4 University Application Platforms

Ms. Jaime


Presentation Materials

4.1 Cialfo

You can’t apply without it!

BASIS Schools in China purchase an institutional subscription to Cialfo– a web application for college research, application submission, and data management. Each of you has an account on Cialfo.

What you need to use Cialfo for:

  • All students must add universities they will apply to into their Cialfo “Applying” list
  • Counselors will send ALL required official school documents to universities listed in the “Applying” list
  • These documents include:
    • the academic transcript,
    • the school profile,
    • the counselor recommendation and evaluation,
    • teacher recommendations and evaluations,
    • Q1 senior year grades (if required),
    • the mid-year report (incl. Q1, Q2, S1 grades),
    • and the final transcript (to your attending university).

Most universities REQUIRE these documents and WILL CONSIDER your application INCOMPLETE without them!

4.2 Common Application

Over 1,000 colleges and universities, many of them in the United States, use the Common Application. The Common App is an online application platform for students.

The Common App Essay goes to all universities you apply to on the platform. For this essay, students choose one of seven prompts to respond to in 650 words or fewer.

Through the Common App, you will be able to see school-specific short answer questions/essays/supplements in the “My Colleges” section.

In order for counselors to submit required official school documents to the schools to which you will apply, your Common App account must be linked to your Cialfo account AND you need to sign the FERPA waiver.

4.2.1 Common App In-class Task

  1. Create your Common Application account using your school e-mail address.
  2. Bookmark the Common Application website– you will use it frequently!
  3. Complete the information in the Common App tab.
  4. Add at least one school in “My Colleges.”
  5. Click on one of the schools you added.
  6. Click on “Recommenders and FERPA.”
  7. Complete the FERPA authorization form and be sure to check “yes.”

4.2.2 Cialfo In-class Task

  1. Click on “Recommendations.”
  2. Click on “Link Account.”
  3. Follow the steps to enter your Common App e-mail and password.

4.3 My University of California Application

The University of California system consists of nine schools, and to apply to them, you must use the My UC Application portal.

The portal will become available on August 1st for students who need to open an account. Students can submit application materials from October 1st to November 30th.

There are a few peculiarities for the UC application. Student grade information is reported differently, and only grades from G10 and G11 are considered. There is a more extensive activity list than there is for the Common Application. The biggest difference, however, is the writing requirement.

For the My UC application, students must author four essays from a choice of eight prompts in 350 words or fewer each. These essays are called the “Personal Insight Questions.”

4.4 UCAS (the U.K. University Application)

For schools in the U.K., applications must be submitted through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). As of today, you can start your application for 2024 entry courses, but you cannot submit it to UCAS until September 5th.

You can only submit one application to either Oxford or Cambridge, but not both. The deadline to apply for Oxford or Cambridge is among the earliest: October 16th at 6:00PM, U.K. time. Most UCAS applications, however, are due by January 31st. Make sure to check the specific deadlines for the U.K. schools to which you intend to apply.

Unlike the Common Application which permits application submissions to up to 20 schools, the UCAS platform only permits students to apply to a maximum of five schools. The UCAS application is also much more transparent in entry requirements with many schools stating plainly their minimum requirements to consider an applicant. These requirements may apply to a school more broadly and to the specific academic program to which you apply.

The five programs you choose must be in a similar subject area and you will write a single personal statement that will be provided to admission decision-makers at each school. Your application will include academic coursework from G9-G11 and also predicted grades for G12. These predicted grades will be provided by your counselor.

The personal statement will not only be read by admission officers, but also by prospective professors of the specific courses to which you are applying. Accordingly, you must prove your interest in the courses you are selecting and discuss what you have done, learned, read, and engaged in as these things relate to your desired courses. This essay cannot exceed 4,000 characters, including spaces.

4.4.1 UCAS Application In-class Task

  1. Register in the UCAS Hub with your school e-mail address.
  2. Enter the Buzzword (GoFlight2024) to link your application with our school UCAS Center.
  3. Fill in details.
  4. Enter your counselor name and relationship (counselor) to enable Nominated Access.

4.5 Writing Tasks for Each Application System

  • Common App in-class task
    • In the Common App tab, click on “Writing” to find the seven essay prompts
    • Think about potential topics for each prompt
    • Choose three possible prompts and write an opening paragraph for each
  • My UC PIQ’s in-class task
    • Go to Teams > College Counseling
    • Find the UC PIQ worksheet in the files
    • Write a few sentences for each prompt