FAQ's About UCDC

Applying for UCDC
Securing an Internship
About DC & the Washington Center

Applying for UCDC

How competitive is the program and how many openings vs. applicants do you get usually?
Every quarter (except summer) we have 30 openings for students from UCSD to go to Washington, DC. Typcially we get about 40 - 50 applications for Fall and Spring quarters, which are the most popular and the most competitive. Winter quarter is usually less competitive.

What selection criteria are used for acceptance?
The minimum requirements for participation include junior standing (90+ units) and a 2.5 GPA. Given the keen competition, the selection committee weighs class level, GPA, letters of recommendation and the applicant's full academic record at UCSD, including class withdrawals. The selection committee also considers any conduct and/or judicial issues for which we require participants to authorize their college's dean of student affairs to provide the program with a Disciplinary Verification Form. (This form and instructions are provided to students once admitted into the UCDC Program).

What is the average GPA of students who get accepted to UCDC?
Admitted students' average GPA is about 3.3; however, we have accepted GPA's as low as 2.7. The minimum GPA is determined by how many students apply and what their academic achievement is. Many students with lower GPA's get put on the wait list for open spots as admitted students drop out.

I'm a sophomore now but will have 90 units by the time the aurter I want to go comes around. Am I eligible to apply still?
This depends on how close to 90 units you are. Typically we don't allow students who are more than 12 units away from junior status to apply because we can't be sure that you will have the units you need by the time you leave for DC. Also, as a sophomore you have third priority after the seniors and juniors applying.

I'm a transfer student and this is my first quarter here at UCSD, so I don't have a UCSD GPA yet. Can I still apply?
No, you must have a UCSD GPA, even if it's only a GPA for one quarter here. Typically this happens in fall when most new transfers arrive and want to participate in the UCDC program for spring. These students must wait and apply in the spring quarter for the following fall or winter quarters.

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Does it help my chances of getting accepted to turn in the application materials early, before the deadline?  
No, the applications aren't reviewed until after the deadline has passed and all applications are received. However, if you'd like to turn in your application early, we will gladly accept it.

Will I have a better chance of getting accepted to the program if I apply for winter quarter?
Yes. Typically winter quarter is less competitive due to the time of year and the weather.

I'll be studying abroad during the application period. Can I still apply?
Yes. You can email most of your application materials to  Christy Quiogue , except for the recommendation letters. Copies of the letters need to be mailed to the UCSD Career Services Center.

When will I hear whether I've been accepted to UCDC?
We usually notify applicants by email within 2 weeks of the application deadline.

I am on the waitlist for UCDC. What are my chances of being admitted if I stay on the waitlist?
Students who are on the waitlist usually hear an update regarding their status within a month of their waitlist notice. If a waitlisted student attends both the UCDC Internship and Academic Orientations (for admitted students) and a space does not eventually become available, the student will be allowed to pariticipate in the UCDC Program on any subsequent quarter as long as the student comes forward in a timely way while space for the desired quarter is still available. Waitlisted students should inform the UCDC Program Coordinator (Christy Quiogue) immediately when they have identified and are prepared to commit to a subsequent quarter.

If I get admitted to UCDC but end up not being able to go that quarter, can I defer to another quarter?
No. Unfortuntely, the keen interest in pariticpation in UCDC prevents us from allowing all admitted students the option of deferring to another quarter. You must re-apply to the quarter that you are interested in.

If I don't get into UCDC, are there other options for me to still intern in DC?
Yes. You can always ask to have your application materials held and included in the next quarter's application process, or you can contact the Academic Internship Office (Warren College Literature Building, 2nd Floor) which sends students to DC in the summer. AIP only provides an internship component without the additional cources you can enroll in through UDCD. See the  AIP website ext  for more details.

Do I have to get an official transcript for the Registrar's Office for my application packet?
No, just print out your Academic History from TritonLink.

Where and how do I submit my application materials?
Complete the on-line UCDC application on the UCDC website and print the confirmation page. You can staple all of your materials together with your cover sheet on top and turn it in. You don't need to put it in a folder.

Securing an Internship

Where do I start looking for resources about internships in DC?  
Start with an online search of organization links on the UCDC Web page under the "Finding an Internship in DC" link. There you will find hundreds of links to organizations websites that describe their internship programs. Next you should look at the UCDC Internships Binder in the Career and Internship Resource Room that has previous internship listings from the web. This can be used to get contact information for organizations you might want to work with. Lastly, you should read through the Internship Directories and books that list internship programs with organizations in DC.

How soon should I start applying for internships?
We recommend that you start applying as soon as you get accepted to the program. Earlier applicants usually get their top internship choices. If you are planning to apply for an internship you know has an earlier deadline than the date you will find out about your status in the program, you should go ahead an apply anyway to be sure you meet the deadline.

How do I know what the best internships are to apply for?
You should read through the UCDC Internship Evaluations binder in the Career and Internship Resource Room. These can be very helpful in giving you insight into what different organizations are like to work for. You can also contact former UCDC students to ask them about their experience. Christy has a list of email addresses and internships of previous UCDC students.

How many internships should I apply for?
We recommend that you apply to at least 10-15 organizations to start with. Usually students have 2 or 3 top choices and then some alternates that they'd still like to intern with. Some students don't get any of their top internships and end up applying for more, but 10-15 is a good number to start with.

Are there many paid internships in DC?
There are plenty of paid internships to choose from, though that shouldn't be your main criteria for choosing one. Some of the best internships are unpaid. Wages or stipends can range from $70 a month to cover your metro pass to $1500 a month, depending on the career field. Many times the paid internships are the most menial and the unpaid ones are the most rewarding.

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The deadline has already passed for an internship I want. Should I still apply?
Some deadlines are strict but other are flexible. You should always contact the organization directly and ask if they are still accepting applications.

The internship start and end dates listed on the organizations web site are different than our schools quarter dates. Is this a problem?
Not usually. Most organizations are more familiar with semester students and therefore list their internship opportunities as starting and ending according to those dates. However, most of the time, they are open to quarter students schedules as well.

Some organizations are asking for the name of my academic advisor. Who do I tell them it is? 
Sam Kernell is your advisor for the program. He is the Director of the UCDC program here at UCSD.

Some organizations are asking for a form confirming tha tI'm getting academic credit for my internship. What do I give them?
Alfreda Brock, the Coordinator in DC, has those forms and can send one to any organization who needs it early. Just email her at  ambrock@cats.ucsc.edu  with the organization and coordinator contact info and she'll fax it. Otherwise, you will get this form at the Orientation when you arrive in DC.

I've been asked for a writing sample, what do I give them?
If not specified, provide them with any writing sample that demonstrates your writing ability, which can be an abstract of a well written paper, an article that may have been published, or something similar. Sometimes the organization will be specific about what they would like, though not always. Most ask for a 2-3 page sample.

What dates should I tell my employer I can start working and stop working?
All of the dates for each quarter under Resources for Admitted Students . There you'll find the schedule for each quarter. We recommend that you begin working the day after the academic orientation in DC. We also recommend that, if possible, you give yourself adequate time to arrive and get settled before starting your internship, and that you leave yourself adequate time to pack and check out at the end of your internship. Since move-out dates and times are strict, be sure to allow enough time to pack before your flight.

What should I do if I get offered an internship but I'm still waiting to hear from other organizations that I'd rather work with?
Organizations in DC know that internship applicants are applying to multiple organizations. If you get offered something and you're awaiting to hear from another one you really want, just ask that organization if you can let them know in a week or two or find out what the latest possible date is that you can let them know.

What do I do if I get to DC and start my internship and end up not liking it?
You should contact Alreda Brock, the Coordinator in DC, who will talk to your supervisor about making your internship experience a better one or help you find another internship. Finding another internship on such short notice can be difficult, but not impossible. It is not acceptable to quit an internship without notifying Alfreda and discussing your dissatifaction with your supervisor first, who may be able to change your duties to make the internship more rewarding.

About DC and The Washington Center

Are we required to live at the Washington Center?

Can I choose my roommate?
Yes, you can tell us on your rommate questionnaire at the orientation if you have a friend you would like to room with. If your friend is from another UC school, just be sure they also list you on their roommate questionnaire.

Do I have to bring a computer with me?
No, there is a computer lab with both Mac and PC computers available 24 hours a day. However, there is also an ethernet connection at each bedside so that students can bring a computer if they wish to. If you already have a laptop and want to bring it, we recommend it, but you don't need to buy one.

How do students get around in DC?
Everyone in DC uses the Metro or subway system to get to work and around town. There is a metro stop about every few blocks in all directions, so there is no need to have a car.

For more details on the Washington Center and DC, please see the UCDC Orientation Manual or the Residential Living Handboook on the UCDC web site.

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