT or ACT. Create a study plan, invest in test prep resources, and consider taking practice exams to familiarize yourself with the format. Remember, practice makes perfect (or at least significantly less horrifying).

6.2 Understanding the role of test scores in the admissions process

While standardized test scores are important, they aren’t the sole criteria for admission. Admissions officers also consider your GPA, extracurricular involvement, essays, and letters of recommendation. So, if your test scores aren’t as stellar as you’d hoped, don’t fret. Focus on showcasing your other strengths and proving why you’re an excellent fit for UCLA.

7. Mistake 6: Overlooking the significance of a well-rounded academic profile

A common mistake applicants make is solely focusing on academics or extracurricular activities, neglecting the importance of a balanced academic profile. Let’s explore how to avoid this pitfall.

7.1 Balancing challenging coursework with extracurricular involvement

UCLA seeks students who demonstrate a strong commitment to academics while also engaging in extracurricular activities. Find a balance between challenging coursework and meaningful involvement in clubs, sports, community service, or other pursuits that align with your interests. Show that you can excel both inside and outside the classroom.

7.2 Highlighting academic achievements and pursuits

Don’t be modest when it comes to showcasing your academic achievements. Whether it’s outstanding grades, awards, research projects, or competitions, make sure to include them in your application. Paint a vivid picture of your intellectual curiosity and dedication to your chosen field of study. Let your academic passions shine bright like a supernova.

8. Conclusion: Tips to ensure a successful UCLA application

In conclusion, your UCLA application represents an opportunity to showcase your unique qualities, achievements, and aspirations. By avoiding common mistakes such as incomplete personal information, neglecting extracurricular activities, poor personal statements, weak letters of recommendation, overlooking test scores, and disregarding a well-rounded academic profile, you can greatly increase your chances of success. Remember to thoroughly review and double-check your application before submitting, seeking guidance from mentors or college counselors if needed. With careful attention to detail and a strong commitment to presenting your best self, you can maximize your chances of securing a spot at UCLA and embarking on an enriching academic journey.


1. Are these mistakes specific to UCLA applications or applicable to other universities as well?

These common mistakes can be applicable to applications for other universities as well. However, it is important to note that each university may have its own specific requirements and criteria for evaluating applications. It is always recommended to thoroughly review the application guidelines and requirements for each institution you are applying to.

2. Should I include every single extracurricular activity in my application?

While it is important to showcase your involvement and achievements, it is not necessary to include every single activity in your application. Instead, focus on highlighting the extracurricular activities that are most meaningful to you and have had a significant impact on your personal growth, leadership skills, or community engagement. Quality over quantity is key when it comes to presenting your extracurricular involvement.

3. How do standardized test scores affect my UCLA application?

Standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT, are one of the many factors considered during the application review process at UCLA. While they do play a role, they are not the sole determining factor for admission. Admissions committees also consider your academic performance, extracurricular involvement, personal statements, and letters of recommendation. It is important to prepare effectively for these tests and aim for scores that align with the average scores of admitted students at UCLA. However, keep in mind that test scores are just one piece of the overall application puzzle.

4. Can I make changes to my application after submitting it?

Once you submit your application, it is generally not possible to make changes. Therefore, it is crucial to carefully review your application before hitting the submit button. Double-check all personal information, essays, and supporting documents to ensure accuracy and completeness. If you do need to make changes or corrections, it is best to reach out directly to the admissions office at UCLA for guidance on their specific policies and procedures.

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