Ucsb Essay Prompt

Are you considering applying to one of the UC schools? UC schools are known for being one of the best state school systems available, regardless if you’re an in-state or out-of-state student. To apply, here are the UC essay prompts you can expect. 

Students choose 4 out of the 8 total UC essay prompts and respond with 350-word answers. The prompts were updated as recently as last year, so we can anticipate no change for the 2017-2018 application season. UPDATE: No major changes to the essay prompts this year! Just more details in essay prompt 6 & 8.

Here are the UC Essay Prompts for 2017-2018:

  1. Leadership experience

    Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes or contributed to group efforts over time.
  1. Creative expression

    Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side.
  1. Talent or special skill

    What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?

  2. Overcoming educational barrier

    Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.

  3. Overcoming significant challenge

    Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?

  4. Academic inspiration

    Think about an academic subject that inspires you. Describe how you have furthered this interest inside and/or outside of the classroom.

  1. Bettering the community

    What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?

  2. What makes you special?

    Beyond what has already been shared in your application, what do you believe makes you stand out as a strong candidate for admissions to the University of California?

Applying to college?

View the app files and essays of accepted students.


Are you planning to apply to University of California schools? Or you must just be starting the process of building your college list. Make sure to search through profiles of students accepted. Read full essays, stats, and student advice. See how our students got in, and how you can too!

About The Author

Frances Wong

Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.

Letter of Intent

This is not to be taken lightly!  Please type a one to three-page letter, addressed to the CCS Music Composition faculty, that answers the following questions:

  • What is your background in music?
  • When did you begin writing music and why?
  • Why are you interested in studying at the College of Creative Studies?
  • What are your career goals at this point in your life?  Do you intend to enter the professional music world?  Graduate school?  What would you like to be doing five years from now? Ten years?
  • Talk a little bit about your music.  Why are you interested in writing music?  Who are your major influences?  What instrument(s) do you play?  How do you go about your compositional process?  Where do you feel you are in your creative development?

Please save and upload this letter as a PDF in order to avoid formatting distortions.

Submitting Work in Evidence of Talent

This is the most important aspect of your application to the CCS Music Composition program.  Materials to be submitted fall into four broad categories: 

Scores (required):  It is very important that you know how to notate music.  If you do not have a lot of experience in that, it is important that you make the attempt.  We cannot fully evaluate applications with only a single score.  Ideally, you should submit a minimum of two fully notated works.  Works may be handwritten or produced using a notation program such as Finale or Sibelius.  Handwritten compositions may be scanned or uploaded as images. 

Supporting materials: It is helpful, though not required, to include a paragraph about each work submitted.  For electronic works, the accompanying information should include technical notes, i.e. what program(s) you used in composing the work; your sound sources, etc.

Recordings (optional, but recommended):  You can upload a recording of your work(s) using the CCS Online Application, acceptable formats include mp3, m4a, aiff, wma, wav and aac.  You may also submit recordings of electronic works or sequenced works that have not yet been notated.

How Much to Submit:  In general, err on the side of quantity.  A good rule of thumb is that if you’ve written fewer than 6 works, send them all.  If you’ve written more than 6 works, submit 3-6 works that you believe best show your talent and versatility as a composer. 

Special note to transfer students:  When we evaluate applications from students who would enter as juniors, we use the music submitted to determine if the student is admitted at the sophomore level or at the junior level, based on the requirements for the Sophomore and Junior Juries outlined in the Curriculum guidelines.  It is to your advantage to submit, as a minimum, works roughly equal in quantity to the requirements for the Sophomore Jury:  5 shorter works, for a variety of instruments and instrumental combinations, a single line work (if you have it), and at least two works with a minimum duration of 3-5 minutes each.  One of the longer works should be scored for three or more instruments. 

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are required for applications to CCS Music Composition. Please list at least two persons well-acquainted with your academic background and your ability in Music Composition. The CCS Online Application form will ask for your recommenders’ email addresses and will send them a prompt with a link. This link will direct recommenders to instructions for uploading letters.  We suggest notifying recommenders ahead of time that they should be expecting an email with instructions to upload their letter.  Please request that letters are saved and uploaded as a PDF in order to avoid formatting distortions. 


In addition to the copies you send to the UCSB Office of Admissions, there is a section on the CCS Online Application where you must upload copies of your transcripts from every high school and college you have attended. Transcripts do not need to be official, so a scan or picture of your transcripts may be uplodaed (jpeg or PDF). If you are currently enrolled at UCSB, please upload a copy of your course history, which you can obtain using a screenshot from GOLD. It is your responsibility to ensure that attachments uploaded to your application are clear and legible.

Decision by the College

For Fall UCSB applicants, the College of Creative Studies cannot inform applicants of decisions on their CCS applications until the University of California Santa Barbara has mailed the campus’ admission/deferral letters in March. CCS decision letters follow immediately thereafter. A denial from CCS does not negatively affect your admission to one of the other colleges at UCSB.

The review process normally takes three to six weeks during the academic year.

If you are a registered UCSB student, you may take Creative Studies classes even if you are not enrolled in CCS, on a space-available, instructor-approved basis.

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