Reading UC activities and awards examples are an excellent way to learn how to tackle this tricky section of the UC application. This section is deceptively important and highly valued by admission officers for what it can tell them about your personality and potential as a university student. Prepping your UC activities and awards list is as key as college interview prep help is for acing the college interview. To fill out the UC activities and awards section, go for quality over quantity and be sure to write detailed and well-written descriptions for each item on your list! In this blog, we’ll learn why the UC activities and awards section is so important, how to complete this section and tips for writing a great UC activities and awards section. We’ve also included some UC activities and awards examples to show you how it’s done!

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Why the UC activities and awards section matters How to complete the UC activities and awards section Tips for a strong UC activities and awards section UC activities and awards examples FAQs

Why the UC activities and awards section matters

The UC activities and awards section is part of the University of California application accepted by nine of the University of California campuses. The activities and awards sections are an integral part of the overall college application. Although it is not technically required it can greatly strengthen your overall UC application and improve your chances of getting into any of the UC schools. 

The UC activities and awards section works similarly to the common app activities section you’d complete for colleges in the US or the OUAC activities and employment section you would fill out to get into university in Ontario. The UC activities and awards section is just specific to the UC application system. Filling out this section is your chance to tell potential UC schools about your non-academic accomplishments or achievements you are most proud of outside the classroom. You’re going for quality over quantity here because this section can tell the admissions committee more about you than almost any other part of your application.

In short, your activities and awards are some of the best ways to show the admissions committee at UC schools how you will contribute to university life and campus culture outside the classroom. This is the section where you highlight the most meaningful personal experiences you have that demonstrate your commitment, responsibility and passion for life outside the classroom. Colleges like to see how you will contribute personally, not just academically, and they want to see if you possess the personal qualities of a strong university student.

A great UC activities and awards section can be a nice boost to your overall application, especially if the academic side of your candidacy is lacking and you want to know how to get into college with a low GPA. Your activities are an important part of the personal side of your app, just as important as your college essays.

How to complete the UC activities and awards section

This section of the UC app can be filled out online after creating an account and starting your application forms. It’s a good idea to start early as it may take some time to complete the full application and you may want to add new awards or activities before you hit submit! The UC activities and awards section includes 6 sub-sections. You can include up to 20 entries in these 6 sub-sections. Each entry has a word count limit of 350 characters.

The 6 sub-sections included in the UC activities and awards section are:

  • Awards or honors (any state, national, school or organizational awards or honorable recognition)
  • Educational preparation programs (any that have enriched your academics or helped you prepare for university courses)
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Other coursework (courses not required for UC admission, such as leadership or religion courses)
  • Volunteering/community service
  • Work experience (internships, work placements or job experience)

It's also important to note that there will be additional questions or answers to fill in for both activities and awards. For activities, you can list the name of the organization you worked with or name of the activity you participated in, the grade in which you participated and the length of time and hourly commitment you made. For instance, you can list how many hours per week you committed to an activity or the number of years you have been participating in an activity. For the awards section, you should include the name of the award, the level of recognition and type of award, the award requirements and what grade level you were in upon receiving it.

Check out the video below for a rankings list of UC schools

It’s not necessary to fill in all 20 spots in the UC activities and awards section, but it’s best to include as many as possible that are relevant, meaningful and important to you. The UC schools don’t have preferences for any particular type or category of activity or award they are looking for. The universities which accept the UC app are looking for awards and activities which demonstrate your leadership, commitment, responsibility, and genuine passion.

If you’re not sure which activities to include in this section, or you don’t feel you have enough experiences outside academics, try enrolling in some summer programs for high school students or take a look at your high school resume work or volunteer experience. This section can include a variety of experiences, including but certainly not limited to sports, creative interests like art, music and theatre, publications you’ve written, academic and non-academic clubs, IB or AP courses, work placements or internships, volunteer work, personal hobbies or accomplishments, state and national awards or recognition, school awards, political activism, community projects or even uncommon and notable skills such as computer programming. It’s not too late to start enrolling in some new activities, explore new hobbies, learn a new skill or even apply for some awards to jumpstart your activities and awards section!

When it comes to organizing the UC activities and awards section, it’s most important to list as many meaningful or impressive items as possible, and then rank them by importance. Write the descriptions for each one and try to include as much details as possible. You should aim to at least hit the 350-word count for each one. Edit the list as necessary to take out any activities that are not relevant or don’t represent who you are. Lastly, ask someone to review your list and offer any feedback, such as a college advisor, teacher or mentor.

Working on your college essay? Check out our tips in this infographic

Tips for a strong UC activities and awards section

Writing a great UC activities and awards section isn’t about listing the most prestigious awards or most impressive extracurriculars, although those are excellent additions if you have them. The UC app allows 350 characters for each entry in this section, which is 200 characters more than the common app, so it’s more about maximizing the word count and including the highest-ranked activities and awards you have. Again, we’re looking for high quality, so even if you don’t list the maximum of 20 items, it’s okay as long as you list your best and most meaningful experiences. Admission committees are looking for the experiences that best reflect who you are, your genuine interests and the accomplishments you’re most proud of.

Below are our top tips for writing a strong UC activities and awards section.

UC activities and awards examples

Below we’ve included some examples of UC activities and awards a student might include in their UC application. Each entry has been formatted to include the necessary information you would include on the UC app and is under the 350-word count limit.

Award or honor

International Thespian Excellence Awards - Costume Design category winner 2019

Educational Theatre Association

International award

Arts - Theatre

Grade 12

I submitted the required 5 stage costume designs for my school’s alternate modernized version of Fiddler on the Roof and presented them with an explanation of my design process and choices. I presented designs that fit the style and tastes and of the original characters but my designs also incorporated the modern twist of the writers’ story as well as the modern cultural and social influences on the characters. My presentation was well-documented and prepared with a thorough explanation of my creative process.

Educational Prep Programs

IB Diploma Program

Grade 12

2 years

I enrolled in the IB Diploma Program, offered through my high school, to develop my higher thinking, to broaden my intellectual horizons and to engage in community service. Throughout the IB curriculum, I have already taken part in a team research project and two community service projects. I believe this program has prepared me for the intellectual rigors of college and helped me to flourish as a well-rounded community leader.

Extracurricular activity

Assistant coach for Penticton Minor Baseball Association U11 team

Grades 10-12

3 years

As an assistant coach for the Penticton Minor Baseball Association, it has been my privilege to mold young athletes and model good qualities such as teamwork, collaboration, problem-solving and personal leadership. I attend weekly practices and all regular season games to help coach, set up before games and clean up afterwards. As assistant coach I also help with scheduling and transportation of equipment. 

Other coursework

FIRST Robotics program

Grade 11

6 weeks

As part of a FIRST Robotics program team, I worked with four other students to design and build an industrial-sized robot that would participate in a competition at program end. As part of our build, we were required to fundraise our project. My team worked together on a bottle drive fundraiser, organizing plastics pick up and drop off at a bottle depot. The fundraiser ended up contributing more than money to our project as we ended up using some of the plastic recyclables, we collected in our final robot design.

Volunteer/Community Service

Stone City Community Garden volunteer

Grades 9-12

4.5 years

For the past several years I have volunteered my time with my city’s community garden, helping to tend garden plots, keep records and handle donations. Over the years I have been entrusted with more responsibility in keeping the community garden running. Gardening has grown into a strong passion of mine, and over the years I have also been happy to incorporate new ideas for the garden organization and promotion of community garden services.

Work experience

Internship at Great Lakes Reporter

Grade 11

6 months

As the intern reporter for the Great Lakes Reporter I was responsible for covering 3-5 news stories per week and assisting with page layout. I have been learning the basics of news photography from one of the senior reporters and developing this new skill with on-the-job assignments throughout the community. My work with Great Lakes has been an excellent way to foster my creativity and learn more about the journalism field.


1. What is the UC activities and awards section?

The UC activities and awards section is an important part of the UC application and indeed any college application. It lists a student’s extracurriculars, interests, accomplishments, awards and any significant non-academic feats.

2. Is the UC activities and awards section important?

Yes, the UC activities and awards section is an important part of your overall application, as it demonstrates the personal and non-academic qualities that UC schools are looking for in applicants. Just like an admission essay, your activities and awards section can tell the admissions committee a lot about who you are and what you’re interested in.

3. What should be included in the UC activities and awards section?

The UC activities and awards section may include any of your extracurriculars, hobbies, athletic achievements, academic achievements, work placements or internships, prizes or awards both academic and non-academic, creative pursuits, publications, volunteerism, club or leadership activities or any other significant achievement you may want to highlight on your college application.

4. How do I fill out my UC activities and awards section?

4. How do I fill out my UC activities and awards section? The UC activities and awards section can be filled out online with the rest of the UC application. It’s a good idea to start filling it out early as it may take some time and you may decide to add something new or review your application before you send it!

5. How many activities and awards can you put on an UC application?

There is a limit of 20 entries on the UC activities and awards section, each with a word count limit of 350, so choose only the most meaningful experiences and accomplishments to highlight here.

6. How to make a strong UC activities and awards section?

Choose the activities or awards who best reflect who you are and are most significant to you or best exemplify your growth and accomplishments.

7. Do I need to fill out the activities and awards section completely?

You do not need to fill in every section of the activities and awards section, but it’s a good idea to list as many activities and awards as you can and choose those which fit best with your interests and who you are.

8. What activities does UC like most?

There is no specific category that UC prefers over others when it comes to activities and awards. The UC application asks students to submit activities that demonstrate genuine interest, commitment and responsibility, so choose the activities that reflect your genuine passions and demonstrate your commitment.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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Should the activities and awards section be filled as bullet points or paragraph-style texts?


BeMo Academic Consulting

Hey Chris! Use this opportunity to show off your written communication skills. We strongly encourage you to write in short, precise, but full sentences.