College admission is an annual cycle. As admission professionals, many of us spend most of our time on the road during Fall. We visit as many high schools and community colleges that time allows, participate in college fairs, and speak with countless students and counselors! While we love the fall, we look forward to putting away our suitcases and beginning the application review season following the application deadline.

After our annual training to kick off reading season, our staff dives into the hefty supply of UCLA applications. And wouldn’t you know it, this year we received over 100,000 applications  from high school students. As a UCLA alumnus, many of my former peers and colleagues share and repost the headlines from different news sources stating, “UCLA breaks 100,000 applicant mark” with captions or comments like, “Go UCLA” or “Proud to be a Bruin!” All I can think to myself when I see those posts are, ”now we get to read them all…twice!”

Heading into my third year of application review, I’m happy to report that read season doesn’t intimidate me anymore. Years prior, I became anxious of review season due the responsibility and number of applications our office receives. Nowadays, the work is manageable and enjoyable as I read about students from across California, the United States, and the world. I am able to get a quick look into the lives of students and learn about who they are and what they have experienced as well as help select them as future Bruins!

After three years of going through this process, the one thing that continues to amaze me is how the quality of our applicants continue to rise. I’m convinced that students who apply to UCLA today no longer have time to sleep! The vast majority of our applicants are doing incredibly well in the classroom, and at the same time doing more outside the classroom than you would expect: learning instruments, playing sports, overseeing organizations, conducting research, building businesses, working part-time, taking care of family members, writing books; I mean you name it, and there is a student out in the world doing it (probably more than you think). These young minds are inspirational and tireless and always make me question whether or not I’m doing enough each day! Which only makes reviewing their applications even more rewarding.

Like many universities, we use holistic review at UCLA. This means that we take every part of a student’s application into consideration . Every application is reviewed at least twice by two different admission readers. We consider the quality of academic work, where and how the student spent his/her time by making an impact outside of the classroom with respect to extracurricular activities or responsibilities, and who they are through their responses to the Personal Insight Questions.

By the end of this month, most Undergraduate Admission office staff will be deep into the read cycle and some of us will be exclaiming, “I’m ready to hit the road again!” However, we remain glued to our reading location of choice, often with caffeinated beverage in hand, as we review every application, one–by-one, until we reach our admission decision release date. For you prospective students awaiting your decision from UCLA, I wish you the best of luck, and Go Bruins!

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Joel Ontiveros is an Assistant Director at UCLA Undergraduate Admission and regionally based in San Francisco, CA.