Uic Honors College Interview Impromptu Essay Topics

Meet Mia Haas-Goldberg! This incredible Camel of the Week is a senior who doesn't let the serious nature of her studies stop her slightly-wacky personality. Mia is an artist who plays the cello, ukulele, and writes spoken word poetry. As if that wasn't cool enough, she also starred in a soccer commercial when she was in eighth grade and has biked across Israel. Mia was gracious enough to take time out of her hectic schedule to talk to HC about research she conducted in Tunisia, her honors thesis, and her experience as a member of the Mellon Foundation Iran Crisis Simulation that took place in Colorado. 

Hometown: Manhattan Beach, CA

Class Year: 2016

Major: History and International Relations

Minor: French 

Center: CISLA 

Extracurriculars: Exec boards of Amnesty International and TEDx, Club Soccer, CISLA/IR Student Advisory Board, WE Initiative, and Coffee Grounds barista

We hear you were recently in Colorado for the Mellon Foundation Iran Crisis Simulation. Can you tell us more about the role you played in this simulation and what the environment was like there?

During the simulation, I served as Assistant to the President for Public Affairs which didn’t mean much...until I was told to hold a press conference outlining our policy recommendations to the professors present. We spent two full days pretending it was the year 2021, responding to crises surrounding potential Iranian non-compliance to the JCPOA, which included false Israeli intelligence and a hostage situation. Living in the barracks with USAFA cadets was probably the best part of the experience--I will be forever grateful to my host for allowing me to pester her with question after question about life in military school and the correct arm sequence for pulling a parachute. It was also really intriguing to hear the perspectives of West Point, Navy, and Coast Guard delegates on foreign policy while debating in the simulation--many of the academy students were ardently against the use of the military while so many liberal arts students wanted airstrikes and boots on the ground.

During your semester abroad in Tunisia you conducted a 70 page research paper on youth perceptions of domestic fundamentalism. What was it like to speak with peers who grew up in a culture so different from your own?

Their lives really weren’t that different, to be honest, except for the fact that everyone seemed to speak at least five languages. During the course of some 15 interviews, I debated the best Friends episode, spoke with a medical student who also served as lead singer in a heavy metal cover band, and discussed the portfolio implications of a photography student. I asked a lot of questions about life under the previous dictator, Ben Ali, and what it was like to live through the Arab Spring in Tunisia. Everyone had an opinion on politics and how the country should progress but the lack of jobs for college graduates in Tunisia was a huge source of annoyance. Sometimes the interviews were challenging because of the language barrier--one interview was translated from Tunsi to French to English--but overall, I had a great time meeting students who were going through similar life transitions. One of the most random conversations I had was with a guy who sat next to me at the Senegal-Tunisia African Cup qualifier match--he translated the chants, helped me avoid being hit by impromptu flares, and chatted about his life in university.

Did your junior internship in France contribute to the development of your honors thesis regarding French media portrayals of the Algerian War?

My original CISLA proposal ultimately became my honors thesis and shaped my internship decision. While I didn’t do a lot of writing at CDHA (le Centre de Documentation Historique sur l’Algerie), I learned a ton and saw some weird stuff. I mostly assisted with curating the exhibit “Doctors of Colonization,” translated French penal code, and waded through mounds of University of Algiers soccer trophies, old street signs, photo albums, and maps. Once I even catalogued bust. No one in the office spoke French and everyone was either 35 or 95 years old which made for quite an interesting experience; by the end, I had a whole new horde of grandparents.

How long have you been working at the Immigration Advocacy and Support Center and what kind of work do you do there?

The center is in New London, across the street from Washington Street Cafe, and run by Mike Doyle who is the main attorney. Several other interns from Conn work there and do a range of activities: from translations to legal editing to organizing fundraising events. I began in September and it has been a great learning experience, as well as a wonderful resource for the New London community! 

What advice do you have, for freshman and seniors alike, for juggling a multitude of interests (both academic and recreational)?

Prioritize your activities, manage your time, and make sure you allow yourself breaks to decompress. Once something stops being enjoyable, make sure to recognize that--there are plenty of other things that would serve you better. For those who run on caffeine and no sleep, it always helps to take a break and do absolutely nothing; not even a productive, resume bumping nothing, just nothing. For those who hesitate to get involved for fear of lowering their academic standards, just remember that you won’t be surrounded by 18-22 year olds for the rest of your life (unless you are a professor or something). People can teach you crazy and amazing things if you choose to engage.  

Application Guide

GPPA Application Tips and Information for Fall 2018

UIC is a part of the Common Application for Undergraduate Admission! In order to apply to the GPPA programs, all applicants must complete the Common Application, complete the UIC First Year Supplement which includes the GPPA Application and the Honors College Application (where required for GPPA), and submit two letters of recommendation.

Deadlines for Applicants

  • December 1, 2017 – GPPA Medicine deadline
  • January 15, 2018 –Deadline for all programs except GPPA Medicine
  • May 1, 2018 – Intent to Enroll deadline for student acceptance of UIC and GPPA

Applications must be completed by the stated deadline. The application deadline is Midnight Eastern time (11pm Central) on the posted deadline date. Applicants are encouraged to submit their materials well in advance of the deadline. Submitting applications during business hours is also recommended so any technical issues can be addressed in a timely manner.

A complete application includes the materials submitted via the Common Application, transcripts, and official test scores. Letters of recommendation may be submitted via the Common Application or sent directly to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions:

Office of Undergraduate Admissions (MC 108)
University of Illinois at Chicago
1200 West Harrison Street, Suite 1100
Chicago, IL 60607-7161

It is preferred that letters of recommendation are submitted via the Common Application if possible. Letters of recommendation postmarked by the application deadline will be accepted but applicants are recommended to have all letters submitted earlier.

Important Dates to Remember

  • August 1, 2017 – Applicants can begin applying to GPPA using the Common Application.
  • November 2017 – March 2018 – Undergraduate Admissions decisions sent to applicants.
  • November 2017 – March 2018 – Interviews conducted by the Honors College. Select GPPA programs will use this interview in their admissions decisions as well.
    • Honors College admissions decisions will be sent to applicants within 2 weeks of the attended interview date.
  • January 2018 – March 2018 – Interviews conducted by GPPA Medicine and Dentistry programs.
  • April 1, 2018 – GPPA Applicants will be informed of their admission decision on or before this date.

The GPPA Application

A complete GPPA Application consists of three parts:

  1. COMMON APPLICATION – Submit a completed Common Application along with the UIC Supplement.
  2. GPPA & HONORS COLLEGE ESSAYS – In the “Questions” tab of the UIC Members page within the Common Application there is a “GPPA and Honors College” section where applications to GPPA and to the Honors College are submitted. Applicants submit essay(s) in this section.
    • For GPPA: Complete the GPPA Application Statement.  (400 – 500 word limit)

      GPPA Statement: By applying to the GPPA programs, you are applying for a guaranteed seat in one of UIC’s graduate and professional programs earlier than students who apply in a traditional manner. The GPPA program seeks to understand why you have chosen your intended profession and a guaranteed path into it.  What makes you an ideal candidate for guaranteed admission rather than following a traditional path to your intended profession?  How would a guaranteed seat contribute to your goals as an undergraduate?

    • For programs that require Honors College membership (Accounting, Dentistry, Education, Kinesiology, Law, Management Information Systems, Medicine, Nursing, Nutrition, Pharmacy) complete the Honors College Statement. All other programs highly recommend membership in the Honors College (400 – 500 word limit)
      Honors College Statement: In its mission statement, the UIC Honors College is described as a community of scholars whose goal is to enrich the educational experience of undergraduates and allow the faculty and students of all disciplines to interact in teaching, learning, and research. How can you contribute to the Honors College community? What benefits do you expect in return?
  3. TWO LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION – Submit two (2) letters of recommendation to UIC.
    • You are only required to submit two letters. The maximum is four, but you should prioritize quality over quantity and only ask those who genuinely know you.
    • Letters should be from people who can attest to the applicant’s academic and professional capabilities – family members are not acceptable sources.
    • Letters of recommendation can be submitted electronically via the Common Application system or directly to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
    • The same letters will be considered for both the Honors College and GPPA. The admission committees for both programs will have access to all parts of your UIC application and can therefore review the same letters.
    • Letters should address the following criteria for a candidate: “Please provide, using specific examples where possible, evidence of this student’s particular intellectual strengths and weaknesses. What distinguishes this student?”
    • The selection committees prefer that recommenders address the student’s experience in the following areas as observed: academic ability, motivation, intellectual curiosity, maturity, responsibility, written expression of ideas, and research aptitude.
    • School Counselor Evaluation forms may also be accepted as a letter of recommendation.

Notes to Applicants

  • You may only apply to one GPPA program.
  • You must be a first year applicant.
    • This does exclude transfer applicants.
    • Application to GPPA is competitive. The most successful applicants have a 28 ACT Composite or SAT Equivalent 1240 or higher. We do not ask for the writing sections of either test and we do not consider SAT Subject tests. Most successful applicants are in the top 15% of their high school class, but this is not required to apply.
  • Three of the GPPA programs have residency requirements:
    • Applicants to Medicine and Dentistry must be residents of Illinois and either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
    • Applicants to Public Health must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  • All applicants to the Biomedical Visualization program must submit a portfolio. To determine what their portfolio should obtain, applicants should contact John Daugherty at jdaug@uic.edu.
  • International or domestic students with international credentials may be required to submit additional materials
  • GPPA is a self-managed application process. The applicant is asked to collect and return all required materials. Please note that letters of recommendation will be accepted if mailed by the recommenders or school, but this is not the preferred method and can cause materials to arrive beyond the deadline. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure the submission of all required application materials by the stated deadline.

*GPPA applicants should be prepared to provide the following information during the application process:

  • Advanced Placement testing information – subjects, test dates, test scores
  • Special recognition for accomplishments
  • Acquired skills/knowledge (languages, certifications, etc.)
  • List of extracurricular activities (including membership in organizations and work experience) as well as a statement about how these have contributed to the applicant’s professional goals.
  • Parental and sibling information

Complete and submit application materials in advance of the deadlines. When mailing application materials, keep as many items together as possible. Enclose in one large envelope and send to:

Office of Undergraduate Admissions (MC 108)
University of Illinois at Chicago
1200 West Harrison Street, Suite 1100
Chicago, IL 60607-7161

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