UC Strong Candidate Essay

Beyond what has already been shared in your application, what do you believe makes you stand out as a strong candidate for admissions to the University of California?

I was waiting at the dinner table for the right moment and decided to serve it just before dessert, “I need 10,000 rupees to start a venture.” As my parents lost their appetite, their faces flashed curious amusement at a 15-year-old’s odd request.

Their hesitation didn’t deter my enthusiasm. I began building a pipeline of subscribers for BookBite, a book subscription service. The pilot members of this community were friends who I had bullied into enrolling. They couldn’t understand why I was building this venture, let alone share my excitement about it.

But the euphoria I felt after hitting 30 subscribers was soon replaced by the frustrating aspiration of the next 300. Eight days, sixty cold calls and sixty rejections later, I had added 2 subscribers. Sitting in my room, I wondered what was going wrong.

Launching verticals that catered to age groups other than my own brought the much desired growth. It was unnerving yet exciting to curate books for tastes ranging from Gladwell and Dawkins to Seuss and Dahl. A successful sales call in this demographic rested solely on my ability to conceal my age.

In the next year, BookBite grew in size and ambition. We onboarded schools from Mumbai and Mizoram, integrated AI to create...

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