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College Application Process
If a young person decides that a college education helps prepare them for their goals, it is important to understand the admission process as early as their freshman year. Many decide to begin their college courses while in high school (or, in some cases, earlier).
Concurrent enrollment at community colleges may be necessary for advanced coursework not offered through CORE. These courses are available with High School Counselor permission via the Academic Enrichment form available at the Learning Center front desk. Completed college coursework is recorded on your college transcript as well as on your High School transcript at value of 3.33 High School Credits for each 1.0 college credit.
First and foremost in importance in the college-university search is the need to know yourself. The result may actually be surprising. Does college help meet these goals or not?
There are over 3600 colleges in the United States, which makes the choice a bit daunting. Many are competitive, but the majority are not nearly as competitive as students believe. The range of options, competitiveness, price, geographical location, specialties, is endless. This is why it is important to do some sort of self-assessment (see above) to determine your “right choice.”
Right here in California, we have one of the premier university systems in the world. Preparing for admission in our university system is good preparation for applying for most schools.
The University of California, with it’s ten campuses is intended for the top 12 ½% of the California student population, determined through a number of factors in the UC admission eligibility guidelines.
The CSU system has 23 campuses, is intended for the top 1/3rd of California students, and focuses its energy on preparing students for professional positions in the workforce. Its eligibility requirements are almost completely aligned with those of UC’s, with the exception of testing requirements, the science requirement, and individual schools’ competitiveness.
There are 109 community colleges in the state of California. Enrollment criteria are that a student be a high school graduate (or its equivalent) or 18 years old. Students may also take courses concurrently while still in high school.
If you are in high school in a public school in California, you have been tested. The STAR and CAHSEE exams are two of which you are most familiar. Here are some more tests, mainly in relation to college admission, that you should know about.
SAT I – The standard exam that most schools require for admission. It is offered 7 times through the year. www.collegeboard.com
ACT – Oftentimes schools will leave the option of taking the SAT I or the ACT. For actual test info, see www.actstudent.org).
PSAT – This practice SAT is offered only once/year. CORE does offer this test. It if offered in mid-October. Sign up on the High School Advising page by clicking the sign-up link. For general info about the PSAT.
AP – Advanced Placement are courses that prepare students for an annual exam in one or more of 34 courses and exams. Information about the AP Courses and Exams. Call your counselor to see how to obtain AP credit at C.O.R.E. Charter School. We do not offer AP classes on campus.
CLEP – The College-Level Examination Program is a way, similar to the AP exams, to earn college credit by demonstrating proficiency in a number of subject areas. CORE will also award credit for passing scores on the exam, thus allowing a student to “test out” of a particular subject(s). For more information, see College Board.
GED– The general education development test is not specifically a test related to college admissions, but worth mentioning here. The GED is a nationwide high school diploma equivalency test that students 18 years old (or within 60 days of their 18th birthday) may take. For information, see the official website.
CHSPE –The California High School Proficiency Exam, like the GED, is a high school diploma equivalency test. Two main differences are that (1) you may be 16 years old to take the exam and (2) it is officially recognized in California, but not necessarily in other states. For more information, see the official website
There are several different types of financial aid. These include loans, grants and scholarships. Here is a top 3 priority list for financial aid tasks during the senior year (specifically, between January 1st and March 2nd).
Fill out the FAFSA. Go to www.fafsa.ed.gov. This is a fairly lengthy online form that is based on your (or parents) previous year’s tax return. It is the basis of the vast majority of financial aid opportunities, including the Cal Grant.
Apply for the Cal Grant by being sure that you and your school counselor fill out a GPA Verification Form, which s/he should have on hand. This needs to be sent by March 2nd during your senior year (or whatever year is before that school year for which you are applying for financial aid). See www.calgrant.org/.
Scholarships – There are thousands of scholarships available. The trick is (1) finding them and (2) applying for those of which you have the best chance of getting. There are many sources of scholarships, including the following: