Most students will tell you, applying to college takes a lot of work. While that’s true, if you follow the simple guide for how to apply and what’s involved, you’ll avoid a lot of unneeded frustration.
Private and Independent schools in California have a varied admissions process. As of 2014, California private and independent schools have a range of competitive standards. Many small and also well-known private schools are known as the best universities in the nation, many making the top 10 to top 50 list, according to U.S. News and National Report.
If you use this reference, any additional requirements can be folded into the rest of this process. A good example might be the Academy of Art, in San Francisco, which requires to students to provide a portfolio, in addition to other requirements. Private religious schools may also ask applicants to sign a pledge regarding codes of conduct, aligned with the religious views of that institution.
These schools typically look for the following:
3.2-3.5 GPA to start
Minimum 1400-1500 on SAT
Minimum 21 on the ACT
Top 50 percentile of your graduating class
Interesting extra-curricular activities that show a commitment to the subject. If you want to start the chess club in your senior year, admissions will notice that the other applicant has been a member for all four years of high school.
Leadership positions. Were you a leader in your school’s student government? The head of a school club? Did you volunteer in a key position outside of your school? These are all experiences that an admission office will note.
The Admissions department also looks for teacher evaluations and supplemental school reports as well interviews, in some cases. Most private schools encourage students to visit and tour the campus, too.
Private schools, such as Pomona College or Stanford, have rigorous admissions selections, only admitting the top 10% of applicants. Applications are a little more expensive in some cases, with Standford’s being no less than $90. Deadlines also fall around the beginning of November to January 15.
Admissions for transfer students in many cases actually provides applicants a better opportunity of admission. Many people don’t realize this fact. Submit a great transcript, show amazing potential at a 2-year or community college setting and how you’re a very solid bet and add diversity to the school, and you have a good chance of gaining admission. Provide excellent letter of reference and apply, in most cases, by January 15. Most importantly, if you’re a transfer student, get in front of someone at the university, make a trip there and find out just how many of your units could and will transfer. Transferring units from school to school is a process, but staying on top of it means the possibility of graduating on-time with more credits transferred over.
For transfer students, as well as freshmen, applications include:
Official transcripts (these must come unopened and completely sealed) from your High School career.
Letter of Reference from those in positions (like a principal, or school counselor) who know you. Many times schools need at least two to three evaluation or reference letters.
Personal Statement: Be real. Don’t use hyperbole, because admissions will spot it. Just talk about who you are, what’s impacted you and why you’re a great bet. Take your time here, because the better the final product, the more likely your chance of admission.
To do the best job, you should start your applications 3-5 months in advance. Set your calendar as follows:
The summer before senior year or when you apply- work out a rough draft of a good college personal statement. Even if this draft isn’t what the college of your choice has asked for, it’s an excellent starting point for creating a great personal statement-it’s also a great psychological load off of overwhelmed college applicants.
1. September, decide on the colleges to which you’d like to apply and ask three different people for references now! Don’t wait until the time when everyone’s asking them!
2. September, add-up the cost of each application-Private school applications are expensive and range from $50-$95, so budget accordingly!
3. Applications for private schools are usually available earlier, starting in September.
4. Request transcripts (between $2-5 each from any and all schools attended.
5. Start applications in mid-September- it’s best to try to finish these in about 2 weeks
6. Re-write and re-work your personal statement.
7. Over the winter holidays, start the FAFSA, or financial aid, this time will be less busy on their sites, easier to reach a live person and be less stressful, than starting in January.
If you follow this plan, unlike so many other students, you will not be overwhelmed when it’s time to apply or transfer to a California university or college. You also won’t miss important deadlines. Plan ahead, early and this process won’t be hard at all.