1) There is no Early Action or Early Decision.
UC applications have a unique timeline. They have no "early" option, though all regular applications are due a month earlier than most other schools. Mark your calendars because the November 30th deadline is coming up fast!
2) UC applications do not require individual school supplements.
While you will need to pay a filing fee for each campus you apply to, you will not need to do any additional work. Many students, though risky, don't want to focus extra energy on safety schools or reach schools. The UC system has a wide range of schools on the selectivity spectrum, so if your school list needs balance, this is the perfect opportunity to diversify.
3) All grades are self-reported.
Self-reporting grades can save you time chasing after your school's office and allow you flexibility in reporting if your school offers multiple grade types. It is important to note that you cannot lie. If you are accepted, they will ask you to send in official grade reports and will revoke the acceptances of lying students.
4) The UC application is very different from the Common App.
Instead of a longer personal statement and shorter school-specific supplements, the UC application is made up of four 250-350 word essays. There are eight essays to choose from and no questions are better than others. Just pick the four for which you immediately know you have a story to tell. Make sure that each answer shows a different characteristic of you than the others.
5) The admissions process is different in-state.
There are two paths to admission for California residents. First, you can be ranked in the top 9% of Californian high schoolers. Otherwise, you can be ranked in the top 9% of your participating local high school.