UC Activities List: Examples of UC Activities and Awards

June 12, 2024
6 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 6/12/24

UC schools look beyond just grades; they're interested in the whole you. That's where the UC activities list comes into play. It's your chance to show off what makes you, well, you. 

Just like your UC essay, this section gives you the opportunity to reveal your personality, values, and aspirations. Whether it's leading a club, volunteering in your community, or even pursuing a personal project, this section lets you give a glimpse into who you are. Keep reading to learn how to make the most of this section. 

How Important Is the UC Activities and Awards Section

The UC Activities and Awards section is an important part of your application because it gives admissions officers a glimpse into your life outside of academics. 

Understanding how many activities and awards to include on the UC application is key. With up to 20 slots and 350 characters for each entry, you have ample opportunity to highlight your leadership roles, sense of responsibility, and accolades. 

By painting a detailed picture of your extracurricular engagement, you can enhance your application and increase your chances of admission to UC schools.

How to Create the UC Activities List

To create your UC Activities List, first log in to your UC application account and head to the Activities and Awards section. You'll see six sub-sections to fill out, covering everything from awards to work experience. Take a moment to review each one. Then, jot down your achievements and experiences in each category. 

How to Approach the UC Activities and Awards Section

To start the UC activities and awards section, begin by understanding the sub-sections, prioritizing quality over quantity, and seeking feedback to ensure your entries effectively showcase your accomplishments and strengths. Keep reading for a closer look at each of these tips. 

1. Pre-Write

Before diving into the UC application portal, it's wise to create a separate document using Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or another easily accessible platform. This ensures that your hard work won't be lost in case of technical issues on the application website. Plus, having all your activities neatly organized in one place allows for easier visualization and planning.

2. Draft

Take the time to brainstorm and list all your activities and relevant details. Don't worry about being overly selective at this stage; the goal is to capture everything you've been involved in. Use short phrases, abbreviations, or bullet points to keep your descriptions concise and save space. Remember, you'll refine these later.

3. Analyze and Rank

Once you have a comprehensive list of activities, it's time to evaluate their significance and impact. Consider factors like how meaningful each activity is to you personally, how long you've been involved, and the level of achievement or leadership demonstrated. Rank your activities based on these criteria to identify the most impressive ones.

4. Sharpen and Polish

With your top activities identified, it's time to refine their descriptions. Focus on including key details such as leadership roles, quantifiable accomplishments, and specific actions taken. Aim to keep each description under 350 characters while still effectively conveying your contributions and achievements. Trim any unnecessary words or details to ensure clarity and impact.

5. Ask for Feedback

Seeking input from teachers, mentors, or trusted advisors can provide valuable insights and help catch any errors or inconsistencies in your activity descriptions. External feedback ensures that your entries are clear and concise while effectively communicating your experiences and accomplishments.

6. Incorporate Edits

Take the feedback you receive and make any necessary revisions to strengthen your activity descriptions. Pay attention to clarity, specificity, and conciseness, ensuring that each entry effectively showcases your unique contributions and achievements.

7. Finalize and Submit

Once you've made your final edits, transfer your activities list to the UC application portal. Double-check each entry for accuracy and completeness before hitting submit. This is your chance to make a strong impression, so take your time and ensure that your activities list accurately reflects your experiences and accomplishments.

By following these steps, you can create a compelling and impressive UC Activities & Awards list that enhances your college application and effectively showcases your unique strengths and achievements.

Tips on How to Complete Activities and Awards Section

For a standout UC activities list, keep it short and sweet, mix up your words to keep it interesting, focus on what you achieved, and add remember to context. Let’s take a closer look at each of these tips

Leaving This Section Blank

Missing out on filling this section is a big mistake as it's a prime opportunity to showcase your involvement. If you genuinely have no extracurriculars to list, address it in the Additional Comments Section. Also, don't assume the UC admission team is familiar with your school-specific activities—spell them out, and no acronyms!

Focusing More on the Activity Than Yourself

Ensure your descriptions highlight your personal contributions and commitment rather than just detailing the program itself. Make it personal to help admissions officers connect with your experiences and achievements.

Mix up Your Words

Variety is key to keeping your descriptions engaging. Instead of using the same tired verbs repeatedly, spice things up by choosing different action words that accurately reflect the tasks you performed and the skills you demonstrated. This not only makes your descriptions more interesting to read but also showcases your versatility and adaptability.

Refrain from Repetition

Avoid mentioning the same activity in multiple sections. Focus on showcasing different experiences to give a well-rounded view of your interests and achievements. For instance, if you were a team captain, mention your leadership role once and any related awards separately.

Explain a Lack of Participation

If you couldn't join typical school or community activities due to family or academic reasons, briefly explain why. This could include taking care of family members or prioritizing schoolwork. Admissions officers consider these factors when reviewing applications, so it's important to provide context for your experiences.

Time It Right

Use the appropriate tense to convey the status of your involvement in each activity. If you're currently active in the role, use the present tense to describe your responsibilities and contributions. For activities that you're no longer involved in, switch to the past tense to indicate that they've been completed.

Show Your Impact

Numbers speak volumes, so don't be shy about quantifying your achievements. Whether it's the number of people you've helped, the amount of money you've raised, or the awards you've earned, concrete metrics add credibility to your accomplishments and demonstrate the tangible results of your efforts.

Add Some Context

If an activity was particularly competitive or prestigious, provide some context to help admissions officers understand the significance of your involvement. Mentioning selective processes or high levels of competition gives insight into the level of achievement and dedication required to succeed in the activity.

By following these tips and guidelines, you'll be able to craft compelling activity descriptions that effectively highlight your extracurricular involvement and showcase your strengths and accomplishments to admissions officers.

Common Mistakes

Common mistakes on the UC Activities List include lacking focus, omitting key details, and exaggerating achievements. It’s also important not to overemphasize academics and include irrelevant activities. Keep reading to learn more about how to avoid these mistakes. 

  • Lack of Focus: Instead of overwhelming admissions officers with a laundry list of activities, prioritize those that truly highlight your interests, passions, and achievements. Quality over quantity ensures that each entry carries significant weight and contributes to a cohesive narrative of your extracurricular involvement.
  • Incomplete Descriptions: Providing detailed descriptions for each activity is essential for giving admissions officers a clear understanding of your level of engagement and the impact you made. Be specific about your role, responsibilities, accomplishments, and any leadership positions held within each activity.
  • Exaggeration: Be honest about your activities; inflating your role or achievements can harm your credibility. UC actually verifies the information students provide on their applications. It's super important not to misrepresent or falsify anything, because that's a serious offense with serious consequences.
  • Overloading with Academics: While academic achievements are important, the UC Activities List is an opportunity to show your involvement beyond the classroom. Balancing academic excellence with extracurricular engagement demonstrates a well-rounded profile and a commitment to personal growth outside of academics.
  • Ignoring Leadership Roles: Highlighting leadership roles and responsibilities within activities is crucial for demonstrating your ability to take initiative, collaborate with others, and make a positive impact. Whether you led a club, organized an event, or mentored peers, showcasing your leadership experiences is highly valued by admissions committees.
  • Listing Unrelated Activities: Ensure that each activity you include aligns with your interests, passions, and future goals. Including unrelated activities can confuse admissions officers and dilute the overall impact of your application. Focus on experiences that reflect your personal values and contribute to your overall narrative.
  • Failure to Quantify Impact: Quantifying your contributions within each activity provides admissions officers with tangible evidence of your impact and accomplishments. Whether you raised funds, recruited members, or organized events, providing numerical data helps illustrate the extent of your involvement and the outcomes achieved.
  • Disregarding Instructions: Adhering to formatting guidelines and word count limits demonstrates your ability to follow instructions and pay attention to detail. Failure to do so can create a negative impression and suggest a lack of care and professionalism in your application.
  • Copying from Resume: While your resume may contain relevant information, the UC Activities List is an opportunity to provide deeper insights into your experiences and achievements. Expand on each activity with meaningful descriptions that highlight your personal growth, challenges overcome, and lessons learned.
  • Ignoring Additional Questions: Addressing all questions thoroughly ensures that no aspect of your activities and achievements is overlooked. Take the time to thoughtfully respond to additional prompts, providing context and elaborating on key experiences to give admissions officers a comprehensive understanding of your profile.

By avoiding these common mistakes and taking a strategic approach to completing the UC Activities List, you can effectively showcase your accomplishments, strengths, and unique contributions, ultimately strengthening your college application.


Here are some examples illustrating various activities and achievements that students might include in their UC application.

Extracurricular Activities

Let's take a look at some examples of extracurricular activities students might include in their UC applications.

President of the Debate Club

As President of the Debate Club, I led weekly meetings, organized competitions, and mentored younger members. I ensured our team represented our school with excellence and helped others develop their skills.

Varsity Soccer Team Captain

As Varsity Soccer Team Captain, I led both on and off the field. I motivated teammates, organized practices, and communicated effectively with coaches. Together, we fostered a positive team environment and achieved success.

Lead Actor in School Theater Productions

As the lead actor in school theater productions, I spent countless hours rehearsing and performing. Working with directors and cast members, I brought characters to life and delivered memorable performances. This experience helped me hone my acting skills and contribute to the success of each production.

Awards and Honors

Now, let's explore some examples of awards and honors to include on the UC application that students may highlight in their UC applications.

National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist

Being named a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist was a big achievement for me. It recognized my outstanding performance on the PSAT and placed me among the top students nationwide. Advancing to the semifinal round of the competition was a testament to my dedication to academics and my ability to excel in standardized testing.

AP Scholar with Distinction

Earning the title of AP Scholar with Distinction was a result of my hard work and success on multiple Advanced Placement exams. By achieving high scores across various subjects, I demonstrated mastery of college-level coursework and a commitment to academic excellence.

Outstanding Leadership Award from School

Being awarded the Outstanding Leadership Award at my school was a major highlight for me. It acknowledged my strong leadership skills, such as effective communication, teamwork, and initiative, across various school activities. This recognition affirmed my dedication to leading and serving my school community positively.


Here, we'll look at a few examples of volunteer experiences that students might showcase in their UC applications.

Volunteer Tutor at Local Elementary School

As a tutor at a local elementary school, I made a difference by providing one-on-one academic support to struggling students in reading and math. I helped build their confidence and academic success while fostering a love for learning and growth.

Fundraiser Organizer for Homeless Shelter

I organized fundraisers for a local homeless shelter, merging my love for community service with event planning. I arranged bake sales and charity walks, garnering backing from locals and businesses. The proceeds offered vital aid to homeless individuals, significantly bettering their circumstances.

Volunteer at Community Food Bank

Volunteering at a local food bank helped me combat hunger in my community. I sorted and distributed food donations to ensure people had access to nutritious meals. This experience taught me about food insecurity and the importance of community service.

Educational Prep Programs

Next up, let's examine examples of educational preparation programs that students could feature in their UC applications.

Summer Research Internship at University Lab

Working in a university lab during a summer research internship was a game-changer for me. I got to collaborate with professors and grad students on groundbreaking research, hands-on experiments, and lab work. This experience ignited my love for scientific inquiry and gave me a clear direction for my future studies and career aspirations.

STEM Enrichment Program at Local College

Joining a STEM enrichment program at a nearby college expanded my knowledge in fields like computer science, engineering, and biology. The program also offered mentorship and networking, inspiring me to pursue STEM studies and careers.

Advanced Placement (AP) Exam Preparation Course

Taking an AP exam prep course was essential for my academic journey. It helped me improve critical thinking, time management, and subject knowledge. Passing AP exams showed I was ready for college and earned me college credits, setting me up for success in my future studies.

Work Experience

Lastly, let's delve into examples of work experiences that students may detail in their UC applications.

Intern at Marketing Agency

Interning at a marketing agency gave me real-world experience in marketing and advertising. I worked on projects like social media campaigns and market research, gaining practical skills and insights into the industry. This experience helped me apply classroom learning to actual work scenarios.

Part-time Sales Associate at Retail Store

Working as a part-time sales associate, I honed skills in customer service, communication, and teamwork. Responsibilities included assisting customers, managing cash registers, and maintaining store organization. This experience underscored the importance of professionalism, adaptability, and problem-solving in a retail environment.

Lifeguard at Community Swimming Pool

As a lifeguard, I was responsible for ensuring pool safety, enforcing rules, and responding to emergencies, which honed my communication, decision-making, and teamwork skills while teaching me about leadership and responsibility.


Let's take a look at some commonly asked questions, so you can learn more about putting together a UC activities list that stands out. 

1. What Is the UC Activities and Awards Section?

The UC activities and awards section is an important part of the UC application, where students detail their extracurricular activities, interests, achievements, awards, and significant non-academic accomplishments.

2. How Important Is the UC Activities and Awards Section in the Application Process?

The UC Activities and Awards section is important for your application because it shows what you do outside of class, like your leadership roles and interests. It helps admissions officers understand your involvement and how you might contribute to campus life.

3. What Type of Activities Should I Include?

Include diverse activities that highlight your interests in the UC Activities and Awards section, such as:

  • Award or honor
  • Educational Prep Programs
  • Extracurricular activity
  • Other coursework
  • Volunteer/Community Service
  • Work experience

4. Can I Include Both Academic and Extracurricular Activities?

Yes, you can include both academic and extracurricular activities in the UC activities and awards section. UC campuses don’t favor any particular type of involvement, and students are not required to have entries in each of the six categories or fill all twenty slots for activities and awards.

Instead, the quality of the information provided for each activity or award, as well as the level of commitment demonstrated, holds more significance than the quantity of entries.

5. How Many Activities and Awards Should I List in the UC Application?

The UC application's activities and awards section allows you to list up to 20 activities and awards. Each entry has a word count limit of 350 characters, so it's crucial to choose the most impactful experiences and achievements to include.

6. How Should I Describe My Role and Responsibilities in Each Activity or Award Listed?

When describing your role and responsibilities in each activity or award listed, keep it concise but detailed. Highlight your contributions and achievements within the given space, making sure to be specific about your duties, any leadership positions held, and noteworthy accomplishments. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how many activities the UC application requires and how ot approach it - you can make the most of it. Remember that the UC Activities and Awards section is your chance to show who you are beyond academics. So, make sure to pick your most impactful experiences and describe them clearly.

Remember to keep it real. Admissions officers appreciate honesty, so prioritize sharing experiences that truly matter to you over flashy accomplishments. Best of luck with your application!

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