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How to Apply to College

Various College Pennants
Local Community Colleges

Local Community Colleges

Visit each college website to review their application process.
Local Private University

Local Private University

Visit the website to review the application process.
Private Colleges and Universities

Private Colleges and Universities

There are hundreds of private colleges and universities from which to choose. There are 63 independent undergraduate colleges and universities in California alone.   Private colleges and universities are quite diverse in nature, including research universities, small liberal arts colleges, faith-based colleges and universities, and specialized colleges. 

The cost is higher than public colleges and universities. However, these institutions have a variety of financial aid programs that often make the cost comparable to a public institution. Your ability to graduate in 4 years at a private institution may be greater than at a public institution due to more courses being available to you as a student there. 

Some independent institutions, such as USC, Stanford, and California Institute of Technology, are highly selective. Other universities are less selective in nature. Visit their websites for specific admission information.
Common Application Logo  Many schools take applications through the Common App.
  Visit website for complete application process.
*There are also numerous out-of-state public colleges and universities that are great options as well.
California State University

California State University

map of california with pins for humboldt, chico, sonoma, sacramento, maritime, san francisco, east bay, stanislaus, san jose, menterey bay, fresno, san luis obispo, bakersfield, channel islands, northridge, los angeles, san bernardino, dominmguez hills, fullerton, long beach, pomona, san marcos, and san diego."The CSU, with 23 campuses is a leader in supplying graduates with the necessary technical and personal skills to be successful in the working world.
Visit  the NEW WEBSITE for admissions requirements, deadlines, and the application.
The minimum requirements for admission as a freshman are:
  • Completing specific high school A-G approved courses, with a "C" or better
  • Meeting minimum eligibility determined by an index that combines GPA with test scores (ACT or SAT, excluding writing). *Note: Meeting the minimum eligibility requirement does not guarantee admission. Some programs/campuses may establish a higher index which is not published prior to applying.
University of California

University of California

map of california with pins for davis, berkely, santa cruz, merced, santa barbara, los Angeles, irvine, riverside, san diego.The UC system is among the world's greatest research universities with 10 campuses across California. Visit for admissions requirements, deadlines, and the application.

Students must have a GPA of 3.0 or above in all UC approved coursework. You can easily calculate your eligibility for UC by using the interactive eligibility calculator below. Most UC campuses receive more applicants than they have room for, so they use a comprehensive review process to determine admission.

*Note: Although SAT Subject Tests are no longer required for admission, scores can still be submitted, and are sometimes recommended by certain campuses or programs.
calculate your CSU GPA calculate your UC GPA
UC Admissions 2019-2020 Dates and Deadlines

UC Admissions 2019-2020 Dates and Deadlines

 August  1 Application opens for applications for fall 2020
 October  1 Filing period for FAFSA and Cal Grant Verification Form opens for applicants to all terms (filing period open through March 2, 2020)
 November  1-30 Fall 2020 admission application filing period for all applicants
 January  3 Transfer application deadline extension. Some majors will be closed after Nov. 30. 
   4 Online application update opens for transfer applicants to report final fall grades and in-progress or planned coursework (priority deadline is January 31)
Notification of fall 2020 admission decisions begins
   2 Deadline for applicants for all terms to submit FAFSA and Cal Grant GPA Verification Form
   31 Notification of fall 2020 admission decisions for freshman applicants is complete
 May  1 Deadline for admitted freshmen to submit Statement of Intent to Register (SIR)
    Notification of fall 2020 admission decisions for transfer applicants is complete
 June  1 Deadline for admitted transfer students to submit Statement of Intent to Register (SIR)
 July  1 For students admitted for fall 2020: Final, official transcripts must be sent to the campus admissions office. Transcripts must be postmarked or electronically submitted on or before July 1.
   15 Official AP, IB examination results must be sent to the campus admissions office. Test scores must be postmarked or electronically submitted on or before July 15.
UC Freshman Applicants: NEW Personal Insight Questions

UC Freshman Applicants: NEW Personal Insight Questions

question markThe personal insight questions are about getting to know you better — your life experience, interests, ambitions and inspirations.

Think of it as your interview with the admissions office. Be open. Be reflective. Find your individual voice and express it.

While this section of the application is just one part considered when making the admission decision, it helps provide context for the rest of your application.

What do you want UC to know about you? Here’s your chance to tell them in your own words.

  • You will have 8 questions to choose from. You must respond to only 4 of the 8 questions.
  • Each response is limited to a maximum of 350 words.
  • Which questions you choose to answer is entirely up to you:  But you should select questions that are most relevant to your experience and that best reflect your individual circumstances.
Keep in mind
  • All questions are equal:  All are given equal consideration in the application review process, which means there is no advantage or disadvantage to choosing certain questions over others.
  • There is no right or wrong way to answer these questions:  It’s about getting to know your personality, background, interests and achievements in your own unique voice.
Questions & guidance

Remember, the personal questions are just that — personal. Which means you should use our guidance for each question just as a suggestion in case you need help.  The important thing is expressing who are you, what matters to you and what you want to share with UC. 

1. Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes, or contributed to group efforts over time.  

Things to consider: A leadership role can mean more than just a title. It can mean being a mentor to others, acting as the person in charge of a specific task, or taking lead role in organizing an event or project. Think about your accomplishments and what you learned from the experience.  What were your responsibilities? 

Did you lead a team? How did your experience change your perspective on leading others? Did you help to resolve an important dispute at your school, church in your community or an organization? And your leadership role doesn’t necessarily have to be limited to school activities.  For example, do you help out or take care of your family?

2. Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side.  

Things to consider:  What does creativity mean to you? Do you have a creative skill that is important to you? What have you been able to do with that skill? If you used creativity to solve a problem, what was your solution? What are the steps you took to solve the problem?

How does your creativity influence your decisions inside or outside the classroom? Does your creativity relate to your major or a future career?

3. What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?  

Things to consider: If there’s a talent or skill that you’re proud of, this is the time to share it. You don’t necessarily have to be recognized or have received awards for your talent (although if you did and you want to talk about, feel free to do so). Why is this talent or skill meaningful to you?

Does the talent come naturally or have you worked hard to develop this skill or talent? Does your talent or skill allow you opportunities in or outside the classroom? If so, what are they and how do they fit into your schedule?

4. Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.

Things to consider: An educational opportunity can be anything that has added value to your educational experience and better prepared you for college. For example, participation in an honors or academic enrichment program, or enrollment in an academy that’s geared toward an occupation or a major, or taking advanced courses that interest you — just to name a few. 

If you choose to write about educational barriers you’ve faced, how did you overcome or strive to overcome them? What personal characteristics or skills did you call on to overcome this challenge? How did overcoming this barrier help shape who are you today?

5. Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?

Things to consider: A challenge could be personal, or something you have faced in your community or school. Why was the challenge significant to you? This is a good opportunity to talk about any obstacles you’ve faced and what you’ve learned from the experience. Did you have support from someone else or did you handle it alone?

If you’re currently working your way through a challenge, what are you doing now, and does that affect different aspects of your life? For example, ask yourself, “How has my life changed at home, at my school, with my friends, or with my family?”

6.  Describe your favorite academic subject and explain how it has influenced you.

Things to consider: Discuss how your interest in the subject developed and describe any experience you have had inside and outside the classroom — such as volunteer work, summer programs, participation in student organizations and/or activities — and what you have gained from your involvement.

Has your interest in the subject influenced you in choosing a major and/or career? Have you been able to pursue coursework at a higher level in this subject (honors, AP, IB, college or university work)?

7. What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?  

Things to consider: Think of community as a term that can encompass a group, team or a place – like your high school, hometown, or home. You can define community as you see fit, just make sure you talk about your role in that community. Was there a problem that you wanted to fix in your community?

Why were you inspired to act?  What did you learn from your effort? How did your actions benefit others, the wider community or both? Did you work alone or with others to initiate change in your community?

8. What is the one thing that you think sets you apart from other candidates applying to the University of California?

Things to consider: Don’t be afraid to brag a little. Even if you don’t think you’re unique, you are — remember, there’s only one of you in the world. From your point of view, what do you feel makes you belong on one of UC’s campuses? When looking at your life, what does a stranger need to understand in order to know you? 

What have you not shared with the committee that will highlight a skill, talent, challenge, or opportunity that you think will help them know you better? They are not necessarily looking for what makes you unique compared to others, but what makes you, YOU.
Click Here for the printable version of these questions.