13 Tips for Adding Activities & Awards on Your University of California (UC) Application

tl;dr: When filling out activities and awards for your college application, think about the activities that are most meaningful to you. Be judicious about which activities you choose to include and make sure to pick the most precise category for each one. Don't make up activities or join clubs just for the sake of having more activities and make sure to use concise wording for the activity descriptions.

You will have 20 slots to fill your activities and awards section, but you DO NOT NEED fill out all 20 slots.


You will be asked to list and describe:

  • Activity category (ex. Extracurricular Activity, Volunteer / Community Service, etc.)
  • If it is a volunteer/community service activity, you need to be able to describe the organization, group or program does.
  • If it is work experience, you need to describe the company or organization and clearly delineate what your job responsibilities are.
  • Activity name
  • Activity description
  • Grade participation
  • Time Commitment

🏅 Awards or Honors

You will be asked to list and describe:

  • Name of award or honor
  • Level of recognition (National, State, etc.)
  • Type of award (Athletic, Academic, etc.)
  • Grade level when awarded
  • Award Requirements (How is the award given to an individual?)
  • What you did to earn the award

🧐 General Tips

  1. The bottom line is that these activities are something that you have put TIME and EFFORT into.
  2. They are activities that are done outside of school (homework or school projects are not extracurriculars... though they take up quite a bit of time😂)
  3. These are activities that are meaningful to YOU💗
  4. Be judicious about which activities you want to include in this list. (Think of activities that overlap in terms of their categories. Which activities are the most important to you? Which ones helped you grow the most? Which activities had more time involvement?)
  5. REMEMBER: You do NOT need to fill out all 20 slots.
  6. It would be wise to exclude activities that you are barely participating in (ex. clubs that you only attend the meetings of).
  7. There may also be some short-term activities such as an important conference you attended, but it would be best to exclude these. Perhaps you can write about this type of activity in your personal statement or supplemental if it was truly meaningful to you.
  8. Make sure to pick the most precise category for your activity.
  9. Unlike the common app, there is no ranking of activities. However, put the most meaningful activities and awards in the beginning of the list to capture the reader's attention.
  10. When inputting the hours and weeks that you participated, be reasonable and estimate the best that you can.
  11. DO NOT make up an activity just for the sake of having another activity on your list. Similarly, don't join a bunch of high school clubs just to have extracurriculars.
  12. For the activity descriptions, use concise wording and only include the most important details
  13. You don't need to have a leadership position in all of the high school clubs that you're in. What matters is what YOU DO in those clubs.

Check out these other guides that you might need.