Why Extracurricular Activities?

UCs prefer to see a demonstrated interest in your field of study and/or leadership potential, so try to participate in extracurricular activities that are related to your major or showcase your leadership abilities. You can join college clubs or student government, volunteer with community, nonprofit, or faith-based organizations, or work as an intern or at a job related to your major.

If you need to work full-time to support yourself or your family and you are unable to participate in extracurricular activities related to your major, make sure you indicate your work schedule on the application and find other ways to show your interest in your field of study.

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Activities and Programs

Below is a selection of activities and programs I have come across over the years. Broaden your search beyond the internet; check with your community college career center or transfer center for local opportunities and browse the library reference section for guidebooks on summer programs and internship opportunities.

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Educational Preparation Programs

You may have heard about “educational preparation programs” and the UC Application even has a section for them. So what are educational preparation programs?

Well, according to the UCs, educational preparation programs are “programs or activities that have enriched your academic experiences or helped you to prepare for college. Such programs may provide information, counseling, tutoring or other service or offer academic enrichment, research opportunities or special study opportunities, such as study abroad.”

Below is a list of the educational preparation programs that are available to college students. Look for them at your school and do your best to participate in them.

UC Berkeley
  • AAP (Academic Achievement Program, formerly PDP (Professional Development Program))
    Serves serves college students.
  • Boost (formerly Young Entrepreneurs at Haas)
    Offered through UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and serves high school students, though community college students may volunteer.
UC Davis
  • C-STEM
    Serves students from grades K through 14.
UC Merced
  • UC-TIP (UC Transfer Initiatives Program; formerly ERA)
    Serves high school students going to community college and current community college students in Central California.
Most UCs
  • CAMP (California Alliance for Minority Participation in Science)
    Search for “California Alliance for Minority Participation in Science” for program locations. Serves students from select participating 4-year colleges.
Other Options Available Throughout California
  • Cal-SOAP
    Serves high school and community college students.
  • MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement)
    Serves elementary school, middle school, high school, community college, and 4-year college students.
Other Options Available Nation-Wide
  • Puente Program
    Serves high school and community college students.
  • Study abroad
    Check with your community college for available study abroad programs.

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UC Transfer Programs

You may have seen a long list of programs in the “Student Support Program Participation” section of the UC Transfer Admission Planner or in the “Transfer Admission Programs” section of the UC Application. Wonder how you can get in on the action to better prepare for transfer? Check out the program list below and do your best to participate in the programs available to you. Some transfer programs are open to current high school seniors.

UC Berkeley
UC Davis
  • AvenueE 
    Open to engineering or computer science students enrolled in partner community college districts.
  • TOP 
    Open to all students at partner community colleges.
UC Irvine
UC Merced
  • STARS 
    Open to all community college bound high school seniors.
  • Summer Up 
    Open to students planning to enroll in the summer Math-C course (Intermediate Algebra) at Merced College.
  • TIP 
    Open to all community college bound high school seniors and current community college students.
UC Riverside
UC San Diego
  • UniversityLink 
    Targets underserved (socioeconomically disadvantaged) students at partner community colleges.
UC Santa Barbara
UC Santa Cruz
  • TPP 
    Open to all California community college students.
All UCs
  • EAOP (Early Academic Outreach Program)
    Serves students from grades 9 through 12.
Other Options Available Throughout California
  • BOG Waiver
    Targets economically disadvantaged students attending community college.
  • Cal-SOAP
  • CalWorks
    Targets economically disadvantaged students.
  • EOPS
    Targets socioeconomically disadvantaged students attending community college.
  • MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement)
    Serves middle/high school students and community college students.
  • Umoja 
    Targets underrepresented minority students attending community college.
Other Options Available Nation-Wide
Most UC and CSU campuses
  • Educational Talent Search
    Search for “trio talent search” or “educational talent search” at a campus near you. This program serves elementary school, middle school, and/or high school students.
Other Options

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Check with your college career center for local internship opportunities and browse the library reference section for guidebooks. Most large companies will post internship opportunities on their company website. If you are interested in a particular profession, you may also consider calling businesses in your neighborhood and inquiring about internship opportunities.

Here are some resources and ideas to help you get started with your internship search:

  • Search online
    Search for “college internship [city and state or zip code]” for local internship opportunities.
  • Internships.com
    Great free way to find internships by field, location and pay scale.
  • California State Assembly
    Website shares information on how to get an internship with your congressperson or state assembly member (for California, visit the California State Assembly website and click on “Find My Representative”).
  • California Superior Court
    posts internships under Volunteer Opportunities.
  • ASTC-member science centers and museums
    Museums all over the country offer internships. Not sure if there is a science center near you? Search science centers by location.
  • Community College Institute
    Run by the Office of Science at the U.S. Department of Energy, places students from community colleges in paid internships at Department of Energy lab locations all across the nation. Internship appointments are 10 weeks in duration for the Summer (May through August), Fall (August through December), or Spring (January through May).
  • California Highway Patrol’s Explorer Program
    Designed for young men and women, 15 to 21 years of age, to develop skills and knowledge needed to serve the people of California through assisting the CHP both in office and out in the field.

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Summer Programs

Here are some summer programs I have come across over the years.

UC Berkeley
  • Undergraduate Cancer Research Training Program
    Charles Drew University has partnered with UCLA to offer a 12-week summer internship program designed for outstanding minority and underrepresented undergraduate students who are contemplating a career in biomedical-related sciences and working with underserved communities. Participants receive a maximum award totaling $4,000. Deadline is at the beginning of March.
    Program designed to provide premedical and predental students from disadvantaged backgrounds with a means of strengthening their ability and readiness to study medicine or dentistry. Deadline is at the beginning of March.
  • CCCP Scholars Programs
    The goal of these programs at UCLA are to motivate, inform and prepare students to transfer from a California community college to selective Top Tier Research institutions such as UCLA. Deadlines vary depending on the program but are usually between late spring and early summer.
  • Summer Programs Outside UCLA
    A long list of programs open to community college and transfer students.
UC Santa Barbara
  • STEM summer programs
    A number of programs specifically for community college and transfer students.
First-Tier Universities Outside the UC System
Need-Based Financial Assistance Available
  • Disc* [Design & Innovation for Sustainable Cities] 
    An intensive five-week summer program that explores an interdisciplinary and multi-scalar approach to design and analysis in the urban environment.
     Financial aid deadline is early April. Deadline is in mid-May.
Free Summer Learning Experiences
  • Transfer-to-Excellence Summer Research Program
    The Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science offers a 9-week residential research experience for undergraduates who are enrolled in community colleges (participants receive a stipend, plus room and board). Available opportunities include Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, and Robotics. Deadline is in late January.
  • Summer Health Professions Education Program 
    Aims to strengthen the academic proficiency and career development of students underrepresented in the health professions and prepare them for a successful application and matriculation to health professions schools. The program is offered at 13 sites, including Columbia, Rutgers, UCLA, and University of Washington. Deadline is in mid-February.
  • King Hall Outreach Program 
    A unique initiative that helps college students from underrepresented communities prepare for the law school admissions process. Deadline is in early June.

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Community Service and Volunteering

You can search for volunteer opportunities using the vetted volunteer matching service providers below. Sign up to receive email notifications when volunteer opportunities in the areas you are interested in become available. Most of these are national listings with opportunities in every interest area you can imagine.

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