This question appears to be more challenging than the previous one, as you have to detail a selfless act of sacrifice while explaining your motivations and avoiding corny wording.
Note that this “greater good” contribution does not limit you to instances in which you interacted with groups of “great” numbers. No matter the scale of your impact, if there existed a beneficiary to your actions, then you can write about it. Remember that “greater good” excludes class assignments or other activities that were required of you.
The key to this essay is making sure your motivations for the contribution are portrayed as personal and unique to you.
Many students will choose to write about a volunteer experience they participated in. If you choose to discuss a community service activity, make sure you differentiate your experience by highlighting your motivations and your emotions during the experience (rather than describing simply the activity you participated in).
For example, you might choose to write about a mission trip to another country that you took in your sophomore year of high school. However, rather than discussing the trip as a whole, it would be more effective to focus on a particular moment or problem that you encountered during the trip.
For instance, you could elaborate on the experience of visiting one of the children’s homes and the feeling of speaking to his parents directly. Describing a particular moment, as well as the specific emotions you felt and how your perspectives changed because of it, would help the essay stand out in a pile of volunteering essays.
In addition, focus on the process of the contribution and how you felt emotionally throughout the act.
Try to answer the following questions:
- What would have happened if you did not make that sacrifice/contribution? How would you have felt then?
- How did the contribution make you feel? How did it make others around you feel? How did it make the beneficiaries feel?
- What did you learn?
Emphasizing the internal development that occurred during your experience is key to making this essay shine.
As a member of the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success, the University of Florida uses the Coalition Application. Complete all sections of the Coalition Application, including the UF supplemental section, and submit it no later than November 15, along with the $30 nonrefundable application fee plus $5 processing fee or fee waiver.
- The freshman application opens each year in August.
- The application deadline is November 15.
- Applications received after November 15 are accepted on a space-available basis, which is extremely limited.
- The Student Self-Reported Academic Record (SSAR) is due by December 1.
- Test scores should be received from the testing agency by December 15.
At UF, students may begin their first term of study during the summer or fall.In addition, students have the opportunity to enroll at UF during the spring and summer terms only throughout their UF career in Innovation Academy. On your application, please select your preferred term of entry -- either summer or fall. If you wish to be considered for Innovation Academy, you will be asked to complete a short-answer question. While every effort will be made to accommodate your preferred term of entry, space limitations may result in admission to an alternate term, PaCE, or one of the state college partnership programs.
Application SectionsProfile Information
On the Coalition Application, you will provide details about your personal background, educational history, and extracurricular interests. At UF, the following Coalition Profile sections will be imported to your UF application: personal information, contact information, demographic information, citizenship information, high school information, college coursework, financial aid, honors and distinctions, academic interests and extracurricular activities.UF Supplement
As part of the UF supplement, we will ask additional short-answer questions to learn more about you as we review your application for admission.Residency Information
If you will claim Florida residency for tuition purposes, you will need to submit the Florida Residency Declaration. With very few exceptions, applicants younger than 24 years of age will need a parent or guardian to complete and sign the residency declaration to establish Florida residency. Claimants must provide proof of Florida residency as evidenced by a Florida driver's license, vehicle registration and/or voter registration. Additional Information
You will be asked to submit one personal essay. The personal essay will allow the admissions staff to get to know who you are as a student. Your essay should be limited to approximately 2500 characters, including spaces.2017-2018 Essay Topics
- Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
- Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution.
- Has there been a time when you've had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? How did the challenge affect your beliefs?
- What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What's the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?
- Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.
Freshman international applicants (non U.S. citizens or permanent residents) will apply to UF using the Coalition Application. Please submit the Coalition Application and UF supplemental section by November 15, along with your $30 application fee plus $5 processing fee in U.S. dollars. We will accept applications after November 15 on a space-available basis.
Student Self-Reported Academic Record (SSAR)
The SSAR is the self-reported transcript of your high school grades from 9th-11th and courses in progress for grade 12. The SSAR is required for all freshman applicants including applicants who have already graduated from high school. Please see the Exemptions tab for exceptions.
Create Your SSAR
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have met the November 15 deadline, submit and link the SSAR no later than December 1. Students who have applied after November 15 should submit and link the SSAR no later than March 1. If your SSAR is received after December 1, your application will be considered on a space-available basis.
All freshman applicants must complete a SSAR with the following exceptions:
- Instead of the SSAR, GED graduates must submit their official GED G E D results, along with official partial high school transcript(s).
- International and U.S. applicants who have not followed an educational curriculum patterned after the U.S. system. Applicants from non-U.S.-based systems must submit official or certified copies of all secondary school records and/or examination results. All academic records not in English must be accompanied by a certified English translation. In addition, these credentials must be evaluated by a credential evaluation agency.
Creating Your SSAR
You will be leaving the UF portal and will be required to create an account on the non-UF SSAR student self-reporting site. Please read through all of the instructions about submitting your SSAR carefully. You may refer to our FAQs to assist you as you complete your SSAR.
After you have submitted your SSAR through the SSAR portal, you must link it to your UF application. To link your SSAR to your UF application, click the Check Application Status button. You must submit your application for admission before you will be able to check your status and link your SSAR to the application. From the status page, you will click on the SSAR link to link your SSAR to your application.
Click here to complete your SSAR.
International freshman applicants are required to submit secondary and college or university credentials from non-U.S. institutions to a credential evaluation agency for a course-by-course evaluation with grade point average calculation. Companies offering these evaluation services include:
If using the Josef Silny & Associates Credential Evaluation Application, please refer to the UF application on their site.
UF also recommends any member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services..
Official scores from the SAT, ACT or both must be sent to UF directly from the testing agency. The institutional codes for UF are 5812 (SAT) and 0758 (ACT). Scores must arrive from the testing agency by December 15.
- At least the following minimum scores in each section of the SAT will be required for students who submit the old SAT: SAT Critical Reading = 500, Mathematics = 460 and Writing = 440. Effective with the Fall 2018 entering class, the university will require the following minimum scores on the redesigned SAT: SAT Reading = 24, Writing and Language = 25, and Math = 24.
- On the ACT, a minimum score of 19 on the Reading section and 19 on the Math section.
- UF admissions does not have a preference for one exam over the other. We encourage you to take whichever exam suits you best. While UF will not mix scores from old and new versions of the SAT, we will consider the highest "subscores" from the same version of the SAT if you take the test multiple times. We will not mix or combine ACT subscores. If you choose to take both exams, we will consider whichever score is most competitive for admission.
- Official test scores must be sent by the testing agencies to the Office of Admissions no later than December 15 for admission consideration. If your test scores are received after December 15, your application will be considered on a space-available basis.
The Redesigned SAT
The redesigned SAT will now consist of two sections (evidence-based reading and writing and math) with an optional essay. The score scale will range from 400 to 1600 with the essay being scored separately. The total test time is now 3 hours (+50 minutes if taking the SAT with essay). There is no penalty for guessing on the redesigned SAT. More information
UF does not require students to the take the essay for the new SAT nor ACT.
The College Board has partnered with Khan Academy to offer free test prep services for the SAT. These free services, accessible through any computer with internet access, will provide personalized practice pathways to help you pinpoint areas where you need to improve, full-length practice tests, and practice materials available to print.
The Innovation Academy (IA) at UF is a groundbreaking living/learning community that enrolls unique students from more than 30 majors into a spring-summer schedule filled with energy, collisions that become ideas, and one common minor: Innovation. The fall term is left open for other adventures, such as study abroad programs and there is an additional short essay on the application for students interested in IA
The University of Florida welcomes applications from all prospective students, and we understand that there may be special circumstances to consider.
Non-Accredited and Home Schooled
In addition to the freshman application requirements listed above, homeschooled students and students attending non-accredited schools must complete the following additional requirements:
- Send transcripts from all previous institutions you have attended, including a homeschool transcript.
- Submit scores from the SAT Subject Tests in mathematics (Level II-C), foreign language, science and social science if you have not completed two courses in a specific subject area at an accredited institution, such as a local high school, Florida Virtual School, or a state community college.
Concurrent High School/Associate of Arts Degree
Students who will receive their high school diploma and the Associate of Arts degree at the same time should complete the freshman application. On your application, please select a specific major and UF college. If we are unable to offer you admission at the freshman level, your application will be referred to the specific UF college indicated on your application for upper-division transfer consideration. At the upper-division level review, you must meet college and major prerequisite course and minimum GPA requirements.
Disability ConsiderationFrequently Asked Questions
- Applicants who would like to be reviewed for disability consideration must check the "special admission consideration because of a disability" box on the admissions application. Disability consideration is optional.
- Submit the Disability Consideration Request Form
- Compile any supporting documentation. Disability-related documentation guidelines can be located on the University of Florida's Disability Resource Center's website. Please note that an IEP or 504 Plan, without other disability-related documentation included, is not sufficient documentation.
- Compile all documentation materials together and upload using our secure document upload system. Documentation received via e-mail will not be accepted.
- Deadline for receipt of materials is December 1.
Checking Your Application Status
At least 48-72 hours after submitting your online application, please check the status of your application to link your SSAR to your UF application. Allow two-three weeks processing time for all other items to be received and added to your application.
- Log on to Check Application Status site with the same username and password used to submit your application through the Coalition website.
- Please be sure to click the link for the SSAR to connect your submitted SSAR with your UF application.
- Additional information included on the page will indicate, what, if any, materials are missing and provide instructions on how to proceed. From this page, you will be able to check your admission decision when it becomes available.
Admissions decisions will be made for applicants with complete applications and all admission materials received. Decisions for freshmen who applied by November 15 will be available in mid-February. You can view your decision by clicking the Check Application Status button. An official written notification of acceptance is mailed to admitted students only. Non-admitted students are notified through our online notification process.
The admissions process is designed to consider all aspects of an applicant's academic record and personal experiences. The admissions review process tries to balance the subjective and objective components of the application. Admission officers can exercise flexibility and professional judgment in their reviews and decisions, but they also must apply consistent standards. Every evaluation retains a focus on academic achievement and the applicant's overall potential for success at the University of Florida.
UF's application is designed to facilitate individual holistic consideration. The university recognizes that there is great variation among applicants' personal circumstances, home communities and high schools, including schools' course offerings and grading practices. Admission officers, therefore, have a responsibility to consider all factors when evaluating applications and to admit those applicants who are academically qualified and who have demonstrated a potential to contribute to and to be successful students at the University of Florida.
PaCE provides UF the opportunity to enroll more freshmen despite limited physical space on campus. PaCE
State College Partnerships
The Office of Admissions has collaborated with the College of Engineering, the College of Design, Construction and Planning, other Enrollment Management offices, and officials from Santa Fe College and the State College of Florida to implement the Gator Engineering at Santa Fe, Gator Engineering at State College of Florida, and Gator Design and Construction at Santa Fe. These innovative partnerships are designed to expand opportunities for aspiring students to earn degrees from the University of Florida.
Students offered these opportunities will begin their studies at Santa Fe College or the State College of Florida where they are provided special advising and other support that will lead to an accelerated transfer to the UF campus. Students must meet established benchmarks in order to be eligible for transfer.