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Season 1 Episode 13 Original AirDate November 21, 2018

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#13 Gary Clark - UCLA: Nation's Largest Applicant Pool

“Think less about what you think we want to hear, and more about what you want to say.” Gary Clark, Director of Undergraduate Admission at UCLA.

The University of California receives more applications than any other public or private institution in the country. UCLA ranks number one as the leader of the board, having received over 135 thousand applicants in each of the last two years. (nearly 150K for the class applying for entrance fall of 2022)

If you ever wanted to get in the brain of the Director of Admission at a highly selective institution, you will not be disappointed. I traveled to visit Gary Clark live on the UCLA campus and we did the show from his office.

The interview is broken up into three parts. Here are a few key highlights of what Gary Clark shared in each section of the interview:


Part 1: Gary Clark’s Describes His Personal Journey

Grew up in Virginia with two older brothers and supportive family.

Gary Clark would be the first in his family to attend college.

Gary Clark talks about finding a way to pay for college, including having a job and becoming a Resident Assistant.

Best Gary Clark “Golden Nuggets” from Part 1:

“If you picture a college diploma hanging on a wall, the name of that institution is in script along the top. We focus so much attention on that, that we forget about the name in the middle of the diploma which is your name.”


Part 2: Gary Clark Describes College Admissions at UCLA

Being a tour guide and a student ambassador, Gary Clark helped families navigate the college admission process.

Gary Clark enjoyed being able to “pull back the curtain” and help demystify the process for others.

College admissions appeals to “both my head and my heart.”

Gary Clark discusses why colleges ask for so much information from applicants.

Gary Clark describes what they look for in an application, the qualities of a student that stand out.

Why it’s important to be yourself in your college application.

Gary Clark and Dr. C discuss what to do when students don’t feel they have much to say or talk about in their application. Tips on how to describe your own home life experience in an application.

At UCLA every single application is read at least twice.

Why it’s important for the student to be their best advocate.

Best Gary Clark “Golden Nuggets” from Part 2:

“The UC application doesn't have a lot of safety nets ... you have to be a strong self-advocate. You have to be somebody who's willing to tell your story and to hit all the points that you really need us to know because there isn't a counselor or a teacher that's going to cover those details or isn't an interview that you can count on that's going to cover those details.”


Part 3: Gary Clark Offers Tips On The UC Application

All 9 University of California campuses offer top-notch education.

University of California has increased the number of California residents over the past several years.

Gary Clark discusses which sport his son plays and why he is now a fan.

Wherever you attend high school, someone on Gary Clark’s staff is assigned to your high school.

Best Gary Clark “Golden Nuggets” from Part 3:

“[UCLA applicant pool] It's a very self-selective applicant pool and there are not a lot of bad students that apply here, and so we are choosing amongst very, very talented students. I think we're all humbled by that and proud of the fact that those students are considering UCLA and honor us with an application. But what it means is that the quality of students that we admit are extraordinary and the quality of students that are often not admitted here is also extraordinary.”

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